Friday, September 30, 2016

Novena to Our Lady of Good Remedy



Read:  How Devotion to Our Lady of Good Remedy Started

Prayer:
O QUEEN OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, Most Holy Virgin, we venerate thee. Thou art the beloved Daughter of the Most High God, the chosen Mother of the Incarnate Word, the Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the Sacred Vessel of the Most Holy Trinity.
O Mother of the Divine Redeemer, who under the title of Our Lady of Good Remedy comes to the aid of all who call upon thee, extend thy maternal protection to us. We depend on thee, Dear Mother, as helpless and needy children depend on a tender and caring mother.
Hail, Mary....
O LADY OF GOOD REMEDY, source of unfailing help, grant that we may draw from thy treasury of graces in our time of need.
Touch the hearts of sinners, that they may seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Bring comfort to the afflicted and the lonely; help the poor and the hopeless; aid the sick and the suffering. May they be healed in body and strengthened in spirit to endure their sufferings with patient resignation and Christian fortitude.
Hail, Mary....
DEAR LADY OF GOOD REMEDY, source of unfailing help, thy compassionate heart knows a remedy for every affliction and misery we encounter in life. Help me with thy prayers and intercession to find a remedy for my problems and needs, especially for... (Mention your intentions here).
O loving Mother, on my part, I pledge to adopt a more intensely Christian lifestyle, to a more careful observance of the laws of God, to be more conscientious in fulfilling the obligations of my state in life, and to strive to be a source of healing in this broken world of ours.
Dear Lady of Good Remedy, be ever present to me, and through thy intercession, may I enjoy health of body and peace of mind, and grow stronger in the faith and in the love of thy Son, Jesus.
Hail, Mary.....
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy,
R. That we may deepen our dedication to thy Son, and make the world alive with His Spirit.

Reminder: First Saturday Devotion is Tomorrow!

Dear Friend of Our Lady,
 
    I’ll be very quick – DON’T FORGET the Fatima Saturday devotion tomorrow!
 
    Receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and of course, spend 15 minutes with Our Lady, thinking prayerfully (meditating) on the mysteries of the rosary.
 
    Finally, please get to Confession within 8 days, as Mary asked at Fatima.
 
    Then you can rest assured that once again you have made a huge investment in your eternal salvation!
 
    Haven’t started your Five First Saturdays devotion yet?
 
    Well, there is no time like the present – click here and see what all the excitement is about!
 
    In a nutshell: Our Lady of Fatima revealed Heaven’s solution for the times we live in and is asking for 5 days (first Saturdays of 5 consecutive months) in exchange for Eternity!
 
    Not a bad deal, my friend.
 
    Be sure to take Our Lady up on it.
 
 
I remain your friend,
In Jesus and Mary,
 
 
Robert E. Ritchie
 
Robert E. Ritchie
America Needs Fatima
www.anf.org
 
PS:  Click here to read all about the Five First Saturday devotion. The forgotten part of the Fatima message!
 

Why do we profess one thing and display another?

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.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

How the wicked make saints

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. Raphael

St. Raphael is first mentioned in the Book of Tobit, where he appeared disguised in human form to Tobias, son of the blind man Tobit, and traveled with him from Nineveh to Media. While they were in Media, the Archangel told Tobias of Sarah, daughter of Raguel. Sarah had been married seven previous times, but each time, on the night of the wedding, her husband was abducted and slain by a demon. St. Raphael convinced Tobias to present himself as a husband to Sarah, who accepted him.

Sarah despaired that yet another of her husbands would be taken from her, and she prayed for her own death. Raphael banished the demon from her, and she and Tobias had a happy marriage. After the wedding feast, Tobias and Sarah return to Nineveh. There, Raphael cured Tobit’s blindness, revealed his true identity and returned to heaven.

Raphael's name means "God heals." This identity came about because of the biblical story which claims that he "healed" the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels. He is also the patron of the blind, happy meetings, nurses, physicians and of travelers.

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.

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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In our dress, our walk, our conversation, and all similar actions

We must practice modesty,
not only in our looks, but also in our whole deportment,
and particularly
in our dress, our walk, our conversation, and all similar actions.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

St. Wenceslaus

Wenceslaus was born near Prague in the year 907. His father was Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and his mother, Dragomir, a pretended Christian, but a secret favorer of paganism. One of twins, Wenceslaus was raised by his grandmother, St. Ludmilla, while his brother, known as Boleslaus the Cruel, was raised by their mother. Jealous of the great influence which Ludmilla wielded over Wenceslaus, Dragomir instigated two noblemen to murder her. She is said to have been strangled by them with her own veil. Wratislaw died in 916, also at the hand of assassins, leaving the eight-year-old Wenceslaus as his successor. Acting as regent for her son, Dragomir actively opposed Christianity and promoted pagan practices.

Urged by the people, Wenceslaus took over the reins of government and placed his duchy under the protection of Charlemagne’s successor, the German Henry I. Emperor Otto I subsequently conferred on him the dignity and title of king. However, his German suzerainty and his support of Catholicism within Bohemia were vehemently opposed by some of his subjects and a rebellion ensued.

After the virtuous monarch married and had a son, the king’s brother Boleslaus, seeing himself displaced from the direct succession to the throne by his nephew, joined the rebellion. At the instigation of their mother, Dragomir, Boleslaus conspired with the rebels to murder his royal brother. In September of 929, Boleslaus invited Wenceslaus to celebrate the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian with him. The king accepted, and on the night of the feast, said his prayers and went to bed. The next morning, as Wenceslaus walked to Mass, he met Boleslaus and stopped to thank him for his hospitality. Instead, the jealous brother stabbed the king and held him down as other traitors killed him. King Wenceslaus’s last words were addressed to his brother. “Brother, may God forgive you!” His body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of the murder.

Three years later, having repented of his deed, Boleslaw ordered the translation of his brother’s remains to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague where they may be venerated to this day. The martyr-king is the patron of Bohemia, Hungary and Poland.

St. Vincent de Paul

Born in 1576, ordained to the priesthood in 1600, he suffered many trials and setbacks and did not become a pastor for a number of years after his ordination.
He was captured by Muslim pirates and held in captivity for two years after which he escaped with an apostate Italian, whom he succeeded in converting back to Catholicism.
It was only in 1617 that he became a pastor and also the chaplain to Queen Marguerite, the separated wife of King Henry IV.
During this period, he founded many hospitals and orphanages, and frequently visited prisons. Through all of these arduous works, he remained calm and pleasant with everyone despite the tremendous amount of work he had undertaken, because as Father de Laurent states, Vincent possessed treasures of goodness.
His bright eyes reflected his burning charity and his copious undertakings were the fruit of his pure goodness for “no one exerts a serious influence upon his surroundings if he is not fundamentally good.” He welcomed all with a beaming smile and charm, and firmly believed that the hours that he sacrificed to charity were never lost.
He saw the wealthy as a reflection of the Divine nobility of Our Lord, and in the poor, His voluntary and sublime poverty. While Vincent received many considerably large donations along with notable recognition from on high, none of this affected his profound humility. He also led an intense spiritual life. His contemplation of God gave him the graces and strength to accomplish what ordinary men could never do.
He was a man of action, but he also was a man of continual prayer. His actions were a mere overflowing of his interior life, which was well nourished.
He would often say “There is not much to hope for from a man who does not like to converse with God.” Rising at four in the morning, he would go directly to the chapel to spend an hour in meditation, celebrate daily Mass and afterward, recite his breviary.
Visitors would come by seeking consultations in grave matters during which he would remain silent for a few minutes, praying to God for good counsel and then dispense advice. He would bless himself each time that the clock struck the hour or quarter-hour. Vincent said that he saw the soul of Jane Frances de Chantal rise to Heaven in the form of a fiery globe during one of his Masses.
He was a humble man who never divulged his prayer life, often recommended communal prayer and would frequently say, “Perfection in love does not consist of ecstasies, but in doing the will of God.”
Most importantly, he had a special devotion to Our Lady. He began this devotion in his youth and increased it throughout his life. Ultimately, he went forward in life after contemplation and prayer, not relying on human support, and by doing the Will of God.
Vincent was taken ill and died in 1660. He was canonized by Pope Clement XII in 1737.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The book of the blind

The rosary is the book of the blind,
where souls see and there enact
the greatest drama of love the world has ever known;
it is the book of the simple,
which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying
than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged,
whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and
open on the substance of the next.
The power of the rosary is beyond description.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Sts. Cosmas and Damian

Very little is known about Sts. Cosmas and Damian. It is said that they were twin brothers from Arabia some time in the early 200s. They were Christians, and students of medicine. They dedicated their lives to God and offered medical services for free – a charitable act that made them renowned among the people and was often the cause of conversions to the Faith, a fact which did not go unnoticed by officials.
Cosmas and Damian, who had lovingly become known in the East as the “moneyless ones” because of their kindness, were killed around the year 283. When the persecution under Emperor Diocletian began, their reputation as do-gooders marked them as objects of ruthless cruelty and they were both savagely tortured and beheaded.

Many churches have been erected in their honor. They are the patron saints of pharmacists.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

When tempted

When tempted, invoke your Angel.
He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped!
Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him:
he trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.

St. John Bosco

St. Albert of Jerusalem

Albert was born in Parma, Italy, about 1149 to a prominent family. He became a canon of Holy Cross Abbey in Mortoba and, in 1184, was appointed as the Bishop of Bobbio, Italy. Soon after, he was named to the see of Vercelli.

Albert served as a mediator in the dispute between Pope Clement III and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who fought against Clement’s papacy. In gratitude, Clement appointed Albert as Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1205, a post established in 1099 when Jerusalem became a Latin kingdom in the control of Christian crusaders. Jerusalem, however, was no longer in Christian hands as the Saracens recaptured the city in 1187. The Christians needed a patriarch, but the position was a dangerous one, open to persecution and martyrdom at the hands of the Muslims.

Though his predecessors had failed, Albert accepted and in time, proved himself not only to the local Christians, but also to the Muslims who respected him for his sanctity and his intelligence. Because of the heavy Muslim presence in Jerusalem, Albert took up residence in Acre, a northern port. Near the city is the holy Mount Carmel, where a group of hermits lived. In 1209, they sought Albert out and requested that he devise a rule of life that they may follow (this rule was the beginning of the Carmelite Order.). Pope Honorius III confirmed the rule in 1226, and it was mitigated twenty years later in 1254 by Pope Innocent IV.

Albert was called to the general council of the Lateran to lend his wisdom and diplomacy, but was assassinated before leaving Palestine. Albert had disposed a doctor of his post at a local hospital and in revenge the doctor stabbed the holy man to death. The year was 1214, and Albert had been presiding over a procession on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Powerful over the devil

God made Mary so powerful over the devils that
not only can she instantly terrify them with a single glance,
but also that the devils prefer
to have their pains redoubled
rather than to see themselves subject to her power.

St. Bridget of Sweden

St. Gerard of Csanad

Gerard was a Venetian, born in the beginning of the eleventh century. At a young age, he consecrated himself to God and dedicated his life to fighting for Christ. He joined the Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore at Venice. Not long after, he began a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and was passing through Hungary when King Stephen – the future St. Stephen – asked him to remain and tutor his son. Finding the people of Hungary likewise in need of evangelization, Gerard decided to stay and preach.

On the death of King Stephen, Hungary was thrown into anarchy by competing claims to the throne, and a revolt against Christianity and Gerard ensued. On September 24, 1046, he was attacked and beaten, but still forgave his assailants. As a spear was thrust into his body he prayed, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, they know not what they do.”  His dead body was thrown into a river below.

Gerard and King Stephen were canonized in 1083. St. Gerard is considered one of the patrons of Hungary.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Favor Granted

Centuries ago, in Toledo, Spain, there lived a Cistercian nun called Mary. Being at the point of death, the Blessed Mother appeared to her, and Mary said to her:
"Oh Lady, the favor you do me of visiting me at this hour emboldens me to ask you another favor, namely, that I may die at the same hour that you died and entered into heaven.”
"Yes," answered Mary Most Holy. "I will satisfy your request; you will die at that hour, and you will hear the songs and praises with which the blessed accompanied my entrance into heaven; and now prepare for your death."
When she had said this she disappeared.
Passing by Mary’s cell, other nuns heard her talking to herself, and they thought she must be losing her mind. But she related to them the vision of the Virgin Mary and the promised grace. Soon the entire convent awaited the desired hour.
When Mary knew the hour had arrived, by the striking of the clock, she said:
"Behold, the predicted hour has come; I hear the music of the angels. At this hour my queen ascended into heaven. Rest in peace, for I am going now to see her."
Saying this she expired, while her eyes became bright as stars, and her face glowed with a beautiful color.
From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

When things get hard

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it,
especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Francesco was born in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. His parents, Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, were peasant farmers, but they recognized their son was close to God. When he was only five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. It is said he often spoke with Our Lord, Our Lady and his guardian angel, who defended him against attacks by the devil. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans at the age of fifteen, and took the name Pio with his religious vows. After seven years of study he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

During the same month he was ordained, Padre Pio was praying in the chapel when Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared and gave him the Stigmata. However, the wounds soon faded and then disappeared. “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering,” Padre Pio told Our Lady, “but all in secret." Soon after, he experienced the first of his spiritual ecstasies.

Pio was in the military for a short time, but was discharged due to poor health. Upon his return to the monastery, he became a spiritual director. He had five rules for spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience. He often advised, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry."

In July of 1918, Padre Pio received the visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ (hands, feet and side), after offering himself as a victim for the end of the war. By 1933, the holy priest was recognized by the Church and by 1934 had attracted thousands of pilgrims that attended his masses and frequented his confessional.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio said his final Mass, renewed his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and died in his cell after suffering from grave physical decline. Before his death, Padre Pio orchestrated and oversaw the building of the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering,” a 350-bed medical and religious center.

He was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

When angry, remember this

Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little.
Remember that he of whom you are speaking
is your brother, and as he is in the way of salvation,
God can make him a saint,
in spite of his present weakness.

St. Thomas of Villanova

St. Thomas of Villanova

Thomas was born in Castile, Spain in 1488. His family was not wealthy, but his father’s work as a miller allowed the family to be charitable and generous towards the poor. He was sent to school at the University of Alcala at the age of sixteen, where he threw himself enthusiastically into his studies and, ten years later, became professor of philosophy.

In 1516 he joined the Augustinian Friars at Salamanca and was ordained a priest two years later. He eventually became prior in several houses of the Augustinian Order, notably Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid. When Don Jorge, the Archbishop of Valencia, resigned, the emperor did not offer Thomas the see because he knew the high position would be a grievous trial for the humble friar-priest. Instead, the emperor nominated a religious of the Order of St. Jerome. However, when the emperor discovered his secretary had written the name of Brother Thomas of Villanova on the letter of nomination, he took it as a sign from God and appointed Thomas bishop. The year was 1545.

Thomas immediately began to restore the spiritual and material life of the archdiocese. He was deeply committed to the poor, established care for orphans and convinced the emperor to provide funds to organize priests for service among the converted Moors who had lapsed back into their old religion for lack of a shepherd.

Renowned for his personal charity, sanctity and austerities, Thomas was eventually consecrated archbishop. While he did not attend the sessions of the Council of Trent, he was an ardent supporter of the Reformation against the Lutheran heresy.

Thomas of Villanova died in 1555 of angina at the age of sixty-seven. He was canonized by Pope Alexander VII on November 1, 1658.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The body and blood of Christ

The effect of our sharing in
the body and blood of Christ
is to change us
into what we receive.

Pope St. Leo the Great

St. Matthew the Evangelist

Before his conversion, Matthew was a Jew who worked as a tax collector for the Romans. It was while Matthew was working at a tax collector’s bench in the custom house of Capernaum that Jesus passing by called him saying, “Follow me.” In his own account of himself, the Evangelist writes, “And he rose up and followed him.”
Jewish tax collectors were generally hated by their fellow Jews, and were considered sinners by the Pharisees. When they discovered Jesus’ choice of followers, they were scandalized, and questioned Him. “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:12b-13), Jesus said to them.

After the death and resurrection of Our Lord, Matthew went on to evangelize and authored the first Gospel. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or as a martyr.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Suffering is a medicine

Let us understand that God is a physician,
and that suffering is a medicine for salvation,
not a punishment for damnation.

St. Augustine of Hippo

Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions

During the 17th century the Christian faith was brought to Korea through the zeal of lay persons. From the very beginning these Christians suffered terrible persecutions and many suffered martyrdom.

Son of Korean converts who were martyred during the persecution of 1839 (and beatified in 1925), Andrew Kim Tae-gon was baptized at fifteen. He traveled thirteen hundred miles to the seminary in Macao, China, and was ordained to the priesthood six years later. He traveled back to his home and became involved in smuggling missionaries into the country to spread Christianity.

During the year 1846, he was arrested with Paul Chong Ha-sang and their companions, and they were all tortured prior to being beheaded for his beliefs. Among them were a few bishops and priests, but for the most part lay people, men and women, married and unmarried, children, young people, and the elderly.

These martyrs suffered greatly and gave their lives for Christ for the religious freedom which came in 1883. Pope John Paul II canonized them on May 6, 1984, during his trip to Korea.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The unfailing power which God has given us

Have confidence in prayer.
It is the unfailing power which God has given us.
By means of it you will obtain the salvation of
the dear souls whom God has given you and all your loved ones.
Ask and you shall receive,” Our Lord said.
Be yourself with the good Lord.

St. Peter Julian Eymard

St. Januarius of Benevento

Very little is known about these holy martyrs other than they were killed during the Diocletian persecution. Legend has it they threw Januarius onto a flaming furnace, but he was unscathed. Instead, they stretched him on a bench and beat him until his bones were exposed. When the saint still lived, they threw him and his companions to starving wild animals in the amphitheatre, but the animals would not touch them. Finally, the martyrs were beheaded and died around the year 304.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How to make the angels jealous

If angels could be jealous of men,
they would be so for one reason:
Holy Communion.

St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe

St. Joseph of Cupertino

Joseph was born in 1603 in the small village of Cupertino, Italy, to very poor parents. After his father died, his mother spared him no love and considered him a burden. She would often abuse Joseph, which caused him to become slow and absentminded. He was forgetful, and wandered around the village with his mouth open, causing him to become nicknamed “Boccaperta,” or “the gaper.”

When he was seventeen, Joseph went out in search of a job. However, the abuse he suffered as a child caused him to lack self discipline, and he never lasted long. The first two times he tried to enter religious life, he was turned away, but the third time, the Conventual Franciscans of Grottella accepted him as a stable boy. Joseph came closer to Christ, and often did extreme fasting and acts of mortification. He was ordained in 1628 after a five-year struggle with his priestly studies.

During the seventeen years Joseph remained at Grottella, God worked many amazing miracles through him. Over seventy times, people saw him rise from the ground while saying Mass or praying and he often went into ecstasy and would be completely rapt up in talking with God. Joseph became so famous for these miracles that he was often followed by large crowds of people and had to be kept hidden.

From 1653 until his death, Joseph was placed in complete seclusion from the outside world, restricted from writing letters and receiving visitors. Though he was isolated from humanity, he became even more loved of God: his supernatural manifestations had begun to occur daily, and his seclusion left him free of distraction to pray.

Joseph fell ill and died in 1663. He was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1776.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

If you have this, you will not be damned

Charity is that with which
no man is lost, and
without which
no man is saved.

St. Robert Bellarmine

Sept. 17 -- The Stigmata of Saint Francis

The Stigmatization of Saint Francis, by Rubens
The Stigmatization of Saint Francis, by Rubens
Early in August, 1224, Francis retired with three companions to “that rugged rock ‘twixt Tiber and Arno”, as Dante called La Verna, there to keep a forty days fast in preparation for Michaelmas. During this retreat the sufferings of Christ became more than ever the burden of his meditations; into few souls, perhaps, had the full meaning of the Passion so deeply entered.
It was on or about the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September) while praying on the mountainside, that he beheld the marvelous vision of the seraph, as a sequel of which there appeared on his body the visible marks of the five wounds of the Crucified which, says an early writer, had long since been impressed upon his heart.
Brother Leo, who was with St. Francis when he received the stigmata, has left us in his note to the saint’s autograph blessing, preserved at Assisi, a clear and simple account of the miracle, which for the rest is better attested than many another historical fact.
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The saint’s right side is described as bearing on open wound which looked as if made by a lance, while through his hands and feet were black nails of flesh, the points of which were bent backward. After the reception of the stigmata, Francis suffered increasing pains throughout his frail body, already broken by continual mortification. For, condescending as the saint always was to the weaknesses of others, he was ever so unsparing towards himself that at the last he felt constrained to ask pardon of “Brother Ass”, as he called his body, for having treated it so harshly.
Worn out, moreover, as Francis now was by eighteen years of unremitting toil, his strength gave way completely, and at times his eyesight so far failed him that he was almost wholly blind.
During an access of anguish, Francis paid a last visit to St. Clare at St. Damian’s, and it was in a little hut of reeds, made for him in the garden there, that the saint composed that “Canticle of the Sun”, in which his poetic genius expands itself so gloriously. This was in September, 1225.
(from Life of St. Francis, Catholic Encyclopedia)

St. Robert Bellarmine

Roberto Bellarmino was born into impoverished Tuscan nobility at Montepulciano on October 4, 1542. He was the third of ten children born to Vincenzo Bellarmino and Cinthia Cervini, a sister of Cardinal Marcello Cervini, who later became Pope Marcellus II. Educated at the Jesuit College in Montepulciano, he entered the Society of Jesus at the age of eighteen. After studying philosophy at the Roman College, he taught first at Florence and then at Mondovi. He began his theological studies in Padua in 1567, but was sent to Louvain two years later in order that he might obtain a fuller acquaintance with the heretical teachings of the time.

Bellarmine was ordained a priest in Flanders and quickly obtained a reputation both as a professor and a preacher, attracting Catholics and Protestants alike by his sermons. In 1576 he was recalled to Italy, and entrusted with the chair of Controversies recently founded at the Roman College. He proved himself equal to the arduous task, and the lectures he delivered were later compiled into his most renowned work, “De Controversiis” - Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith. Bellarmine's monumental work was the earliest attempt to systematize the various controversies of the time, and made an immense impression throughout Europe. It dealt such a blow to Protestantism in Germany and England that special university chairs were founded in order to provide replies to it. Theodore of Blaise, an important Protestant leader who succeeded Calvin, acknowledged that “This is the work that defeated us.” So numerous were the conversions wrought by it that Queen Elizabeth I of England decreed that anyone who was not a doctor in theology was forbidden to read Bellarmine’s writings under penalty of death. To the present day, it remains an uncontested standard of orthodoxy that has yet to be superseded. In recognition of this, Benedict XV gave Bellarmine the title of “Hammer of Heresies” in 1921.

In 1588 Bellarmine was made Spiritual Father to the Roman College, but in 1590 he went with Cardinal Gaetano as theologian to the embassy Sixtus V was then sending into France to protect the interests of the Church amidst the troubles of the civil wars. While in France news reached him that Sixtus, who had warmly accepted the dedication of his “De Controversiis”, was now proposing to put its first volume on the Index. This was because he had discovered that it assigned to the Holy See not a direct but only an indirect power over temporal authorities. Bellarmine, whose loyalty to the Holy See was intense, took this greatly to heart; it was, however, averted by the death of Sixtus, and the new pope, Gregory XIV, even granted to Bellarmine’s work the distinction of a special approbation. Gaetano’s mission now terminating, Bellarmine resumed his work as Spiritual Father, and had the consolation of guiding the last years of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who died in the Roman College in 1591. Many years later he had the further consolation of successfully promoting the beatification of the saintly youth. It was also at this time that he sat on the final commission for the revision of the Vulgate translation of the Holy Scriptures.

In 1592 Bellarmine was made Rector of the Roman College, and in 1595 Provincial of Naples. In 1597 Clement VIII recalled him to Rome and made him his own theologian as well as Examiner of Bishops and Consultor of the Holy Office. “The Church of God has not his equal in learning,” he stated when making him a Cardinal in 1599. Bellarmine’s appointment as Cardinal Inquisitor soon followed. In 1602 Bellarmine was appointed as the Archbishop of Capua and consecrated by Pope Clement VIII himself, an honor usually accorded as a mark of special regard.

Three years later, Clement VIII died, and was succeeded by Leo XI who reigned only twenty-six days, and then by Paul V. In both conclaves, especially that latter, the name of Bellarmine was much before the electors, greatly to his own distress. The new pope insisted on keeping him at Rome, and the cardinal, obediently complying, demanded that at least he should be released from an episcopal charge the duties of which he could no longer fulfill. He was now made a member of the Holy Office and of other congregations, and thenceforth was the chief advisor of the Holy See in the theological department of its administration.

Bellarmine became one of the most important figures of the Counter-Reformation and the period will be forever marked by his method of confronting heresy: he understood that one cannot do away with a heresy by only preaching the truth; it was also necessary to attack and smash the error. By this method he converted heretics, bringing them back into union with the Church. The profound spiritual treatises that emanated from his pen earned for him the title of Doctor of the Church. But while he was a champion of orthodoxy and a brilliant polemicist, Bellarmine was also a man of capable of dealing with the most sensitive souls guiding them to sanctity as he did with St. Louis Gonzaga. This prodigious apostolate could only spring from a great calmness of spirit and deep interior life.

His death in the summer of 1621 was most edifying and a fitting end to a life which had been no less remarkable for its virtues than for its tremendous achievements. Accordingly, there was a general expectation amongst those who knew him intimately that his cause would be promptly introduced and swiftly concluded. However, reality proved to be otherwise. Although he was declared Venerable in 1627, technical obstacles arose in regards to the beatification process, delaying the progress of his cause for 300 years. Bellarmine was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930 and declared a Doctor of the Church and patron saint of catechists the following year.

Pope St. Cornelius (Feast: September 16)

Cornelius was elected to the papal dignity during a time in which both the Church and civil society were in great turmoil.
About the year 250, Rome was ruled by the Emperor Decius, who savagely persecuted Christians. He ordered all Christians to deny Christ by offering incense to idols or through some other pagan ritual.
Many Christians refused and were martyred, among them St. Fabian, the Pope, while others burnt the sacrificial incense in order to save their own lives.
In hopes that Christianity would fade away, Decius prevented the election of a new pope. However, he was soon compelled to leave Rome to fight the invading Goths and, in his absence, the papal election was held.
By 251, the Church had endured fourteen months without a pope when Cornelius was elected, much against his will.
After the persecution, the Church became divided in two. One side, led by the Roman priest Novatian, believed that those who had stopped practicing Christianity during the persecution could not be accepted back into the Church even if they repented.
Under this philosophy, the only way to re-enter the Church would be re-baptism. The opposing side, headed by Pope Cornelius, did not believe in the need for re-baptism.
Instead, he believed the sinners should only need to show contrition and perform penance to be welcomed back into the Church. Novatian resisted Cornelius and declared himself Pope – thus becoming History's first antipope.
Later, during that same year, a synod of western bishops supported Cornelius, condemned the teachings of Novatian, and excommunicated him and his followers. When another persecution began in 253 under Emperor Gallus, Pope Cornelius was first exiled and then died as a martyr.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Our Lady of Sorrows


About this day, Abbot Prosper Guéranger comments how the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom God predestined to be the Mother of His Son, was united in her person to the life, mysteries and suffering of Jesus, so that she might be a faithful cooperator in the work of Redemption.

He notes that God must consider suffering to be a great good since He gave so much suffering to His Son, Whom He loved so much. And since, after His Son, God loved Our Lady more than any other creature, He also wanted to give her suffering as the richest of all presents.

On the solemnity of this feast, we primarily remember Mary on Calvary where she suffered the supreme sorrow of all sorrows that filled her life. Indeed, so great was Mary's grief on Calvary that, had it been divided among all creatures capable of suffering, it would have caused them all to die instantly.

If the Church limits the number of sorrows to seven, it is because this number has always symbolized the idea of totality and universality. To understand the extent and suffering of Our Lady, one must know the extent of her love for Jesus. Her love as Mother of God only augmented her suffering. In fact, nature and grace came together to produce profound impressions on the heart of Mary. Nothing is stronger and more pressing than the love that nature gives a mother for her son or that grace gives for God.

These considerations help us understand the role of suffering in our lives.

We see we are not alone in our suffering. In fact, the immensity of the crosses suffered by Our Lady was so great that we might also say she suffered not seven, but all sorrows. She is Our Lady of All Sorrows since no one suffered more.

While it is true that all generations will call her "blessed," to a lesser but immensely real degree, all generations may also call her "sorrowful."

Thus, we need to understand better that when sorrow enters our lives, it is a proof of God's love. And when we are not visited with sorrow, we do not have all the proofs of God's love for us. It is in sorrow that our mettle is tested. Moreover, one finds a note of maturity, stability and rationality in those who suffer and who suffer much. And so we should understand that when adversity, difficulties, misunderstandings, bad health and conflicts visit us, we must not see them as things that should never happen. To suffer is normal in this vale of tears.

If she, whom God loves so much, suffered, how much more should we suffer. The one who is loved by God and Our Lady suffers because God will not refuse to give him that which He gave abundantly to the two whom He loved most: Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Lady.

Thus, we must see temptations, trials, stress and so many other sufferings as something normal in life. We must ask that sufferings pass but when they persist, we must bless God and Our Lady.

They give us joy

We grow weary of sense goods
when we possess them.
Not so of spiritual goods.
They do not diminish, they cannot be harmed,
they give us a joy that is ever new.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What is the life of the soul?

The life of the body
is the soul;
the life of the soul
is God.

St. Anthony of Padua

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The vision of the Cross appeared to Constantine in the sky on the eve of a battle, with the words, “In this sign thou shalt conquer,” a prophecy that was to prove true the next day when Constantine was victorious at Pons Milvius.
With great clarity the Gospels show us how much our Divine Savior in His mercy pities our pains of body and soul. We need only to recall the awesome miracles He performed in His omnipotence in order to mitigate these pains. But let us never make the mistake of imagining that this combat against pain and sorrow was the greatest gift He dispensed to mankind.

For the one who closes his eyes to the central fact of Our Lord's life — that He is our Redeemer and desired to endure the cruelest sufferings in order to redeem us — would have misunderstood His mission.

Even at the very apex of His Passion, Our Lord could have put an end to all those pains instantly by a mere act of His Divine will. From the very first moment of His Passion to the very last, Our Savior could have ordered His wounds to heal, His precious blood to stop pouring forth, and the effects of the blows on His Divine body to disappear without a scar. Finally, He could have given Himself a brilliant and jubilant victory, abruptly halting the persecution that was dragging Him to death.

But Our Lord Jesus Christ willed none of this. On the contrary, He willed to allow Himself to be led up the Via Dolorosa to the height of Golgotha: He willed to see His most holy Mother engulfed in the depths of sorrow. And, finally, He willed to cry out those piercing words "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46), which will echo down through the ages until the consummation of the world.

In considering these realities, we come to understand a profound truth. By granting each of us the grace to be called to suffer a portion of His Passion with Him, He made clear the unequaled role of the Cross in the lives of men, in the history of the world, and in His glorification. Let us not think that by inviting us to suffer the pains and sorrows of the present life, He thereby wished to dispense each of us from pronouncing our own "consummatum est" at the hour of our death.

If we do not understand the role of the Cross, if we do not love the Cross, if we do not live our own Via Crucis, we will not fulfill Providence's design for us. And at our death, we will not be able to make ours the sublime exclamation of St. Paul: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up to me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day." (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

Any quality, however exalted, will avail nothing unless it is founded on love of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. With this love we can obtain all, even if we find heavy the holy burden of purity and other virtues, the unceasing attacks and mockeries of the enemies of the Faith, and the betrayals of false friends.

The great foundation, indeed the greatest foundation, of Christian civilization is that each and every person cultivates a generous love for the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. May Mary help us to accomplish this. Then we shall have reconquered for her Divine Son the reign of God that today flickers so faintly in the hearts of men.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows


Read:  Remembering Our Lady of Sorrows


These prayers are to be recited each day after the Novena.

Hail Mary....
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace
O, mother most holy and sorrowful, Queen of Martyrs, you who stood by your Son as He agonized on the cross; by the sufferings of your life, by that sword of pain that pierced your heart, by your perfect joy in heaven, look down on me kindly as I kneel before you, sympathizing with your sorrows and offering you my petition with childlike trust.
Dear Mother, since your Son refuses you nothing, ask of His Sacred Heart to mercifully grant what I ask, through the merits of His sacred passion, along with those of your sufferings at the foot of the cross.
Mother most merciful, to whom shall I go in my misery if not to you who pities us poor sinful exiles in this valley of tears? In our name, offer Jesus but one drop of His most precious blood, but one pang of His loving heart. Remind Him that you are our sweetness, our life and our hope, and your prayer will be heard. Amen

The Memorare
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your clemency, hear and answer me. Amen

OL of Sorrows Prayer Card Banner



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


First Day
Prayer in honor of the First Sorrow of Mary:
The Prophecy of Simeon
Most Sorrowful Mother, grief filled was your heart when, on offering your divine Son at the temple, Holy Simeon foretold that a sword would pierce your soul. There and then you knew you would suffer with Jesus.
Queen of Martyrs, let me unite my heart to yours in this pain, and ask you the grace to keep the thought of my death in mind, so I may always avoid sin.

Hail Mary…
Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace Memorare



Second Day
Prayer in honor of the Second Sorrow of Mary:
The Flight into Egypt
Most sorrowful Mother, Your mother’s heart brimmed over with sorrow at the hate of Herod for your innocent Son. To save Him from the king’s jealousy, you had to flee with Him to Egypt.  Your heart also suffered at seeing the suffering of your holy spouse, Saint Joseph, at the prospect of taking the divine babe and you, his delicate spouse, into the wilderness and the unknown.
Queen of Martyrs let me unite my heart to yours in this sorrow, and obtain for me the grace to avoid those who wish me evil, above all evil to my soul.  Let me avoid temptations and never leave the difficult but royal road to heaven.

Hail Mary…
Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace 
Memorare



Third Day
Prayer in honor of the Third Sorrow of Mary:
The Loss of the child Jesus in the Temple
Most sorrowful Mother, grief, sorrow and anxiety filled your immaculate heart when you found you were separated from your Son on leaving Jerusalem.
For three days He remained lost to you and to your holy spouse. For three days you sought Him who was the light of your life. And for three days you failed to find Him.
Let me join you in this pain, O Queen of Martyrs, and obtain for me the grace to never lose Jesus through sin, but to stay united to Him by the help of His grace. If I have the misfortune of falling, may I never doubt His mercy and always return through the Sacrament of Confession, which He instituted.

Hail Mary…
Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace
Memorare



Fourth Day

 Prayer in honor of the Fourth Sorrow of Mary:
The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Way to Calvary
Most sorrowful Mother, who can fathom the grief of your heart when you saw your Son fall, wounded and bleeding under the crushing weight of the cross, on the way to Calvary?
Queen of Martyrs, let me unite my heart to yours in this sorrow, and obtain for me the grace to bear patiently whatever cross God may see fit to send me.

Hail Mary…
Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace
Memorare
 


Fifth Day
Prayer in honor of the Fifth Sorrow of Mary:
The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus

Most sorrowful Mother, standing by the cross of Jesus, your heart was one great knot. And yet, you did not sit, you did not even lean, but stood as you watched Him suffer for the sins of the whole world–for my sins. Like Abraham, you offered the sacrifice standing up, consciously and willingly. In your case, you offered it for me, and for every sinner. Still, unlike Abraham, you stood and watched Him die. In your case, your perfect Son was not spared.
Queen of Martyrs, let me join you in this sorrow, and obtain for me the grace to fight against temptation and sin at the cost of effort, suffering and even life. When my turn comes, grant me, Mother, by your Jesus’ death and your sacrifice, the grace to die in His holy Grace–the grace of a happy death.

Hail Mary…
Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace 
Memorare



Sixth Day
Prayer in honor of the Sixth Sorrow of Mary:
The Piercing of the Side of Jesus and His Descent from the Cross
Most Sorrowful Mother, when your Son’s body was lowered from the cross and laid in your arms, sorrow filled your heart.
Though now this sorrow had a note of relief, how painful it was for you to gaze on that body, formerly the seat of perfect life, health and beauty, gruesomely scarred, pale and lifeless.
Mother, Queen of Martyrs, let me join my heart to yours in this grief, and obtain for me to receive Jesus into my soul before I die, so I may join Him in heaven forever.

Hail Mary…
Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace 
Memorare



Seventh Day
Prayer in honor of the Seventh Sorrow of Mary:
The Burial of Jesus
Most sorrowful Virgin, sorrow again filled your heart when the sacred body of your Son was taken from your arms, and placed in a cold grave. Yet you did not doubt that He would rise again.
Queen of Martyrs, let me join you in your sorrow, and grant me your own deep, trusting faith in the word of your Son. Let me trust that even in suffering, even when all seems lost, with Jesus there is always a way out.
Obtain for me too, a sincere sorrow for all my sins, a burning love for my God, a tender devotion to you, so that one day, I may die in His grace and, with Him, rise to eternal life.

Hail Mary…
Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace 
Memorare



Eighth Day
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14
Sweet Mother of Sorrows, Providence wished that Saint Helena, like you the mother of a king, find the cross of your Son and lavish honors on this relic of relics.**
Grant, me Sorrowful Queen and Mother that, like Saint Helena, I always honor the symbol of our salvation, the cross. And like the Church, may I hold it high, display and wear it with gratitude and pride.
Above all, may I unite my sufferings to that of Jesus on the cross, and carry my crosses not in shame but in faith, love and patience as He did.
The Church teaches that suffering thus carried and united to His, is never in vain, but a powerful, redemptive prayer.
May I always believe it, so my life will always have meaning.

Hail Mary…
Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace 
Memorare

**(Saint Helena did this while on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the year 326 A.D. To celebrate this fact, the Catholic Church established the feast of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross.)


Ninth Day
Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Sorrows
O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, crucifixion, and death of your divine Son, look upon me kindly, and awaken in my heart a tender sympathy for Our Lord’s sufferings.
Grant me a sincere detestation of my sins, so that free from undue affection for the passing joys of earth, I may set my sights higher on the eternal joys of heaven.
May all my thoughts and all my actions be directed towards this one great goal. Honor, glory, and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and immaculate Mother of God. Amen

Hail Mary…
Prayer to our Sorrowful Mother for a particular grace
Memorare


  
The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady
1.     The Prophecy of Simeon
2.     The Flight into Egypt
3.     The Loss of the child Jesus in the Temple
4.     The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Way to Calvary
5.     The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
6.     The Piercing of the Side of Jesus and His Descent from the Cross
7.     The Burial of Jesus

Demons and souls in human form

The vision of hell as described by Lucia dos Santos:

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.

St. John Chrysostom

John – later surnamed Chrysostomos, meaning “golden-mouthed” so called on account of his eloquence – was born in Antioch in Syria around 347. Raised by his widowed mother, he studied under Libanius, a famous orator of the period.

In 374, he joined a community of hermits in the mountains south of Antioch. After four years under the direction of a Syrian monk, he left them, and for the next two years he lived as an anchorite in a cave. The conditions of his crude abode and the severity of his mortifications caused him to become dangerously ill, and he was obliged to return to Antioch in 381. John was ordained a deacon that same year and for twelve years afterwards he served as a deputy to Bishop Flavian.

Upon the death of Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople, John was selected for that see by Emperor Arcadius. In this position, Chrysostom did away with many expenses which some of his predecessors had considered necessary to the maintenance of their dignity and devoted the money saved thereby to the relief of the poor and the support of hospitals for the sick and infirm. He also undertook the reformation of the clergy of his diocese by means of zealous exhortations and disciplinary actions which, though very necessary, were somewhat tactless in their severity. John added effect and force to these endeavors, by conducting himself as an exemplary model of what he desired so ardently to impress upon others.

Chrysostom was banished from Constantinople in 403 after he delivered too zealous a sermon against immodesty and vanity. The Empress Eudoxia took his words as a direct insult against herself. His exile was of short duration however, because a slight earthquake that shook the city was taken as a terrifying sign by the superstitious lady. Shortly afterwards he was again banished for preaching against the disorder, impropriety, and superstition occasioned by the public games commemorating the raising of a silver statue of Eudoxia in front of the great church dedicated to the Divine Wisdom. He was exiled to a remote place called Cucusus in the Taurus Mountains of Armenia, where he suffered greatly from the heat, fatigue, and the cruelty and brutality of his guards. The local bishop, however, vied with his people in showing the aging patriarch every mark of kindness and respect.

When a council was called by Pope Innocent and the Emperor Honorius to restore him to his see, Chrysostom’s enemies instead imprisoned the appointed papal legates, and sent him into further exile in Pityus at the eastern end of the Black Sea. He suffered intensely from his forced travel in the scorching heat and wet weather. When he and his escorts reached the Church of St. Basiliscus in Comana in Cappadocia, the clergy there, seeing he was close to death, took him in, changed him into white garments and administered Extreme Unction to him. He died the next day, September 14, 407, with the words "Glory to God in all things" on his lips.

Monday, September 12, 2016

What Our Lady Said at Fatima on September 13, 1917

What Our Lady Said at Fatima on September 13, 1917
The Fifth Apparition — September 13, 1917

A crowd estimated at twenty thousand observed atmospheric phenomena similar to those of the previous apparitions: the sudden cooling of the air, a dimming of the sun to the point where the stars could be seen, and a rain resembling iridescent petals or snowflakes that disappeared before touching the ground.
This time, a luminous globe was noticed which moved slowly and majestically through the sky from east to west and, at the end of the apparition, in the opposite direction. The seers saw a light, and, immediately following this, they saw Our Lady over the holm oak.

Our Lady: Continue to pray the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October, Our Lord will also come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Saint Josephwith the Child Jesus, to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to sleep with the ropes; wear them only during the day.

LĂșcia: They have requested me to ask you for many things, for the cure of some sick persons, of a deaf-mute.

Our Lady: Yes, I will cure some, others not. In October, I will perform a miracle for all to believe.
"And rising, she disappeared in the same manner as before."
*          *          *
This account is based on the book
Our Lady at Fatima: Prophecies of Tragedy or Hope for America and the World?

This fosters virtue and dries up vice

“And the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:27).
Let us also say a few words about this name, which means “star of the sea” and is most
suitably fitting for a virgin mother. For she is most appropriately compared to a star, because,
just as a star emits its rays without being corrupted, so the Virgin
gave birth to her Son without any injury to her virginity. When the star emits its rays,
this does not make it less bright, and neither does the Son diminish his Mother’s virginal integrity.
She, therefore, is that noble star risen from Jacob, whose ray gives light to the whole world,
whose brightness both shines forth in the heavens and penetrates the depths.
It lights up the earth and warms the spirit more than the body; it fosters virtues and dries up vices.
Mary, I say, is the distinguished and bright shining star, necessarily lifted up above this great broad sea,
gleaming with merits, giving light by her example.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary

“God the Father gathered all the waters together and called them the sea – mare. He gathered all his graces together and called them Mary – Maria,” writes the great Marian apostle St. Louis Marie de Montfort in his renowned work, Treatise on True Devotion to Mary.

The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary was first celebrated in Spain in 1513. Granted by Pope Julius II to the diocese of Cuenta in Spain, it was assigned the date of September 15, the octave day of Our Lady's Nativity, on the papal calendar. The feast was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples In 1671.

In 1683, Vienna was besieged by Turkish invaders. Jan Sobieski, the devout King of Poland, came to the assistance of Vienna with an army that was vastly outnumbered by that of Mustapha. Early on the morning of September 12, having himself served at Holy Mass, the King entrusted himself and his army to the Virgin Mary, imploring her blessing upon himself and his troops and her assistance in the upcoming conflict. Then rising from his knees, the "Northern Lion," as he was called by the Turks, said aloud: “Let us now march to the enemy with an entire confidence in the protection of heaven, under the assured patronage of the Blessed Virgin.” And charging upon the enemy camp, they defeated and routed the Muslims completely. The Turkish forces were overwhelmed and Vienna was saved under the banner of Mary Most Holy.

In a letter to Pope Innocent XI announcing the victory of the Christian army over the Muslims at the gates of Vienna, King Jan SobieskI immediately attributed the victory to God and not to his own efforts, and paraphrased the words of Julius Caesar: “Veni, vidi, Deus vicit” – "I came, I saw, God conquered!" In commemoration of this glorious victory over the Muslims, and in thanksgiving to God and honor to Our Lady for Their aid, Pope Innocent XI extended the feast of the Holy Name of Mary to the Universal Church that same year.

Although the feast was originally celebrated on September 15, in 1911 Pope St. Pius X decreed that it be celebrated on September 12.