Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at RAnn's Place for Sunday Snippets - a Catholic Carnival where we share posts from the previous week.

Here are my posts:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

7QT's: Art, Newman, Aquinas, and more

1. Art has always been fascinating to me, especially Catholic art. I have my own small collection of statues, paintings, crucifixes, and other objects of art. I also enjoy portrait sketching and painting myself (when I get a chance). Above is one example of a very old painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe that my mother gave me just before she entered into eternal life.

Recently, I have become acquainted with a local artist, who is also a member of my parish. Born in the hill country near Trieste, Italy, to an Italian mother and American father, Rita Zaudke came to America when she was four years old. She has made many trips back to Italy since then. Inspired by the Italian people, the picturesque villages, and the elaborate architecture, she has produced a collection of beautiful paintings which reflect her love for the country. Take a look at her beautiful work HERE.

2.  For three days this past week, we had record-breaking temperatures in the 70's, so I chose to exercise at the park, where I had this beautiful view of the lake. Temperatures are back to normal now for this time of year -- in the 30's.

3. In 2012, I earned my my Master of Arts in Theology at Newman University and have read and written a great deal about Blessed John Henry Newman. When I saw the above movie clip on his life, I was excited.

Here's the scoop from Ignatius Press: Documentary - DVD - An influential teacher, a distinguished theologian, a man who endured many trials, a father of souls - Blessed John Henry Newman (1801 - 1890) remains as fresh and relevant today as he was during his lifetime. In this engaging film, Fr Nicholas Schofield and Fr Marcus Holden, hosts of several other Ignatius films, present the inspiring story of Newman’s life and visit the places in England where he lived and worked. From London to Oxford, from Littlemore to Birmingham, each revealing an important stage of Newman’s life. Along the way they explore his writings and teachings, his pastoral zeal for his students and parishioners, his journey of conversion to the Catholic faith, and his enduring message for Christians of today.

4. This week we celebrated the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. I wrote about his life and also reviewed Peter Kreeft's book Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from Thomas Aquinas.

5. We also celebrated the feast of another favorite saint -- St. John Bosco, who is a patron and hero of young people. We certainly can use a Don Bosco today!

6. Here is a beauitful quote from Pope Francis on Women transmitting the Faith.

7. My husband told me this afternoon that we had livestock in our yard. I looked out the front door to see this...

Have a wonderful weekend!


For more Quick Takes, join Kelly.  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Saint John Bosco: Hero of Youth

On Jan. 31, we celebrate the feast of St. John Bosco or “Don Bosco,” a 19th century Italian priest who worked to improve the education, vocational opportunities, and faith of youth during the industrial revolution.

Giovanni (John) Melchior Bosco was born in 1815 to a poor farm family in the hillside hamlet of Becchi in northern Italy.  When he was born, his mother consecrated him to the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the age of two, John lost his father. He was raised by his mother, Margaret Bosco, a hard-working woman who selflessly struggled to raise John and his two older brothers on her own. Following their father’s death, it became necessary for John and his brothers to complete the farm chores previously performed by their father to support the family.

At age nine, John had a vision that foretold his vocation. In the dream, he was encircled by a crowd of boys who were fighting and cursing. He tried to calm them, first by reasoning with them, then by hitting them. Suddenly, a mysterious lady appeared, who directed him, “Softly, softly…if you wish to win them! Take your shepherds staff if you wish to lead them to pasture.” Her words transformed the children from vicious beasts into gentle lambs.

It was this vision, which he referred to as a “dream”, that persuaded him that he was meant to lead and to help other boys. He began teaching catechism to the children in his village, first by entertaining them with acrobatics and magic tricks, at which he became quite accomplished. One Sunday morning, when John saw an itinerant acrobat and juggler amusing the children, he challenged him to a match and beat him at his own tricks. Then he marched off to church, followed by his audience of admirers.

From a young age, John worked long hours as a shepherd, tending his flock in the fields. Thus, he had a very informal education. A priest taught him to read and write. At sixteen, he entered the seminary and was so poor that his clothing had to be furnished by charity. He studied theology in Turin and there he volunteered to help abandoned and neglected homeless boys and young men, many who were uneducated and without work. The industrial revolution had lured large numbers of people into the city to look for work that was often demanding and in short supply. Don Bosco was stunned to see how many boys ended up in prison before the age of 18, and how they were deprived physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He was determined to do something about it.

In 1841, at the age of 26, he was ordained a priest on the eve of Trinity Sunday in Turin and became known as Father Bosco or “Don” Bosco, a traditional title of honor for priests in Italy.

 Don Bosco’s first assignment as a priest was to serve as an assistant chaplain at a home for girls, which allowed him to help his boys in his spare time. On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1841, he established the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales – the name he gave his band of boys. With assistance from the founder of the girls’ home, Marchesa Barolo, a wealthy philanthropist, he was able to set up a combination Sunday school / recreation center for his boys on the grounds owned by the Marchesa. However, the boys were unruly, boisterous and sometimes even picked flowers from the garden, which was very upsetting to the Marchesa, so she quickly changed her mind.

The Marchesa now gave him an ultimatum – to give up his work with the boys or to resign his post at the orphanage for girls. He immediately resigned and chose to serve the boys – who now numbered several hundred.

For more than a year the group was regarded as a nuisance by the property owners of the town and no suitable meeting place could be found. Finally, Don Bosco found an old dilapidated shed to use as a meeting place.

As if all this weren't enough, John Bosco developed a severe case of pneumonia and nearly died. When he recovered, he went to live in a rundown room near the meeting place. His mother graciously served as his housekeeper and assistant. Don Bosco opened a night school and two more youth centers in Turin, and began to build housing for destitute boys.

Next, he built a church, which he named St. Frances de Sales, followed by the construction of another home for his growing family. The boys he enrolled as boarders were of two different types: young apprentices and craftsmen, and other youths whom Father Bosco perceived to be future helpers, with possible future vocations to the priesthood. He managed them all and taught them well without the need for punishment.

Father John Bosco spent his spare time writing appealing, high – interest level books for boys, which were virtually non-existent at that time. He worked late into the night, writing historical books and faith – based books.

On January 26, 1854, a group of men met to form a new apostolate based upon practical works of charity. The group took the name of Salesian after the great bishop of Geneva, St. Frances de Sales. In 1858, John went to Rome, taking the rules of the Order with him and received preliminary approval from Pope Pius IX.

Sixteen years later, he received full approval. His next great accomplishment was the founding of an order of women to care for girls and to provide for their needs. In 1862, he organized a group of twenty-seven young women, whom he named the Daughters of St. Mary Auxiliatrix, the Helper.

As he grew older, his health weakened and on the morning of January 31, 1888, he died in Turin. His last words were: “Tell the boys that I shall be waiting for them all in Paradise.”

He was beatified in 1929 by Pius XI, and was canonized in 1934, also by Pius XI. St. John Bosco is the patron of: boys, apprentices, laborers, editors, publishers, and youth.

Favorite St. John Bosco Quotes

"Do you want Our Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit him seldom. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament are powerful and indispensable means of overcoming the attacks of the devil. Make frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the devil will be powerless against you.”

“This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalized and still others to hope for God’s mercy. And so He bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.”

“Your reward in heaven will make up completely for all your pain and suffering.”

"All for God and for His Glory. In whatever you do, think of the Glory of God as your main goal."

"Everything and everyone is won by the sweetness of our words and works."

"Every virtue in your soul is a precious ornament which makes you dear to God and to man. But holy purity, the queen of virtues, the angelic virtue, is a jewel so precious that those who possess it become like the angels of God in Heaven, even though clothed in mortal flesh."

When asked about the secret of his success with young people, he simply answered: "love.”

~ copyright Jean M. Heimann January 2015.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Four saints in one family? Beatification Process of St. Therese of Lisieux's sister, opens

Pope Francis is a great devotee of St. Therese of Lisieux. Her parents, Louis and Zelie were beatified back in 2008. Now, the saint's sister, Leonia is also being considered for sainthood. The priest leading her cause for canonization, talked about her life, in a video conference chat.

Postulator of the cause of Leonie Martin
"She was the third of nine children and probably the less talented among them. She was always put down and described as the one who didn't know how to do anything. If was hard for her to compete to (with) her sister's accomplishments.”

But she was actually the first one in her family who decided to embrace a religious vocation. But she wasn't able to reach her goal. She was clumsy and short tempered and her strength wasn't always a constant. She had to leave the monastery twice. Her sister Therese, helped her out, when her self esteem was low.

Postulator of the cause of Leonie Martin
"Her vocation is the result of her being close to her sister Therese. She helped her sister to embrace her vocation as a sister in the Order.”

When Therese of Lisieux died and her book, 'A Story of a Soul' was published, her sister decided to try out her vocation again. For the third time, she went to the Monastery.

Postulator of the cause of Leonie Martin
"She took her sister's words very seriously, especially the phrase about the little path. She put this into practice with incredible loyalty.”

Even as a teenager Leonie,  recognized her shortfalls and limitations. This humility, led to a door of kindness. Now, if her beatification process moves along, she could become the fourth person in her family to be raised to the altars.

-- Via Rome Reports.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

St. Gildas the Wise: Monk and Missionary

The saint of the day for January 29th is St. Gildas the Wise, a sixth century British monk.

Gildas was born in Scotland around the year 516 to a noble British family. He was educated in Wales under St. Iltut, and was a companion of St. Samson and St. Peter of Léon. Sometimes he is called "Badonicus" because his birth took place the year the Britons gained a famous victory over the Saxons at Mount Badon, near Bath, Somersetshire.

Noted for his piety, Gildas was well-educated, and was not afraid of publicly rebuking contemporary monarchs, at a time when libel was answered by a sword, rather than a Court order.

He lived for many years as a hermit on Flatholm Island in the Bristol Channel. Here he established his reputation for holiness through acts of self-denial. He also preached to Nemata, the mother of St David, while she was pregnant with the Saint.

Around 547 he wrote De Excidio Britanniae (The Ruin of Britain). In this, he writes a brief tale of the island from pre-Roman times and criticizes the rulers of the island for their lax morals and blames their sins (and those that follow them) for the destruction of civilization in Britain. The book was written as a moral tale.

He also wrote a longer work, The Epistle. This is a series of sermons on the moral laxity of rulers and of the clergy. In these, Gildas shows that he has a wide reading of the Bible and of other classical works.

Gildas was an influential preacher, visiting Ireland and doing missionary work. He was responsible for the conversion of much of the island and may be the one who introduced anchorite customs to the monks of that land.

He retired from Llancarfan to Rhuys, in Brittany, where he founded a monastery. Of his work on the running of a monastery (one of the earliest known in the Christian Church), only the so-called Penitential, a guide for Abbots in setting punishment, survives.

He died around 571, at Rhuys. The monastery that he had founded became the center of his cult.

St. Gildas is regarded as being one of the most influential figures of the early English Church. The influence of his writing was felt until well into the Middle Ages, particularly in the Celtic Church.

Gildas is the patron of churches and monasteries in Brittany (modern day France) and other locations. He is regarded as the earliest British historian. Copies of his writings are preserved in the Cambridge University Library.

St. Thomas Aquinas: "Angelic Doctor"

Today is the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century Dominican priest, philosopher, and theologian. As a Doctor of the Church, he has been given the title "Angelic Doctor" and is the patron of Catholic universities and schools. St. Thomas ranks among the greatest writers and theologians of all time. His most important work, the Summa Theologiae, an explanation and summary of the entire body of Catholic teaching, has been standard for centuries, even to our own day. St. Thomas reflected the Dominican ideal. He was a true contemplative who shared the fruits of contemplation with others.

Born of a noble family in southern Italy, Thomas was educated by the Benedictines. He was a superior student and surpassed his classmates in learning as well as in the practice of virtue.

When he became old enough to choose his state of life, Thomas renounced the things of this world and chose to enter the Order of St. Dominic in spite of the opposition of his family, who had expected him to become a Benedictine. At the age of seventeen, he joined the Dominicans of Naples. His mother, determined to change this, rushed to Naples to consult with her son, but the Dominicans sent him to Rome, on the way to Paris or Cologne. She then instructed his brothers to capture Thomas and confine him in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca. He remained "imprisoned" by family members for a two year period in an attempt to prevent him from assuming the Dominican habit and to force him into renouncing his decision. They even went so far as to tempt him with a prostitute. When the woman entered his room, Thomas chased her out with a piece of burning wood from the fire. Following this event, he prayed to God, asking for purity of mind and body. Two angels appeared to him in a dream, to assure him that his prayers had been answered and that God was giving him the gift of perfect chastity. Thus, he earned the title 'Angelic Doctor.' All of the family's efforts proved to be in vain, as Thomas was given the grace to remain pure and to persevere in his vocation.

Thomas studied in Paris and in Cologne under the great philosopher St Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the "dumb ox" because of his silent ways and huge size, but he was actually a brilliant student. At the age of twenty-two, he was appointed to teach in the same city. At the same time, he also began to publish his first works. After four years he was sent to Paris. The saint was then a priest. At the age of thirty-one, he received his doctorate.

Thomas spent the rest of his life studying, praying, teaching, writing, composing hymns, and traveling. During his lifetime, he produced 60 works within less than 50 years.

Thomas made a great synthesis of philosophy and theology. He combined the revelation of scriptures with a "framework" of Aristotle and the notion of participation of Plato. This synthesis is called Thomistic philosophy or "Scholasticism" and has remained the official theology of the Church since the 13th century.

He died on March 7, 1274 and was canonized by Pope John XXII on July 18, 1323 - less than 50 years after his death.

Patron: Academics; against storms; against lightning; apologists; book sellers; Catholic academies; Catholic schools; Catholic universities; chastity; colleges; learning; lightning; pencil makers; philosophers; publishers; scholars; schools; storms; students; theologians; universities; University of Vigo.

Related Posts:

St. Thomas Aquinas: My Favorite Quotes and A Spiritual Meditation

Prayer to Saint Thomas Aquinas for Catholic Schools

Book Review -- Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from Saint Thomas Aquinas

Spiritual direction has been an essential part of Catholic tradition since the earliest days of the Church when desert fathers were sought out for their wisdom and guidance. Today, a renewed interest in attaining personal holiness and an ever-increasing attraction to monastic spirituality has put spiritual direction in the spotlight. In 2012, Emmaus Road Publishing released Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God by Executive Director of the National Catholic Register, Dan Burke. In it, Burke emphatically emphasized the importance and necessity of spiritual direction for Catholics in their spiritual journey.

Now Peter Kreeft, a seasoned author whom I greatly admire for his natural genius on topics of faith, has written a book on spiritual direction that Dan Burke describes as “his opus.” In Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from Saint Thomas Aquinas, Kreeft has combined 358 useful insights from Aquinas’ masterpiece, the 4000 page Summa Theologiae. Employing Thomas Aquinas as the reader’s virtual spiritual director, Kreeft answers the type of questions people ask spiritual directors, with quotes from the Summa. He breaks down each quote, explaining it in his own words, using modern language along with his own wit and sense of humor so that it makes perfect sense to the average person in the pew. In other words, the reader does not need to be a theologian or a philosopher to understand the spiritual counsel in this book, as it is both clear and comprehensible.

What is even more impressive is the fact that Kreeft used these 358 quotes from Aquinas to help him in his own struggles to develop a more intimate union with the Lord. His practical, personal, and priceless advice is the fruit of his labors to apply the insights of Aquinas in his own quest for sanctity, happiness, and union with the Lord.

There are a wide range of topics in this book, some of which include typical kinds of questions/concerns that we see asked most often by our Protestant brothers and sisters, such as, “Do Catholics worship Mary?” “Is Jesus really present in the Eucharist?” “What are indulgences and why are they right?” Others are more unique, such as, “Will the resurrected body have everything the present body has, e.g. hair and nails?” “Should Communion be given to the severely mentally disabled?” Just about any question about the faith you have ever thought of is addressed in this beautiful book.

Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from Saint Thomas Aquinas is not a book that you will want to read quickly, but it is a book filled with fascinating facts and solid information and advice that you will want to meditate and reflect on, savor, and return to long after you have finished it. It makes an excellent reference book for: the home, RCIA classes, the parish/diocesan library, and for spiritual directors/advisors. I highly recommend it for all who desire to learn more about the Catholic faith and to grow in holiness.

~ copyright Jean M. Heimann, January 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

St. Angela Merici: Founder of the Urusulines, Religious Educator of Women

Today is the optional memorial of St. Angela Merici, the foundress of the Ursulines, the the first teaching congregation of women in the Church. It was a new, almost revolutionary foundation for its time, as it focused primarily on the education of women. Her foundation led to the emancipation of women not only in the Church, but in society as well. Women were educated so as to transform society by educating their own family in the faith and living out that faith in their lives.

 Angela was born to a family of minor nobility on March 21, 1474 at Desenzano, Lake Garda, Italy and died on January 27, 1540 in Brescia. Her parents died when she was only ten years old. Together, with her older sister, she moved to the nearby town of Salo, to live with her uncle. When her sister died quite suddenly without receiving the last sacraments, Angela was deeply upset. At the age of 15, she became a third order Franciscan and increased her prayers and sacrifices for the repose of her sister's soul.  When she asked God to reveal to her the condition of her deceased sister, He answered her prayer by showing her a vision of her sister in heaven.

When her uncle died, she returned to live at Desenzano to make a life for herself. She was convinced of the need for women to be educated in their faith and converted her home into a school where she daily gathered all the girls of Desenzano to teach them the basics of Christianity. It was at this time that she received a vision, which led her to found a religious order who were to devote their lives to the spiritual education of young women. The school she organized at Desenzano was so successful that she was invited to the nearby city of Brescia, to establish a school there, which she accepted.

During a pilgrimage to Holy Land, while visiting Crete, Angela was struck blind. This did not interrupt her trip, however, but she continued on the journey, visiting the shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she still had her sight. On the way home, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was miraculously restored at the same place where it had been lost.

In 1525, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her great holiness and her success as a religious teacher of young girls, invited her to remain in Rome; however, Angela returned to Brescia to live a quiet life, away from the limelight.

At the age of 57, Angela selected twelve young women to assist her in catechetical work. Four years later, the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of St. Ursula, commonly known as the Ursulines, for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through the solid Christian education of future wives and mothers.

She died only five years later. St. Angela's body is incorrupt. She was beatified in 1768 by Pope Clement XIII and canonized in 1807 by Pope Pius VII.

St. Angela Merici is the patron saint of physically challenged people, sick people, and of those who have lost their parents.

Quotes From St. Angela Merci:

"Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family."

"We must give alms. Charity wins souls and draws them to virtue."

"Mothers of children, even if they have a thousand, carry each and every one fixed in their hearts, and because of the strength of their love they do not forget any of them. In fact, it seems that the more children they have the more their love and care for each one is increased."

"As our Savior says: 'A good tree is not able to produce bad fruit.'  He says: A good tree, that is, a good heart as well as a soul on fire with charity, can do nothing but good and holy works. For this reason Saint Augustine said: "Love, and do what you will," namely, possess love and charity and then do what you will. It is as if he had said: Charity is not able to sin."

"Be sincerely kind to every one according to the words of our Lord: 'Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart.' Thus you are imitating God, of whom it is said: 'He has disposed all things pleasantly.' And again Jesus said: 'My yoke is easy and my burden light.'

- From Spiritual Testament by Saint Angela Merici

St. Angela Merici -- A Prayer of Remembrance

Angela, a valiant woman, inspire us today to be people of faith,
people of action, people in love with God and all creation.
May we be makers of peace in a wounded world.
May we be creators of justice in a broken world.
May we be passionate and compassionate in a indifferent world.
You who traveled the road before us, be with us as you promised.
May the example of your pilgrim heart encourage us on our journey.

~ Author Unknown

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pope Francis: women first and foremost in transmitting faith a gift that passes from generation to generation, through the beautiful work of mothers and grandmothers, the fine work of the women who play those roles...

It occurs to me: why is it mainly women, who to pass on the faith? Simply because the one who brought us Jesus is a woman. It is the path chosen by Jesus. He wanted to have a mother: the gift of faith comes to us through women, as Jesus came to us through Mary.

~ Pope Francis in his homily at Monday morning Mass, January 26th at in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican.

Novena to St. Blaise Begins Today

The feast of St. Blaise is February 4. He is one of fourteen holy helpers and is the patron of:   physicians, sick cattle, and wild animals because of his care for them. He is invoked against afflictions of the throat and against numerous other physical ailments, which include: angina, bladder diseases, blisters, coughs, dermatitis, dropsy, eczema, edema, fever, goiters, headaches, impetigo, respiratory diseases, skin diseases, snake bites, stomach pain, teething pain, toothaches, ulcers, and whooping cough.

Almighty and Eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saving, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.

Prayer in honor of St. Blaise
O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blase, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Invocation of St. Blaise
St. BLASE, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior did suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God's grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment. Amen.

My LORD and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.

Sts. Timothy and Titus: St. Paul's Companions and Co-workers in Evangelization

Today, January 26, is the memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus. Both men were close colleagues with St. Paul in his missionary journeys and perpetuated his work among the Gentiles.

Timothy and Titus were converted to Christianity by Paul, and became his companions and helpers. Paul made both men bishops and assigned Timothy to the Church in Ephesus, and Titus to the Church in Crete. He wrote them “pastoral” epistles, giving advice for both pastors and parishioners.

Timothy, “brother and co-worker for God in the gospel of Christ” (1 Thes 3:2) was young (Paul writes “Let no one have contempt for your youth” in 1 Timothy 4:12a), and somewhat shy, but had great zeal for spreading the faith. He has been viewed by some as the "angel of the church of Ephesus" (Rev 2:1-17). He joined Paul in the joy of the privilege of preaching the gospel, but also  suffered much because of it. St. Timothy was stoned to death thirty years after St. Paul's martyrdom for refusing to worship the goddess Diana.

Titus, Paul’s “partner and co-worker” (2Cor 8:23) was the mediator or peacemaker, the one St. Paul sent to clear up misunderstandings, settle differences, and to establish a new Church. He was sent to evangelize the inhabitants of Crete, who were known to be “liars, vicious beasts, and lazy gluttons” (Timothy 1:12). He received a letter from St. Paul, which encouraged Christians to live temperate, moral, and virtuous lives, while awaiting the coming of Christ. Tradition tells us that St. Titus died a natural death at the age of 94, having lived in the state of virginity his entire life.

St. Timothy is the patron saint of intestinal disorders and stomach diseases. St. Titus is the patron of Crete.

Collect: God our Father, you gave your saints Timothy and Titus the courage and wisdom of the apostles: may their prayers help us to live holy lives and lead us to heaven, our true home. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

“But when the kindness and generous love of God our Savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. This saying is trustworthy” ~Titus 3:4-8

The lives of Sts Timothy and Titus reveal that evangelization is a task that requires courage, patience, perseverance, and zeal. There is both joy and suffering involved in spreading the gospel message. Today, let us pray to the Holy Spirit asking for the grace to carry out our Christian duty to spread the gospel message to others in imitation of Sts. Timothy and Titus.

~ copyright Jean M. Heimann January 2015.