"To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop." ~ Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.101
Everything is grace, everything is the direct effect of our Father's love.Everything is grace because everything is God's gift.Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events -- to the heart that loves, all is well.
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Today is the memorial of St. Jerome, translator of the Bible into its official Latin version (the Vulgate), brilliant scholar, monk, traveler, teacher, letter writer, and consultant to Popes and Bishops. He is one of the most important figures in the history of the Church.
St. Jerome was born in Dalmatia around 340-345 AD to a wealthy Christian family. At the age of 20, he was sent to study in Rome, where he became fluent in Latin and Greek and developed a love for the classical writers. Here he acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to control his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home. He traveled throughout western Europe with a friend but that ceased when he had a conversion experience in Trier and decided to become a monk. He joined a community in Aquileia in 370, where he met some who would become his close friends and others his enemies. When the community disbanded, he decided to go east and he lived for years in the the Syrian desert as a hermit. He studied Hebrew, which he hated, but used it as a distraction against sexual temptations. He was ordained a priest in Antioch and at the age of 40 went to Constantinople, where he met and befriended St. Gregory of Nazianzus (one of the four great Greek Doctors of the Church.)
St. Jerome became the secretary of Pope Damasus, who commissioned the Vulgate from him, which took him 30 years to write. His harsh temperament and his biting criticisms of his intellectual opponents made him many enemies in the Church and in Rome and he was forced to leave the city. Jerome went to Bethlehem, established a monastery, and lived the rest of his years in study, prayer, and asceticism. Jerome died at Bethlehem, September 30th, 420. Saint Jerome's remains are interred in the church of Saint Mary Major at Rome and his relics are in the Sistine chapel of Saint Mary Major in Rome.
Symbols: Cardinal's hat; lion; aged monk in desert; aged monk with Bible.
Quotes from St. Jerome:
“The Lord who is Truth and says, ‘I am the Truth,’ surrounds us with his truth like a shield to protect us against the stinging darts of the devil. Christ, who is Truth, holds up his shield that the shield of truth may vanquish falsehood and deceit.”
The measure of our advancement in the spiritual life should be taken from the progress we make in the virtue of mortification; for it should be held as certain that the greater violence we shall do ourselves in mortification, the greater advance we shall make in perfection.
I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: "Search the Scriptures," and "Seek and you shall find." For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.
Prayer of St. Jerome for Christ's Mercy
O Lord, show Your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid. I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with Your will. Let me dwell in Your house all the days of my life and praise You for ever and ever with those who are there.
25,000 people from 71 countries including, Australia, Korea, Pakistan, Vietnam, Syria and Russia filled the Sanctuary of Divine Love in Rome for the beatification of Chiara Luce Badano, the first of the Focolare movement raised to the altar.
A new papal catechesis on the life of women saints. "Today we focus on the life of Saint Matilda of Hackeborn, one of several important thirteenth-century figures of the convent of Helfta in Saxony", said the Pope.
VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2010 (VIS) - St. Matilda of Hackeborn (1241/1242 - 1298), one of the outstanding figures of the German convent of Helfta, was the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis during his general audience, which took place this morning in St. Peter's Square.
Matilda was daughter of the barons of Hackeborn. At an early age she entered the convent of Helfta where her sister, St. Gertrude, was abbess for forty years. Gertrude gave "a particular imprint to the spirituality of the convent, causing it to flourish as a centre of mysticism and culture, a place of scientific and theological education". The nuns of Helfta enjoyed "a high level of intellectual learning which enabled them to cultivate a spirituality founded on Sacred Scripture, the liturgy and patristic tradition, and on the Rule and spirituality of the Cistercians".
The main source for Matilda's life is a book written by her sister and entitled "The Book of Special Grace", in which she is described as possessing exalted natural and spiritual qualities such as "science, intelligence, knowledge of human literature, and a voice of great beauty".
While still very young Matilda became the head of the convent school of Helfta, and later director of the choir and mistress of novices. She also possessed "the divine gift of mystic contemplation" and was "a teacher of faithful doctrine and great humility, a counsellor, a consoler and a guide in discernment". For this reason "many people, within the convent but also from elsewhere, ... testified that this holy virgin had freed them from their sufferings and that they had never known such consolation as they had with her", said Benedict XVI.
"During her long life in the convent, Matilda was afflicted by continuous and intense suffering, to which she added her own great penance for the conversion of sinners. In this way she shared in the Lord's passion until the end of her life.
"Prayer and contemplation", the Pope added. "were the vital 'humus' of her life. It was there that her revelations, her teachings, her service to others, and her journey in faith and love had their roots and their context. ... Of the liturgical prayers, Matilda gave particular emphasis to the canonical hours, and to the celebration of Mass especially Holy Communion. ... Her visions, her teachings, and the events of her life are described with expressions evocative of liturgical and biblical language. Thus do we come to appreciate her profound knowledge of Sacred Scripture, which was her daily bread".
This saint, "allowing herself to be guided by Sacred Scripture and nourished by the Eucharistic bread, followed a path of intimate union with the Lord, always maintaining complete fidelity to the Christ. For us too, this is a powerful call to intensify our friendship with the Lord, especially through daily prayer and attentive, faithful and active participation in Mass. The liturgy is a great school of spirituality", the Pope concluded.
The three Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are the only angels named in Sacred Scripture and all three have important roles in the history of salvation.
Michael's name means "who is like God?" Three books of the Bible speak of St. Michael: Daniel, Revelation and the Letter of Jude. In the book of Revelation or the Apocalypse, chapter 12:7-9, we read of a great war that went on in heaven. Michael and his angels battled with Satan. Michael became the champion of loyalty to God. We can ask St. Michael to make us strong in our love for Jesus and in our practice of the Catholic religion.
Patron: Against temptations; against powers of evil; artists; bakers; bankers; battle; boatmen; cemeteries; coopers; endangered children; dying; Emergency Medical Technicians; fencing; grocers; hatmakers; holy death; knights; mariners; mountaineers; paramedics; paratroopers; police officers; radiologists; sailors; the sick; security forces; soldiers; against storms at sea; swordsmiths; those in need of protection; Brussels, Belgium; Caltanissett, Sicily; Cornwall, England; Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida; England; Germany; Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama; Papua, New Guinea; Puebla, Mexico; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Sibenik, Croatia; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Gabriel's name means "the power of God." He, too, is mentioned in the book of Daniel. He has become familiar to us because Gabriel is an important person in Luke's Gospel. This archangel announced to Mary that she was to be the mother of our savior. Gabriel announced to Zechariah that he and St. Elizabeth would have a son and call him John. Gabriel is the announcer, the communicator of the Good News. We can ask him to help us be good communicators as he was.
Patron: Ambassadors; broadcasting; childbirth; clergy; communications; diplomats; messengers; philatelists; postal workers; public relations; radio workers; secular clergy; stamp collectors; telecommunications; Portugal; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.
Raphael's name means "God has healed." We read the touching story of Raphael's role in the Bible's book of Tobit. He brought protection and healing to the blind Tobit. At the very end of the journey, when all was completed, Raphael revealed his true identity. He called himself one of the seven who stands before God's throne. We can ask St. Raphael to protect us in our travels, even for short journeys, like going to school. We can also ask him to help when illness strikes us or someone we love.
Patron: Blind; bodily ills; counselors; druggists; eye problems; guardian angels; happy meetings; healers; health inspectors; health technicians; love; lovers; mental illness; nurses; pharmacists; physicians; shepherds; against sickness; therapists; travellers; young people; young people leaving home for the first time; Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.
Prayer to all the Archangels
St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, be with me today. Protect me from whatever could cause spiritual or physical harm. Help me be faithful to Jesus and a good communicator of his divine love. Amen.
Prayer to St. Michael
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Prayer to St. Raphael
Blessed Saint Raphael, Archangel,We beseech thee to help us in all our needs and trials of this life, as thou, through the power of God, didst restore sight and give guidance to young Tobit. We humbly seek thine aid and intercession, that our souls may be healed,our bodies protected from all ills,and that through divine grace we may be made fit to dwell in the eternal Glory of God in heaven. Amen.
Prayer to St. Gabriel
O Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, do thou intercede for us at the throne of divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen.
Washington, DC -- This weekend marked the tenth anniversary of the Clinton administration approving the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of unborn children and hurt women. The drug has killed at least eight women in the United States and dozens around the world.
Saint Lorenzo Ruizis the first canonized martyr of the Phillipines, and was canonized along with 15 companions - nine Japanese, four Spaniards, one Frenchman and one Italian - all of whom were on mission in Nagasaki, Japan, to evangelize and minister to the Japanese Christian community who were suffering the persecutions of the Japanese feudal Lords. Thirteen of the martyrs were Dominicans and three were Dominican Tertiaries
Lorenzo Ruiz was born in about 1600 to a Chinese Christian Father and a Tagala Christian mother in Manila, Phillipines. He was a devoted and active Catholic, involved in a Rosary Confraternity and became a husband and father of three.
In 1637 he was falsely accused of murder and forced to leave his country. The Domincan fathers who knew Lorenzo arranged to have him take a ship to Japan.
Soon after arriving in Japan, Lorenzo was captured for being Catholic and brought to Nagasaki, where he was tortured. He was promised safe passage back to his family if he renounced his faith, but he refused, reportedly saying that if he had a thousand lives he would die a thousand times for God. He was finally killed on September 29, 1637 by an infamous Japanese torture tool known as "the pit." All his companions were martyred in the same manner.
On February 18, 1981, Lorenzo Ruiz became the first person beatified outside the Vatican, when Pope John Paul II beatified him in the Phillipines. He was canonized on October 18, 1987, in Rome.
Saint Wenceslaus is the patron of both the Czech Republic and of Slovakia. He was born to a Christian duke and a pagan mother in 903 and was educated by his Christian grandmother, Saint Ludmilla.
When his father died, his mother took control of the Duchy and began to oppose Christianity. The people urged Wenceslaus to take power. He did so and protected and strengthened the Church.
Wenceslaus, well known for his Christian virtue, responded to a call to live a consecrated life and made a vow of virginity.
In 935, his mother and his brother, Boleslaus, plotted to kill him and take power. Wenceslaus was ambushed on his way to Church and hacked to pieces by his brother and his followers. Three days later his brother repented and had Wenceslaus' body buried in the Church of St. Vitus in Prague.
Born to a poor family in Pouy in the soutwest of France in 1581, Vincent was an intellectually gifted youth who began his theological studies at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 20.
On a voyage to the Holy Land, Vincent's ship was boarded by pirates and he was captured and sold into slavery in Africa, where he was held for two years before he converted his master to Christianity and was freed.
He returned to France and was appointed to a parish near Paris, from where he began to initiate and organize missions for the poor, destitute, forgotten, sick, uneducated, and unemployed.
He founded the Congregation of Priests of the Mission and the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity and sent priests to Africa to minister to and ransom slaves.
He vigorously opposed Jansenism and helped reform orders of priests and religious, famously preaching retreats around France.
The humble St. Vincent often spoke on humility saying once, "The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it."
Vincent died in 1660 in Paris and his body still lays there in an incorrupt state. He was canonized June 16, 1737, by Pope Clement XII.
Patron: charitable societies; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; volunteers; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; Madagascar; diocese of Richmond, Virginia.
Spiritual Insights from St. Vincent de Paul
“No matter what others say or do, even if the wicked succeed, do not be troubled: commit everything to God and put your trust in him.”
“Extend mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His mercy from us?”
"You have been chosen to be at the disposition of Divine Providence and, if you do not fully submit ot It, you will loose much."
"But do you know what it is to labor in charity? It is to labor in God, for God is charity, and it is to labor for God purely and entirely; it is to do so in the grace of God."
"Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances."
"We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love."
"Free your mind from all that troubles you; God will take care of things. You will be unable to make haste in this (choice) without, so to speak, grieving the heart of God, because he sees that you do not honor him sufficiently with holy trust. Trust in him, I beg you, and you will have the fulfillment of what your heart desires."
"It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer.... Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity."
"Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord's words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint? Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills."
"He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower and animal part of his nature, deserves to be called a beast rather than a man."
"Whoever wishes to make progress in perfection should use particular diligence in not allowing himself to be led away by his passions, which destroy with one hand the spiritual edifice which is rising by the labors of the other. But to succeed well in this, resistance should be begun while the passions are yet weak; for after they are thoroughly rooted and grown up, there is scarcely any remedy."
"We ought to deal kindly with all, and to manifest those qualities which spring naturally from a heart tender and full of Christian charity; such as affability, love and humility. These virtues serve wonderfully to gain the hearts of men, and to encourage them to embrace things that are more repugnant to nature."
"It ought to be considered a great misfortune, not only for individuals, but also for Houses and Congregations, to have everything in conformity with their wishes; to go on quietly, and to suffer nothing for the love of God. Yes, consider it certain that a person or a Congregation that does not suffer and is applauded by all the world is near a fall."
"Humility and charity are the two master-chords: one, the lowest; the other, the highest; all the others are dependent on them. Therefore it is necessary, above all, to maintain ourselves in these two virtues; for observe well that the preservation of the whole edifice depends on the foundation and the roof. "
Today, in many parts of the world, the Catholic Church commemorates the feast of Our Lady of Ransom, also known as Our Lady of Mercy or Nuestra Señora de la Merced.
The Blessed Virgin appeared in 1218 in separate visions to St. Peter Nolasco, St. Raymund of Penafort, and James, king of Aragon, asking them to found a religious order dedicated to freeing Christian captives from the barbarous Saracens or Moors, who at that time held a great part of Spain. On August 10, 1218, King James established the royal, military and religious Order of our Lady of Ransom (first known as the Order of St. Eulalia, now known as the Mercedarian Order), with the members granted the privilege of wearing his own arms on their breast. Most of the members were knights, and while the clerics recited the divine office in the commanderies, they guarded the coasts and delivered prisoners. This pious work spread everywhere and produced heroes of charity who collected alms for the ransom of Christians, and often gave themselves up in exchange for Christian prisoners.
Patrons: Barcelona, Spain; people named Clemency, Mercedes, Mercedez, Merced or Mercy.
Today is the memorial of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968).
St. Pio is one of my favorite saints. Miracles happened everyday of his life. He was a priest, a mystic, and a stigmatist who possessed many rare and mysterious gifts. He was bi-locational, that is, he appeared in two places at one time. He was able to communicate with others through mental telepathy. When he thought of them, they began to smell the scent of violets, which they associated with him. In the Confessional, he was able to tell people their sins in detail, even those which they did not confess to him. Through the simple means of touch, he was able to heal others. God had blessed him with an abundance of gifts that he used wisely to build up the body of Christ and to convert sinners.
Padre Pio was born in 1887 in the small village of Pietrelcina in southern Italy, the son of a shepherd. His baptized name was Francesco (Francis) Forgione. He joined the Capuchin friars at the age of 16 and was ordained as a priest seven years later. He spent fifty years at the monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he was very much sought after as a spiritual advisor, confessor, and intercessor. Throughout his life, he experienced many mysterious health problems, suffering from high fevers and, at one time, was thought to have tuberculosis.
While praying before a crucifix, Padre Pio received the stigmata at the age of 31 and bore the wounds of Christ for fifty years. He was the first priest ever to be so blessed. The doctor who examined Padre Pio was unable to detect any natural cause for the wounds. When Padre Pio died in 1968, the wounds completely disappeared. In fact, there was not even any scaring of the skin, which was completely renewed, fulfilling a prediction that Padre Pio had made 50 years earlier that upon his death the wounds would heal.
Word of Padre Pio spread and after World War II, many traveled to see him both out of curiosity and piety. He was an extremely popular confessor and spent 18 hours a day in the confessional with people who came from all over the world to confess their sins to him. He possessed the gift of reading the hearts the penitents and he knew exactly the right words to say to bring healing, counsel, and encouragement to the sinner and to bring him closer to God.Padre Pio's humility -- manifested through his constant devotion to the Eucharist -- was impressive. He would often remark, "I only want to be a friar who prays."
Padre Pio entered Eternal Life on September 23, 1968 and was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. He died a few days after the fiftieth anniversary of his receiving the stigmata, and over 100,000 people attended his funeral. The pilgrimage town of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he lived for nearly all his life, is visited by approximately 8 million people a year.
A Few of My Favorite Padre Pio Quotes
Prayer is the best armor we have, it is the key which opens the heart of God.
Pray, hope and don't worry. Anxiety doesn't help at all. Our Merciful Lord will listen to your prayer.
Don't spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: Lift up your spirit, and love God.
Our present life is given only to gain the eternal one and if we don't think about it, we build our affections on what belongs to this world, where our life is transitory. When we have to leave it we are afraid and become agitated. Believe me, to live happily in this pilgrimage; we have to aim at the hope of arriving at our Homeland, where we will stay eternally. Meanwhile we have to believe firmly that God calls us to Himself and follows us along the path towards Him. He will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for our greater good. He knows who we are and He will hold out His paternal hand to us during difficulties, so that nothing prevents us from running to Him swiftly. But to enjoy this grace we must have complete trust in Him.
Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.
You must speak to Jesus also with the heart, besides with the lips; indeed, in certain cases you must speak to Him only with the heart.
Oh, how precious time is! Blessed are those who know how to make good use of it. Oh, if only all could understand how precious time is, undoubtedly everyone would do his best to spend it in a praiseworthy manner!
The gates of Heaven are open for all creatures. (who repent) Remember Mary Magdalene.
A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
My heart feels as if it were being drawn by a superior force each morning just before uniting with Him in the Blessed Sacrament. I have such a thirst and hunger before receiving Him that it's a wonder I don't die of anxiety. I was hardly able to reach the Divine Prisoner in order to celebrate Mass. When Mass ended I remained with Jesus to render Him thanks. My thirst and hunger do not diminish after I have received Him in the Blessed Sacrament, but rather, increase steadily. Oh, how sweet was the conversation I held with Paradise this morning. The Heart of Jesus and my own, if you will pardon my expression, fused. They were no longer two hearts beating but only one. My heart disappeared as if it were a drop in the ocean.
Prayer for the Intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Dear God, You graciously blessed Your servant, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, with the gifts of the Spirit. You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and death of Your Son. Endowed with the with the gift of discernment, St. Pio labored endlessly in the confessional for the salvation of souls. with reverence and intense devotion in the celebration of Mass, he invited countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Through the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, I confidently beseech You to grant me the grace of (here state your petition). Amen. Glory be to the Father...(three times).
For more information on St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, go here.You will find some beautiful black and white photographs of him here. For favorite prayers of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, as well as prayers for his intercession, go here. To read his writings, go here. Find out more about the stigmata and his other mystical gifts, such as bilocation. St. Pio also had great devotion to his guardian angel.
A record 238 locations in the US, Canada, Australia, England, Northern Ireland and Denmark are participating 40 Days for Life campaigns of prayer and fasting from today, September 22, through to October 31.
40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life effort that consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion, 40 days of peaceful vigil in front of abortion clinics, and 40 days of community outreach.
This unified effort has seen more than 350,000 people joined together in an historic display of unity to pray and fast for an end to abortion.
The annual Life Chain, a pro-life prayer and witness event, will take place this year in cities across the United States and Canada on Sunday October 3.
Life Chain involves an hour of silent prayer and public witness and will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. It is a peaceful, prayerful public witness on sidewalks along major streets in towns and cities, in which participants pray for our nation and for an end to abortion. Participants hold signs reading "Abortion Kills Children," "Abortion Hurts Women," "Jesus Forgives and Heals" and "Adoption: The Loving Option" before passers-by and motorists.
Above all else, National Life Chain Sunday 2010 urges the corporate church across the U.S., Canada, and beyond to end its abandonment of preborn humanity. Toward that urgency, Life Chain asks clergy to please lead their people, young and old, to their local sidewalks on Sunday afternoon, October 3, to earnestly seek God's intervention. The church's détente with child killing must end. Pulpit and pew must contend for mercy and justice. Wrote Yehuda Bauer of the Jewish Holocaust: "Thou shalt not be a victim; thou shalt not be a perpetrator; but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander."
Much as Nazism relied on church apathy to enable cruelty, Supreme Court jurists in 1973 saw in America a church given notably to self-interest, materialism, and an unmistakable aversion to children. They foresaw complaint without care, fret without fight, and loss of integrity without shame. Following Roe v. Wade, church structures grew in size, elegance, and comfort as deaths of mutilated preborn Americans rose to the tens of millions. Then, in 1992, the Court revisited child aversion and reconfirmed Roe with words that speak volumes about church and culture. Wrote the Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: "...the abortion decision is of the same character as the decision to use contraception [and] for two decades...people have organized intimate relationships [and relied] on the availability of abortion in the event contraception should fail."
Valued and vitally needed pastors in the Western nations, the traditional seat of Christendom, where are your voices and battle readiness? Oh, that bold watchmen would emerge and mold a deliverance plan for those who cannot speak. Have our youngest fellow citizens lost their intrinsic worth? Do they no longer bleed? Or anguish helplessly when brutal instruments dismember their fragile bodies? With the many shepherds on duty, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, must the lambs have no safe haven? And for how long must lay pro-life leaders strive vainly for a breakthrough that only the pulpit can achieve? God has surely warned us (Psalm 82:3-4; Prov. 24:10-12; Isa. 58:6-7; Jer. 5:28 and 6:14; Amos 5:21-22; Matt. 25:35; James 1:27), that our eyes might see and ears hear. But we have not heeded during four decades of mounting bloodguilt and dishonor.
Into his 1900-year history of pro-life, George Grant wrote of the Abortion Holocaust: "It seems that during much of the twentieth century, the memory of the church was erased. Its books, its culture, and its history were all but destroyed in the mad rush toward modernity. The community of faith forgot what it was and what it should have been. The result was that, despite the heroic efforts of a remnant of dissenters, the needy, the innocent, and the helpless lost their one sure advocate.... The only urgency that drove much of the church during this dark period in history was its own satisfaction." German theologian Helmut Thielicke wrote of worship and worshippers in his homeland during the Nazi era: "The church had overlooked its greatest danger, namely that in gaining the whole world it might lose its own soul."
A literal holocaust in America? How could it be? In Western nations, no failure exceeds pulpit omission of why God instituted marriage and family. Few Christians hear that vital sermon today, due to clerical complacency and fear of the shunned c-word contraception. Scripture tells us that God created earth that He might create man for relationship and worship. Freed of fornication through sacred marriage, man was to procreate and "fill the earth," thus providing God His eternal worshippers, in vast number. But we the church befell a seductive scheme. Aided over several decades by birth preventives that the church affirmed with silence, the spirit of child aversion and its allies groomed the path for legal abortion, the homosexual movement, cohabitation and divorce, illegitimacy and STD epidemics, each an arch-enemy of holy matrimony. Today, biblical marriage of man and woman is despised in many U.S. courts and struggles for survival. Warns Job 9:24: "When a land has been given into the hands of the wicked, God blindfolds its judges." The best defender of biblical marriage is found in devout love and security for God's future worshippers -- precious preborn children and their progeny. To forsake them is perilous, for when God "avenges blood," Psalm 9:12 affirms, "He does not forget the cry of the afflicted."
January 6th, 1937. It was as if a world leader had died. But it was only the humble, simple Brother from Montreal. Forty-five years later, he is beatified in Rome. Not even 30 years more, on October 17th, 2010, he is canonized. This makes him the first male Canadian-born saint and the first saint of the Congregation of Holy Cross. But Brother André would be the first to laugh about this chain of events. He would say, "I am a man, just like one of you."
Salt + Light Television brings audiences the beauty and inspiration of Brother André Bessette's story, through the documentary God's Doorman: St. André of Montreal. Br. André's life and ministry of compassion still speak to us today. Produced by Mary Rose Bacani and Sébastien Lacroix, this high-definition production features beautiful scenes and interviews from Montreal, Rome, and parts of the United States where Brother André's spirit still lives.
Thomas García was the son of a miller who was born in the village of Villanova de los Infantes, Castille, Spain in 1486. He studied theology at the University of Alcalá, where he later taught arts, logic, and philosophy.
Thomas was offered the chair of philosophy at the prestigious University of Salamaca, but declined it, but, instead, entered the Augustinian Order. Ordained to the priesthood in 1520, he celebrated his first Mass on Christmas day. Thomas served as prior of the Augustinian houses in Salamaca, Burgos, and Valladolid, and was later elected provincial of Andalusia and Castile. As provincial, he sent the first Augustinian missionaries to the New World to evangelize what is now modern Mexico.
Thomas' many gifts, particularly his scholarship, powerful oratory, skills as a mediator and administrator, and his love and compassion for others, brought him to the attention of Emperor Charles V, who appointed him court chaplain and later archbishop of Valencia in 1544.
The intellectual legacy of Thomas is reflected in his constant demand that all learning must be inspired by the desire for God. Thomas cerebrated learning as an activity that ought to make a difference in the community and in the world. He emphasized that justice and love are the guiding rules of virtue and learning. In Thomas' writings we find a rich synthesis of the thought of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, especially his emphasis on the innate desire for God in all peoples, the image of God in the human person, the power of grace, and a theology of love.
Thomas found himself in an ecclesiastical world that was fraught with turmoil and struggles for power. His scathing attacks on his fellow bishops earned him the title of reformer, but they were motivated by a genuine desire that church leadership personify the teachings of the Beatitudes. Thomas challenged all within the Church to serve the least powerful, and discover love and wisdom in the service of others.
Thomas was known as the "father of the poor." He established many social programs for the poor, including boarding schools and high schools for poor young men. He provided dowries for young women, enabling them to be married with dignity. He also created a soup kitchen for the poor in the Bishop's palace, and provided shelter for the homeless.
In August of 1555, Thomas became ill with angina pectoris. As he lay dying, Thomas insisted that all his money be distributed to the poor. At the conclusion of Holy Mass in his room, shortly after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, his last words were "In manus tuas, Domine..." ("Into Your hands, O Lord [I commend my spirit]").
Thomas was canonized on November 1, 1658.
Patronage: Genzano di Roma, Italy
Symbols: open purse; wallet; bishop's mitre; book; bag of coins.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- His television heyday was more than a half-century ago, but Archbishop Fulton Sheen continues to impress Catholics and serve as a source of admiration and inspiration.
One way it will be demonstrated is with the screening of a new biography, "Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Servant of All," Oct. 4 in New York at St. Malachy's Church, the "actor's chapel" in Manhattan's theater district.
Today is the feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.
St. Matthew was born at Capernaum. He was working as a tax collector when Jesus called him to be one of the twelve apostles. He wrote his gospel in Hebrew. His gospel, with its familiar references to the messianic prophecies, throws light on the continuity between the covenants. Moreover, his vocation is one of the most popular episodes in the life of Jesus, because of the personality of the one called the tax collector and the revelation of redeeming love that concludes and crowns the story. Matthew's position as tax collector equated with collaboration with the enemy by those from whom he collected taxes. Jesus' contemporaries were surprised to see Christ with a traitor, but Jesus explained that he had come "not to call the just, but sinners."
"Mark and Luke call Matthew by his Jewish name Levi and Mark says that he was "the son of Alphaeus" (Mark 2:14). He may have been the brother of James, who is also called the "the son of Alphaeus" (Mark 3:18). The name Matthew means "gift of Yaweh" and it is possible that he was given this name when he followed Jesus.
Because of his profession, Jews of strict observance would have nothing to do with him, for he fell under a religious ban. He was despised by the Pharisees who hated all publicans (tax collectors for the Romans). Therefore, his response to the call of Jesus to follow him is all the more remarkable, as he stood up at once, "leaving everything behind" (Luke 5: 28).
Matthew's Gospel is given pride of place in the canon of the New Testament, and was written to convince Jewish readers that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. He preached among the Jews for 15 years; his audiences may have included the Jewish enclave in Ethiopia, and places in the East.
In art, St. Matthew is represented by an angel holding a pen or an inkwell.
Saint Matthew is the patron of: accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, financial officers, guards, money managers, Salerno, Italy, security forces, security guards, stockbrokers, tax collectors, the diocese of Trier, Germany.
Brian Wood, a 33-year-old resident of Vancouver, B.C., was killed in an auto collision on September 3, when the driver of an oncoming SUV lost control of the vehicle and crossed the road into his lane. His wife, Erin Wood, said that Brian acted just in time to save her, and their unborn child expected to be born in November, by sacrificing himself.
Evidence from the crash, which also killed two passengers in the other vehicle's back seat, supported Ms. Wood's description of her late husband's final act: unable to avoid the errant SUV, Brian Wood slammed the brakes and swerved his side of the car toward the oncoming vehicle, ensuring his certain death but protecting his wife, pregnant with their first child.
“I think it's pretty obvious … that if it would have been a head-on crash, we both would have been killed instantly, along with our baby,” Erin Wood told NBC's Today Show on September 13. “He definitely saved us. He made that choice, and I'm thankful for that.”
Brian Wood, a video game developer, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Police suspect that the driver of the other vehicle lost control due to distraction, as well as possible impairment from a variety of illegal drugs which were found in the car.
Erin Wood told the Today Show that the final sacrifice made by her husband of five years was in keeping with the way he had lived, “It's not a surprise at all. He was very excited for this baby, and always … incredibly loving towards me, and putting me first.”
Despite the predicted protests, the Pope's visit to Britain brought a uniformly positive response from politicians, other faith leaders and the thousands of Catholics who turned out to see him. Below is a selection of their reactions:
The Queen said: "Your Holiness, in recent times you have said that religions can never become vehicles of hatred, that never by invoking the name of God can evil and violence be justified.
"Today, in this country, we stand united in that conviction. We hold that freedom to worship is at the core of our tolerant and democratic society.
Today is the memorial of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr, St. Paul Chong, martyr, and companions. During the persecutions of 1839, 1846, 1866, and 1867, one hundred and three Christians in Korea gave their lives as martyrs. The martyrs included clergy, but were, for the most part, members of the laity. They consecrated the rich beginnings of the Church in Korea with their blood. Among them were Fr. Andrew Kim of Taegon, the first Korean priest and pastor, and Paul Chong of Hasang, a lay apostle.
St. Andrew Kim Taegon was born into a noble Korean family. He traveled to China to become a Catholic priest and he was ordained in Macao. When he returned to Korea, as the first native priest, he was arrested, tortured, and eventually beheaded.
Paul Chong Hasang was a seminarian, aged 45. As a layman, he was one of the great founders of the Catholic Church in Korea. He was persecuted before he could be ordained.
"We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?"
~St. Andrew Kim Taegon
"I urge you to remain steadfast in faith, so that at last we will all reach heaven and there rejoice together."
~ Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, Final Exhortation
It is interesting to note that during the Korean War of 1950 - 53 many priests, nuns, and lay people were killed or expelled. In today's still divided Korea, the Church flourishes in the South, both in terms of numbers and intellectually, but it remains underground in the North.
"The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by laypeople. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast of 10,000 martyrs. The death of these many martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today's splendid flowering of the Church in Korea. Even today their undying spirit sustains the Christians of the Church of Silence in the north of this tragically divided land."
~Pope John Paul II at the canonization of the Korean Martyrs, May 6, 1984
To learn more about the Korean martyrs commemorated today, go here.
Almighty Father, You have created all nations and You are their salvation. In the land of Korea, Your call to the Catholic faith formed a people of adoption whose growth You nurtured by the blood of Saints Andrew, Paul, and their companions. Through their intercession, give us the strength to always remain faithful to Your commandments and to courageously and boldly proclaim the gospel message to all your people through our actions and our words. We ask this through in the precious name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Today is the optional memorial of St. Robert Bellarmine. The third of ten children, Robert was born at Montepulciano, Italy, in October 4, 1542. His mother, Cinzia Cervini, a niece of Pope Marcellus II, was dedicated to almsgiving, prayer, meditation, fasting, and mortification of the body.
In 1560 Robert Bellarmine entered the Society of Jesus, finishing his studies at Louvain, Belgium. He easily ranks among its greatest men, illustrious for learning as well as for piety, humility, and simplicity of heart. He defended the Apostolic See against the anti-clericals in Venice and against the political tenets of James I of England. His most famous work is The Controversies, a collection of the lectures he delivered at the Roman College. In it, he set out the teaching of the Fathers, the Councils and the Church Law to victoriously defend the dogmas of the Church which were being attacked by heretics.
He was made a Cardinal in 1599, but after a disagreement with the Pope was sent as bishop to Capua in 1602. He was a very pastoral bishop, visiting, preaching and teaching, and giving the example of a truly Christian life. He returned to Rome in 1605, and died in 1621.
He is the patron of canon lawyers; canonists; catechists; catechumens; archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio.
"Sweet Lord, you are meek and merciful." Who would not give himself wholeheartedly to your service, if he began to taste even a little of your fatherly rule? What command, Lord, do you give your servants? "Take my yoke upon you," you say. And what is this yoke of yours like? "My yoke," you say, "is easy and my burden light." Who would not be glad to bear a yoke that does no press hard but caresses? Who would not be glad for a burden that does not weigh heavy but refreshes? And so you were right to add: "And you will find rest for your souls." And what is this yoke of yours that does not weary, but gives rest? It is, of course, that first and greatest commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart." What is easier, sweeter, more pleasant, than to love goodness, beauty, and love, the fullness of which you are, O Lord, my God?"
~ Saint Robert Bellarmine, from The Ascent of the Mind to God
Fr. Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Chicago will begin broadcasting a weekly national television show on WGN America to reach Catholics and others searching for Christ. He will be the first priest since Archbishop Fulton Sheen to have a regular, national program on a commercial television network.
Fr. Barron, a professor at University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, runs the global media ministry called “Word on Fire.”
His WGN America show will be titled “Word on Fire with Father Barron.” It will premier at 8:30 a.m. Central Time on Sunday, Oct. 3. It will also run on WGN Chicago at 9:30 a.m.
“Now is the time to reach out to Catholics and others who are searching for meaning in their lives or who have left the Church because they are disillusioned,” Fr. Barron said. “In each episode, our mission will be to encourage believers and bring the transformative power of the Gospel to the culture.”
Today is the memorial of Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian. These two contemporaries, martyred in 253 and 258 respectively, were linked by one particular issue: what to do with those Christians who lapsed through fear in time of persecution, and then wished to return? An influential Roman priest, Novatian, maintained that they could not be forgiven (along with murderers, adulterers and those in second marriages). Cornelius and Cyprian strongly took the opposite view.
A Roman priest, Cornelius was elected Pope in 251 to succeed Fabian, at the time of the persecution of the Christians by the Emperor Decius. Novatian denied the Church’s authority to forgive serious sins, such as abandoning the faith during a time of danger. Novatian even had himself consecrated as a rival bishop of Rome, thereby becoming an anti-pope. Pope Cornelius, backed by St. Cyprian and Saint Dionysius, upheld the Church’s teaching, and allowed sinners to do penance and return to the Church. In 253, St. Cornelius was exiled by the authorities, and died shortly afterwards of ill-treatment. Because of this, was considered a martyr. A document from Cornelius shows the size of the Church in his papacy 46 priests, 7 deacons, 7 subdeacons, and approximately 50,000 Christians.
Cyprian, a brilliant thinker and speaker, was a native of Carthage in North Africa. At the age of 46, he was converted to Christianity and three years later was unanimously elected Bishop by the local Christian clergy and people. He was an energetic shepherd of souls and a prolific writer. He defended the unity of the Church against schismatic movements in Africa and Italy, and greatly influenced the shaping of Church discipline relative to reinstating Christians who had apostatized. He fled during the Decian persecution but guided the Church by means of letters. During the Valerian persecution (258) he was beheaded.
Together Cornelius and Cyprian share a feast day to remind us of the unity that the Church should always practice and celebrate. This unity is a mark of the presence of Jesus who is at the Center.
Cornelius is the patron saint against ear ache; against epilepsy; fever; cattle; domestic animals. Cyprian is the patron saint of Algeria and North Africa.
Collect: God our Father, in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian you have given your people an inspiring example of dedication to the pastoral ministry and constant witness to Christ in their suffering. May their prayers and faith give us courage to work for the unity of your Church. 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.
Roland Joffe, director of the movies The Mission and The Killing Fields, has released a teaser trailer to his new film, Let There Be Dragons, which encapsulates the early life of Saint Josemaria Escriva. The film will debut in Spring 2011. This is a new teaser trailer which I like better than the the first one. I blogged about this film in August, but it now has an official website and you can now follow it on Twitter now. Official Facebook Page: http://ping.fm/14aKP
This feast dates back to the 12th century. It was especially promoted by the Cistercians and the Servites, so much so that in the 14th and 15th centuries it was widely celebrated throughout the Catholic Church. In 1482 the feast was added to the Missal under the title of "Our Lady of Compassion." Pope Benedict XIII added it to the Roman Calendar in 1727 on the Friday before Palm Sunday. In 1913, Pope Pius X fixed the date on September 15. The title "Our Lady of Sorrows" focuses on Mary's intense suffering during the passion and death of Christ. "The Seven Dolors," the title by which it was celebrated in the 17th century, referred to the seven swords that pierced the Heart of Mary. The feast is like an octave for the birthday of Our Lady on September 8th. — Excerpted from Our Lady of Sorrows by Fr. Paul Haffner (Inside the Vatican, September 2004)
This feast is dedicated to the spiritual martyrdom of Mary, Mother of God, and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son, Jesus. In her suffering as co-redeemer, she reminds us of the tremendous evil of sin and shows us the way of true repentance. May the numerous tears of the Mother of God be conducive to our salvation; with which tears Thou, O God, art able to wash away the sins of the whole world.
As Mary stood at the foot of the Cross on which Jesus hung, the sword of sorrow Simeon had foretold pierced her soul. Below are the seven sorrows of Mary:
The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15)
Loss of the Child Jesus for three days (Luke 2:41-50)
Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary (Luke 23:27-31; John 19:17)
Crucifixion and Death of Jesus (John 19:25-30)
The body of Jesus being taken from the Cross (Psalm 130; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:31-37)
The burial of Jesus (Isaiah 53:8; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Mark 15:40-47)
Symbols: heart pierced with a sword; heart pierced by seven swords; winged heart pierced with a sword; flowers: red rose, iris (meaning: "sword-lily"), cyclamen.
Patron: people named Dolores, Dolais, Deloris, Dolorita, Maria Dolorosa, Pia, and Pieta.
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF SORROWS
O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion, and the death of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion, and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that, being disengaged from all undue affection for the passing joys of this earth, I may sigh after the eternal Jerusalem, and that henceforward all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed towards this one most desirable object. Honor, glory, and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and immaculate Mother of God. Amen.
Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This feast is also called the Triumph of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, or Roodmas.
The public veneration of the Cross of Christ originated in the fourth century, beginning with the miraculous discovery of the cross on September 14, 326, by Saint Helen, mother of Constantine, while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem -- the same day that two churches built at the site of Calvary by Constantine were dedicated.
In the Western Church, the feast came into prominence in the seventh century, after Emperor Heraclius of Constantinople recaptured the cross of Christ from the Persians and returned it to Jerusalem.
On this feast day, we honor the Holy Cross by which Christ redeemed the world. The Cross -- because of what it represents -- is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. We revere the instrument by which Jesus Christ, Our Lord, saved us. Once an object of scorn, the cross has become our “glory."
We, too, embrace the cross which He gives to us, because, as Christians, we are given the honor to share in His sufferings. If we stand up for Him in our beliefs, we can expect to be mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted for our beliefs. But, we can also expect that Jesus Christ will be there with us, in the midst our sufferings, sharing in our pain, and conquering the anguish, despair, and sorrow, replacing it with His peace, hope, and joy.
Father Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life, tells us “Jesus Christ was not crucified by the power of wicked men, but by the silence of good men.” Let us speak out boldly our Christian beliefs and never yield to the temptation to remain silent – especially when it comes to defending human life. Let us kneel at the foot of the cross and adore. Let us kneel at the foot of the cross and emulate Him whom we love. Let us kneel at the foot of the cross and surrender our hearts to the One who loves us.
The Cross contains in itself the mystery of salvation, because, in the Cross, Love is lifted up. This is the lifting up of Love to the supreme point in the history of the world: in the Cross Love is lifted up and the Cross is at the same time lifted up through Love. And from the height of the Cross, love comes down to us. Yes: "The Cross is the most profound condescension of God to man . . . The Cross is like a touch of eternal love upon the most painful wounds of man’s existence" (Pope John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia,8)
Collect: God our Father, in obedience to you, your only Son accepted death on the cross for the salvation of mankind. We acknowledge the mystery of the cross on earth. May we receive the gift of redemption in heaven. We ask 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.
Saint Quotes on Suffering and the Cross
"From here on earth, Love cannot live without suffering. It is through loving the cross that we discover His Heart, for divine Love never lives without suffering. I want my whole life to be inspired by love. He who loves, does all things easily, or, if he suffers, he suffers bravely. Why is suffering necessary? Because on earth, pure love cannot exist without suffering. O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours!"
~ St. Bernadette Soubirous
"Jesus said to me; 'How many times would you have abandoned Me, my son, if I had not crucified you. Beneath the cross, one learns love, and I do not give this to everyone, but only to those souls who are dearest to Me."
~ St. Pio of Pietrelcina
"We are co-redeemers of the world. And souls are not redeemed without the cross."
Today is the memorial of St. John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407), a famous and controversial fourth century bishop and doctor of the Church.
Born in Antioch, he studied law as a young man, but then went off to the mountains and became a hermit for several years. In 381, he became a deacon and was later ordained as a priest and served in his native city of Antioch. It was there that his powerful and eloquent oratory earned him the title "Chrysostom" (golden-mouthed). His homilies ranged from the Gospels to personal conversion to the moral reformation of society. He delivered 88 sermons alone on the Gospel of St. John.
He was offered the position of Bishop of Constantinople (the imperial capital), which he initially declined, but finally accepted in 398 John. John tried to avoid politics as he exercised his pastoral duties, but often became involved in controversy. His sermons were frequently critical of the rich and powerful, which made him numerous enemies. He also prevented the sale of ecclesiastical offices and called for fidelity in marriage, which further alienated the aristocracy.
In 403 John's enemies, led by the empress and the bishop of Alexandria, charged him with heresy and misdeeds. The emperor sent him into temporary exile, but soon recalled him; in 404, however, John was exiled permanently, first to Armenia, then to Spain, where he died in 407 after several years of suffering and physical exhaustion. His body is at St. Peter's in Rome His last words were, "Glory to God for all things."
He is honored as a Doctor of the Eucharist for his eloquent witness to the Real Presence. With St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Basil, he forms the group of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church.
Symbols: Beehive; chalice on Bible; white dove; scroll or book; pen and inkhorn; bishop's mitre.
"Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born. Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?"
"We should not bear it with bad grace if the answer to our prayer is long delayed. Rather let us because of this show great patience and resignation. For He delays for this reason: that we may offer Him a fitting occasion of honoring us through His divine providence. Whether, therefore, we receive what we ask for, or do not receive it, let us still continue steadfast in prayer. For to fail in obtaining the desires of our heart, when God so wills it, is not worse than to receive it ; for we know not as He does, what is profitable to us."
"Chastity uplifts sex to its true nobility and dignity. It gives sex its true beauty and glory. Chastity enables us, through our sexuality, to give glory to Christ in our body."
Here is one of my favorite Catholic movies. This is a must-see:
Maximilian Schell stars as the "flying friar", St. Joseph of Cupertino, in this heartwarming and amazing true story of the humble Franciscan friar who literally rose to sainthood. In the impoverished village of 17th-century Cupertino, Italy, Joseph's peasant mother (Lea Padovani) convinces the reluctant abbot (Harold Goldblatt) to accept her uneducated son into the monastery. With the support of the kindly local bishop (Akim Tamiroff) who sees in him a great deal more than others, and by a series of miraculous incidents, the simple but deeply pious Joseph is ordained a priest. Yet some in the monastery, including the sceptical Don Raspi (Ricardo Montalban), are convinced that it is the devil, not God, who is responsible for Joseph's amazing powers—and it will take a miracle to change their minds. A profound and humorous film for all ages!
Today's saint of the day is St. Nicholas of Tolentino.
Nicholas was born in 1245 in Sant’Angelo in the diocese of Fermo. His middle-aged parents named him in thanksgiving to St. Nicholas of Myra, to whose shrine they had made a pilgrimage after being childless for several years.
Nicholas showed early signs of piety - at age seven he hid away in a nearby cave and prayed there like the hermits whom he had observed in the mountains.
He became an Augustinian friar at age 18 and was ordained at the age of 25. Nicholas had visions of angels reciting "to Tolentino" and took this as a sign to move to that city in 1274, where he lived the rest of his life.
Tolentino was torn by civil war and Nicholas set about restoring peace and unity to the city by preaching in the streets, which converted many souls. His ministry was so effective that it was viewed as miraculous, but he was careful not to take credit for anything. He always told those he helped, "Say nothing of this. Give thanks to God, not to me. I am only a vessel of clay, a poor sinner."
Nicholas lived an austere life, often fasting and performing works of penance. He spent long hours in prayer. He had a strong devotion for the poor souls in Purgatory, praying for them often late into the night. As a priest and religious, he was full of charity towards his brother Augustinians as well as towards the people to whom he ministered. He frequently visited the sick and cared for the poor and the needy. He had a reputation as a healer, but what people admired about him the most was his humility and obedience, his charity, his kindness and gentleness, as well as his good nature.
One day, when severely ill, he had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Augustine of Hippo, and St. Monica. They told him to eat a certain type of roll that had been marked with a cross and dipped in water. Cured, he began healing others by administering bread over which he recited Marian prayers.. The rolls became known as Saint Nicholas Bread, and are still distributed at his shrine today.
During the last years of his life Nicholas was bedridden and suffered greatly. He died in 1305, surrounded by his community and was canonized by Pope Eugene IV in 1446.
Patronage: Babies, dying people, the poor souls in purgatory, sailors, sick animals
Quote: "The heavens are not pure in the sight of Him Whom I serve; how then shall I, a sinful man, stand before Him?"
Today is the memorial of St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest who dedicated his life to the service of black slaves.
Born in Spain, the son of a farmer, Peter Claver entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained in 1615 in Cartagena, South America, where he had made his higher studies. Cartagena was the center of the infamous slave trade, where many thousands of African slaves were landed after crossing the ocean amid inhuman conditions, and then penned like animals in yards. Their terrible plight, corporal and spiritual, tore at the heart of the young Jesuit and he determined to devote himself to the alleviation of their misery. At his profession he had vowed "to be a slave of the slaves forever," and he now began to carry out this vow.
Though his main concern was the salvation of the slaves, he realized that their bodily misery needed attention first. "We must speak to them with our hands," he said, "before we can speak to them with our lips." His love and his endurance seemed boundless.
Taking only a minimum of sleep, he ministered tirelessly to the slaves, washing and tending their wounds, feeding them with food begged in the city, burying their dead, comforting them so lovingly that he appeared like an angel from heaven. He saw in them not only Christ's brothers and sisters, but souls for whom He had bled and died. He instructed the adults by means of interpreters and pictures, and during the forty years of his heroic apostolic labors he is said to have baptized over 300,000, including infants.
He fought courageously for enforcement of the law providing for the Christian marriage of the slaves and forbidding the separation of families.Every spring he conducted missions for the slaves in the country, and in fall for the sailors and traders in the city, preaching in the streets' hearing confessions for hours on end, so that he also became the apostle of Cartagena itself.
The plague struck the city in 1650, and Peter was one of its first victims. For four years he was bedridden in his cell, unable to work, and almost forgotten. However, when he announced his approaching end, crowds came to kiss his hands and feet and to take away from his cell whatever they could as relics.
He was given a public burial, and the fame of his heroism, his holiness, and his miracles soon spread throughout the world. Leo XIII declared him the patron of all missionary work among Blacks.
~ Excerpted from "A Saint A Day" by Berchman's Bittle, O.F.M. Cap. published by The Bruce Publishing Company, (c) 1958.
Patron: against slavery; foreign missions; black people; race relations; Colombia; diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana; diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Symbols: ship; cockle shell used for baptizing; usually pictured baptizing a black slave.
Quote: "To love God as He ought to be loved, we must be detached from all temporal love. We must love nothing but Him, or if we love anything else, we must love it only for His sake."