Monday, July 13, 2020

If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace

You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go.
To save them,
God wishes to establish in the world
devotion to my Immaculate Heart.
If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved
and there will be peace.

Our Lady of Fatima to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco

St. Clelia Barbieri

St. Clelia Barbieri is the youngest founder of a religious order in the entire history of the Catholic Church. However, of all the recently canonized saints, she is one of whom the least is known.

Clelia Mary Rachel was born in the small northern town of Budrie in Italy on February 13, 1847. Her parents, Joseph Barbieri and Hyacinthia Nanetti, were a pious couple who lived a very modest life. Joseph Barbieri died in 1855, when Clelia was only nine years old; and soon after, the intelligent young girl had to find work to help support her family.

Pious and unusually devout from a very early age, Clelia found new depths of spirituality and zeal when she was confirmed in 1856. She was further renewed and strengthened in her faith two years later, as was then the custom, when she first received the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Clelia began to dedicate herself to the work of propagating the faith in her own parish, and shortly thereafter became a catechist. Her remarkable piety and humble dedication brought her to the attention of her parish priest, Fr. Gaetano Guidi, who began to see great potential in her. He urged her and her close friend, Teodora Baraldi, to undertake the education of the young girls of the parish whose families were too poor to have them otherwise educated. They were soon joined by Orsola Donati who is considered along with Clelia to be one of the true founders of the Little Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows. This name was given them by the Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Lucinda Maria Parocchi, whose blessing and support they enjoyed from the outset of their vocations. The Archbishop also suggested that they put their congregation under the patronage of St. Francis of Poala. Clelia was twenty-one.

Though young in years, Clelia’s piety and devotion, especially to Christ present in the Blessed Eucharist, was profoundly deep. From her childhood, she had been drawn to prayer and the practice of the virtues and also the mortification of her body. She was seen in ecstasy and often credited with the ability to read hearts. She became seriously ill shortly after the Congregation was established and for some time appeared close to death. Miraculously though, she recovered; but shortly thereafter she once more became ill. Clelia died on July 13, 1870, at twenty-three years old.

Clelia Barbieri was canonized in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, on August 9, 1989, by Pope John Paul II, who held her up as an example of how the Faith should be nourished, first in the family and then in the parish.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

What Happened at the Third Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima - July 13, 1917



Mr. Marto, father of Jacinta and Francisco, noticed that when the third apparition began, a small grayish cloud hovered over the holm oak, the sunlight diminished, and a cool breeze blew over the mountain range, despite it being the height of summer. He also heard something like flies inside an empty jug. The seers saw the customary glare, and then Our Lady over the holm oak.

Lucia:
What does Your Grace wish of me?
Our Lady: I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month and to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, for she alone can be of any avail.
Lucia: I would like to ask you to tell us who you are and to perform a miracle so everyone will believe that Your Grace appears to us.
Our Lady: Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I wish, and I will perform a miracle that everyone shall see so as to believe.
Lucia then made a number of requests for conversions, cures, and other graces. Our Lady recommended the constant recitation of the rosary; thus they would obtain those graces during the year.
Then she went on: "Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make a sacrifice, 'O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'"


The first part—The vision of hell
Lucia writes, “Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.”

The second part—The warning of the chastisement and how to avoid it
The children then looked up at Our Lady, who said to them so kindly and so sadly:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc. ...”

Communism—"The Errors of Russia"
Communism is an atheistic ideology that ultimately denies God’s natural order and natural law, which God inscribed on the hearts of men. Denying God, Communism attaches divinity status to the Party and to the State. As such, Communism transfers all personal responsibility to the Party and totalitarian state. Denying natural law, Communism rejects the basic rights to private property, and monogamous, indissoluble marriage two indispensable pillars of a free society. Dictatorship is not a chance fact in Communism, but the logical and necessary consequence of its ideology. For strategic reasons, Communism may take on different political forms, including apparently democratic ones, and hide behind varied labels. Already in the 1930’s, the Communist Party launched the so-called policy of the extended hand, in which it showed to the outside world a smiling, friendly face while, Stalin’s iron hand imposed a ferocious, despotic dictatorship in Russia.
This deception has been used time and again throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.




Fatima Children after seeing the vision of hellOn July 13, 1917 Our Lady of Fatima revealed to the young seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta three secrets or a secret in three parts, only later to be revealed at the appointed time. The first secret is the vision of Hell which Our Lady showed to the children, and which, though lasting only a moment, was graphic and terrifying.
The second part of the secret is Our lady’s warning of a chastisement to come if her requests were not heeded.
Both secrets were revealed by Sister Lucia in 1941.

The third secret the seer omitted in her memoirs.
She only wrote about this third secret in January, 1944, at a request of the Bishop of Leiria, Dom José Alves Correia da Silva. On June 26, 2000, in accordance with specific instructions from His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released the text of the third secret.

This is the Vatican’s official English translation of the text
of the third secret as published on the Vatican Website:
J.M.J.
The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria, Fatima, on July 13, 1917:
“I write in obedience to you, my God, who commands me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.
Angel with flaming sword“After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’
“And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass before it’ a bishop dressed in white ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. [We saw] other bishops, priests, men and women religious climbing a steep mountain, at the top of which was a large Cross…Before reaching this point, the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins. He trembled with a halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, praying for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the large Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God. Tuy, Spain, 3-1-1944”.



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You are the temple of God

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

St. Paul the Apostle

St. John Gualbert

John Gualbert or Giovanni Gualberto, was a Florentine nobleman who one day, meeting his brother’s murderer in a narrow alley was about to slay him when the culprit, falling to his knees, implored mercy with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross. It was a Good Friday, and Gualbert, suddenly reminded of Jesus Crucified, embraced the man and forgave him.

Going on his way, John entered the monastery of St. Miniato where he knelt before a crucifix. As he prayed, the crucifix miraculously bowed his head in thanks for John’s act of generosity. Struck to the heart, Gualbert sought the abbot, asked to be given the religious habit, and was ultimately accepted.

He later left St. Miniato with a companion, looking for a more perfect way of life and founded, in Vallombrosa near Fiesole, a new order based on the primitive, austere rule of St. Benedict adapted to the particular circumstances of his time.

He was known for his zeal but also for his mildness, and for making the burden of discipline sweet. In his humility he never received even minor orders. He zealously fought simony, which is the sale of ecclesiastical posts.

His order grew and monasteries multiplied, which were a blessing to their regions and especially to the poor, as no beggar was ever turned away empty handed.

Popes sought his wise counsel, and Pope Alexander II testified that the whole country where he lived owed the extinction of simony to his zeal.

John Gualbert died on July 12, 1073 being eighty or more years of age. Pope Celestine III canonized him in 1193.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

God will not chastise him in His justice

Whosoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly,
applying himself to the consideration of its Sacred Mysteries
shall never be conquered by misfortune.
God will not chastise him in His justice,
he shall not perish by an unprovided death;
if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and
become worthy of Eternal Life.

Our Lady to St. Dominic

St. Benedict of Nursia

Benedict was of a noble family in Nursia, near Rome, and had a twin sister, Scholastica, also a saint and co-founder with him.

Sent to Rome for his education, Benedict abhorred the licentiousness of his companions in the city and secretly left Rome. He found his way to the village of Enfide, where, far from the din, he realized that he was called to a life of solitude.

Climbing higher to a rugged, wild place called Subiaco, he met a hermit, Romanus, who giving him a habit of sheepskin, initiated him in the hermitical life in a cave high up in the mountain.

In this desolate place, Benedict spent three years in total solitude, once a day lowering a basket to Romanus who brought him bread and kept the secret of his whereabouts.

As the fame of the sanctity and the miraculous powers of the young recluse spread, disciples gathered. Benedict set up a system of twelve wooden monasteries, containing each twelve monks headed by a superior, himself directing all from his cave.

Once these communities where established, Benedict moved on to Monte Cassino. At the site of a big temple, he built two chapels, and around the sanctuary there gradually arose the greatest abbey the world has ever known.

Profiting from the experience at Subiaco, Benedict now no longer placed those who flocked to him in separate houses but gathered them in one establishment, ruled over by priors and deans under his general supervision. Here he also built guest rooms, for as Monte Cassino was nearer Rome, not only laymen but dignitaries came to consult with the holy founder.

It was most certainly at this period that Benedict composed his rule of monastic life, which was to influence all of Europe.

At Mount Cassino, famous for his sanctity and miracles, Benedict far from confining his care to his monks alone, extended it to the population in the surrounding country. He relieved the distressed, healed the sick, distributed alms, nourished the poor, and is said to have raised the dead on more than one occasion.

The great saint, who had foretold so many things, also foretold his own death. He notified his disciples, and bid them dig a grave six days before the end. As soon as his burial site was ready, he was struck with a fever and on the last day received Holy Communion. Then, lovingly supported by his spiritual sons, he expired, standing on his feet in his chapel, his hands uplifted to heaven.
Photo by: High Contrast

Friday, July 10, 2020

Only the Immaculata...

The conflict with Hell
cannot be maintained by men, even the most clever.
The Immaculata alone has from God
the promise of victory over Satan.

St. Maximilian Kolbe

Sts. Antony and Theodosius

This is the story of two men who collaborated with Divine Providence to found monasteries, and who exerted a great influence in medieval Ukraine.

Antony was born in 983 in Lubech near Chernigov and at first tried to be a hermit after the Egyptian model. He soon realized that he needed training in this life as in anything else and went to the famous monastery in Mt. Athos. Later, leaving Mt. Athos he ultimately set up his abode in a cave on a wooded cliff near the river Dnieper in Kiev.
There he was joined by many who began a community in nearby caves. Given land by Prince Syaslav, the monks built a wooden monastery and church dedicated to the Dormition of Mary. Handing over the direction of the community to one Barlaam, Antony went on to found another monastery in Chernigov.

One of Antony’s early disciples was Theodosius Pechersky of an influential and wealthy family. In his youth he had maddened his kinsmen by choosing to work in the fields; he later joined the religious community of St. Antony.

Succeeding Barlaam as abbot, Theodosius was the real organizer of the community.  Finding the original cave monastery “narrow and depressing” he proceeded to enlarge the buildings. Feeling called not only to maintain a rule of monasticism but also to reach out to society, he founded a hospital for the sick, a hostel for travelers, and every Saturday sent a cartload of food to the city jails. Theodore’s emphasis was prayer, mortification, but also the works of mercy.

Theodosius sought to balance the contemplative and the active ways of perfection, seeking to harmonize the needs of men as they are with the call to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Your salvation is certain, if...

If you persevere until death
in true devotion to Mary,
your salvation is certain.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Augustine Zhao Rong, is one of a group of 120 Catholics, among many more who were martyred between the years 1648 and 1930 in China.

Having come to China through Syria in the seventh century, down through the centuries Christianity has in turn thrived or gone into hiding, contingent upon the relations of China with the outside world.

Of the 120 martyrs mentioned above, eighty-seven were Chinese, ranging in age from nine to seventy-two, and four of them were priests. Thirty-three were foreign-born, mostly priests or women religious. Though the missionaries and religious tried to distance themselves from foreign policies, the Chinese government did not differentiate and saw them all as westerners.

The martyrdoms of China are most moving, each person having died heroically though many of them suffered torture and cruel deaths. Fr. Francis Li, grandson of a Chinese martyr, describes his grandfather going to his death joyfully saying to his brother and son, “Let’s go, we are going to heaven today!”

Zhao Rong was a bailiff of a county jail. During the persecution of 1772, he was moved by the words of Fr. Martinus Moye to his fellow Catholic prisoners, and, ultimately converted. He later became a priest, and when in 1815 another persecution broke out, he was arrested and tortured, and being aged, died of the ill treatment.

The group of 120 martyrs celebrate today headed by St. Augustine Zhao Rong was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Is there something greater than knowing God?

To love God
is something greater
than to know Him.

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Withburga

Withburga was the youngest of the four daughters of King Onna of East Anglia, a devout Christian ruler. All of his daughters and one son are canonized.

Onna was killed in battle against Penda of Mercia, and after her father’s death Withburga went to Dereham in Norfolk where she gathered a few young girls and started a small convent. She eventually built a church and the story goes that not having much nourishment to give to the workers, Our Lady appeared to her telling her to send two nuns to the stream where they would find two does that could be milked.

And so the nuns had regular milk to add to their daily sustenance. As news of this marvel spread, people began to flock to the convent to the point that a leader in Dereham became jealous of Withburga’s popularity. He set out on his horse to kill the does, but the horse threw him and he broke his neck. This story is depicted on a large sign in the town of Dereham.

Withburga died on March 17, 743 shortly after the completion of the church. Fifty years later, her body was found perfectly incorrupt. In 974, on being moved to Ely near the bodies of her two sisters, it was still found whole and pliable. The people of Dereham tried to bring their saint back, but being unsuccessful, found at their return that a well had sprung in the empty tomb of Withburga. They took it as a sign from their saint for their consolation. This spring has never dried up.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

How to judge people

Make it a practice to judge
persons and things
in the most favorable light
at all times and under all circumstances.

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Palladius

Though not much is known about St. Palladius, we first hear his name mentioned by St. Prosper of Aquitaine in his Chronicles as a deacon who insisted with Rome for help against the Pelagian heresy then rampant in Britain. In response, the Holy See sent St. Germanus of Auxerre to combat the heresy.

Around 430, Pope Celestine I consecrated Palladius a bishop, and sent him into Ireland as its first bishop, preceding St. Patrick. Though not too successful with the Irish, he built three churches in Leinster.

Leaving Ireland, Palladius sailed for Scotland where he preached among the Picts. He died at Fordum, near Aberdeen a short while after arriving.

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel - July 8 to July 16


Header-Nine Day Novena to Our Lady of Mt Carmel

 This novena is to be said between July 8 and July 16.
The novena ends on the  Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.


First Day Second Day Third Day
Fourth Day Fifth Day Sixth Day
Seventh Day Eighth Day Ninth Day


First Day
Scapular - First DayO Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us!
Show us that you are our Mother!

(Mention your request here)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.


Second Day
Scapular - Second DayMost Holy Mary, Our Mother, in your great love for us you gave us the Holy Scapular of Mount Carmel, having heard the prayers of your chosen son Saint Simon Stock. Help us now to wear it faithfully and with devotion.
May it be a sign to us of our desire to grow in holiness.
(Mention your request here)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.


Third Day
Scapular - Third DayO Queen of Heaven, you gave us the Scapular as an outward sign by which we might be known as your faithful children. May we always wear it with honor by avoiding sin and imitating your virtues.
Help us to be faithful to this desire of ours.
(Mention your request here)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.


Fourth Day

Scapular - Fourth DayWhen you gave us, Gracious Lady, the Scapular as our Habit, you called us to be not only servants, but also your own children. We ask you to gain for us from your Son the grace to live as your children in joy, peace and love.
(Mention your request here)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.


Fifth Day

Scapular - Fifth DayO Mother of Fair Love, through your goodness, as your children, we are called to live in the spirit of Carmel. Help us to live in charity with one another, prayerful as Elijah of old, and mindful of our call to minister to God's people.
(Mention your request here)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.


Sixth Day
Scapular - Sixth DayWith loving provident care, O Mother Most Amiable, you covered us with your Scapular as a shield of defense against the Evil One.  Through your assistance, may we bravely struggle against the powers of evil, always open to your Son Jesus Christ.
(Mention your request here)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.


Seventh Day
Scapular - Seventh DayO Mary, Help of Christians, you assured us that wearing your Scapular worthily would keep us safe from harm. Protect us in both body and soul with your continual aid. May all that we do be pleasing to your Son and to you.
(Mention your request here)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.


Eighth Day
Scapular - Eighth DayYou give us hope, O Mother of Mercy, that through your Scapular promise we might quickly pass through the fires of purgatory to the Kingdom of your Son. Be our comfort and our hope.  Grant that our hope may not be in vain but that, ever faithful to your Son and to you, we may speedily enjoy after death the blessed company of Jesus and the saints.
(Mention your request here)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.


Ninth Day
Scapular - Ninth DayO Most Holy Mother of Mount Carmel, when asked by a saint to grant privileges to the family of Carmel, you gave assurance of your Motherly love and help to those faithful to you and to your Son. Behold us, your children.
We glory in wearing your holy habit, which makes us members of your family of Carmel, through which we shall have your powerful protection in life, at death and even after death.
Look down with love, O Gate of Heaven, on all those now in their last agony!
Look down graciously, O Virgin, Flower of Carmel, on all those in need of help!
Look down mercifully, O Mother of our Savior, on all those who do not know that they are numbered among your children.
Look down tenderly, O Queen of All Saints, on the poor souls!
(Mention your request here)
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.



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Monday, July 6, 2020

Chastity is not possible without this

Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament
and devotion to the Blessed Mother are not simply the best way,
but in fact the only way to keep purity.
Chastity is not possible without the Eucharist.

St. Philip Neri

St. Maria Goretti

In 1950 in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome, a crowd of 250,000 people gathered for the canonization of a twelve-year-old girl, Maria Goretti, who died resisting an attempted rape.

Maria was the third of six children of an Italian farmer and his wife, Luigi and Assunta Goretti, good and devout people who, forced to sell their farm, took up tenant farming, sharing a house with a Giovanni Serenelli and his son, Alessandro.

Luigi Goretti died of malaria when Maria was nine, and Assunta, her brothers and sister worked the fields, while Maria kept house and watched her baby sister. Alessandro began to stalk Maria, who although afraid, said nothing as he had threatened to kill her.

One day as Maria sewed at the top of the stairs leading to their house, the baby nearby, nineteen-year-old Alessandro dragged her inside and threatened her with a knife if she did not submit to him. She struggled with all her might, all the while shouting, “No, God does not wish it, it is a sin! You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro tried to choke her but she gasped that she would rather die than submit. Infuriated, he pulled out a sharp dagger and stabbed her eleven times. As the wounded girl tried to reach the door, he stopped her by stabbing her another three times.

At the cries of the frightened baby, Assunta and Giovanni found Maria and rushed her to the hospital. She died twenty-four hours later, clutching a crucifix to her chest, invoking the Blessed Virgin and forgiving her murderer.

Alessandro, at first sentenced to life imprisonment, was given thirty years for being a minor at the time of the crime. It is said that Assunta also interceded for him.

He remained surly and uncommunicative for three years until a local bishop, Giovanni Blandini, visited him, to whom he revealed a vision of Maria handing him lilies. After this vision, he made a full conversion and was released on good behavior after twenty-seven years. He also declared that, indeed, Maria died a virgin. His first action was to seek Assunta and beg her forgiveness, which she readily granted saying: “If Maria forgave you, I can do no less,” and they attended Mass together the next day.

Maria’s mother, her three brothers and a sister attended her beatification in 1947. Three years later, Assunta was also present at her canonization, and so was Alessandro. Pope Pius XII called Maria, “the St. Agnes of the twentieth century.”

Alessandro who joined the Order of Friars Minor as a lay brother, died peacefully in 1970.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

We are what we repeatedly do

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,
but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Aristotle

St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Elizabeth of Portugal known as “The Holy Queen” was born Isabel of Aragon in Zaragoza, Spain, the daughter of King Pedro III of Aragon and Queen Constanza of Naples. She was named after her great aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

From childhood, having received a most Christian upbringing, she learned to practice self-discipline, mortification of wayward tendencies, the avoidance of sin and the pursuit of virtue, prayer and union with God’s holy will.

Beautiful, talented and good, she was sought in marriage by several European monarchs, and was ultimately betrothed by proxy at the age of thirteen to King Dinis of Portugal.

A year and a half later she arrived in Portugal to assume her responsibilities as queen. Although he was an able ruler, her husband had an irate temper and sinful habits. While he respected and revered his queen, he was unfaithful to her and had several illegitimate children.

Elizabeth bore the conjugal betrayal with exquisite patience and heroic magnanimity, praying continuously for her wayward spouse. She and Dinis had two children: Constanza and Alfonso.

The young queen started her day with Mass and prayer, and then proceeded to see to the governance of her palace. In the free moments she sewed and embroidered with her ladies for the poor, and personally tended to their needs. Afternoons were dedicated to the care of the elderly, the poor or anyone else in want.

Amazingly talented, Elizabeth mastered several languages, sang beautifully, and enjoyed a remarkable understanding of engineering and architecture. She herself designed and oversaw the building of several churches, monasteries and hospitals, developing her own “Elizabethan Style.”

One day while inspecting a construction site, a girl approached and gave her a bouquet of flowers. The queen then distributed the flowers, one to each of the workers saying: “Let’s see if today you will work hard and well for this pay.” The men reverently placed their flower each in his own satchel, only to find, at the end of the day, a gold coin in place of the flower.

In her city Elizabeth built hostels for the poor, a hospital, a house for repentant wayward women, a free school for girls, and a hospice for abandoned children. She built bridges in dangerous places, visited and procured doctors for the ill, and endowed poor girls for the convent or for marriage. She kept a beautiful tiara and wedding dress to lend to poor brides so they could “shine” or their special day. Her goodness went as far as raising her husband’s illegitimate children.

A great devotee of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Most Holy centuries before the dogma was declared; she obtained from the bishop of Coimbra the establishment of the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, which was afterwards observed with great solemnity throughout the whole country.

A constant peacemaker, the holy queen ironed out many a conflict between bellicose rulers and nobles. Twice she reconciled her husband and son, on one occasion, even interposing her person between them in the battlefield.
In the end, Dinis died a most repentant man. In one of his poems he left his ultimate tribute to his ultimate queen:

God made you without peer
In goodness of heart and speech
As your equal does not exist,
My love, my lady, I thus sing:
Had God so wished,
You’d made a great king.  

After her husband’s death, Elizabeth took the habit of a Franciscan Tertiary and retired near a convent of Poor Clares which she had built, dedicating herself to the sick and the poor.

The saintly queen died at age sixty-five invoking Our Lady, and was canonized in 1625 by Pope Urban VIII who had vowed not to canonize anyone during his pontificate. He made the exception for Elizabeth at being promptly healed of a serious illness after praying to her.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Red, the White, the Blue - in honor of July 4th

A strong and mighty Angel,
Calm, terrible, and bright,
The cross in blended red and blue
Upon his mantle white.

Two captives by him kneeling,
Each on his broken chain,
Sang praise to God who raiseth
The dead to life again!

Dropping his cross-wrought mantle,
“Wear this,” the Angel said;
“Take thou, O Freedom’s priest, its sign,
The white, the blue, and red.”

Then rose up John de Matha
In the strength the Lord Christ gave,
And begged through all the land of France
The ransom of the slave.

The gates of tower and castle
Before him open flew,
The drawbridge at his coming fell,
The door-bolt backward drew.

For all men owned his errand,
And paid his righteous tax;
And the hearts of lord and peasant
Were in his hands as wax.

At last, outbound from Tunis,
His bark her anchor weighed,
Freighted with seven-score Christian souls
Whose ransom he had paid.

But, torn by Paynim hatred,
Her sails in tatters hung;
And on the wild waves, rudderless,
A shattered hulk she swung.

“God save us!” cried the captain,
“For naught can man avail;
Oh, woe betide the ship that lacks
Her rudder and her sail!

“Behind us are the Moormen;
At sea we sink or strand
There’s death upon the water,
There’s death upon the land!”

Then up spake John de Matha
“God’s errands never fail!
Take thou the mantle which I wear,
And make of it a sail.”

They raised the cross-wrought mantle,
The blue, the white, the red;
And straight before the wind off-shore
The ship of Freedom sped.

“God help us!” cried the seamen,
“For vain is mortal skill
The good ship on a stormy sea
Is drifting at its will.”

Then up spake John de Matha
“My mariners, never fear
The Lord whose breath has filled her sail
May well our vessel steer!”

So on through storm and darkness
They drove for weary hours;
And lo! the third gray morning shone
On Ostia’s friendly towers.

And on the walls the watchers
The ship of mercy knew,
They knew far off its holy cross,
The red, the white, and blue.

And the bells in all the steeples
Rang out in glad accord,
To welcome home to Christian soil
The ransomed of the Lord.

So runs the ancient legend
By bard and painter told;
And lo! the cycle rounds again,
The new is as the old!

With rudder foully broken,
And sails by traitors torn,
Our country on a midnight sea
Is waiting for the morn.

Before her, nameless terror;
Behind, the pirate foe;
The clouds are black above her,
The sea is white below.

The hope of all who suffer,
The dread of all who wrong,
She drifts in darkness and in storm,
How long, O Lord! how long?

But courage, O my mariners
Ye shall not suffer wreck,
While up to God the freedman’s prayers
Are rising from your deck.

Is not your sail the banner
Which God hath blest anew,
The mantle that De Matha wore,
The red, the white, the blue?

Its hues are all of heaven,
The red of sunset’s dye,
The whiteness of the moon-lit cloud,
The blue of morning’s sky.

Wait cheerily, then, O mariners,
For daylight and for land;
The breath of God is in your sail,
Your rudder is His hand.

Sail on, sail on, deep-freighted
With blessings and with hopes;
The saints of old with shadowy hands
Are pulling at your ropes.

Behind ye holy martyrs
Uplift the palm and crown;
Before ye unborn ages send
Their benedictions down.

Take heart from John de Matha!–
God’s errands never fail!
Sweep on through storm and darkness,
The thunder and the hail!

Sail on! The morning cometh,
The port ye yet shall win;
And all the bells of God shall ring
The good ship bravely in!


-------------------------------------
The Mantle of St. John de Matha
by John Greenleaf Whittier

July is the Month of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord


The Precious Blood of Jesus

Header - July: Month of the Precious Blood of Jesus
By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to certain devotions.July is devoted to the Precious Blood of Jesus.

In the past, the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Christ was celebrated on the first Sunday of July as confirmed by past Popes and recalled recently by Pope Benedict XVI in His speech after praying the Angelus on July 5, 2009.[1] He made special mention of Pope John XXIII's apostolic letter "Inde a Primis" (dated June 30, 1960) which explained the devotion's significance and approved its litanies.[2]  

Prayers to the Most Precious Blood Banner

The Old fulfilled in the New Covenant
Our Lord Jesus Christ and the EucharistSacrifice is the highest form of religious worship which man offers to God as an act of praise, thanksgiving, petition or atonement.[3] The most singular and pre-eminent sacrifice of the Old Law was the immolation of the Paschal Lamb which celebrated the sparing of Israel's firstborn from the fatal sword of the Angel of Death in Egypt at the time of Moses and Pharaoh.
The imagery of sacrificial blood from slain animals is made more vivid and meaningful if we recall Moses' words from the Book of Exodus, "And he took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and he said: This is the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words." (Exodus 24:8)
This old sacrifice took a new form in the New Testament when the Immaculate Lamb of God offered Himself on the altar of the Cross to redeem mankind from sin and the slavery of Satan. And during the Last Supper, Our Lord offered Himself in an unbloody yet real sacrifice when He uttered the following words:
"For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins." (Matthew 26: 28) Truly, this "shedding of blood' or "pouring out of blood" took place and forms one of the glorious mysteries of our Faith.[4]

The Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Catholic doctrine teaches the faithful that the blood of Jesus Christ is part of His Sacred Humanity and hypostatically united to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.[5]
  • And as such, it is worthy of adoration and veneration proper to latreutical worship (cultus latriae) which is rendered only to God. In other words, we adore the human nature of Christ because of its intimate and eternal union with the Person of the Divine Word.
  • It is for this same reason that we honor the Most Sacred Heart or the Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  
The Devotion to the Precious Blood
This devotion is one of the most ancient of pious Church practices. It is said that the Blessed Virgin venerated the Most Precious Blood of her infant Son on the day of His circumcision as she collected the first relics of His Precious Blood on a piece of cloth. On that momentous occasion she united her tears with that of the Word Incarnate on account of not so much of the sensible pain but of His supernatural sorrow for the hard-heartedness of mortals.[6]
It was the first of seven Blood-Sheddings of Our Divine Savior, The rest being:
2. The Agony in the Garden
3. The Scourging at the Pillar
4. The Crowning with Thorns
5. The Way of the Cross
6. The Crucifixion
7. The Piercing of His Heart

Our Lord and the Eucharist 2In his book, The Precious Blood, Father Frederick William Faber, D.D., calls St. Paul the Doctor of the Precious Blood owing to his evident fondness to preach on It in his epistles (Romans 3:25; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12).
He recounts that the lives of saints are replete with devotion to the Precious Blood making special mention of St. John Chrysostom, St. Austin, St. Gertrude and St. Catherine of Sienna whom he considered the Prophetess of the Precious Blood for putting emphasis on It as the solution to the ills of her times.
Father Faber also remarks that the Precious Blood makes us appreciate more Christ's redemption of mankind, His sacrifice and Passion.
It also makes us comprehend the beautiful doctrine and the august realities of the Blessed Sacrament as we kneel in front of the tabernacle in humble adoration.
Over time the Church gave Her blessing to the devotion by approving societies like the Missionaries of the Precious Blood; enriching confraternities like that of St. Nicholas in Carcere, in Rome, and that of the London Oratory; attaching indulgences to prayers and scapulars in honor of the Precious Blood; and instituting commemorative feasts of the Precious Blood, Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent and, since Pius IX, the first Sunday of July.[7]
Sadly, however, the feast was removed from the church calendar in 1969, the argument being that the cultus of the Precious Blood is included in the Mass and Divine Office of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Nevertheless, it is still laudable and salutary to continue to see the month of July as dedicated to the Most Precious Blood, just as Blessed Pope Pius IX intended it to be.[8]

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 NOTES:
[1]Zenit News, ZE09070502 - 2009-07-05 https://www.zenit.org/article-26369?l=english last visited June 15, 2009. [back to text]
[2] Papal Encyclicals Online, "On Promoting Devotion to the Most precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ," https://www.papalencyclicals.net/John23/j23pb.htm last visited: June 15, 2010 [back to text]
.[3] Moorman, George J., The Latin Mass Explained, Rocfor, Illinois: TAN Books an Publishers, Inc., 2007, p. 6 [back to text]
[4] Moorman, George J.,Ibid, p. 22. [back to text]
[5] Ott, Ludwig, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, (St. Louis, Missouri: B. Herder Book Company, 1960), pp. 151-152 [back to text]
[6] The City of God by Mary of Agreda, Incarnation, Chapter XIV, Washington, New Jersey: Ave Maria Institute, 1971, Chapter XIV, pp. 446- 454 [back to text]
[7] New advent Catholic Encyclopedia. [back to text]
[8] New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12373a.htm Last visited June 16, 2010. [back to text]


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What are superior to all earthly authority?

Many people [in authority] oppose us, persecute us, and
would like even to destroy us, but
we must be patient.
As long as their commands are not against our conscience,
let us obey them, but when the case is otherwise,
let us uphold the rights of God and of the Church,
for those are superior to all earthly authority.

St. John Bosco

Friday, July 3, 2020

How to experience a foretaste of heaven

Prayer reveals to souls
the vanity of earthly goods and pleasures.
It fills them with light, strength and consolation; and
gives them a foretaste of the calm bliss of our heavenly home.

St. Rose of Viterbo

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.

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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.)
  
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Also Read:


St. Thomas the Apostle

Thomas, one of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s twelve apostles, was probably a Galilean Jew, and apparently not a fisherman. The Scriptures are silent as to how or when the Lord attached him to His first apostolic college.

His name is Syriac meaning “Twin”, and he was also called Didymus which is the Greek equivalent.

After Our Lord had risen from the dead, Thomas is mentioned as unbelieving when the other apostles claimed to have seen the risen Lord in their midst while Thomas was out. His reaction: “Except I shall see in His hands the prints of the nails, and put my finger in the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe,” (John: 20:25). Eight days later, when the risen Christ suddenly appeared in their midst again, He turned to Thomas after His initial greeting and said to him, “Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand and put it into my side. And be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27). And Thomas dropped to his knees exclaiming, “My lord and my God!” (John 20:28) Jesus answered: “Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.” (John 20:29)

There are vague traditions that place St. Thomas initially in Parthia and Persia in his missionary ministries. There are more reliable traditions that he arrived in India in 52 A.D. On the Malabar coast there is a large population of native Christians that call themselves “Christians of St. Thomas” they claim to have been originally evangelized by St. Thomas in person. And ancient oral tradition states that he was martyred in the Coromandel Coast by spearing on a “Big Hill” eight miles from Madras.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

How to pursue happiness

If you pursue happiness,
you will not find it.
If you pursue sanctity,
which means declaring war on your selfish self and
dedicating your life to the good of others,
you will discover a happiness beyond your wildest dreams.

Anonymous

The Nine First Fridays Devotion


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:


St. Otto of Bamberg

Otto, born into the noble though impoverished family of Mistelbach in Swabia, was a model of diplomacy in the service of God’s interests. Ordained a priest while still young, he entered the service of Emperor Henry IV and ultimately was appointed chancellor.

In the conflicts over investitures between Henry IV and Pope St. Gregory VII, which ended in excommunication for the Emperor, the noble cleric was caught between two masters. However, Otto navigated the prickly situation admirably upholding the sovereign in all he could, but refusing to approve his schism and his other crimes, laboring to bring him to repentance and submission.

When the Emperor nominated him Bishop of Bamberg in 1102, Otto refused to be consecrated by a schismatic bishop and traveled to Rome instead where he was consecrated by Pope Paschal II himself.

Under Henry V who began to follow in his rebellious father’s footsteps, Otto worked to heal the fresh breach with the Holy See and the consequent damages.

Enjoying the trust and respect of both parties, and amid his political activities, he managed his episcopal see admirably, established many monasteries and religious foundations, all the while leading an exemplary personal life.

For about a year he answered the call from Boleslaus III of Poland who conquered part of Pomerania, which region was still steeped in paganism. With a number of priests and catechists, Otto launched an evangelizing effort which initially garnered 20,000 converts for the Faith.

Appointing clergy to continue his work, he returned to Bamberg, but a few towns having reverted to paganism, Otto again traveled to Pomerania in 1128. With his inspiring speech, he won over all the nobles of the land, reaching remote regions with the message of the Gospel. He finally was able to establish an ecclesiastical see in the area.  In his missionary travels he was said to have performed miracles.

In the papal schism of 1130-31 the pious, active, clever bishop tried to remain neutral, stayed out of political turmoil, and died greatly esteemed by Emperor Lothair and his princes.

Otto was canonized fifty years after his death in 1139.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

This is the time for doing good

This is the time for doing good.
We must follow the example of sailors at sea. When the wind is favorable,
they unfurl their canvas and skim swiftly across the ocean under full sail; but
when it turns against them,
they lower their sails and take shelter in some little port.

St. Oliver Plunkett

St. Junípero Serra

Junipero Serra, the indomitable apostle of California, was born on the Spanish island of Mallorca and baptized Miguel Jose. Later entering the Franciscan Order, he took the name of St Francis' childlike companion, Brother Juniper.

He received a doctorate in theology from Lullian University in Palma de Mallorca, where he also occupied the Dons Scotus chair of philosophy. He was also known as a great preacher.

In 1749 he gave up everything to follow his long-harbored desire of helping to convert the natives in the new world after hearing about the missions of St. Francis Solano.

Arriving in Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way, Fr. Junipero hurt his leg, which never fully healed, a condition at times life-threatening, and which caused him discomfort for the rest of his life.

He worked for eighteen years in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula, and then was convinced by Capitan Juan Galvez to follow him on a 900-mile journey to present-day Monterey, California.

Fr. Junipero founded his first mission, that of San Diego, in 1769, which almost had to be quit due to a shortage of food. Vowing to stay with the local people, he began a novena to Saint Joseph. On March 19, the scheduled day for departure, the relief ship arrived.

From San Diego, the holy Franciscan, traveling indefatigably despite his bad leg, established another eight missions. Twelve more missions were founded after his death.

When insurmountable difficulties arose with a military commander, he made the grueling trip to Mexico City and there obtained from the Viceroy the famous document known as the “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation of California, a sort of “Bill of Rights.”

Friar Junipero’s life was one long battle with the elements, the terrain, the cold and hunger, with unsympathetic commanders, and even danger of death from non-Christian natives. But he fed his unquenchable zeal with a life of prayer, often in the hours from midnight to dawn. He brought the Native Americans the gift of the Catholic Faith, the gift of a better quality of life and won their love in the process.
At his death in 1784 he was sorely grieved. He is buried at the Mission San Carlo Borromeo and was beatified in 1988.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Hope

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

Pope St. Pius X

The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church

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

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

Monday, June 29, 2020

How to make peace

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

St. Thomas Aquinas

Sts. Peter and Paul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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