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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

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.