Friday, June 30, 2006

Apostle (†67)

Spiritual Bouquet: If anyone serves Me, My Father will honor him. St. John 12:26

Saint Paul was originally Saul of Tarsus, born in that city of Cilicia of Jewish parents, two or three years after the Saviour was born in Bethlehem of Judea. He studied in Jerusalem at the feet of the famous teacher Gamaliel, who later would be converted and listed among the Saints. While still a young man, Saul was present to oversee, as commanding officer, the stoning of the proto-martyr Stephen. In his restless zeal he pressed on to Damascus, “breathing threats and slaughter against the disciples of Christ,” intending to drag them from their houses and imprison them. But on the road a light from heaven struck him to the earth. He heard a voice which said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.” He asked who was speaking, and astonished on hearing His Name, inquired what Jesus wanted of him. And then, struck blind, for three days he saw nothing more. But he had been told what to do. He was led by the hand to Damascus, where he remained in the house of a Christian until, three days later, he rose for his baptism by a Christian leader of that city. Then he saw the light of day again, and the brilliance of the full truth for the first time, as another man, a new creature in Jesus Christ.
He left Damascus for a long retreat in Arabia, before he set out at the call of God, and carried the Gospel to the uttermost limits of the known western world, for years living and laboring with no thought but that of Christ crucified, no desire but to dispense himself for Him. He became the Apostle to the Gentiles, whom he had been taught to hate. But he would gladly have been anathema if he could thereby have saved his own countrymen from condemnation, though they sought his life. Perils by land and sea could not dampen his courage, nor sufferings and age dull the tenderness of his heart. When finally he knew that his hour had come to be dissolved and to be with Christ, as he had long desired, he wrote during his second imprisonment to his spiritual son Timothy, that he had “fought the good fight, finished his course, kept the faith", and that there remained for him to receive the crown of justice which His Lord was preparing for him on the final day. With Saint Peter in his final year he consecrated Rome, the new holy city, by his martyrdom.
Saint Paul has left to the Church fourteen Epistles, which have been a fountainhead of doctrine, elucidating the most basic truths taught by Christ, and constituting the consolation and delight of her greatest Saints. His interior life, insofar as words can express it, lies open before us in these divine writings; it is the life of one who has died forever to himself, and risen again in Christ Jesus. Saint John Chrysostom, his imitator, wrote: “The heart of Paul is the Heart of Christ!” Nor will his labor cease while the race of man continues. Even now, like a chivalrous knight, he stands alive in our midst, and captivates each of his readers to the obedience of Christ.

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Apostles (†67)

Spiritual Bouquet: If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also shall My servant be. St. John 12:26

This feast day commemorates the martyrdom of the two great Apostles, assigned by tradition to the same day of June in the year 67. They had been imprisoned in the famous Mamertine Prison of Rome and both had foreseen their approaching death. Saint Peter was crucified; Saint Paul, a Roman citizen, was slain by the sword. Tomorrow the Church commemorates the Apostle of the Gentiles; today is dedicated primarily to Saint Peter. The Chief of the Apostles was a native of Galilee like Our Lord. As he was fishing on its large lake he was called by Our Lord to be one of His apostles. Peter was poor and unlearned, but candid, eager, and loving. In his heart, first of all, his conviction grew, and then from his lips came the spontaneous confession: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Our Lord chose him and prepared him to be the Rock on which He would build His Church, His Vicar on earth, the Head and Prince of His Apostles, the center and indispensable bond of the Church’s unity, the unique channel of all spiritual powers, the guardian and unerring teacher of His truth. All Scripture is alive with Saint Peter; his name appears no fewer than 160 times in the New Testament. But it is after Pentecost that he stands out in the full grandeur of his office. He sees to the replacement of the fallen disciple; he admits the Jews by thousands into the fold and in the person of Cornelius, opens it to the Gentiles; he founds and for a time rules the Church at Antioch. Ten years after the Ascension Saint Peter transferred his apostolic capital to Rome, going in person to the center of the majestic Roman Empire, where were gathered the glories and riches of the earth, along with all the powers of evil. From there he sent Saint Mark, his valued secretary, to establish the Church of Alexandria in Egypt. In Rome Saint Peter’s Chair was placed; there for twenty-five years he labored at building up the great Roman Church. He was crucified by order of Nero and buried on the Vatican Hill, where now the Basilica stands which bears his name.

Reflection. Saint Peter is the author of two profoundly doctrinal epistles. He still lives on in his successors who maintain the same holy and immutable doctrine; he still rules and feeds the flock committed to him. The reality of our devotion to him is the surest test of the purity of our faith.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 7; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

To The Sacred Heart

Beside the tomb wept Magdalen at dawn, -
She sought to find the dead and buried Christ;
Nothing could fill the void now He was gone,
No one to soothe her burning grief sufficed.
Not even you, Archangels heaven-assigned!
To her could bring content that dreary day.
Your buried King, alone, she longed to find,
And bear His lifeless body far away.

Beside His tomb she there the last remained,
And there again was she before the sun;
There, too, to come to her the Saviour deigned, -
He would not be, by her, in love outdone.

Gently He showed her then His blessed Face,
And one word sprang from His deep Heart's recess:
Mary! His voice she knew, she knew its grace;
It came with perfect peace her heart to bless.

One day, my God! I, too, like Magdalen,
Desired to find Thee, to draw near to Thee;
So, over earth's immense, wide-stretching plain,
I sought its Master and its King to see.

Then cried I, though I saw the flowers bloom
In beauty 'neath green trees and azure skies:
O brilliant Naturel thou art one vast tomb,
Unless God's Face shall greet my longing eyes."

A heart I need, to soothe me and to bless, -
A strong support that can not pass away, -
To love me wholly, e'en my feebleness,
And never leave me through the night or day.

There is not one created thing below,
Can love me truly, and can never die.
God become man - none else' my needs can know;
He, He alone, can understand my cry.

Thou comprehendest all I need, dear Lord!
To win my heart, from heaven Thou didst come;
For me Thy blood didst shed, O King adored!
And on our altars makest Thy home.

So, if I may not here behold Thy Face,
Or catch the heaenly music of Thy Voice,
I still can live, each moment, by Thy grace,
And in Thy Sacred Heart I can rejoice.

O Heart of Jesus, wealth of tenderness!
My joy Thou art, in Thee I safely hide.
Thou, Who my earliest youth didst charm and bless,
Till my last evening, oh! with me abide,

All that I had, to Thee I wholly gave,
To Thee each deep desire of mine is known.
Whoso his life shall lose, that life shall save; -
Let mine be ever lost in Thine alone!

I know it well, no righteousness of mine
Hath any value in Thy searching eyes;
Its every breath my heart must draw from Thine,
To make of worth my life's long sacrifice.

Thou hast not found Thine angels without taint;
Thy Law amid the thunderbolts was given;
And yet, my Jesus! I nor fear nor faint.
For me, on Calvary, Thy Heart was riven.

To see Thee in Thy glory face to face, -
I know it well, - the soul must pass through fires.
Choose I on earth my purgatorial place, -
The flaming love of Thy great Heart's desires!

So shall my exiled soul, to death's command,
Make answer with one cry of perfect love;
Then flying straight to heaven its Fatherland,
Shall reach with no delay that home above.

-Saint Teresa of Lisieux
October 1895
translated by S L Emery Read whole post......

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Spiritual Bouquet: Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. St. John 12:24-25
The image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help measures around 50 centimeters (25 inches) high. It is in the Byzantine style, painted on wood with a gold leaf background. The Virgin is there with Her divine Child; each of them has a golden halo. Two Angels, one on the right and the other on the left, present the instruments of the Passion to the Child Jesus who is frightened, whereas the Blessed Virgin looks at the pathetic scene with calm, resigned sorrow. The image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help had long been venerated on the Isle of Crete. The inhabitants of that island, fleeing a Turkish invasion, took it with them to Rome. By the invocation of Mary under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the ship transporting Her holy image was saved from a terrible storm. On March 27, 1499, the portrait of the Virgin of Perpetual Help was carried in triumph through the streets of Rome. Preceded by the clergy and followed by the people, it was placed over the main altar of St. Matthew’s church, near St. Mary Major. Thanks to the care of the Augustinian friars, the holy image became the object of a very popular devotion which God rewarded for several centuries with many miracles. During the disturbances of the French Revolution (1789-1793), the French troops occupying Rome destroyed St. Matthew’s church. One of the friars serving in that sanctuary had the time to secretly remove the miraculous Madonna. He hid it so well that for sixty years, no one knew what had become of the famous painting. God permitted a concourse of providential circumstances which led to rediscovery of the venerated image. In 1865, in order to return the holy picture to the same spot it had been prayed to before, Pius IX gave orders to have it taken to the Esquiline Hill, in St. Alphonsus Liguori’s church, built on the site of old St. Matthew’s. On April 26, 1866, the Redemptorists solemnly enthroned Our Lady of Perpetual Help in their chapel. From that time on, thanks to the zeal of the sons of Saint Alphonsus and the countless miracles obtained in their pious sanctuary, devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help has had an extraordinary development. To acknowledge and perpetuate the remembrances of these precious favors, the Vatican Chapter crowned the holy image in great pomp on June 23, 1867. In 1876, Pope Pius IX erected an Archconfraternity in St. Alphonsus’ church under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Today the Blessed Virgin is invoked by this name throughout the Western Church.

Source: Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, Mame: Tours, 1950, pp. 463-464 – Brothers of Christian Schools, 1932 ed., p. 483. Read whole post......

Monday, June 26, 2006


Spiritual Bouquet: To everyone who has shall be given; but from him who does not have, even that which he has shall be taken away. St. Luke 19:26

These two Saints were brothers and were officers of the Roman army in the days of Constantine the Great. They served in the house of Constance, daughter of Constantine, who was consecrated to God; their virtues and services to her father rendered them very dear to her. They would soon glorify God by a great moral victory; after despising the honors of the world, they triumphed by their martyrdom over its threats and torments.With the aid of the liberality of the Christian princess, they were practicing many works of charity and mercy, until the deaths of both Constantine and Constance. Then, at the accession of Julian the Apostate to the imperial throne, they resigned their position in the palace. Julian had returned to the cult of idols and was attempting to re-establish it in the empire. The Christian brothers saw many wicked men prosper in their impiety, but were not dazzled by their example. They considered that worldly prosperity accompanied by impunity in sin is the most dreadful of all judgments, indicating reprobation. And history reveals how false and short-lived was the glittering prosperity of Julian. While still in power the apostate attempted to win back these influential officers into active service. When he was refused, he gave them ten days to reconsider. The officer Terentianus, who at the end of that time brought to their house a little idol of Jupiter for their adoration, found them in prayer. In the middle of that night they were decapitated secretly in their own garden, since the emperor feared their execution might cause a sedition in Rome. He instigated a rumor that they had been exiled, but the demons took hold of possessed persons in Rome, and published the fact of their martyrdom everywhere. The son of the officer who had slain them also became possessed, and it was only after their father, Terentianus, had prayed at the tomb of the martyrs that the child was liberated. This so impressed him that he became a Christian, with all his family, and wrote the history we have reported. The martyrs, by their renouncement of favors and their heroic resistance, purchased an immense weight of never-fading glory, and were a spectacle worthy of God. Their house became a magnificent Christian basilica already at the end of the fourth century.

Reflection. The Saints always consider that they have done nothing for Christ as long as they have not resisted unto blood and completed their sacrifice, even to pouring forth its last drop if God asks it. We must always bear in mind that we owe to God all that we are, and that after all our efforts, we remain unprofitable servants, doing only what we are bound to do.

Sources: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 7.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Third Sunday after Pentecost comments from "Devout Instructions" by Fr Goffine
On this Sunday, in the Introit of the Mass, the Church invites the sinner to call on the Lord with confidence and humility."Look Thou upon me, O Lord, for I am alone and poor. See my abjection and my labour, and forgive me all my sins, O my God. To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul; in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed" (Ps.xxiv). Glory be to the Father, etc.
O God, the protector of those who hope in Thee, without Whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, multiply Thy mercy upon us, that under Thy rule and guidance we may so pass through the goods of time as not to forfeit those of eternity. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, etc.
EPISTLE I Peter V.6-11
6 Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in the time of visitation: 7 Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you. 8 Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. 9 Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you.
11 To him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.

Instruction on intemperance"Be sober and watch." - 1.Peter V.8

St. Peter prescribes sobriety and watchfulness as necessary means for resisting the attacks of the devil, who by day and night goes about seeking whom he may devour. Woe to those who, by reason of their drunkenness, live in a continual light, and lie in the perpetual sleep of sin! How will it be with them, if, suddenly awakened form this sleep by death, they find themselves standing, burdened with innumerable and unknown sins, before the judgment-seat of God? For who can number the sins, committed in and by reason of drunkenness, which the drunkard either accounts as trifles, easily pardoned, or else, not knowing what he has thought, said, and done in his fit of intoxication, considers to be no sins at all?
Will the divine Judge, at the last day, thus reckon? Will He also find no sin in them? Will He let go unpunished the infamous deeds and the scandals of their drunkenness? He Who demands strict account of every word spoken in vain, will He make no inquiry of so many shameful, scandalous, and blasphemous sayings, of so much time wasted, of so much money squandered, of so many neglects of the divine service, of the education of children, of the affairs of home, and of innumerable other sins?
Will they be able to excuse themselves before this Judge by saying that they did not know what they were doing? or that what they not strong, and could not bear much? Will not such excuses rather witness against them that they are the more worthy of punishment for having taken more than their strength could bear, thereby depriving themselves from the use of reason, making themselves like brutes, and, of their own free will, taking on themselves the responsibility for all the sins of which their drunkenness was the occasion?
What, then, awaits them? What else than the fate of the rich glutton who, for his gluttony, was buried in hell? (Luke xvi.22). Yes, that shall be the place and the portion of the drunkard! There shall they in vain sigh for a drop of water. There, for all the pleasures and satisfaction which they had in the world, as many pains and torments shall now lay hold of them (Apoc. xxviii.7); there shall they be compelled to drain the cup of God's anger to the dregs, as they, in life, forced others into drunkenness. This is what they have to hope for, for St. Paul says expressly that drunkards shall not possess the kingdom of God (1 What then remains for them but to renounce either their intemperance or heaven? But how rare and difficult is the true conversion of a drunkard! This is the teaching of experience. Will not such a one, therefore, go to ruin?

GOSPEL Luke XV.1-10
1 Now the publicans and sinners drew near unto him to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spoke to them this parable, saying: 4 What man of you that hath an hundred sheep: and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which was lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders, rejoicing: 6 And coming home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost? 7 I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance. 8 Or what woman having ten groats; if she lose one groat, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, call together her friends and neighbours, saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the groat which I had lost. 10 So I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.
Why did Pharisees murmur?
Because they thought themselves better than other men, and as they avoided the company of sinners themselves, they required others to do likewise. They did not know, or rather did not wish to know, that a truly just man always feels compassion for sinners, and that the saints always desired and endeavoured to promote their conversion and eternal welfare. "True justice", says St. Gregory, "has compassion for sinners, while false and hypocritical justice is angry with them." Love sinners, therefore, in imitation of Jesus, and pray earnestly for their conversion .
What does the parable of the lost sheep teach us?
It teaches us the love of Jesus, Who seeks out sinners, brings them back to the Father, and reinstates them in the privileges of the children of God. We find in this parable an excuse for sinners. The sheep is a very simple animal which, while grazing in the field, does no notice that it has left the field. It is lost and when lost does not know the way back to the fold. It seems. Therefore, when Christ compared the sinner to a sheep He intended to say that the sinner goes astray from the true path and from God through pure and natural ignorance; because being dazzled and delighted by the things of the world, he follows them; he separates himself from the just without knowing it, and, lost in the desert of the world, he does not know his misfortune and has not, humanly speaking, the means of returning again, if God in His infinite mercy does not go in search of him and rescue him.
What is meant by the words, "there shall be more joy over one sinner that does penance than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance"?
Thereby it is not to be understood that the penitent sinner is more pleasing to God than ninety-nine just, but that, as men have a special joy in finding that which they supposed to be lost, so also God, the angels and saints, have an extraordinary joy over the conversion of one sinner; because, in the conversion of the sinner, they see the glory, love, and power of God exalted. Read whole post......

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus"from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD - O Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach me how to know You and to love You.
The object of devotion to the Sacred Heart is, properly speaking, the physical Heart of Jesus which is worthy of adoration, because it is a part of His sacred humanity, hypostatically united to the Word. However, the ultimate object of this devotion is the love of Jesus, the symbol of which is His Heart. In other words, "beneath the symbolic image of the Heart, we contemplate and venerate our divine Redeemer's immense charity and generous love" (Pius VI). This is the real meaning of the devotion to the Sacred Heart by which the Church asks us to honour the Heart of Jesus as the visible representation of His invisible love. "Your charity has allowed You to be wounded by the visible blow of the lance," the liturgy of the feast sings, "so that we may venerate the wounds of Your invisible love" (RB). Therefore, the principle object of this devotion is the love of Jesus, an uncreated love with which He, as the Word, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, loved us from all eternity, and from all eternity willed to become incarnate for our salvation. It is also the created love of charity with which, as Man, He loved us even to the death of the Cross, meriting for us by His love that same charity by which we are enabled to love Him in return. Here we find the most profound significance of devotion to the Sacred Heart . St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus had such a thorough understanding of this meaning that she made this devotion the centre of her life. The process of her canonization says that the Saint "saw the Heart of Jesus as the center, the source of the love with which the divine Word, in the bosom of the Father, loved us from all eternity, and merited for us in time the power to love Him in return, on earth and in heaven, by our sharing in this love."
2. Other devotions to Our Lord have for their object the mysteries or special aspects of His life, as for example, the Incarnation, the hidden life, the Passion. Devotion to the Sacred Heart, on the contrary, has a more general object, the love that is the first and only cause of all He has done for us. In this sense, devotion to the Sacred Heart touches, as it were, the mainspring of all the mysteries of the Redeemer, the essential raison d'etre of His life, His Person. It is the love which explains the Incarnation of the Word, the life of the Man-God, His Passion, His Eucharist. We cannot possibly understand the mystery by which the Son of God became man, died on the Cross to save mankind, and then became their Food, if we do not admit this infinite love which compelled God the Creator, the Most High, to find a way to give Himself entirely for the salvation of His creatures. The Church gives expression to this interpretation in the hymn at matins:"Amor coegit te tuus mortale corpus sumere" "Thy love has impelled Thee" - or rather, has constrained Thee, if we accept the Latin word in its full sense - "to assume a mortal body, so that as the new Adam, Thou wouldst restore what the old Adam has lost." The hymn continues, now praising the eternal love of the Word, now the human love of Jesus; two loves which, in fact cannot be separated, just as the sacred humanity of Jesus cannot be dissociated from the Word which assumed it. Jesus is both God and Man, hence His love is made sublime by the eternal love of the Word, or rather, it becomes the very love of the Word who makes it His own, just as all the sentiments and acts of Christ as man are raised to a supreme dignity. Thus, his divine love becomes sensible, comprehensible, and tangible to us by means of the manifestations of His human love. It is always the humanity of Jesus which reveals His divinty to us, and just as we know the Son of God through His sacred humanity, so do we know His divine love through the human love of Jesus.

......O Jesus, a soldier opened Your side with his lance, so that, through the gaping wound, we might know the charity of Your Heart, which loved us unto death, and that we might enter into Your unutterable love through the same channel by which it came to us. Approach, then, O my soul, the Heart of Christ, that magnanimous Heart, that hidden Heart, that Heart which thinks of all things and knows all things; that loving Heart, all on fire with love. Make me understand, O Lord, that the door of Your Heart was forced open by the vehemence of Your love. Allow me to enter into the secret of that love which was hidden from all eternity, but is now revealed by the wound in Your Heart" (St. Bernardine of Siena). Read whole post......
Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Prophet

Spiritual Bouquet: Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. St. Matthew 20:27

The birth of Saint John was foretold by Saint Gabriel, Archangel of the Lord, to his father, Zachary, who was offering incense in the Temple. The son of Zachary was to be the prophesied Messenger, Zachary was told, whose mission would prepare the way for Christ. Before he was born into the world John had already begun to live for the Incarnate God; even in the womb he recognized the presence of Jesus and of Mary, and leaped with joy at the glad coming of the Son of man. Before Christ’s public life began, a divine impulse sent Saint John into the desert; there, with locusts for his food and wearing haircloth, in silence and in prayer, he chastened his soul. In his youth he remained hidden, because He for whom he waited was also hidden. Then, as crowds broke in upon his solitude, he warned them to flee from the wrath to come, and gave them the baptism of penance, while they confessed their sins. At last there stood in the crowd One whom Saint John did not know, until a voice within told him that it was his Lord. He affirmed: “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He upon whom thou wilt see the Spirit descending and abiding, He it is who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ ” With the baptism of Saint John, Christ began His voluntary abasement for the sins of His people; and Saint John indeed saw the Holy Ghost descend, under the visible form of a dove, indicating in the humble Jesus of Nazareth the divine Perfection of the peaceable Eternal King and High Priest. Then the Saint’s work was done. He had but to point his own disciples to the Lamb, he had only to decrease as Christ increased. He saw all men leave him and go after Christ. “I told you,” he said, “that I am not the Christ. The friend of the Bridegroom rejoices hearing the Bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, is fulfilled.”

Saint John was cast into the fortress of Herod on the east coast of the Dead Sea by the tyrant whose crimes he had rebuked; he would remain there until beheaded at the will of a girl and her cruel mother. During this time of imprisonment, some of his disciples visited him. Saint John did not speak to them of himself, but sent them to Christ, that they might witness His miracles and hear His doctrine, proofs of His mission. After Saint John’s death, the Eternal Truth pronounced the panegyric of the Saint who had lived and breathed for Him alone: “Verily I say unto you, among those born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist.”

Reflection. Saint John was great before God because in complete forgetfulness of himself he lived only for Jesus Christ, who is the source of all greatness. Sacrifice every day some of your natural inclinations to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, and learn little by little to lose yourself in Him.

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).
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Friday, June 23, 2006

Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost

The reading of the Holy Gospel according to John c.19, 32-37
At that time: The Jews, because it was the parasceve that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, for that was the great sabbath day, besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. 33 But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it, hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him. 37 And again another scripture saith: They shall look on him whom they pierced.

Homily of St. Bonaventure, Bishop. Lessons vii-ix Nocturn iii
Book of the tree of life, num.30
In order that the Church might be taken out of the side of Christ, in his deep sleep on the Cross, and that the Scripture might be fulfilled which saith : They shall look on him whom they pierced : it was divinely ordained that one of the soldiers should pierce his sacred side with a spear, and open it.  Then forthwith there came flowing out blood and water, which was the price of our salvation, pouring forth from its mountain-source, in sooth, from the secret places of his Heart, to give power to the Sacraments of the Church, to bestow the life of grace, and to be as a saving drink of living waters, flowing up to life eternal for those who were already quickened in Christ.  Arise, then, O soul beloved of Christ.  Cease not thy vigilance, place there thy lips, and drink the waters from the fount of salvation.

Of the mystic vine
Because we are now come to the sweet Heart of Jesus, and because it is good for us to be here, let us not too soon turn away therefrom.  O how good and joyful a thing it is to dwell in this Heart.  What a good treasure, what a precious pearl, is thy Heart, O most excellent Jesu, which we have found hidden in the pit which hath been dug in this field, namely, in thy body.  Who would cast away such a pearl?  Nay, rather, for this same I would give all my pearls.  I will sell all my thoughts and affections, and buy the same for myself, turning all my thoughts to the Heart of the good Jesus, and without fail it will support me.  Therefore, o most sweet Jesu, finding this Heart that is thine and mine, I will pray to thee, my God : admit my prayers into the shrine of hearkening : and draw me even more altogether into thy Heart.

For to this end was thy side pierced, that an entry might be open unto us.  To this end was thy Heart wounded, that in it we might be able to dwell secure from alarms from without.  And it was wounded none the less on this account that, because of the visible wound, we may perceive the wound of love which is invisible.  How could this fire of love better shine forth than for him to permit that not only his body, but that even his Heart, should be wounded with the spear?  Who would not love that Heart so wounded?  Who would not, in return, love one who is so loving?  Who would not embrace one so chaste?  Wherefore let us who are in the flesh love in return, as much as we can, him who so loveth, embrace our wounded one, whose hands and feet, side and Heart, have been pierced by wicked husbandmen ; and let us pray that he may deign to bind our hearts, still hard and impenitent, with the chain of his love, and wound them with the dart thereof.

Fragments from "Divine Intimacy" on the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - by Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD - O Jesus, grant that I may penetrate the secrets hidden in Your divine Heart

2. Today's Gospel and Epistle lead us to consider the Sacred Heart of Jesus even more directly. The Gospel (Jn 19, 31-27) shows us His Heart pierced with a lance: "One of the soldiers opened His side with a spear," and St. Augustine offers his comment: "The Evangelist says....opened, to show us thereby the door of life was throw open, through which the Sacrament of the Church flow forth." From the pierced Heart of Christ, symbol of the love which immolated Him on the Cross for us, came forth the Sacrament, represented by the water and the Blood flowing from the wound, and it is through these Sacraments that we receive the life of grace. Yes, it is eminently true to say that the Heart of Jesus was opened to bring us into life. Jesus once said, "Narrow is the gate... that leadeth to life" (Mt 7,14); but if we understand this gate to be the wound in His Heart, we can say that no gate could open to us with greater welcome.
St. Paul, in his beautiful Epistle (Eph 3, 8-19), urges us to penetrate further into the Heart to contemplate His "unsearchable riches" and to enter into "the mystery which hath been hidden from eternity in God." This is the mystery of the infinite, divine love which has gone before us from all eternity and was revealed to us by the Word made flesh; it is the mystery of the love which willed to redeem us and sanctify us in Christ" in whom we have...[free] access to God."
Again Jesus presents Himself as the door which leads to salvation. "I am the door. By Me if any man enter in he shall be saved" (Jn 10,9). This door is His Heart, which, wounded for us, has brought us into life. By love alone can we penetrate this mystery of infinite love, but not any kind of love will suffice. As St. Paul says, we must "be rooted and founded in charity." Only thus shall we be able "to know...the charity of Christ which surpasseth all knowledge, that [we] may be filled unto all the fullness of God."

"....O Most sweet Jesus, I beseech Thee, O My God: receive my prayers in that sanctuary where You are attentive to them and, even more, draw me entirely into Your Heart" (St. Bonaventure). Read whole post......

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday within Octave of Corpus Christi

Homily of St Cyril of Alexandria, Lessons vii-ix Nocturn III
He that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood, saith the Lord, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  If a man take two pieces of wax and melt them, and pour the one into the other, they necessarily mingle ; so also, he that receiveth the Body and Blood of the Lord doth become so joined with the Lord that he is to be found in Christ and Christ in him.  Another comparison thou wilt find in Matthew.  The Lord there saith : The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal till whole was leavened.  Even as Paul saith : A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump : so also doth a little of this Blessing draw the whole man unto itself, and fill him with its grace ; and thus doth Christ dwell in us, and we in Christ.As for ourselves, if we would win life everlasting―if we would that the Giver of Immortality should dwell in us―let us run freely to receive this Blessing, and let us beware that the devil succeed not in laying a stumbling-block in our way, in the shape of a mistaken reverence.  Thou rightly sayest, and we know well, how that it is written : Whosoever shall eat this Bread and drink this Cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty ; he eateth and drinketh judgement to himself.  I therefore examine myself and find myself unworthy.  And I ask thee, who citest these words to me, who is it that shall ever be found worthy?  When, pray, wilt thou be such an one as may be worthy to be offered to Christ?  For if, because of sin, thou art unworthy, and dost not cease to sin, (for as the Psalmist hath it : Who can tell how oft he offendeth?) then shalt thou on these grounds for ever lack this means of life and sanctification.Wherefore I counsel thee to betake thee to godly thoughts, and to live as a zealous and devout servant of God, and then to make bold to receive this Blessing ; for it is a Blessing which, believe me, doth banish not death only, but all diseases likewise.  For when Christ dwelleth in us, he stilleth the law of sin in our members, which warreth against the law of our mind.  He giveth strength to godliness ; he turneth to calm the turbulent surging of our minds ; he cureth them which are sick ; he raiseth up them which are fallen ; and, as the Good Shepherd, which giveth his life for the sheep, he prevaileth that the sheep perish not.

Eucharistic Miracle at Bagno di Romagna, Italy, 1412

This Eucharistic miracle occurred in the small Italian town of Bagno di Romagna as a priest was celebrating Mass and having great doubts about the True Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. After consecrating the wine, he looked into the chalice and was shocked to see wine turned to blood. It began to bubble out of the chalice and onto the corporal. Shaken by the event, the priest prayed for forgiveness. He eventually was given the title Venerable because of the pious life he led after the miracle. In 1958 an investigation confirmed the corporal contained human blood and still retained properties of blood nearly 600 years later. Perhaps the blood was bubbling to show us that Jesus is alive in the Eucharist. We reflect on how we need to change after receiving Him, letting Jesus become alive in us and filling us with the power of the Holy Spirit.
From Eucharistic Miracles by Joan Cruz, 1987, Tan Books and Publishers. Read whole post......

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wednesday within the Octave of Corpus Christi

Homily of St Hilary the Bishop on the Trinity - Lessons vii-ix Nocturn III
When we speak concerning the things of God, we must not speak after the manner of men, nor after the manner of the world.  Let us ponder those things which are written, and endeavour to understand those things which we read ; and then let us act in a fulness of faith.  Unless we learn from Christ how to speak, concerning the real truth of his abiding in us, we shall speak thereof foolishly and without devotion.  For he himself saith : My Flesh is meat indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  There is here no room for doubt as to what is his Flesh and what is his Blood.For now do we know, from the declaration of the Lord himself, and from the experience of our own faith, that this is truly his Flesh and Blood.  And when we eat the one and drink the other, they work effectually in us to make us dwell in him and he in us.  Is not this true?  Of a truth it cannot be denied except by them that in some sense deny that Christ Jesus is very God.  He is in us by means of his Flesh, and we are in him, for our own nature is with him in God.  That we dwell in him through that Sacrament wherein his Flesh and Blood are given unto us, he himself doth testify, where he saith : Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more, but ye see me ; because I live ye shall live also ; at that day, ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me and I in you.That this his union with us is real, Christ himself testifieth thus : He that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood dwelleth in me, and I in him.  For no one dwelleth in Christ in whom Christ doth not dwell, and only he that receiveth the Body of the Lord is made one body with Christ.  He had already taught that this was the Sacrament of perfect unity, when he said : As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so, he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  He therefore liveth by the Father, so shall we live by receiving his Body.

Eucharistic Miracle at Sienna - miracle of preservation
The golden ciborium containing consecrated Hosts was stolen from the deserted Church of St. Francis during celebrartion of the Feast of Assumptionon on 14 August 1730. The theft went undiscovered until the next morning, when the priest opened the tabernacle at the Communion of the Mass. Then later, when a parishioner found the lid of the ciborium lying in the street, the suspicion of sacrilege was confirmed. The Archbishop ordered public prayers of reparation, while the civil authorities began a search for the consecrated Hosts and for the scoundrel who had taken them. Two days later, on August 17, while praying in the Church of St. Mary of Provenzano, a priest's attention was directed to something white protruding from the offering box attached to his prie dieu. Realizing that it was a Host, he informed the other priests of the church, who in turn notified the Archbishop and the friars of the Church of St. Francis. When the offering box was opened, in the presence of local priests and the representative of the Archbishop, a large number of Hosts were found, some of them suspended by cobwebs. The Hosts were compared with some unconsecrated ones used in the Church of St. Francis, and proved to be exactly the same size and to have the same mark of the irons upon which they were baked. The number of Hosts corresponded exactly to the number the Franciscan friars had estimated were in the ciborium -- 348 whole Hosts and six halves. Since the offering box was opened but once a year, the Hosts were covered with the dust and debris that had collected there. After being carefully cleaned by the priests, they were enclosed in a ciborium and placed inside the tabernacle of the main altar of the Church of St. Mary. The following day, in the company of a great gathering of townspeople, Archbishop Alessandro Zondadari carried the Sacred Hosts in solemn procession back to the Church of St. Francis. During the two centuries that followed it has sometimes been wondered why the Hosts were not consumed by a priest during Mass, which would have been the ordinary procedure in such a case. While there is no definite answer, there are two theories. One explanation is that crowds of people from both Sienna and neighboring cities gathered in the church to offer prayers of reparation before the sacred particles, forcing the priests to conserve them for a time. The other reason the priests did not consume them might well have been because of their soiled condition. While the Hosts were superficially cleaned after their discovery, they still retained a great deal of dirt. In such cases it is not necessary to consume consecrated Hosts, but it is permitted to allow them to deteriorate naturally, at which time Christ would no longer be present.

To the amazement of the clergy, the Hosts did not deteriorate, but remained fresh and even retained a pleasant scent. With the passage of time the Conventual Franciscans became convinced that they were witnessing a continuing miracle of preservation.

Fifty years after the recovery of the stolen Hosts, an official investigation was conducted into the authenticity of the miracle. The Minister General of the Franciscan Order, Father Carlo Vipera, examined the Hosts on April 14, 1780, and upon tasting one of them he found it fresh and incorrupt. Since a number of the Hosts had been distributed during the preceding years, the Minister General ordered that the remaining 230 particles be placed in a new ciborium and forbade further distribution. Read whole post......
Jesuit Seminarian (1568-1591)

Spiritual Bouquet: Many are called, but few are chosen. St. Matthew 20:16

Saint Aloysius, the eldest son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione, was born on the 9th of March, 1568. The first words he pronounced were the holy names of Jesus and Mary. When he was nine years of age he made a vow of perpetual virginity, and by a special grace was always exempted from temptations against purity. He received his first Communion at the hands of Saint Charles Borromeo. At an early age he resolved to leave the world, and in a vision was directed by our Blessed Lady to join the Society of Jesus. The Saint’s mother rejoiced on learning his determination to become a religious, but his father for three years refused his consent. At length Saint Aloysius obtained permission to enter the novitiate on November 25, 1585. He pronounced his vows after two years, and studied, as was customary, philosophy and theology. A fervent penitent at all times, he was accustomed to say that he doubted whether without penance grace could continue to make headway against nature, which, when not afflicted and chastised, tends gradually to relapse into its unredeemed state, and thereby loses the habit of suffering. “I am a crooked piece of iron,” he said, “and have come into religion to be made straight by the hammer of mortification and penance.” During his last year of theology a malignant fever broke out in Rome. The Saint offered himself for the service of the sick, and was accepted for the dangerous duty. Several of the religious contracted the fever, and Aloysius was among them. He was at the point of death but recovered, only to relapse a little later into a slow fever, which after three months his fragile health could no longer resist. He died at the age of twenty-three, repeating the Holy Name, a little after midnight between the 20th and 21st of June, on the octave day of Corpus Christi.

Reflection. Saint Robert Bellarmine, the Saint’s confessor, testified that Saint Aloysius had never mortally offended God. Pray that, supposing you have not maintained his innocence, you may yet imitate his penance.

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894). Read whole post......

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday within the Octave of Corpus Christi

Homily by St. Augustine - Lessons vii-ix Nocturn III

Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead.  Wherefore did they eat and die?  Because they believed only what they saw with their eyes ; and what they saw not with their eyes they understood not.  And therefore, my brethren, were they your fathers, because ye are like unto them.  For, so far as the visible death of this body is concerned, do we not also die, who eat of that bread which cometh down from heaven?  They died, and so shall we also die, as far, as I have said, as that death is concerned which is outward and bodily. But the death whereof the Lord doth sound the alarm, the death that their fathers died, is another death than that which is outward and bodily.  Moses ate manna, Aaron ate manna, Phinehas ate manna, many ate manna in whom the Lord was well pleased ; and these are not dead.  Wherefore?  Because they understood spiritually that outward bread, and did spiritually hunger thereafter, and did spiritually taste thereof, and were spiritually satisfied therewith.  So also we this day do feed on a visible food, but the Sacrament is one thing, and the power of the Sacrament is another.O how many there be which receive at the altar, and die ; yea, die even in the very receiving.  Whence the Apostle saith : Eateth and drinketh  judgement to himself.  Is it not written : When Jesus had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, and after the sop Satan entered into him?  And yet he took it.  And when he had eaten it, the enemy entered in and possessed him.  Not because what he ate was evil, but because he, being evil, dared to eat that which was good.  Look to it well, then, brethren, that ye take spiritually the Bread which cometh down from heaven.  Bring innocency with you to the altar.  Though your sins be daily, let them not be deadly.  Before ye draw near to the altar, think well what it is that ye say : Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  And ye may draw near boldly, for unto you, it is Bread, and not poison.

Picture above shows the Flesh and Blood of Our Lord preserved intact since 8th century at Lanciano, Italy. Eucharistic Miracle took place and bread and wine was changed during consecration into Flesh and Blood of Our Saviour before the eyes of unbelieving priest. Read whole post......

Monday, June 19, 2006

St. Juliana Falconieri - Virgin (1270-1340)-

Spiritual Bouquet: Everyone who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother or wife, or children, or lands, for My Name's sake and for the Gospel's sake, shall receive now in the present time a hundredfold -- along with persecutions, and in the age to come life everlasting. St. Matthew 19:29/St. Mark 10:29-30

Saint Juliana Falconieri was born in 1270, in answer to prayer. Her father was the builder of the splendid church of the Annunziata in Florence, while her uncle, Saint Alexis Falconieri, became one of the seven Founders of the Servite Order. Under his surveillance Juliana grew up “more like an angel than a human being,” as he said. Her great modesty was remarkable; never during her entire lifetime did she look at her reflection in a mirror. The mere mention of sin made her shudder and tremble, and once, on hearing of a scandal, she fainted. Her devotion to the sorrows of Our Lady drew her to the Servants of Mary or Servite Order, and at the age of fourteen, after refusing an offer of marriage, she received the habit from Saint Philip Benizi, General of the Order. Her sanctity attracted many novices, for whose direction she was bidden to draw up a rule, and thus she became foundress of the Mantellate. She was the servant of her Sisters rather than their mistress, while outside her convent she led a life of apostolic charity, converting sinners, reconciling enemies, and healing the sick. She was sometimes rapt for whole days in ecstasy, and her prayers saved the Servite Order when it was in danger of being suppressed. Saint Juliana in her old age suffered various painful illnesses. She was wasting away through a disease of the stomach which prevented her taking food, and bore her silent agony with constant cheerfulness, grieving only for the privation of Holy Communion. At last, when in her seventieth year she was at the point of death, she begged to be allowed once more to see and adore the Blessed Sacrament. It was brought to her cell and reverently laid on a corporal, which was placed over her heart. At this moment she expired, and the Sacred Host disappeared. After her death the form of the Host was found stamped upon her heart, at the exact spot over which the Blessed Sacrament had been placed. Saint Juliana died in her convent in Florence in 1340. Miracles have been frequently effected through her intercession.

Reflection. “Meditate often,” says Saint Paul of the Cross, “on the sorrows of the Blessed Mother, sorrows inseparable from those of Her beloved Son. If you seek the Cross, there you will find the Mother; and where the Mother is, there also is the Son.”

after Read whole post......
Monday within Octave of Corpus Christi

Fragments from the Sermon of St. John Chrysostom - Lessons iv-vi, Nocturn II
...... Here there are set before us no works of the power of mere man.  He that worked at that Last Supper, worketh the same here still.  We priests minister in Christ's stead, but it is Christ that halloweth and effecteth that holy thing which we minister.  Let no Judas draw nigh to this Table, nor covetous one ; this is no table for him.  But he which is Christ's disciple, let him come ; for it is even as the Lord said : I will keep the Passover with my disciples.  This is that Passover Table, and it is all Christ's.  What is wrought there is not some of Christ's work, but it is all his work and not another's. Hither let there draw nigh none brutal, none cruel, none merciless ; in good sooth, none unclean.  I speak to all that take that Holy Communion, and to you also, O ye that do administer the same.  To you now I turn my speech, to warn you with how great care that Gift is to be given. No slight vengeance is that which awaiteth you if ye admit for a partaker at the Lord's Table the sinner whose guiltiness ye know. At your hands will his blood be required.  If a man be a General, a Governor, a crowned Monarch, yet if he come here unworthily, forbid him ; thou hast greater power than he.  To this end hath God exalted you to the honour ye hold, that ye may judge in such matters.  This office is your dignity, this is your strength, this is all your crown, this, and not the going about in white robes and glittering vestments.  And thou, O layman!when thou seest the Priest making the oblation, think not that he which is then the real Worker is such a Priest as thou seest, but know of a surety that it is Christ's Hand which is stretched out, albeit unseen by thee. Let us hear, therefore, all of us, both Priests and laymen, let us hear what Food it is whereof we are made worthy.  Let us hear, I say, and let us quake.  The Lord satisfieth us with his own holy Flesh, setting himself slain before us.  What excuse therefore shall we have, if, being so fed as we are, we sin as we do?  If, eating of the Lamb, we are still wolves?  If, pastured as the sheep of the flock, we raven like lions?  This mysterious Sacrament forbiddeth unto us not outrage only, but any the least enmity ; it is the Mystery of peace.  Upon the Jews God laid it to make year by year by solemn festivals a yearly commemoration of his mercies unto them, but upon thee to do this in remembrance of his love to thee, day by day. To this Table then let there draw nigh no Judas Iscariot, no Simon Magus.  These men fell through covetousness ; let us fly that bottomless pit. Read whole post......

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Octave of Corpus Christi
Fragments from Roman Breviary - Nocturn II
The Lesson is taken from a Sermon by St. John Chrysostom

Since the Word saith : This is my Body : let us be persuaded of the truth of his words ; and let us believe, and look upon him with the eyes of our understanding. For Christ hath not given us a reality cognizable by the senses, but rather tokens of that reality, which same are sensible things, altogether cognizable by the understanding. For example, consider Baptism : wherein by means of a sensible thing, (to wit, water,) a gift is bestowed, but the intelligible reality which is conferred is birth and renewal. For if thou wert bodiless, he would have given thee incorporeal gifts ; but inasmuch as thy soul is united to a body, he giveth thee intelligible realities under visible things which pértain to the senses. How many are there now who say, Would that I could behold his form, his face, his garments, his sandals! Behold, thou dost see him ; thou touchest him ; thou eatest him. Thou wouldst fain see his mere garments, but he granteth thee not merely to see him, but to eat him, to touch him, to take him within thyself. Let no one therefore come with disgust, no one carelessly, but all kindled, all fervent, and eager. For if the Jews ate the lamb hastily, standing having their sandals on their feet, and grasping their staves in their hands, it is far more needful that thou shouldst be on the alert. For they were about to make their journey to Palestine, and for that reason assumed the character of travellers ; but thou art to make thy journey to heaven. Wherefore thou must needs be watchful in all aspects, for no light punishment is set before those who receive unworthily. Think how wrathful thou art against the traitor, and against them who crucified him. Ponder therefore, lest thou shouldst be guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ. They slew that most holy Body ; thou, after so many acts of his goodness, often receivest him in a polluted soul. For it was not enough for him to be made Man, to be smitten with buffets, and to be crucified ; but he also maketh himself one with us ; so that not in faith alone, but in very deed, we become one with his Body. Ought not one then to be very clean, if he is to partake of such a Sacrifice? Yea, more glorious than the sunbeam should be the hand which distributeth that Flesh ; yea, and likewise should be the mouth which is filled with that spiritual fire, and the tongue which is ruddy with that most awful Blood. Ponder what an honour it is with which thou art graced ; what a Table it is thou dost enjoy. That which the Angels tremble to hold, and dare not look upon freely, because of the glory which shineth from it, with this we are fed, to this we are united, and become one body and one flesh with Christ. Who can express the noble acts of the Lord, or shew forth all his praise? What shepherd doth feed his sheep with his own blood? And why should I speak of a shepherd? For there are many mothers who, after the pains of childbearing, entrust their children to other nurses. This he did not endure to do, but himself doth feed us with his own Blood, and unite us to all things unto himself.

"The Invitation to the Banquet" Fragments from Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD - O Jesus, grant that I may always answer Your invitation and participate worthily in Your banquet.

1. Today's Gospel (Lk 14, 16-24) fits perfectly with the feast of Corpus Christi "A certain man made a great supper, and invited many." The man who makes the supper is God; the great supper is His Kingdom where souls will find full abundance of spiritual blessings while on earth, and eternal happiness in the next life. This is the real meaning of the parable, but we can also interpret it more specifically, seeing in the supper and in the man who prepares it a figure of the Eucharistic banquet and of Jesus, inviting men to partake of His Body and Blood. "The table of the Lord is set for us," sings the Church, "Wisdom [the Incarnate Word] has prepared the wine and laid the table" (RB). Jesus Himself, when announcing the Eucharist, addressed His invitation to all: "I am the Bread of life! He that cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he that believeth in Me shall never thirst....Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die" (Jn 6, 35.49.50). Jesus does not limit Himself, like other men, to preparing the table for a supper, inviting many, and serving delicious food; he is an unheard-of procedure, which no man, however rich and powerful he might be, could ever imitate. Jesus offers Himself as Food. St. John Chrysostom said to those who wanted to see Christ in the Eucharist with their bodily eyes, "Behold, you do see Him; you touch Him, you eat Him. You would like to see His garments; He not only permits you to see Him, but also to eat Him, to touch Him, and to receive Him into your heart.... He whom the angels look upon with fear, and dare not gaze upon steadfastly because of His dazzling splendor, becomes our Food; we are united to Him, and are made one body and one flesh with Christ" (RB).

... Although a beggar I come to You because You invite me; You, who being rich became poor for me, so that Your poverty would make me rich. Weak as I am, I shall draw near, for it is not the healthy who need the physician, but the sick. I shall approach you like a cripple and say: 'Set my feet in Your paths.' I shall come like a blind person and say: 'Give sight to my eyes, that I may never sleep the sleep of death' " (St Augustine).
Read whole post......

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday the Day of Our Lady

"The Last Supper - the Words of the Queen" fragments from "The Mystical City of God" by Venerable Mary of Agreda

O my daughter! Would that the believers in the holy Catholic faith opened their hardened and stony hearts in order to attain to a true understanding of the sacred and mysterious blessing of the Holy Eucharist! If they would only detach themselves, root out and reject their earthly inclinations, and, restraining their passions, apply themselves with living faith to study by the divine light their great happiness in thus possessing their eternal God in the holy Sacrament and in being able, by its reception and constant intercourse, to participate in the full effects of this heavenly manna! If they would only worthily esteem this precious gift, begin to taste its sweetness, and share in the hidden power of their omnipotent God! Then nothing would ever be wanting to them in their exile. In this, the happy age of the law of grace, mortals have no reason to complain of their weakness and their passions; since in this bread of heaven they have at hand strength and health. It matters not that they are tempted and persecuted by the demon; for by receiving this Sacrament frequently they are enabled to overcome him gloriously. The faithful are themselves to blame for all their poverty and labours, since they pay no attention to this divine mystery, nor avail themselves of the divine powers, thus placed at their disposal by my most holy Son. I tell thee truly, my dearest, that Lucifer and his demons have such a fear of the most Holy Eucharist, that to approach it, causes them more torments than to remain in hell itself. Although they do enter churches in order to tempt souls, they enter them with aversion, forcing themselves to endure cruel pains in the hope of destroying a soul and drawing it into sin, especially in the holy places and in the presence of the holy Eucharist. Their wrath against the Lord and against the souls alone could induce them to expose themselves to the torment of His real sacramental presence.

Whenever He is carried throught the streets they usually fly and disperse in all haste; and they would not dare to approach those that accompany Him, if by their long experience they did not know, that they will induce some to forget the reverence due to their Lord. Therefore they make special efforts to tempt the faithful in the churches; for they know what great injury they can thereby do to the Lord Himself, who in His sacramental love is there waiting to sancify men and to receive the return of His sweetest and untiring love. Hence thou canst also understand the strength of those who prepare themselve to partake of this bread of the angels and how the demons fear the souls, who receive the Lord worthily and devoutly and who strive to preserve themselves in this purity until next Communion....Write this admonition in thy heart;...For in our days they are heaping affliction and sorrow upon the mistress of nations, while there is none to console her or take it to heart (Thren. 1,10).

Feast of Corpus Christi at Lourdes

"I think I am correct in saying that the Shrine banned processions of the Blessed Sacrament some years ago. If this is true, I am not sure whether the ban is still in place." - photo and comment after - Catholic Church Conservation Read whole post......

Friday, June 16, 2006

"The Real Presence"
by Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD- "Hidden God, devoutly i adore thee, truly present beneath these veils: all my heart subdues itself before Thee, since all before Thee faints and fails (cf. Adore Te Devote)

2. Jesus is present in the Eucharist with all His divinty and all His humanity. Although His humanity is present :"per modum substantiae," that is, in substance and not in corporeal extension, it is whole and entire in the consecrated Host - body and sol, and this latter with its faculties of intellect and will. Therefore our Eucharistic Lord knows and loves us as God and as Man. he is not a passive object for ou adoration but He is living; He sees us, listens to us, answers our prayers with Hhis graces. Thus we may have, with the gentle Master of the Gospel, living, concrete relations which, although impreceptible to our senses, are similar to those which His contemporaries had with Him. It is true that in the Eucharist not only His divinty but even His humanity is hidden; however, faith suppliesfor the senses, it substitutes for what we do not see or touch; "sola fides sufficit," says St. Thomas, faith alone is sufficient (Pange Lingua). As Jesus, disguised as a traveler, once taught the disciples of Emmaus, and inflamed the hearts , so too, Jesus hidden under the Eucharistic veil illumines our souls, inflames them with His love and inclines them ever more effectively toward sanctity.
Jesus is there, in the consecrated Host, true God and true Man; as he become incarnate for us, so for us too, has he hidden Himself under the sacred Species. There He waits for us, longs for us, is always ready to welcome and listen to us. And we need Him so much! Gos, pure Spirit, is present everywhere, it is true; and in His Unity and Trinity, He even deigns to dwell within our souls. vivifies by grace. Nevertheless, we always have need of contact with Jesus, the Word made Flesh, God made Man, our Mediator, our Saviour, our Brother, and we find Him present in the Eucharist. here on earth we are never close to Him than when we are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.

...."O Lord, wealth of the poor, how admirably You can sustain souls, revealing your great riches to them gradually and not permitting them to see them all at once. When I see Your great Majesty hidden in so small a thing as the Host, I cannot but marvel at Your great wisdom. O God, if You did not conceal Your Your grandeur, who would dare to come to You so often, to unite with Your ineffable Majesty a soul so stained and miserable? Be forever blessed, O Lord! May the angels and all creatures praise You for having deigned to adapt Your mysteries to our weakness, so that we might enjoy Your treasures without being frightened by Your infinite power. Otherwise, poor, weak creatures like ourselves would never dare to approach You. " (T.J. Life, 38). Read whole post......

Thursday, June 15, 2006

fragments from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr. Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD

PRESENCE OF GOD - "The eternal tide flows hid in living bread. That with its heavently life too be fed..."
(St. John of the Cross Poems)

2. The Eucharist is not only Jesus actually living among us, but it is Jesus become our Food. This is the chief aspect under which today's liturgy presents the mystery to us: there is no part of the Mass which does not, at least, make some allusion to it. The Introit refers to it when it mentions the wheat and honey with which God once fed the Hebrews in the desert, a miraculous food, and yet a very poor representation of the living, life-giving Bread of the Eucharist. The Epistle (I Cor 11, 23-29) speaks of it, recalling the institution of this Sacrament, when Jesus "took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said, 'Take ye, and eat; this is My Body' " ; the Gradual chants, "The eyes of all hope in You, O Lord, and You give them meat in due season." The very beautiful Sequence Lauda Sion, celebrates it at length, and the Gospel (Jn 6, 56-59), echoing the Alleluia, cites the most significant passage in the discourse when Jesus Himself announced the Eucharist. "My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed." The Communion Hymn repeats a sentence of the Epistle, and reminds us that we receive the Body of the Lord worthily. Finally , the Postcommunion tells us that Eucharistic Communion is the pledge of eternal communion, in heaven. But in order to have a better understanding of the immense value of the Eucharist, we must go back to the very words of Jesus, most opportunely recalled in the Gospel of the day, "He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me and I in him." Jesus made Himself our food in order to assimilate us to Himself, to make us live His life, to make us live in Him, as He himself lives in His Father. The Eucharist is truly the sacrament of union and at the same time it is the clearest and most convincing proof that God calls us and pleads with us to come to intimate union with Himself.

.....O my soul, how can you refrain from plunging yourself ever deeper and deeper into the love of Christ, who did not forget you in life or in death, but who willed to give Himself wholly to you, and to Himself forever?" (St. Angela of Foligno). Read whole post......

The Feast of Corpus Christi

Hymn: Pange, lingua, gloriosi Corporis mysterium
Sing, my tongue, the Saviour glory
Of His Flesh the mystery sing;
Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our immortal King,
Destined, for the world's redemption,
From a noble womb to spring.
Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as Man with man conversing,
Stay'd the seeds of truth to sow;
Then he closed in solemn order
Wondrously his life of woe
On the night of that Last Supper,
Seated with his chosen band,
He the Paschal victim eating,
First fulfils the law's command;
Then, as Food to his Apostles
Gives himself with his own hand.
Word made Flesh, the bread of nature
By His word to Flesh he turns;
Wine into His Blood he changes: -
What though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
Faith he lesson quickly learns.
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing,
Never rites of grace prevail;
Faith, for all defects supplying
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the Everlasting Father,
And the Son who reigns on high,
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from Earth eternally,
Be Salvation, honour, blessing,
Might, and endless majesty. AMEN

O God, who under a wonderful Sacrament hast left us a memorial of thy passion: grant us, we beseech thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of thy body and blood, that we may evermore feel within the fruit of thy redemption: Who livest.

From "Devout Instructions" by Father Goffine, 1896 edition

Why is this day called Corpus Christi?
Because on this day the Catholic Church solemnly celebrates the institution of the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. The name, which is Latin, siginifies the body of Christ.

Why is this feast not celebrated on Maundy Thursday?
Because on Moundy Thursday, the day of the institution of this sacrament, the Church is occupied with the passion and death of Christ, and has no thought of joy, but gives herself up to grief.

By whom was this feast established?
It was instituted by Pope Urban IV. Persuaded by a devout nun of Liege, who believed herself to be divinely encouraged to introduce this feast, Robert, Bishop of Liege, determined, in the year 1247, to celebrate this feast in his diocese. This intention he was prevented from carrying out by death. In the year 1264 Pope Urban IV commanded this feast to be solemnly celebrated throughout the whole Church. Clement V confirmed this order, at the Council of Vienna, 1311, and fixed the feast on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday.

For what purpose was this feast instituted, and why are processions so solemnly held on this day?
1. To declare, openly, to the faithful the real and substantial presence of Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. 2. In order to manifest, in the sight of heaven and earth, honour and adoration for Him before Whom every knee shall bow. 3. To give public thanks for the institution of this holy sacrament, and for all the graces thereby conferred upon the faithful. 4. To repair, in some measure, by solemn adoration, the wrongs done to Christ, in this sacrament. 5. To bring down God's blessing upon the land and upon the people. 6. To show that Jesus, as true God, dwells not only in temples built by hands, but He has heaven of His throne, the earth for His Footstool, and the whole world for His temple.
The Church sings at the Introit of the Mass:"He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia; and filled them with honey out of the rock, alleluia, alleluia. Rejoice to God our helper, sing aloud to the God of Jacob" (Ps. lxxx)> Glory be to the Father, etc.

EPISTLE. I Cor. xi. 23-29
Brethren: For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

GOSPEL. John vi.56-59.
For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.

Why did Jesus say,"this is the bread that came down from heaven"?
He wished thereby to teach the Jews that the bread which He would give them, like the manna, came down from heaven, and was, indeed, the only true bread from heaven. The manna was but the a type, and could only prolong the life of the body. The type was now to be fulfilled: the bread that he was about to give them would impart to them eternal life, and this bread
would be His flesh, - Himself, Who truly came from heaven, to redeem mankind, and to bring them to life everlasting. Jesus calls His flesh bread, partly on account of his likeness to the manna, partly on account of its effect; for as bread nourishes the body, and sustains the earthly life, so the body of Christ, in the Holy Sacrament, nourishes the soul, and imparts to it, continually, a new, divine, and everlasting life.

What is the Holy Sacrament of the Altar?
It is that sacrament in which, after the words of its institution have bees spoken by the priest, Jesus Christ is present, whole and entire, in His Godhead and in His manhood, under the appearance of bread and wine.

When and how did Jesus institute the sacrament?
At the Last Supper. In the night, before His was betrayed, he took bread, and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying, "Take and eat, for this is My body which will be given for you." In the same manner, he took the chalice and said, "Take and drink, for this chalice is the new covenant in My blood. Do this as often as you drink from it in commemoration of Me."

What did Jesus effect by these words?
He changed bread and wine into His most precious body and blood.
Has He given to others the power to do the same?
Yes; He gave this power to His apostles and their successors, the bishops and priests, in these words: "Do this in commemoration of Me."

What takes place at the words of consecration?:
Bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and only the outward appearances of bread and wine remain.

How is Jesus present in the Most Holy Sacrament?
He is present, truly, really, and substantially, in His divinity and humanity, in flesh and blood, in body and soul, under the appearances of bread and wine.

Why do we believe this?
1. Because the words of Jesus do not reasonably admit of any other meaning: since by them we see (a) that Jesus gave His disciples a certain nourishment which they were to eat; (b) that this nourishment was bread and wine to all appearances, but Jesus called the bread His body, which was afterwards to be sacrificed for us, and the wine His blood, which was to be shed for us: this food consequently was not bread and wine, but, under the appearance of bread and wine, was indeed His body and blood; since what he gave for our redemption was not bead and wine, but His true body and His true blood; (c) that as the body and blood of Jesus were inseparable from His soul and divinity, he gave Himself up for our nourishment, whole and undivided, as he hung, bled, and died upon the cross; (d) that He commanded what He had done to be continued until He should come again (1 Cor. xi. 26), that is, until the end of the world; and that he, (e) on account of this being His testament, and the New Law, was not at liberty to speak figuratively, but plainly and distinclty.
2. Because the apostles preached this very doctrine.
3. Because the Catholic Church, the pillar and foundation of truth, has thus constantly taught, from the apostle' times down to the present day, as the oldest Councils and the Holy Fathers unanimously testify.

Why is communion given only in one kind?
1. The Church gives holy communion only under one kind, to guard against abuses; as, for example, the spilling of the wine; 2. In opposition to those who hold that communion can be received under both kinds, to hold fast to true doctrine, which is that Christ, whole and undivided, the entire sacrament, is received under one kind. The truth of this doctrine is plain from this, that where the living body of Christ is, there is the whole Christ; that Christ promises eternal life to him who eats this bread alone (John vi. 59); and finally, that there is no divine law which commands the receiving of this sacrament under both kinds. Read whole post......

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Vigil of Corpus Christi

June 14 - St Eliseus Prophet of Carmel (ELISHA; Heb. ’lysh‘, God is salvation).

A Prophet of Israel. After learning, on Mount Horeb, that Eliseus, the son of Saphat, had been selected by God as his successor in the prophetic office, Elias set out to make known the Divine will. This he did by casting his mantle over the shoulders of Eliseus, whom he found "one of them that were ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen". Eliseus delayed only long enough to kill the yoke of oxen, whose flesh he boiled with the very wood of his plough. After he had shared this farewell repast with his father, mother, and friends, the newly chosen Prophet "followed Elias and ministered to him". (1 Kings 19:8-21) He went with his master from Galgal to Bethel, to Jericho, and thence to the eastern side of the Jordan, the waters of which, touched by the mantle, divided, so as to permit both to pass over on dry ground. Eliseus then beheld Elias in a fiery chariot taken up by a whirlwind into heaven. By means of the mantle let fall from Elias, Eliseus miraculously recrossed the Jordan, and so won from the prophets at Jericho the recognition that "the spirit of Elias hath rested upon Eliseus". (2 Kings 2:1-15) He won the gratitude of the people of Jericho for healing with salt its barren ground and its waters. Eliseus also knew how to strike with salutary fear the adorers of the calf in Bethel, for forty-two little boys, probably encouraged to mock the Prophet, on being cursed in the name of the Lord, were torn by "two bears out of the forest". (2 Kings 2:19-24) Before he settled in Samaria, the Prophet passed some time on Mount Carmel (2 Kings 2:25). When the armies of Juda, and Israel, and Edom, then allied against Mesa, the Moabite king, were being tortured by drought in the Idumæan desert, Eliseus consented to intervene. His double prediction regarding relief from drought and victory over the Moabites was fulfilled on the following morning. (2 Kings 3:4-24)

That Eliseus inherited the wonder-working power of Elias is shown throughout the whole course of his life. To relieve the widow importuned by a hard creditor, Eliseus so multiplied a little oil as to enable her, not only to pay her indebtedness, but to provide for her family needs (2 Kings 4:1-7). To reward the rich lady of Sunam for her hospitality, he obtained for her from God, at first the birth of a son, and subsequently the resurrection of her child (2 Kings 4:8-37). To nourish the sons of the prophets pressed by famine, Eliseus changed into wholesome food the pottage made from poisonous gourds (2 Kings 4:38-41). By the cure of Naaman, who was afflicted with leprosy, Eliseus, little impressed by the possessions of the Syrian general, whilst willing to free King Joram from his perplexity, principally intended to show "that there is a prophet in Israel". Naaman, at first reluctant, obeyed the Prophet, and washed seven times in the Jordan. Finding his flesh "restored like the flesh of a little child", the general was so impressed by this evidence of God's power, and by the disinterestedness of His Prophet, as to express his deep conviction that "there is no other God in all the earth, but only in Israel". (2 Kings 5:1-19) It is to this Christ referred when He said: "And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian" (Luke 4:27). In punishing the avarice of his servant Giezi (2 Kings 5:20-27), in saving "not once nor twice" King Joram from the ambuscades planned by Benadad (2 Kings 6:8-23), in ordering the ancients to shut the door against the messenger of Israel's ungrateful king (2 Kings 6:25-32), in bewildering with a strange blindness the soldiers of the Syrian king (2 Kings 6:13-23), in making the iron swim to relieve from embarrassment a son of a prophet (2 Kings 6:1-7), in confidently predicting the sudden flight of the enemy and the consequent cessation of the famine (2 Kings 7:1-20), in unmasking the treachery of Hazael (2 Kings 8:7-15), Eliseus proved himself the Divinely appointed Prophet of the one true God, Whose knowledge and power he was privileged to share.

Mindful of the order given to Elias (1 Kings 19:16), Eliseus delegated a son of one of the prophets to quietly anoint Jehu King of Israel, and to commission him to cut off the house of Achab (2 Kings 9:1-10). The death of Joram, pierced by an arrow from Jehu's bow, the ignominious end of Jezabel, the slaughter of Achab's seventy sons, proved how faithfully executed was the Divine command (2 Kings 9:11-10:30). After predicting to Joas his victory over the Syrians at Aphec, as well as three other subsequent victories, ever bold before kings, ever kindly towards the lowly, "Eliseus died, and they buried him" (2 Kings 13:14-20). The very touch of his corpse served to resuscitate a dead man (2 Kings 13:20-21). "In his life he did great wonders, and in death he wrought miracles" (Ecclus., xlviii, 15).

afte Catholic Encyclopedia Read whole post......

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

June 13 - St. Anthony of Padua 1195-1231

Anthony was born in the year 1195 at Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, where his father was a captain in the royal army. Already at the age of fifteen years the youth had entered the Congregation of Canons Regular of St. Augustine, and was devoting himself with great earnestness to study and to the practice of piety in the monastery at Coimbra, when a significant event, which occurred in the year 1220, changed his entire career.

The relics of St. Berard and companions, the first martyrs of the Franciscan Order, were being brought from Africa to Coimbra. At the sight of them, Anthony was seized with an intense desire to suffer martyrdom as a Franciscan missionary in Africa. In response to his repeated and humble petitions, the permission of his superiors to transfer to the Franciscan Order was reluctantly given. At his departure, one of the canons said to him ironically, "Go, then, perhaps you will become a saint in the new order." Anthony replied, "Brother, when you hear that I have become a saint, you will praise God for it."

In the quiet little Franciscan convent at Coimbra he received a friendly reception, and in the very same year his earnest wish to be sent to the missions in Africa was fulfilled. But God had decreed otherwise. Anthony scarcely set foot on African soil when he was seized with a grievous illness. Even after recovering from it, he was so weak that, resigning himself to the will of God, he boarded a boat back to Portugal. But a storm drove the ship to the coast of Sicily, and Anthony went to Assisi, where the general chapter of the order was held in May, 1221.

As he still looked weak and sickly, and gave no evidence of his scholarship, no one paid any attention to the stranger until Father Gratian, provincial of Romagna, had compassion on him and sent him to the quiet little convent near Forli. There Anthony remained nine months occupied in the lowliest duties of the kitchen and convent, and to his heart's content he practiced interior as well as exterior mortification.

But the hidden jewel was soon to appear in all its brilliance. Anthony was sent to Forli with some other brethren, to attend the ceremony of ordination. At the convent there the superior wanted somebody to give an address for the occasion. Everybody excused himself, saying that he was not prepared, until Anthony was finally asked to give it. When he, too, excused himself most humbly, his superior ordered him by virtue of the vow of obedience to give the sermon. Anthony began to speak in a very reserved manner; but soon holy animation seized him, and he spoke with such eloquence, learning, and unction that everybody was fairly amazed.

When St. Francis was informed of the event, he gave Anthony the mission to preach all over Italy. At the request of the brethren, Anthony was later commissioned also to teach theology, "but in such a manner, St. Francis distinctly wrote, "that the spirit of prayer be not extinguished either in yourself or in the other brethren."

St. Anthony himself placed greater value on the salvation of souls than on learning. For that reason he never ceased to exercise his office as preacher along with the work of teaching. The concourse of hearers was sometimes so great that no church was large enough to accommodate the audiences and he had to preach in the open air. He wrought veritable miracles of conversion. Deadly enemies were reconciled with each other. Thieves and usurers made restitution of their ill gotten goods. Calumniators and detractors recanted and apologized. He was so energetic in defending the truths of the Catholic Faith that many heretics re-entered the pale of the Church, so that Pope Gregory IX called him "the ark of the covenant."

Once he was preaching at Rimini on the seacoast. He noticed that a group of heretics turned their backs to him and started to leave. Promptly the preacher turned to the sea and called out to the fishes: "Since the heretics do not wish to listen to me, do you come and listen to me!" And marvelous to say, shoals of fish came swimming and thrust their heads out of the water as if to hear the preacher. At this the heretics fell at Anthony's feet and begged to be instructed in the truth.

The blessings of St. Anthony's preaching were not confined to Italy. St. Francis sent him to France, where for about three years (1225-1227) he labored with blessed results in the convents of his order as well as o]in the pulpit. In all his labors he never forgot the admonition of his spiritual Father, that the spirit of prayer must not be extinguished. If he spent the day in teaching, and heard the confessions of sinners till late in the evening, then many hours of the night were spent in intimate union with God.

Once a man, at whose home Anthony was spending the night, came upon the saint and found him holding in his arms a child of unspeakable beauty surrounded with heavenly light. It was the Child Jesus.

In 1227, Anthony was elected minister provincial of upper Italy; and then he resumed the work of preaching. Due to his taxing labors and his austere practice of penance, he soon felt his strength so spent that he prepared himself for death. After receiving the last sacraments he kept looking upward with a smile on his countenance. When he was asked what he saw there, he answered, "I see my Lord." Then he breathed forth his soul on June 13, 1231, being only 36 years old. Soon the children in the streets of the city of Padua were crying, "The saint is dead. Anthony is dead."

Pope Gregory IX enrolled him among the saints in the very next year. At Padua a magnificent basilica was built in his honor, his holy relics were entombed there in 1263. From the time of his death up to the present day, countless miracles have occurred through St. Anthony's intercession, so that he is known as the Wonder-Worker. In 1946 he was also declared a Doctor of the Church.

1. Consider how highly St. Anthony is honored by Holy Church. His feast is celebrated by the whole Catholic Church, and the priests celebrate holy Mass in his honor. In Franciscan churches, not only is his feast observed with great solemnity, but every Tuesday devotions in his honor are conducted before the exposed Blessed Sacrament, at which devotion all the faithful can gain a plenary indulgence. In Padua, where a magnificent basilica has been erected in his honor, he is called the Saint, as if there were no other that can compare with him, as when we style God's Mother the Holy Virgin. Among Catholics there is hardly anyone who does not know the dear saint with the Infant Jesus. -- Do you pay him due honor? Do you use the opportunity to gain the indulgence on Tuesday?
2. Consider that, judging by the measure with which God permits St. Anthony to be honored here on earth, his power in heaven must be very great. The experience of the whole Catholic world testifies to the fact. >From the day of his death to the present time, he has been invoked in the most diverse needs, and these prayers are answered in a almost remarkable manner. -- Have you not had the experience yourself? Call upon him with confidence in every necessity, and in case of serious trouble make the devotion of the nine Tuesdays.
3. Consider that in a special way St. Anthony is invoked as the restorer of lost objects. God usually gives the saints a power of intercession in keeping with the way by which there were distinguished in life. Now Anthony once missed a book of the Psalms which he valued very highly because he had written so many comments on the Psalms in it. He prayed earnestly to his dear Jesus to restore the book to him, and behold, soon afterwards a young man who had taken the book came to him, driven by some indescribable fear, and brought it back to him. Pray to St. Anthony and to the Divine Child with similar fervor, and you will experience his power. But let us not only pray for lost temporal things, but particularly for the more precious gifts of the soul. For example, let us pray for that devotion we used to have and have lost, for our lost patience, our lost zeal for all that is good. May he gladden us by restoring it so that we may one day rejoice with him in eternal bliss.

O God, may the votive commemoration of St. Anthony, your confessor and doctor, be a joy to your Church, that she may always be fortified with spiritual assistance and deserve to enjoy eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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