Showing posts from July, 2014

Fifteen Favorite Quotes from St. Alphonsus Liguori

St. Alphonsus Liguori, the saint of the day for August 1, is a Doctor of the Church, known for his contribution to moral theology and his great kindness. You can read a brief biography here. Here are twelve powerful quotes from this great moral theologian: 1. "Our Savior says, if you have not received the graces that you desire, do not complain to me, but blame yourself, because you have neglected to seek them from me." 2. "Realize that you may gain more in a quarter of an hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament than in all other practices of the day." 3. "It is well known, and is daily experienced by the clients of Mary, that her powerful name gives the particular strength necessary to overcome temptations against purity". 4. "I Love Jesus Christ and that is why I am on fire with the desire to give Him souls, first of all my own, and then an incalculable number of others." 5. "He who trusts himself is lost. He who trus

Francis is the first Jesuit Pope... but St. Ignatius of Loyola was the first Jesuit

Pope Francis is the most popular Jesuit in the world, but what exactly characterizes his religious Order? The charism needs to be traced back to the founder of the Society of Jesus: St. Ignatius of Loyola. CHRIS LOWNEY Author: Why the Pope Leads the Way He Leads "So the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius, created a series of spiritual exercises, a series of meditations that help people to think how they might follow Jesus in the circumstances of their own life.” The spiritual exercises are a series of meditations and prayers that were developed by St. Ignatius. Since the motto of the Order is to do things for 'God's Greater Glory,' it's no wonder that the exercises were developed to strengthen one's relationship with God: Through self awareness and reflection, for example, doing away with inner restraints. CHRIS LOWNEY Author: Why the Pope Leads the Way He Leads "Maybe I’m greedy and so I want to make choices that have to do with accumulatin

The legacy and spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola

July 31st marks the Feast Day of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. As Pope, Benedict XVI talked about the strong spirituality of the saint, who he described as a man who always put God first. BENEDICT XVI April 22, 2006 "St. Ignatius of Loyola was first and foremost a man of God. In his life, God was first. His greatest glory and his greatest service came first. He was a profoundly prayerful man from whom the daily celebration of the Eucharist was the heart and crowning point of his day. Thus, he left his followers a precious spiritual legacy that must not be lost or forgotten. Precisely because he was a man of God, St. Ignatius was a faithful servant of the Church, in which he saw and venerated the Bride of the Lord and the Mother of Christians. And from his desire to serve the Church in the most beneficial way possible, was born the special vow of obedience to the Pope, which he himself describes as "our first and principal foundation.” The Order was establ

Novena to St. Dominic starts today

Pray the following prayers once a day for 9 days. O renowned champion of the faith of Christ, most holy Saint Dominic! / You renounced the honor and dignity of an earthly principality / to embrace a poor, laborious, and mortified life / that distinguishes a disciple of Him Who said: / "If any man will come after Me, / let him take up his cross and follow Me." O burning torch, consumed by the fire of divine love, / you incessantly labored to enkindle that sacred flame in the hearts of others. / Look down upon me from that throne of glory where you enjoy the reward of all your labors. / Obtain for me some sparks of that blessed fire to animate my soul / and encourage me under my crosses and trials / to be pleasing to God so that He may visit me. O great Saint, / you regarded as nothing all the afflictions you endured / and all the toils you underwent for the promotion of God's holy cause. / Obtain, I beseech you / that the same ardent love which strengthened you,

St. Ignatius of Loyola: Knight for Christ

July 31 is the memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, priest, and founder of the Society of Jesus. St. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 in the Basque Country of Northern Spain to parents of distinguished families in that area. He was the youngest of 13 children and was called was called Iñigo. At the age of 15, he served as a page in the court of a local nobleman and later embraced a military career and became a valiant soldier. Wounded in battle by a cannonball, which broke one leg and injured the other, he was taken prisoner by the French, who set his leg and eventually allowed him to go home to Loyola. He spent his time recuperating at the home of his brother. Confined to his sick bed , he was given pious books to read, which he grudgingly accepted. To his surprise, he enjoyed them and began to dream of becoming a "knight for Christ", pursuing the ideals of St. Francis and St. Dominic. He eventually promised to devote his life to being a knight for St. Peter if he

Pope's Prayer Intentions for August

The Apostleship of Prayer announced the intentions chosen by the Pope for August. The Pope's general intention is "that refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.” For his mission intention, the Holy Father prays “that Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region."

St. Peter Chrysologus

Today, July 30, we celebrate the feast of St. Peter Chrysologus, Early Church Father, Bishop, and Doctor of the Church. He was born (380) and died (450) in Imola in northern Italy. Peter's life was full of accomplishments. An adult convert, he became a deacon, then a priest, and finally the Bishop of Ravenna in 433. He fought paganism, enforced reforms, and built several churches in his see. He performed many corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and lovingly guided his flock. As a preacher, he was recognized for his simple, plain, and humble oratorical style—delivering sermons that reached all who listened. His eloquence earned him the name “Chrysologus,” meaning “golden-worded” in Greek. Known as "The Doctor of Homilies," Peter was renowned for his short, but inspired speeches; he is said to have been afraid of boring his audience.  In his homilies, Peter urged frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, saying, “the Body of the Lord should be the daily food of

Saint Quotes on Joy

"Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity. Serve the Lord with laughter." -- St. Pio of Pietrelcina "We are not saints yet, but we, too, should beware. Uprightness and virtue do have their rewards, in self-respect and in respect from others, and it is easy to find ourselves aiming for the result rather than the cause. Let us aim for joy, rather than respectability. Let us make fools of ourselves from time to time, and thus see ourselves, for a moment, as the all-wise God sees us." -- St. Philip Neri “Let anyone who comes to you go away feeling better and happier. Everyone should see goodness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile. Joy shows from the eyes. It appears when we speak and walk. It cannot be kept closed inside us. It reacts outside. Joy is very infectious.” -- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta "Joy is a net of love by which we catch souls." -- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta "We are at Jesus’ disposal. If he wants you to be sick

St. Martha

By Jean M. Heimann July 29 is the feast of St. Martha, Virgin (who died in France around 80). Mary and Martha lived with their brother Lazarus at Bethany, a village not far from Jerusalem. They are mentioned in several episodes in the Gospels. On one occasion, when Jesus and His disciples were their guests (Luke 10:38-42), Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to Him while her sister Martha busied herself with preparing food and waiting on the guests, and when Martha complained, Jesus said that Mary had chosen the better part. When Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, had died, Jesus came to Bethany. Martha, upon being told that He was approaching, went out to meet Him, while Mary sat still in the house until He sent for her. It was to Martha that Jesus said: "I am the Resurrection and the Life." (John 11:1-44) Again, about a week before the crucifixion, as Jesus reclined at table, Mary poured a flask of expensive perfume over Jesus' feet. Mary was c

Pope: Stop the war, enough is enough!

As the conflict continues in Iraq, Ukraine and the Gaza strip, the Pope made an urgent appeal for peace during the Sunday Angelus, calling for leaders to stop the violence and work towards peace. POPE FRANCIS "Today, my thoughts turn to three areas in crisis: the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine. I ask you to join me in prayer, so that the Lord may grant these populations and their leaders, the wisdom and strength to move forward, with determination, towards a path of peace.” With thousands of people out in the Square, the Pope also addressed the suffering children face in these bloody conflicts. POPE FRANCIS "Dear Brothers and Sisters, Never resort to war! Never war! Above all, I think of all the children who are robbed of their hope for a better life and a decent future. Killed children, wounded children, mutilated children, orphans, children who play with remnants of war, instead of toys. Children who don't know how to smile. Please stop! I ask you with all my

St. Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception: First Woman Saint of India

Today, July 27th, the Church celebrates St. Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception, the first woman saint of India. Annakkutty (little Anna) was born on August 19, 1910, in Kudamaloor, a village in Kerala, India, to Joseph and Mary Muttathupadathu, the youngest of five children. She was baptized eight days later at Saint Mary's Church in Kudamaloor.  Her mother died while Annakutty was still an infant. She was raised by her maternal aunt, and educated by her great-uncle Father Joseph Muttathupadathu. Annakutty made her first Communion on November 27, 1917. In a letter to her Spiritual Father in November, 1943, she wrote: "Already from the age of seven I was no longer mine. I was totally dedicated to my Divine Spouse.” At the age of 13, Anna was badly burned on her feet when she fell into a pit of burning chaff. This accident left her permanently disabled. At the age of 20, Anna joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation.  During this time, she worked as a temporary t

Sunday Snippets: Catholic Carnival

Welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival! We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To join us, go to RAnn's blog, This That and The Other Thing. Question of the week: Do you use Facebook?  Do you promote your blog on Facebook?  Why or why not? My Answer: I have been on Facebook since 2008. When I first joined Facebook, I did so with the intention of connecting with family and friends, as well as promoting my blog. It was a very effective way of getting new followers! I continue to promote my blog there and am still getting new followers daily as a result. I plan on posting a fan page there soon to promote my writing and my new book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues . My posts this week include the following: St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church Fr. Barron on Intentional Discipleship St. Mary Magdalene: "Apostle to the Apostles" Caryll Houselander: God's Giving Hands St. Bridget

Saints Joachim and Anne

June 26 is the memorial of St. Joachim (whose name means "Yahweh prepares") and St. Anne (whose name in Hebrew means "grace"), the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus. Tradition has it they first lived in Galilee and later settled in Jerusalem where the Blessed Virgin Mary was born and raised. Joachim and Anne were a rich and pious couple who had been married for a long time, but found themselves childless. The couple prayed fervently for a child and promised to dedicate their first born to the service of God. An angel appeared to Anne and told her, "The Lord has looked upon thy tears; thou shalt conceive and give birth and the fruit of thy womb shall be blessed by all the world". Joachim also received the same message from the angel. Anne gave birth to a daughter whom she called Miriam (Mary), who was conceived without sin. As a child, Mary was taken to the temple and her parents suffered great sorrow but at the same tim

Humanae Vitae, the most debated encyclical in modern history

Paul VI published seven encyclicals in his 15-year pontificate. The last one was Humanae Vitae, perhaps one of the most debated documents in the recent history of the Church. FR. ROBERTO REGOLI Pontifical Gregorian University "For him, the intense debate over this document was so shocking that from 1968 until his death, he never published another encyclical. He wrote other documents, apostolic exhortations, letters, constitutions, but never an encyclical.” In 1968, the United States and much of the Western World were undergoing dramatic changes in their cultural and social landscape. The newer generations of students from the late 1960's rebelled against their parents' values, especially in the areas of morality and sexuality. FR. ROBERTO REGOLI Pontifical Gregorian University "Paul VI had to implement the changes of the Second Vatican Council in the middle of a wider crisis. It went beyond the Church, it was a social, political and cultural crisis.”

St. James the Greater: A Son of Thunder

Today, July 25, is the feast day of St. James the Greater. St. James, known as the Greater, in order to distinguish him from the other apostle James, our Lord's cousin. St. James the Greater was one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, the son of Zebedee and Salome, the brother of John the Evangelist, and, like him, a fisherman. James and John came to be called "Boanerges" ("Sons of Thunder") -- a name given to them by Jesus Himself -- due to their passionate preaching style and their evangelical zeal. James the Greater and his brother John were mending the nets on their boats on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus called them to follow Him to become "fishers of men." With Peter and John, he witnesses the cure of Peter's mother-in-law, the raising of Jairus' daughter, Jesus' Transfiguration, and Christ's Agony in the garden of Gethsemani. In his own ministry, James spread the gospel message to Samaria, Judea, and Spain. He returned to Je

St. Sharbel (Charbel) Makhlouf, Miracle-Worker

Today, July 24, is the feast day of Saint Sharbel (Charbel) Makhlouf, a Maronite Catholic monk from Lebanon. Sharbel is known for his great devotion to contemplative prayer and has been called "the hermit of Lebanon" and "the Wonder Worker of the East." Saint Sharbel was born in 1828 in the small mountain village of Beqa-Kafra, Lebanon. His family was poor, but pious and had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother. As a child, Sharbel tended the sheep in the fields, where he built an outdoor shrine to Our Lady, spending hours in prayer. As he matured, he also spent time reading Scriptures and  Thomas a Kempis's “The Imitation of Christ,”which was was his favorite book. At the age of twenty-three, he left his family to enter the Lebanese-Maronite Monastery, Notre-Dame de Mayfouk, later transferring to the Monastery of St. Maron monastery in Annaya. He received his religious habit and  took the name Sharbel in honor of a second-century martyr. Sharbel was o

Pope John Paul II and Gianna Beretta, patron saints of the World Meeting of Families

A Pope and a family woman. They're the saints chosen as the patrons of the 8th World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The first is St. John Paul II, canonized on April 27, and the founder of these events. FR. SLAWOMIR ODER Postulator, Sainthood cause of John Paul II "He himself said he wanted to be remember, if the Church ever remembered him... he wanted to be remembered as the Pope of life and of family. He promoted a revaluation of the family as the place where a person develops humanely, and grows spiritually.” St. Gianna Beretta was a pediatrician and mother of four, who passed away in 1962. During her fourth pregnancy, doctors discovered a tumor in her uterus. She decided to delay surgery to remove it until after the birth of her child, but by then it was too late. Beretta is considered the patron saint of pregnant women. John Paul II canonized her on May 16, 1994. The 8th World Meeting of Families will take place from September 22-27, 2015. Although it

St. Bridget of Sweden: Mystic and Visionary

On July 23, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden, who was a widow and Third Order Franciscan (1303 – 1373). She is one of the most prominent women of the Christian Middle Ages. St. Bridget is known for her astonishing revelations documented carefully by her confessors, filling several volumes. Their accounts of her visions of biblical scenes, especially the nativity and the crucifixion, have greatly inspired imagery in Christian art and her devotions have inspired popular piety. It was, however, for her practical works of charity, that e was canonized, and not for her private revelations – which had some very harsh things to say about popes. Bridget was born in Finista in Sweden. From childhood, the Lord granted her special graces, visions and an extraordinary understanding of divine mysteries. At age seven, she had a vision of the Crucified Jesus in all the suffering and sorrow of his Passion, which enkindled within her a deep devotion for our Sa

Caryll Houselander: God's Giving Hands

"To trust God means that we must know that whatever comes to us comes from his hands.  If we do not see that sorrow comes from his hand and cannot get the comfort of his love from it, it may be because we do not acknowledge our joys as his gifts. If we felt grateful for our food, for the sunlight, for our work, our homes, for those we love, if we were conscious that these were all given by God, we should have formed a clear enough idea of his love to know him; we should know him well enough to know, because we know him, that he does not want us to suffer, but allows it because there is good for us in it. To resist, to be bitter, to say it is no use, all increases the pain. To accept it gratefully from God eases the pain." "Now, is there is a way in which a busy person could practice this growing trust without having to meditate all day long?  Yes, it is very simple.  Make a mental picture of two huge giving hands, God's hands, and every so often in the day or

St. Mary Magdalene: "Apostle to the Apostles"

On July 22, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the patron of penitent sinners and contemplatives.  Her name is derived from her native town of Magdala in Galilee. She plays a vital role in the New Testament, as she was the first to announce Christ's resurrection from the dead. Scriptures tell us that she was a follower of Christ, who was exorcised of seven demons, ministered to Christ and His disciples, stood at the foot of the Cross during Jesus’ Crucifixion, went to anoint the body of Jesus before daybreak on Easter morning, and witnessed the Risen Lord. The Gospels all describe Mary Magdalene going to the tomb on Easter morning. When she saw that the tomb was empty, she stood outside, weeping. Jesus appeared to her and asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” (Jn. 20:15) She did not recognize him, however, and thought he was the gardener, until he said her name, “Mary!” (Jn. 20:16) Upon hearing this, Mary recognized him. She

Fr. Barron on Intentional Discipleship

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church

On July 21, we commemorate St. Lawrence of Brindisi, the first Capuchin Franciscan to be honored as a Doctor of the Church. St. Lawrence was born at Brindisi, in the kingdom of Naples, Italy, on July 22, 1559 and named Caesar de Rossi. He took the name Lawrence when he became a Capuchin Franciscan at the age of 16.  While still a deacon, St. Lawrence of Brindisi became known for his powerful preaching and after his ordination startled the whole of northern Italy with his amazing sermons. Because he could speak Hebrew, he worked for the conversion of the Jews living in Rome. In 1596, he became a high-ranking superior in the order, and five years later was sent to Germany with Blessed Benedict of Urbino. They founded several priories throughout Europe. Lawrence also helped to raise an army to combat the Turks in Hungary, where he won a battle against them by leading the troops into battle with only a crucifix to protect himself. In 1602, St. Lawrence became the mast

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival

It's Sunday! It's time to share our posts and to answer the question of the week. You, too, can join in the fun at Catholic Carnival by linking up at Ryann's Place.  Question of the week:  Were there any religious sisters in your parish when you were growing up?  Are there any now?  Which community (ies)? Sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame When I was attending our parish parochial school, the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame (founded in Montreal in 1652 by St. Marguerite Bourgeoys) taught there and they continue to teach there today.  At that time, they wore full habits, with full length skirts (covering the ankles) and rosaries around their waists. You can view the older habit here . Today, they dress in modern, but conservative clothing -- shorter skirts, blouses, and blazers. Here is a sampling of my blog posts for this past week: Known as the "Lily of the Mohawks" and the “Geneviève of New France,” St. Kateri Tekakwitha's

How should we deal with temptations?

Fr. James Kubicki reflects on today's gospel (Matthew 13: 24-30) and recommends ways for us to deal with temptations.

St. Macrina the Younger

The saint of the day for July 19 is St. Macrina the Younger. St. Macrina (330-380) was the eldest child in a family of saints. Her grandparents were martyrs. Her parents, Basil and Emmelia, are also recognized as saints. She was well educated by her mother and was able to read at an early age. Macrina, in turn, became the teacher of her younger brothers Basil , later bishop of Neocaesarea, and Gregory, later bishop of Nyssa , who themselves became two of the greatest teachers in the Universal Church. At age 12, Macrina was engaged to be married, but when her fiancé died quite suddenly, she decided she would not marry despite subsequent offers. Instead, she dedicated her life to raising her brothers and assisting her mother with housework, cooking, and directing the servants. She also devoted a good part of her time to prayer. After her siblings had grown up, they called her Macrina the Great, as they had in their childhood, a sign of the high respect they had for her. On the d

Saint Camillus of Lellis

The saint of the day for July 18 is St. Camillus of Lellis, founder of an order dedicated to the care of the sick. He is the patron of the sick, hospitals, and nurses. St. Camilus was born in Bacchianico, Italy in 1550 and died in Rome, Italy in 1614. His mother died while he was still a child and his father was an officer in both the Neapolitan and French royal armies, leaving him neglected. While still a youth, he became a soldier in the service of Venice and later of Naples, remaining there until 1574. While Camillus referred to himself as a great sinner, his only vice seemed to be gambling. He gambled away everything he had and, to atone for actions, he went to work as a laborer on the new Capuchin buildings in Manfredonia. Here, after a moving appeal from the Friar, he completed his conversion and begged God for mercy, at the age of twenty-five. Camillus entered the Capuchin novitiate three times, but a nagging leg injury, received while fighting the Turks, each time for

Short Novena Prayers to St. Anne

This novena prayer, although short is sufficient. It would be better of course to add, if time permits, three Hail Marys. This novena begins on July 17 and ends on July 26. Prayer: O Good St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, you who are so powerful in heaven, heal us of all our bodily ills and pray for our soul's salvation. Good St. Anne, pray for us. St. Joachim, spouse of St. Anne, and father of the Blessed Virgin, bring to your servants assistance and salvation. Related: Novena to St. Anne begins July 17

US Senate fails to curtail religious freedom

Thanks be to God! So very happy to share the good news: In a procedural vote, the United States Senate decided not to consider the “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014,” a bill that would curtail religious freedom in response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. Fifty-six senators-- four shy of the number necessary-- voted to consider the bill, while 43 opposed it. “While the outcome of today’s vote is a relief, it is sobering to think that more than half the members of the US Senate, sworn to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States, would vote for a bill whose purpose is to reduce the religious freedom of their fellow Americans,” said Jayd Henricks, director of government relations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “We need more respect for religious freedom in our nation, not less.” Via Catholic World News.

The Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne

On July 17, 1794, sixteen Carmelites caught up in the French Revolution were guillotined at the Place du Trône Renversé (now called Place de la Nation), in Paris. When the revolution started in 1789, a group of twenty-one discalced Carmelites lived in a monastery in Compiegne France, founded in 1641. The monastery was ordered closed in 1790 by the Revolutionary gov­ernment, and the nuns were disbanded. Sixteen of the nuns were accused of living in a religious community in 1794. They were arrested on June 22 and imprisoned in a Visitation convent in Compiegne There they openly resumed their religious life. For a full twenty months before their execution, the sisters came together in an act of consecration “whereby each member of the community would join with the others in offering herself daily to God, soul and body in holocaust to restore peace to France and to her Church.” The nuns were not just mere victims of the Revolution overcome by circumstances. Each contemplated he

Novena to St. Anne begins July 17

Saint Anne’s feast day is on July 26th, so the St. Anne Novena is traditionally started on July 17th; however, you can pray it anytime. St. Anne (Hebrew, Hannah, grace; also spelled Ann, Anne, Anna) is the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the grandmother of Jesus, and the wife of Joachim. She is mentioned in the Apocrypha, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back to the second century. Devotion to St. Anne dates back to the sixth century in the Church of Constantinople and the eighth century in Rome. St. Anne is the patron saint of the province of Quebec, where the well-known shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre , (the site of many miracles) is located. She is patroness: against poverty;  of broom makers; cabinetmakers; carpenters; childless couples; equestrians; grandmothers; grandparents; homemakers; housewives; lace makers; lace workers; lost articles; miners; mothers; old-clothes dealers; pregnancy; pregnant women; horse riders; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; tu

St. John Paul II on Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Scapular

"The sign of the Scapular points to an effective synthesis of Marian spirituality, which nourishes the devotion of believers and makes them sensitive to the Virgin Mother's loving presence in their lives. The Scapular is essentially a "habit". Those who receive it are associated more or less closely with the Order of Carmel and dedicate themselves to the service of Our Lady for the good of the whole Church Those who wear the Scapular are thus brought into the land of Carmel, so that they may "eat its fruits and its good things" (cf. Jer 2: 7), and experience the loving and motherly presence of Mary in their daily commitment to be clothed in Jesus Christ and to manifest him in their life for the good of the Church and the whole of humanity." "Therefore two truths are evoked by the sign of the Scapular:  on the one hand, the constant protection of the Blessed Virgin, not only on life's journey, but also at the moment of passing into the fu

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