Getting Close

My son was sitting next to me in church.  He slid over, so that he was snug up next to me.  I put my arm around him, pulled him in, and kissed his head.  He wanted affection, and asked for it in his own socially accepted way.  He wanted to be close.  He may not have even been mindful of his tactic, but rather moved on instinct. My response was automatic, reading my son’s need, and responding to him with love.

I was on retreat recently, and I think that is like nudging up next to God.  Like my son, I didn’t need to know what it was that I was searching for, but God will respond.  He  sees exactly what it is that I’m asking, even if I don’t know myself.  Then He embraces me and kisses my head.  

A Week of Saints: August 19-25, 2019

Monday, August, 19:  St. John Eudes, Priest (1601-1680)

St. John Eudes was a French missionary.  At the age of fourteen he took a vow of chastity, and at age 24, he was ordained a priest at age 24.  He cared for plague victims risking his own life. He preached missions and was known as the greatest preacher of his age, throughout France. He founded the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, a refuge for prostitutes, and the Society of Jesus and Mary, to educate priests.  He wrote “Le Coeur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu”.

“Our wish, our object, our chief preoccupation must be to form Jesus in ourselves, to make his spirit, his devotion, his affections, his desires and his disposition live and reign there.”

Patron:  missionaries

Tuesday, August 20:  St. Bernard, Priest, Doctor (1091-1153)

 St. Bernard was born of noble parentage, under the care of his pious parents.  After the death of his mother, he joined the Cistercian Order, of which he persuaded his brothers and several of his friends to follow his example. The reputation of St Bernard spread far and wide; even the Popes were governed by his advice. He was credited with many miracles

“The man who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself … Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare … You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God.” 

Patron:  bookkeepers, candlemakers

Wednesday, August 21 :  St. Pius X, Pope (1835-1914)

Two of the most outstanding accomplishments of this saintly Pope were the inauguration of the liturgical renewal and the restoration of frequent communion from childhood. He also waged taught against the heresy and evils of Modernism.   From St. Pius X we learn again that “the folly of the Cross”, simplicity of life, and humility of heart are still the highest wisdom and conditions of a perfect Christian life, for they are the very source of all apostolic fruitfulness.

“To heal the breach between the rich and the poor, it is necessary to distinguish between justice and charity.”

Patron: first communicants

Thursday, August 22:  The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Catholic teaching on this subject is expressed in the papal encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, issued by Pope Prius XII.  It states that Mary is called Queen of Heaven, because her son, Jesus Christ, is the king of Israel and heavenly king of the universe.  the Davidic tradition of Israel recognized the mother of the king as the Queen Mother of Israel.

The title, Queen of Heaven, has long been a Catholic tradition, from Middle Ages, long before it was given a formal definition status by the Church

Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. 

Friday, August 23:  St. Rose of Lima (1586-1617)

Rose was born in Peru to Spanish parents. Her parents tried to get Rose, a beauty, married, but she refused.  When they refused to let her enter the convent she became a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. She set up a room in her house to care for those in need, orphans, homeless, elderly.

The first canonized saint of the New World has one characteristic of all saints—the suffering of opposition—and another characteristic which is more for admiration than for imitation—excessive practice of mortification.

She was born to parents of Spanish descent in Lima, Peru, at a time when South America was in its first century of evangelization. She seems to have taken Catherine of Siena (April 29) as a model, in spite of the objections and ridicule of parents and friends. When she died at 31, the city turned out for her funeral, and prominent men took turns carrying her coffin.

“The gift of grace increases as the struggle increases.”

Patron:  embroiderers, sewing lace, gardeners, florist people ridiculed or misunderstood for their piety, for the resolution of family quarrels, vanity

Patron: Americas,

Saturday, August 24:  St. Bartholomew, Apostle (time of Christ)

Bartholomew was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. He has been identified with Nathaniel, who appears in the Gospel of John as being introduced to Jesus by Phillip.

Patron: butchers, leather workers, neurological diseases, shoemakers, plasterers 

Sunday, August 25:  St. Louis of France, king (1226-1270)

At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God’s anointed.as other kings had.  Louis was different, he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice.

He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court.  He was respectful of the papacy, founded hospitals for the sick and cared for lepers. He fed the hungry and helped the poor

“I advise you that you accustom yourself to frequent confession, and that you choose always, as your confessors, men who are upright and sufficiently learned, and who can teach you what you should do and what you should avoid.”

 “Fix your whole heart upon God, and love Him with all your strength, for without this no one can be saved.”

 Patron: Barbers, Grooms, Secular Franciscan Order

A Week of Saints

Monday, August 12th: St Jane Frances de Chantal, religious sister (1572-1641)

Jane was married to Christophe, a French baron of an estate in bad shape and financial trouble. She managed the household, such that those in her employ loved her, and conditions improved. Her husband was killed in a hunting accident, leaving Jane alone. She was very generous to the poor. 

Her spiritual director was St Francis de Sales, and they were also best friends.  With his help they started the order of the Visitation. Women who were widow, or those with health condition that couldn’t withstand the austerity of other orders were welcome here 

“Throw ourselves into God as a little drop of water into the sea, and lose ourselves indeed in the Ocean of the divine goodness.”

Patron: widows, forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children 

Tuesday, August 13th: St Hippolytus, Martyr (170-235)

Hippolytus of Rome was a controversial person in the church.  He censured Pope Dt, Callistus I. He then, was first to be elected an antipope in the church. He was reconciled to the church, before his martyrdom. He had many writings. 

“Fly to the Catholic Church!  Adhere to the only faiths that continues to exist from the beginning, that faith that was preached by Paul, and is upheld by the chair of Peter.”

Patron:  horses; prison guards; prison officers; prison workers

Wednesday, August 14th: St. Maximillian Kolbe, Martyr (1894-1941)

Maximillian was frail as a result of a bout of tuberculosis. He became a Franciscan and priest in Poland. He founded the Immaculata Movement, a devotion to the Blessed Mother. 

Maximilian was born in 1894 in Poland and became a Franciscan. He contracted tuberculosis and, though he recovered, he remained frail all his life. Before his ordination as a priest, Maximilian founded the Immaculata Movement He took his devotion to India and Japan.  After the Nazi invasion, he was imprisoned, and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Fr Kolbe took the place of a married man, who was chosen to die.

“I pray you to tell the Brothers not to be afraid at all to love the Immaculate too much since . . . they will never love her like Jesus loved her.” 

Patron: drug addicts, prisoners, families, and the pro-life movement

Thursday, August 15th: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Pope Pius XII proclaimed ““We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.” What the pope declared was already a common belief in the Catholic Church.  There are homilies on the Assumption going back to the sixth century. 

Friday, August 16th: St Uguzo, Martyr (unknown)

St Uguzo is sometimes listed as Lucius. He was a shepherd in the Italian Alps, and was noted for giving to the poor and the Church. He was murdered by a former master. While there is no date connected with the saint, he was especially venerated at Milan from about 1280.

Saturday, August 17th: St Myron, Bishop (c 150-250)

St Myron is known as “the wonder worker”. He was a family man, and known for his generosity to the poor.   He even helped the thieves that broke into his home to a bag of wheat, converting the lives of the thieves.   The Cretan people urged him to accept ordination to the priesthood. He was then made a bishop of Raucia.  He is credited with stopping the flow of a flooding river.  He lived to be 100.

Sunday, August 18th: St Flores and St Lauras, maryrrs (2nd century)

They were martyrs with Maximus and Proculus. Venerated particularly by the Greeks, Florus and Laurus were twin brothers, who were stone masons.  They Christianized a pagan temple and were drowned in a well as a result.

A Week of Saints, August 5-11, 2019

Monday, August 5th: St Paris of Teano, Bishop (died 346)

Many legends exist about him.  The legends say that Paris was of Greek origin, and was the apostle and first bishop of Teano. His miracles included killing a dragon.  The dragon could have been a metaphor for paganism. 

Tuesday, August 6th: Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.*

And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents* here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,* then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone

The Gospel of Matthew

Wednesday, August 7th: St Claudia (1st Century)

Claudia was the mother of the second Pope, St Linus.  There are many traditions surrounded St Claudia and who she was.  One such tradition has her the daughter of a captured British king and named for Emperor Claudius, who released her father.  She was then baptized in Rome, and mentioned in Paul’s second letter to Timothy.

Thursday, August 8th: St Dominic (1170-1221)

St. Dominic was born in Spain.  He was ordained, and was noted for his strict adherence to the rule of St. Benedict. He founded the order of the Dominicans. He was devoted to the conversion of the Albigensians. Dominic spent the last years of this life organizing the order, traveling all over Italy, Spain and France. His effort was very successful, as it applied Dominic’s concept of harmonizing the intellectual life with popular needs.

Patron:  astronomers, astronomy, falsely accused people

“A man who governs his passions is master of the world. We must either command them or be enslaved to them.

Friday, August 9th: St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, Religious Sister, Martyr  (1892-1942)

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was born in Poland, and the youngest child of a large Jewish family. She became interested in the Catholic Faith, and was then baptized.  Edith entered the Cologne Carmel, and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.  She was arrested, and was sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Teresa died in the gas chambers. She  very intelligent, and well versed in philosophy with a particular interest in phenomenology. She has many written works. 

“The nation… doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.”

Patron:  loss of parents, converted Jews, World Youth Day[

Saturday, August 10th: St Lawrence, Deacon, Martyr (225-258)

Saint Lawrence was one of seven deacons who were in charge of giving help to the poor and the needy. As Pope St. Sixtus was led to his execution, Lawrence followed him weeping, “Father, where are you going without your deacon?” The Pope said,  “I am not leaving you, my son, in three days you will follow me.” Lawrence gave to the poor the rest of the money he had on hand. The Prefect of Rome ordered Lawrence to bring the Church’s treasure to him. Lawrence went through the city and gathered together all the poor and sick. He said: “This is the Church’s treasure!”

In anger, the Prefect condemned Lawrence to a slow, cruel death, of roasting over a fire God gave him so much strength and joy that he even joked. “Turn me over, I’m done on this side!” And just before he died, he prayed that the city of Rome might be converted to Jesus, and that the Catholic Faith might spread all over the world.

Patron:  comedians, librarians, students, miners, tanners, chefs, roasters, poor, firefighters

Sunday, August 11th: St. Clare, Founder Poor Clares (1194-1253)

When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus. So one evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear, tied with a plain cord around her waist. Her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not.

St. Clare and her sisters wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time.  Once, They we’re saved from an army of rough soldiers, who planned to raid the convent. Where the enemies could see it, Clare had the Blessed Sacrament placed, and begged God to save the Sisters.  At the same time, a sudden fright struck the attackers and they fled as fast as they could.

“They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?”

Patron: sore eyes

Save The …

Creation is magnificent:  the universe, flowers, puppies, blue whales, mountains, oceans etc.  This beautiful world of ours can be breath taking, and how everything works is mind boggling.  Civilization as we know it is 6000 years old, and we’ve only scratched the surface of our understanding of how it works. All of this complexity is a gift from our Creator.  All of it down to every cell and atom is for His beloved mankind.  Our generous Father moved by love for His children, spoiled us on our birthday with creation. 

We have a responsibility to take care of creation, and we have many causes, announced on bumpers stickers, commercials and political promises. I think though, if we reflect on Jesus, we need only look upon Him crucified, and His message to us is clear….Save the humans!  I think if our primary goal is not that first, we are missing why He came.  I think that God looks at creation and sees it is good, but He thought it finished after He created man and woman. 

It is in every soul, where the Creator has placed Himself, so maybe our “causes” should be each other.

A Week of Saints: July 29- August 4, 2019

Monday, July 29th: St Martha, Disciple of Christ (time of Christ)

Patron: cooks, servants

“Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus.” This unique statement in John’s gospel tells us of the special relationship Jesus had with Martha, her sister, and her brother.

Martha is busy with the cultural tasks of hospitality, while Mary is listening to Jesus.  He observes that Martha is worried about many things that distract her from really being present to him that is what Mary has done. 

The next time, Martha is grieving the death of her brother, when she hears that Jesus is in the area. She gets up immediately, leaves the guests and mourning, then goes to meet him.  Martha learned to seek Jesus first. 

.Martha is the patron saint of servants and cooks.

Tuesday, July 30th: St Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Doctor (380-450)

St. Peter was called “Chrysologus” (golden-worded) because of his oratorical eloquence. He practiced many works of mercy.  He fought against Paganism and heretics. He was made a Doctor of the Church, largely as a result of his simple, practical, and clear sermons.

“The poor stretch out the hand, but God receives what is offered”

Wednesday, July 31st: St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest (1491-1556)

Patron: educators, soldiers

St. Ignatius was a soldier, but was injured. While he recovered, he read the lives of the saints, and decided to dedicate himself to becoming a soldier of the Catholic Faith. Soon after he experienced visions, but a year later suffered a trial of fears and scruples, driving him almost to despair. Out of this experience he wrote his famous “Spiritual Exercises”. He founded the Jesuit order. 

“Love ought to show itself in deeds more than words”

Patron: educators, education, religious retreats

Thursday, August 1st : St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori, Bishop, Doctor (-1787)

Raised in a pious home, Alphonsus went on retreats with his father.  Alphonsus received his doctorate at the age of sixteen, and was practicing law, by nineteen. He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. . For thirteen years Alphonsus fed the poor, instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses, taught theology, and wrote. He suffered daily the pain from rheumatism that was beginning to deform his body.  Rheumatic fever left him paralyzed. Alphonsus suffered great anguish, but he overcame his depression, and he experienced visions, performed miracles, and gave prophecies.

“Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends.”

Patron:  confessors, moralists

Friday, August 2nd: St. Peter Julian Eymard, Priest (1811-1868)

He worked as cutler until eighteen when he went to the seminary at Grenoble and was ordained. He served as a parish priest for several years then joined the Marists and became their provincial at Lyons. He established the Sevants of the Blessed Sacrament whose nuns devoted themselves to perpetual adoration.

“Happy is the soul that knows how to find Jesus in the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in all things! ”

Saturday, August 3rd: St Lydia Purpuraria (1st century)

Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), a town in Asia Minor, famous for its dye works, (hence, her name which means purple seller). She became Paul’s first convert at Philippi. She was baptized with her household, and Paul stayed at her home there

Sunday, August 4th: St. John Vianney, Priest(1786-1859)

St. John Vianney, Priest, known as the “Cure of Ars.” His reputation as a confessor and director of souls made him known throughout the Christian world. His life was one of extreme mortification.  Although used to severe austerities, besieged by the satan and flocked by many penitents he was simplistic. 

He heard confessions of people from all over the world for sixteen hours each day. His life was filled with works of charity and love. 

“The sign of the cross is the most terrible weapon against the devil. Thus the Church wishes not only that we have it continually in front of our minds to recall to us just what our souls are worth and what they cost Jesus Christ, but also that we should make it at every juncture ourselves: when we go to bed, when we awaken during the night, when we get up, when we begin any action, and, above all, when we are tempted.”

Patron:  Priests

Inspiring Thoughts

“Rarely do we reflect upon what gifts our souls may possess, who dwells within them, or how extremely precious they are. Therefore we do little to preserve their beauty; all our care is concentrated on our bodies, which are but the coarse setting of the diamond, or the outer walls of the castle.”

St Teresa Of Avila