A Week of Saints (April 29-May 5, 2019)

Monday, April 29: St Catherine of Siena, Religious, Doctor (1802-1841)

St Catherine was child number 23 in her family.  She was intelligent, cheerful and very religious.  She cut her hair in protest to the urgings of her mother to be more attractive to attract a husband.  Cathrine worked at total surrender to Christ.  She entered the Dominican Third Order and spent the next 3 yrs in seclusion and prayer.  Her public influence grew, because of her holiness and the deep impression she made on the Pope.  She urged unity in the Church, and influenced Pope Urban VI to return to Rome. Her spiritual testament is found in “The Dialog”.

“In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature, and what is my nature, boundless Love?  It is fire, because You are nothing but a fire of love, and You have given humankind a share in this nature, for by the fire of love You created us”

Patron:  fire, miscarriages, people ridiculed for their piety, sexual temptation, sickness

Tuesday, April 30: St Pius V, Priest, Bishop, Pope (1504-1572)

Pius V was a Pope faithful to his Dominican Rule.  He spent long hours in prayer, fasted and denied himself many papal luxuries.  He implemented the reforms of the Council of Trent.  He worked to reunite a shattered church.  He published a new Breviary and Catechism and established the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes for the youth.  In order to train priests correctly, he ordered the founding of seminaries.  He served the sick and poor in the building of hospitals.  Money for papal banquets was instead used for poor Roman converts.  He wore his Dominican habit, which is wear the custom of the Pope wearing a white cassock came from.  In spite of opposition from Queen Elizabeth and the Roman Emperor, he managed to unite Europe against the Turkish invasion.

“Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary”

Wednesday, May 1 St Joseph the Worker 

“In 1955 Pope Pius XII instituted the Feast of St. Joseph the Workman and decreed that the new Mass in the saint’s honor be said on May 1st. It is not by chance that this day was chosen. May 1st is May Day, a Communist legal holiday in honor of the radical workers. In contrast, the Holy Father sets aside May 1st to give honor to St. Joseph and to restore dignity to labor. The Church wants people to have private property and to work out a decent livelihood through their labors. She knows that through this private property a person will have more initiative and be more diligent. Labor will be more dignified as it was for St. Joseph.”

Fr Robert Voigt

Thursday, May 2:  St Athanasius, Bishop, Doctor (296-373)

Athanasius, born if Egypt, was a defender of the Church against the heresy of Arianism(the teaching that Jesus was not truly divine). His passionate writings earned him the title of Doctor. He was exiled five times for his defense of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity. 

“The Lord did not come to make a display.  He came to heal and to teach suffering men.  For one who wanted to make a display, the thing would have been just to appear and dazzle the beholders.  But for Him Who came to heal and teach, the way was not merely to dwell here, but to put Himself at the disposal of those who needed Him, and to be manifested according as they could hear it, not vitiating the value of the Divine appearing, by exceeding their capacity to receive it.”

“Even on the cross he did not hide himself from sight; rather, he made all creation witness to the presence of its Maker.”

Friday, May 3: St Philip and St James, Apostle, martyr (time of Christ)

St. Philip preached the Gospel in Turkey and was martyred there.  He was married and had three devout daughters.

St. James was called the lesser to tell him apart from James the greater, who was of larger stature. James was visited by Jesus after the resurrection and was made the first Bishop of Jeruselem. 

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17

Patron, Philip:  pastry chefs

Patron, James:   druggist, the dying

Saturday, May 4:  Eighty-five Martyrs of England and Wales (d 1584-1679)

The Eighty-five Martyrs of England and Wales are a group of men who were executed on charges of treason and related offenses, in the Kingdom of England. They were beatified on 22 November 1987 by Pope John Paul II

Sunday May 5:  St Judith of Prussia, Hermit (1200-1260)

Saint Judith of Prussia, also known as Jutta, was born to a noble family and married to nobleman.  Her piety displeased her husband at first, but later he accepted and even  supported her in her endeavors.  While on a pilgrimage to the holy places in Jerusalem, he died.  After her children were provided for, she chose a life in the Third Order of St Francis and traded her costly clothes and jewels for a religious habit.  She devoted her life to the care of the poor and sick.  

After Saint Judith of Prussia had provided for her children, who had all been reared in the fear of God, Jutta, with the consent of her confessor, disposed of the costly clothes and jewels she had until then worn in accordance with her rank, as well as all her expensive furniture. She entered the Third Order of St Francis, and wore the simple garment of a religious. She devoted herself entirely to the care of the sick, especially the lepers, and to the poor, whom she visited in their hovels and provided with all necessities. The crippled and the blind she led by the hand to her home and took care of their needs.

Once when she was at prayer, Christ Himself appeared to her and said to her lovingly:

“All My treasures are yours, and yours are Mine.”

Patron:  Prussia, widows

Octave Of Easter

“The Lord, though he was God, became man. He suffered for the sake of those who suffer, he was bound for those in bonds, condemned for the guilty, buried for those who lie in the grave; but he rose from the dead, and cried aloud: Who will contend with me? Let him confront me. I have freed the condemned, brought the dead back to life, raised men from their graves. Who has anything to say against me? I, he said, am the Christ; I have destroyed death, triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot, bound the strong one, and taken men up to the heights of heaven: I am the Christ.”

St Melito Of Sardis

Holy Saturday Ancient Homily (Office Of Readings)

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

author unknown

In A Glance

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, so at Mass the events from Jesus’ celebrated entry into Jerusalem through the Crucifixion were read…according to the Gospel of Luke this year.  I was caught by surprise Sunday morning, by a segment of the reading that had never sat with me like it did this time.

“…Assuredly, this man too was with him,

for he also is a Galilean.”

But Peter said,

“My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.”

Just as he was saying this, the cock crowed,

and the Lord turned and looked at Peter; 

and Peter remembered the word of the Lord,

how he had said to him,

“Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.”

He went out and began to weep bitterly.

As these words were read, I began to cry with Peter.   Why do you think Jesus looked at Peter?  ….to say to him “I told you so”….”Peter you are such a bad person”…. or, I love you Peter, even when you deny me.”  I recognized that feeling of looking to God, and realizing the sadness of failing to love Him yet another time.  To have Jesus return a glance my way with  Love,  and wishing I could do better.  Knowing that in His eyes reveal that; Peter, I am going to my Cross, so you don’t have to endure yours.  That is how I love you Peter. Then is when we weep bitterly, …because we know we need Jesus to carry that cross, our cross …because in our weakness we drop ours daily.

This is what I see, when I fail to love enough, and my Lord turns his glance to me.  I see a Savior crucified, because Love chose me.

Holy Week, 2019

Palm Sunday

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority, and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity.

Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward Jerusalem, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.

In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens—the proof, surely, of his power and godhead—his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.

So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.

Saint Andrew of Crete

Oh Susanna

When I read about Susanna, it always strikes a deep feeling of vulnerability  in me….to think of being at the mercy of a ruthless man. 

“I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I refuse, I cannot escape your power.

Daniel 13:22

In our world today, I hear men being offended by their job opportunities being biased not in their direction, by the stereotype of what men are, how the tables are turning, etc.  My answer is…welcome to the life of women.  That doesn’t make it right, for men or women, but it’s not a new problem.

This is the thing though, if women were given the freedom to be, who they were created to be as females throughout history, I believe this struggle of being “equal” would be naught.  If women could freely be the beautiful image of God, as He created her…. what woman would want to be “equal” with men.  Why would she want to be equal to man, when she could be God’s vision of woman.  We aren’t equal, we are God’s daughters, as he loved us to be in Creation, as He loves us to be within Himself.  Equal isn’t even a word that should be used here, because we are so much more than equal…we are life bearers…we are female created in the Image of God…. as men are male created in the Image of God.

 I think as females, we need to look to our Father to find our worth, not to men to find equality.  

We have made this such a tainted mess, and my intention is not to put men down.  It’s quite the contrary: I hope to celebrate men and women as they were created.  One isn’t better than the other, we are just created diferently.

Disclaimer:  I think men need to find their worth in the image of God also.  I believe there, they will no longer feel the need to dominate women.  If men think themselves superior to women, they need to take that up with the creator, and if women feel inferior to men, they need to do the same.  I think God would be offended on both fronts.

”For in giving themselves to others each day women fulfil their deepest vocation. Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them. In this way the basic plan of the Creator takes flesh in the history of humanity and there is constantly revealed, in the variety of vocations, that beauty-not merely physical, but above all spiritual-which God bestowed from the very beginning on all, and in a particular way on women.”

St John Paul II, Pope

A Week of Saints (April 7-14, 2019)

Sunday April 7:  St John Baptist de La Salle, Priest (1651-1719)

St John was highly educated and founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools to serve and educate the poor.  He opened many schools throughout France for poor and wealthy delinquent children

“Preach by example, and practice before the eyes of the young what you wish them to accept”

Patron :  teachers of youth, educators, school principals, teachers

Monday, April 8: St Julie Billiart, Religious, founder (1751-1816)

St Julie was attracted to religious study, even as a child.  She made her First Communion at age nine, when the usual age was thirteen.  After witnessing a murder attempt on her father, she was traumatized.  For the next 30 years she was ill, and paralyzed for 22 of them.  She offered all of her pain and suffering to God.  During the French Revolution, she offered refuge to Priests.  She received a vision that prompted her to start the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

God allows us to be deprived of the feeling of His presence, so that we cling to God and not to His gifts.”

Patron: against poverty, bodily ills, disease

Tuesday, April 9:  St Acacius, Bishop (d 425)

Acacius was Bishop in what is now Diabekir Turkey,during the Persian persecution.  He sold sacred vessels to aid victims, to redeem the prisoners and feed them.  The proceeds from the vessels ransomed, clothed and fed 7000 Persians, who them returned to their homes.  This so impressed the Persian Emperor, he stopped the persecutions of Christians. St. Acacius’ kindness and charity led to the termination of hostilities between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Persians, thus allowing Christianity to flourish in Persian lands.

“Our God, my brethren, needs neither dishes nor cups; for He neither eats nor drinks, nor is in want of anything. Since then, by the liberality of its faithful members the Church possesses many vessels both of gold and silver, it behooves us to sell them, that by the money thus raised, we may be able to redeem the prisoners and also supply them with food”

Wednesday, April 10:  Bl Anthony of Neyrot, Priest, Martyr (1425-1460)

Anthony was a  Dominican Priest. He was captured by Moorish pirates, He then became a Muslim and married. After a few months, he repented and put on his Dominican habit,  and preach Christ’s message. On Holy Thursday, he appeared before the caliph in his Dominican habit, professed his Christian faith, and was ordered stoned to death.

Thursday, April 11:  St Gemma Galgani, Mystic (1878-1903)

St Gemma loved prayer from a very young age, and had many mystical experiences.  She bore the stigmata, and suffered with tuberculosis until her death.

“Why did you suffer for me, dear Jesus? For love! The nails…the crown…the cross…all for the love of me! For You I sacrifice everything willingly. I offer You my body with all of its weakness, and my soul with all its love.”

Friday, April 12: St Julius, Pope (d 352)

Julius was elected Pope in 337.  He built several basilicas and churches in Rome.

Saturday, April 13: St Martin I, Pope, martyr (598-655)

St Martin spent a lot of his time as Pope fighting the Monothelite heresy that denied the humanity of Christ. He refused to give merit to this heresy, which angered the emperor.  He was then kidnapped, imprisoned then exiled.  While in exile, St Martin died, making him the last pope to die a martyr.

“As to this wretched body, God will have care of it.  He is at hand; why should I give myself any trouble? I hope in His mercy, He will not prolong my curse.”

Sunday, April 14:  St Kateri Tekawitha, Virgin (1656-1680)

St Kateri was the daughter of a Mohawk warrior.  She lost her parents to Small Pox, the disease that left her disfigured, and partially blind. She converted to Christianity, and left the tribe fearing for her life. She traveled to Canada, where she could live among Native Americans, as a Christian in s life of prayer.  She is known as the Lily of the Mohawks. 

“I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus. He must be my only love. The state of helpless poverty that may befall me if I do not marry does not frighten me. All I need is a little food and a few pieces of clothing. With the work of my hands I shall always earn what is necessary and what is left over I’ll give to my relatives and to the poor. If I should become sick and unable to work, then I shall be like the Lord on the cross. He will have mercy on me and help me, I am sure.”

Patron:  ecology, environment, people in exile