Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Feast of Saint Francis

Today we celebrate the feast of one of the most beloved persons in history…


Saint Francis of Assisi

Feast Day: October 4


Patron of Animals and All Who Care for the Earth
Saint Francis was born as the son of a wealthy merchant in Assisi in 1182. He loved to sing songs and party with his friends.
One day, Jesus spoke to Francis from the crucifix in the tiny chapel of San Damiano, “Go, rebuild My Church.”
Francis fell in love with Jesus. He gave away his rich clothing and wore a simple robe. He cared for the sick and needy.
He taught that everything God made, like the sun, the moon, the animals and plants, is good. God wants us to take good care of our earth.
Captivated by his sincerity and fervent heart, men and women, began to follow Francis.
Together they cared for others, especially the poor, and began to spiritually rebuild the Church.
The pope blessed Saint Francis and his followers. Saint Francis prayed and preached much.
He was the first person in history to receive the stigmata—the wounds of Jesus, and died with the words, “Welcome, Sister Death!”
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Feast of Saint Augustine


Patron of Theologians and Printers

Feast Day: August 28

Saint Augustine was born in 354, in Africa. He was very intelligent and quite popular. However, his heart was far from God. His mother, Monica, prayed every day that God would help her son. After 33 years, God answered Saint Monica’s prayers. Augustine asked Jesus to come into his heart, and God gave Augustine the gift of faith. He was baptized and gave all his goods to the poor. He became a bishop and fought the enemies of the Church by his life, preaching, and writing. Saint Augustine died in 430.

Our hearts were made for Thee, O Lord,

and restless shall they be,

until they rest in Thee.

--Saint Augustine

Friday, June 8, 2018

The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus.

 Born in France in 1647, Margaret Mary Alacoque was crippled by a disease at age 8.  After promising to give her life to Jesus’ service, she was miraculously healed through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 23, she entered the Visitation Order of Nuns.

Sister Margaret Mary loved our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament—the consecrated Body of Christ from Holy Communion, which is kept in the tabernacles of Catholic churches—very much. The world had grown cold and unresponsive to God and His offer of salvation through the grace His Son won for us all on the Cross. Over the course of a few years, Jesus appeared to Margaret, revealing to her His Sacred Heart.

The flames coming forth from Jesus’ Heart remind us of His burning love for us and His desire that we love Him in return. The crown of thorns around His Heart reminds us of His sacrifice for us and His invitation that we offer our sufferings to Him, as Saint Paul teaches us: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24).

Jesus made at least twelve promises to Sister Margaret Mary, revealing the abundance of His love and telling her how He would help those who honor His Sacred Heart. He said, “Behold this Heart which has loved men and women so much, and yet they do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.” He further promised, “I will bless every home in which an image of My Heart will be honored.”

Sister Margaret Mary died in 1690, and was canonized a saint in 1920.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker!

    "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets,
Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth."
–John 1:45

For decades, May Day was the occasion for Communist countries to parade their military power. On this day in 1955, Pope Pius XII inaugurated the celebration of Saint Joseph the Worker.  It seemed comical, even absurd, to raise up Joseph to challenge the Communist military machine on its May Day march, but look at what happened! The collapse of Communism is often attributed to God working through the prayers of His people, and especially in response to the apparitions of Mother Mary at Fatima in 1917, urging all to pray and do penance for the conversion of Russia. 

It is also true that the Lord has transformed the world through Joseph and through simple, common, obscure workers like him—and us! As Saint Paul exhorts us, "Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being. Do it for the Lord rather than for men. ... Be servants of Christ the Lord" (Colossians 3:23-24

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Epiphany of the Lord

Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
All from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.
–Isaiah 60:6

At this time there were Wise Men, called Magi, who traveled a long distance to come to Jerusalem. They went to the king, named Herod, and said to him, “Where is he who is born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the sky, and have come to worship him.”

Herod did not want to hear of any king but himself. He therefore called together the learned men in Jerusalem and asked them, “Where is the Messiah, called Christ, to be born?” They answered, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus wrote the prophet: ‘You, Bethlehem, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

Herod then said to the Magi in secret, “Go to Bethlehem and find the child. When you have found him, let me know, that I too may go and worship him.” The Magi then set out, following the star until it stopped over the place where Jesus was.
The Magi entered the house and found Jesus with his mother Mary. They worshiped the child, and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After this, they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and so they left by another way.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 12 - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

When the Spanish conquistadors came to Mexico in the 1500’s, they found primarily indigenous peoples who worshiped their own gods, even to the extent of human sacrifice. The Franciscan and Dominican missionaries had great difficulty winning souls to Jesus, partially because of the poor example of the Spanish soldiers.

Juan Diego was an Aztec Catholic living near Mexico City. Juan’s birth name was Cuauhtlatoatzin-the Talking Eagle. As he walked the seven miles to Mass on the morning of December 9th, he heard a voice calling to him. He looked up to see a beautiful young maiden dressed as an Aztec Princess appearing in a golden beam of light. The beautiful lady said she was the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. She requested Juan to have the bishop build a church on the hill of Tepeyac, so God could show His compassion through her to His people.

Juan related the request to Bishop Juan de Zumárraga. Somewhat skeptical, the bishop asked for a sign. The next morning, Juan took a different route, trying to avoid the lady until he could get a priest to administer the last rites to his dying uncle. Suddenly the Virgin Mary appeared, asking him, “Juanito, why are you walking this strange way?”

With tears streaming down his face, Juan told the beautiful lady of his dying uncle. She smiled at him and tenderly told him he had nothing to fear, as God would cure him. She then directed Juan to pick lovely red Castilian roses which miraculously bloomed that cold December day on the hillside. Amazed, Juan picked the roses. The beautiful lady then kindly arranged them in his tilma, and told him to show them to no one but Bishop Zumárraga.

The Bishop’s staff tried to discourage Juan Diego from his mission, even attempting to see what he guarded so carefully in his tilma. However, Juan courageously stood his ground and insisted he must see the bishop. Finally the bishop himself came out to see what was the matter. When he saw the bishop, Juan knelt humbly before him.

“Here is the sign you requested,” Juan said, letting the roses fall from his tilma.

But the bishop and his shocked attendants looked beyond the roses. To their surprise and wonder, the image of a beautiful Aztec Lady was imprinted on the tilma! Falling to his knees, Bishop Zumárraga accepted the sign and fulfilled Mary’s wish by building a church in her honor, where her image was enshrined.  

In the next decade, eight million Indians converted to Jesus because of this lovely lady who looked like them. They realized that God, who is not a respecter of persons, loved them as much as the European Spaniards, and that His Son had died for them as well. And from then on Our Lady of Guadalupe, “La Alma de la Gente”, took her rightful place in the souls of her children.

In 2002 at the canonization of Saint Juan Diego, Pope John Paul II declared Our Lady of Guadalupe the Patroness of both continents of the one America.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Miracle of the Sun

Today, October 13th, 2017, is the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. Here is the story:

On May 13th, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three little shepherds in the village of Fatima, Portugal. Seven-year old Jacinta, her nine-year-old brother Francisco, and their ten-year-old cousin Lucia were tending their sheep in a field called the Cova da Iria. Suddenly they saw a bright flash of light. A beautiful Lady, dressed in white and gold, appeared on a cloud over a small oak tree. A golden cord hung around her neck. Her hands were joined in prayer and she held a pearl rosary.

Mary told the children that she had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child in our century. Coming at a time when civilization was torn asunder by the untold violence of World War I, Mary promised that Heaven would grant peace to the entire world if her requests for prayer, reparation, and consecration were heard and obeyed.

Our Lady of Fatima repeatedly emphasized the necessity of praying daily, especially the Rosary, of wearing the Brown Scapular, and of performing acts of reparation and sacrifice. She also promised a sign on October 13th as proof of her messages.

A heavy rain fell all night and into the morning as a great crowd of more than 70,000 people gathered at the Cova on October 13th, 1917.  The Lady appeared to the children for the last time, more radiant than ever. “Her face was brighter than the sun,” said Francisco. “I am the Lady of the Rosary,” the Virgin Mary said. “I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not continue to offend Our Lord, who has been so deeply offended. They must pray, especially the rosary.” She said that if people amended their lives, the war would end soon. She then left the children, raising her hands toward the sky.

Someone cried, “Look at the sun!” The children looked up and saw Mother Mary with Saint Joseph and the Infant Jesus. They saw Jesus blessing the people. Meanwhile, the people were able to look at the sun without hurting their eyes. It appeared as a silver disc, and began spinning in the sky. As it danced, it cast off great shafts of colored light which flashed and fell upon the sky and the rain-soaked earth. Men and women fell to their knees and prayed as brilliant colors fell on the trees and stones. Suddenly, the sun began to zigzag! It started to fall like a wheel of fire upon the people. They cried out in fear and asked Jesus and Mary to save them. After a few moments, the sun returned to its place. The ground was completely dry, as was everyone’s clothing. The people rejoiced and praised God for the “Miracle of the Sun.” Even the secular, anti-Catholic newspapers reported the event, as did today’s Washington Post:

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot in the chest and in the abdomen at point blank range in St. Peter’s Square. He credited his miraculous escape from death to the intervention of Our Lady of Fatima. One year later he traveled to Fatima, and placed the bullet in the crown resting upon the statue of Mary there. He said, “One finger fired the bullet, but another guided its path.”

Less than 7 years later, the Berlin Wall fell without a bullet being fired, and Communism collapsed across the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.