A Week of Saints (March 31- April 6th, 2019)

Sunday, March 31st:  St. Machabeo, Abbot (d1174)

He was the Irish abbot of Armagh, Ireland, for four decades. He governed the monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Monday, April 1st: Saint Hugh of Grenoble (1053 –1132)

Saint Hugh was a bishop in France for 52 years.  He undertook the great task of reform, during a time of corruption in the Church.  There was religious indifference and ignorance, buying and selling of Church offices  and violation of clerical celibacy.  He served for two years then tried to disappear, but the Pope called him back, to continue his work of reform.  He was a staunch defender of the Church and fearlessly supported the papacy. He was an eloquent speaker, and patron and benefactor to St Bruno.

Patron:  against headaches

Tuesday, April 2nd: St Francis of Paola, Hermit (1416-1508) 

Francis of Paola, had a love for contemplative solitude and wished to be “least in the household of God.”  He lived as a contemplative hermit in a remote cave. Gaining a few followers, it became the founding of the Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis added to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Francis enjoined upon his followers the fourth obligation of a perpetual Lenten fast was to be the hallmark of the brothers as it had been in Francis’s personal life. Although a hermit, he was called to apostolic life, using his gifts of miracles and prophecy and serving the poor. While ministering to Louis the XI of France, he was able to influence the course of national politics.

“Brothers, I most strongly urge you to work for the salvation of your souls with prudence and diligence. Death is certain, and life is short and vanishes like smoke. Therefore you must fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ who so burned with love for us that he came down from heaven to redeem us.” 

Patron: Sailors

Wednesday, April 3rd:  St Richard of Chichester, Priest, Bishop (1197-1253)

He studied to become a lawyer, and held the office of Chancellor. He insisted on strict adherence to discipline among the clergy, aided the poor, and fearlessly denounced the corruption and vices of the contemporary Church and the royal court. 

Thursday, April 4th:  St Isidore, Bishop, Doctor (560-636)

Isidore reunited Spain, between the Roman Catholics and Arian Goths. He had three other sibling saints (Leander, Fulgentius and Florentina). An amazingly learned man, he  wrote an encyclopedia used as a textbook for nine centuries.  He was sometimes called “The Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages” because the encyclopedia he wrote was used as a textbook for nine centuries. He wrote many books and founded a number of seminaries and schools.  He has been suggested as a patron of the internet.

Friday, April 5th:  St Vincent Ferrer, Priest (1350-1419)

Shortly after his ordination he was chosen as prior of the Dominican Order in Spain.  Vincent spent most of his life finding the truth in the Western Schism, which divided the Church between three popes.  Shortly before his death, while very sick, he denounced Pope Benedict, who had ordained him a priest.

“If you truly want to help the soul of your neighbor, you should approach God first with all your heart. Ask him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues; with it you can accomplish what you desire.”

Patron:  prisioners, fisherman, plumbers

Saturday, April 6th: St Juliana of Cornillon, Religious (1193-1258)

She received visions from Jesus, who enlightened her that there wasn’t a feast honoring the Blessed Sacrament.  Because of this the Feast of Corpus Christ was born.

Patron:  Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament

Office of Readings, Second Reading

There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other.

Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others you open God’s ear to yourself.

When you fast, see the fasting of others. If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery.

Let this be the pattern for all men when they practice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you.

Therefore, let prayer, mercy and fasting be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor.

Let us use fasting to make up for what we have lost by despising others. Let us offer our souls in sacrifice by means of fasting. There is nothing more pleasing that we can offer to God, as the psalmist said in prophecy: A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart.

Offer your soul to God, make him an oblation of your fasting, so that your soul may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim, remaining your own and at the same time made over to God. Whoever fails to give this to God will not be excused, for if you are to give him yourself you are never without the means of giving.

To make these acceptable, mercy must be added. Fasting bears no fruit unless it is watered by mercy. Fasting dries up when mercy dries up. Mercy is to fasting as rain is to the earth. However much you may cultivate your heart, clear the soil of your nature, root out vices, sow virtues, if you do not release the springs of mercy, your fasting will bear no fruit.

When you fast, if your mercy is thin your harvest will be thin; when you fast, what you pour out in mercy overflows into your barn. Therefore, do not lose by saving, but gather in by scattering. Give to the poor, and you give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others.

St Peter Chrysologus,

A Week of Saints

Monday, March 25: The Annunciation of the Lord

From a homily In Praise of the Virgin Mother by Saint Bernard, abbot

You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.

Inspiring Thoughts

”Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the ministers of God’s grace have spoken of repentance; indeed, the Master of the whole universe Himself spoke of repentance with an oath: As I live, says the Lord, I do not wish the death of the sinner but his repentance. He added this evidence of his goodness: House of Israel, repent of your wickedness. Tell the sons of My people: If their sins should reach from earth to heaven, if they are brighter than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, you need only turn to Me with your whole heart and say, “Father”, and I will listen to you as to a holy people “

St Clement, Pope

Peter vs Judas

These two men both denied Christ.  One in words and oaths, and the other a betrayal for greed.  Christ foretold of both deeds, He knew their weaknesses.  One would be handed the keys of the Kingdom, and the other would hang on a tree.  Both of them were Apostles, followers of the living God.  Why such a different response from both of these men, to their sin.  One chose life and forgiveness. The other death and despair.  Could it be poor Judas that you thought yourself capable of something bigger than the Almighty.  Did you think that you could sin greater, than The Savior Of the World could forgive?   Did you see your deed more toxic than God’s mercy could conquer?  Is that your blasphemy Judas?

“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”