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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A Brave Little French Girl


Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as the "Little Flower". Here is her simple yet courageous story.
Patroness of the Missions

 

Marie Frances Thérèse Martin was born in France in 1873, the youngest of five daughters. She was a happy child who loved Jesus. Her beloved mother died of breast cancer when Therese was still a young child. A few months later, Therese became so ill with a fever that people thought she was dying. She asked the Virgin Mary, whose statue was in her room, to join her in praying to God for a cure. Thérèse saw Mary smile at her and suddenly she was healed. Later in life, Thérèse would say of Mary that she was “more Mother than Queen.”

 

When Thérèse was fifteen, she longed to join the Carmelite Order as two of her sisters had done before. However, she was too young. Thérèse made a pilgrimage with her beloved Papa to Rome, where she broke ranks to kneel before the Pope and boldly ask him to let her be a Carmelite nun. The Pope liked her at once, but said she must obey the bishop, who gave his permission a few months later, and Thérèse entered the convent.

 

Thérèse spent her life praying, sacrificing, and suffering to save souls and help priests. Her hidden sacrifice did indeed convert souls. Loving and trusting in God as a child was her “little way”. Her favorite saying was from Saint John of the Cross who said, “Love is repaid by love alone.”  

 

Thérèse suffered the beginnings of tuberculosis during Holy Week of 1896. After months of suffering, she died September 30, 1897 at the age of 24, whispering, "My God, I love You!" Shortly before she died, Thérèse had written, I will return. I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.

 

Her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, has been read and loved throughout the world. On October 17, 1997, St. Thérèse of Lisieux was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.

 

As an interesting side note, Thérèse’s parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, were beatified—declared “Blessed”— by Pope Benedict at Lisieux, France, and were canonized by Pope Francis in 2015.

 

Submitted by guest blogger - Bart Tesoriero
 

 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Happy Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven!

 
 
 

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 
 

Dear friends,

 Today, August 15, is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 
What does this mean? The Church teaches that “the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed (taken up) body and soul to heavenly glory.” In other words, after her life was finished on this earth, God raised Mary up, body and soul, to be with Him in heaven forever.

Pope Pius XII pointed to the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis (3:15) as scriptural support for this teaching in terms of Mary’s victory over sin and death, as also reflected in 1 Corinthians 15:54: “then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Interestingly, the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, also speaks, in the 12th chapter, of a woman, clothed with the sun, who is caught up in the battle between good and evil. Many see this woman as a symbol both of Mary and of all God’s people. Since Mary best embodies the people of both Old and New Testament, her Assumption can be seen as an exemplification of the woman’s victory.

What does this mean for us? Mary is understood as “the first among the disciples of the Lord.” Thus, she is a sign of what God wants to do for us, and will do for us, if we follow her direction given to the servants at the wedding of Cana when she told Jesus that they had run out of wine: “Do whatever He tells you.” The servants did what Jesus told them, and He turned 150 gallons of water into wine. I’d say that wedding ended pretty well! J
 
 
Submitted by guest blogger Bart Tesoriero

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Feast of Saint Benedict

St. Benedict was born in Nursia, Italy, in 480 A.D. Educated at Rome, Benedict was repulsed by the city’s vice and degeneration, and fled to Subiaco. There he met Romanus, a monk who brought him to a secret mountain cave, where he lived as a hermit for three years. Disciples gathered around Benedict, attracted by his holiness and miraculous gifts. Some monks asked Benedict to lead them, but grew angry at his strict rule, and gave him poisoned wine. Benedict blessed the cup, which shattered before their eyes, and he returned to Subiaco.
 
 
Benedict then settled at Monte Cassino, a mountain top overlooking the beautiful southern Italian farmland. He destroyed a pagan temple, brought the inhabitants back to Christianity, and around AD 530 founded the monastery that was to be the birthplace of Western monasticism.

 
Disciples again flocked to Benedict as his reputation for holiness, wisdom, and miracles spread across the countryside. Benedict organized the monks into a single monastic community and wrote his famous Rule, prescribing common sense, moderate asceticism, prayer, study, work, and community life under one superior; it was to affect spiritual and monastic life in the West for centuries to come, as monks kept alive the light of faith and learning through the Dark Ages.

Benedict could read consciences, prophesy, and rebuff the attacks of the devil. His holiness and charisms remind us that God continues to send holy ones in our midst to help us all follow His universal call to union with Himself in true joy, peace, and service. Benedict died at Monte Cassino in 547 and was buried with his twin sister, Saint Scholastica. In 1964, Pope Paul IV named St. Benedict, the Father of Western Monasticism, as Patron Protector of Europe.

 

Saint Benedict, pray for us!

 

 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Happy Easter!


Heavenly Father, You delivered your Son

to the death of the Cross to save us from

evil. Grant us the grace of the Resurrection.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Feast of All Saints


Today the Church honors all the Saints who live now in heaven with Jesus, His Father and the Holy Spirit.

 

The earliest observance of this day was a commemoration of “all the Martyrs” in the fourth century. Later, when Christians were free to worship according to their conscience, the Church acknowledged other paths to sanctity besides dying for the Faith. In the early centuries the only criterion for sainthood was popular acclaim, even when the bishop's approval became the final step in placing a commemoration on the calendar. The first papal canonization occurred in 993 AD; the lengthy process now required to prove extraordinary sanctity took shape over the past 500 years. Today's feast honors the obscure as well as the famous—the saints each of us have known and are invited to imitate. Pope Francis said today, “The saints are not distant, but love and understand us. They are happy and want to help us to be happy with them in Paradise.”

 

“After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.

They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands....

One of the elders said to me, ‘These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;

they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’”

-Revelation 7:9, 14

 

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
 
Lord,
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.
Amen.
 
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Feast of Saint Augustine


SAINT AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO

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