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Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque Image: Jesus Christ appearing to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and showing her His Sacred Heart | Saint Francis Xavier Basilica (Vincennes, IN). Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque Saint of the Day for October 16 (July 22, 1647 – October 17, 1690) https://wp.francis canmedia.org/wp-co ntent/uploads/2016 /08/SODOct16.mp3 Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Story Margaret Mary was chosen by Christ to arouse the Church to a realization of the love of God symbolized by the heart of Jesus. Her early years were marked by sickness and a painful home situation. “The heaviest of my crosses was that I could do nothing to lighten the cross my mother was suffering.” After considering marriage for some time, Margaret Mary entered the Order of the Visitation nuns at the age of 24. A Visitation nun was “not to be extraordinary except by being ordinary,” but the young nun was not to enjoy this anonymity. A fellow novice termed Margaret Mary humble, simple, and frank, but above all, kind and patient under sharp criticism and correction. She could not meditate in the formal way expected, though she tried her best to give up her “prayer of simplicity.” Slow, quiet, and clumsy, she was assigned to help an infirmarian who was a bundle of energy. On December 21, 1674, three years a nun, she received the first of her revelations. She felt “invested” with the presence of God, though always afraid of deceiving herself in such matters. The request of Christ was that his love for humankind be made evident through her. During the next 13 months, he appeared to her at intervals. His human heart was to be the symbol of his divine-human love. By her own love she was to make up for the coldness and ingratitude of the world—by frequent and loving holy Communion, especially on the first Friday of each month, and by an hour’s vigil of prayer every Thursday night in memory of his agony and isolation in Gethsemane. He also asked that a feast of reparation be instituted. Like all saints, Margaret Mary had to pay for her gift of holiness. Some of her own sisters were hostile. Theologians who were called in declared her visions delusions and suggested that she eat more heartily. Later, parents of children she taught called her an impostor, an unorthodox innovator. A new confessor, Saint Claude de la Colombière, a Jesuit, recognized her genuineness and supported her. Against her great resistance, Christ called her to be a sacrificial victim for the shortcomings of her own sisters, and to make this known. After serving as novice mistress and assistant superior, she died at the age of 43 while being anointed. She said: “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.” Reflection Our scientific-materia listic age cannot “prove” private revelations. Theologians, if pressed, admit that we do not have to believe in them. But it is impossible to deny the message Margaret Mary heralded: that God loves us with a passionate love. Her insistence on reparation and prayer and the reminder of final judgment should be sufficient to ward off superstition and superficiality in devotion to the Sacred Heart while preserving its deep Christian meaning. www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Oct 16, 2016 | post #2860)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

Saint Bruno Saint of the Day for October 6 (c. 1030 – October 6, 1101) Audio Player 00:00 00:00 Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Saint Bruno’s Story This saint has the honor of having founded a religious order which, as the saying goes, has never had to be reformed because it was never deformed. No doubt both the founder and the members would reject such high praise, but it is an indication of the saint’s intense love of a penitential life in solitude. Bruno was born in Cologne, Germany, became a famous teacher at Rheims, and was appointed chancellor of the archdiocese at the age of 45. He supported Pope Gregory VII in his fight against the decadence of the clergy, and took part in the removal of his own scandalous archbishop, Manasses. Bruno suffered the plundering of his house for his pains. He had a dream of living in solitude and prayer, and persuaded a few friends to join him in a hermitage. After a while he felt the place unsuitable and, through a friend, was given some land which was to become famous for his foundation “in the Chartreuse” (from which comes the word Carthusians). The climate, desert, mountainous terrain, and inaccessibility guaranteed silence, poverty, and small numbers. Bruno and his friends built an oratory with small individual cells at a distance from each other. They met for Matins and Vespers each day and spent the rest of the time in solitude, eating together only on great feasts. Their chief work was copying manuscripts. The pope, hearing of Bruno’s holiness, called for his assistance in Rome. When the pope had to flee Rome, Bruno pulled up stakes again, and spent his last years (after refusing a bishopric) in the wilderness of Calabria. Bruno was never formally canonized, because the Carthusians were averse to all occasions of publicity. However, Pope Clement X extended his feast to the whole Church in 1674. Reflection If there is always a certain uneasy questioning of the contemplative life, there is an even greater puzzlement about the extremely penitential combination of community and hermit life lived by the Carthusians. www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Oct 6, 2016 | post #2858)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

Saint Vincent de Paul Saint of the Day for September 27 (1580 – September Saint Vincent de Paul Saint of the Day for September 27 (1580 – September 27, 1660) https://wp.francis canmedia.org/wp-co ntent/uploads/2016 /08/SODSep27.mp3 Saint Vincent de Paul’s Story The deathbed confession of a dying servant opened Vincent’s eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France. This seems to have been a crucial moment in the life of the man from a small farm in Gascony, France, who had become a priest with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life. It was the Countess de Gondi (whose servant he had helped) who persuaded her husband to endow and support a group of able and zealous missionaries who would work among poor tenant farmers and country people in general. Vincent was too humble to accept leadership at first, but after working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley-slaves, he returned to be the leader of what is now known as the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians. These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages. Later, Vincent established confraternities of charity for the spiritual and physical relief of the poor and sick of each parish. From these, with the help of Saint Louise de Marillac, came the Daughters of Charity, “whose convent is the sickroom, whose chapel is the parish church, whose cloister is the streets of the city.” He organized the rich women of Paris to collect funds for his missionary projects, founded several hospitals, collected relief funds for the victims of war, and ransomed over 1,200 galley slaves from North Africa. He was zealous in conducting retreats for clergy at a time when there was great laxity, abuse, and ignorance among them. He was a pioneer in clerical training and was instrumental in establishing seminaries. Most remarkably, Vincent was by temperament a very irascible person—even his friends admitted it. He said that except for the grace of God he would have been “hard and repulsive, rough and cross.” But he became a tender and affectionate man, very sensitive to the needs of others. Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable societies. Outstanding among these, of course, is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in 1833 by his admirer Blessed Frédéric Ozanam. Reflection The Church is for all God’s children, rich and poor, peasants and scholars, the sophisticated and the simple. But obviously the greatest concern of the Church must be for those who need the most help—those made helpless by sickness, poverty, ignorance, or cruelty. Vincent de Paul is a particularly appropriate patron for all Christians today, when hunger has become starvation, and the high living of the rich stands in more and more glaring contrast to the physical and moral degradation in which many of God’s children are forced to live. 27, 1660) https://wp.francis canmedia.org/wp-co ntent/uploads/2016 /08/SODSep27.mp3  (Sep 27, 2016 | post #2856)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

Pope Paul VI | wikimedia commons Image : Blessed Pope Paul VI, 1977. | Wikimedia Commons. Blessed Pope Paul VI Saint of the Day for September 26 (September 26, 1897 – August 6, 1978) https://wp.francis canmedia.org/wp-co ntent/uploads/2016 /08/SODSep26.mp3 Blessed Paul VI’s Story Born near Brescia in northern Italy, Giovanni Battista Montini was the second of three sons. His father, Giorgio, was a lawyer, editor, and eventually a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. His mother, Giuditta, was very involved in Catholic Action. After ordination in 1920, Giovanni did graduate studies in literature, philosophy, and canon law in Rome before he joined the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1924, where he worked for 30 years. He was also chaplain to the Federation of Italian Catholic University Students, where he met and became a very good friend of Aldo Moro, who eventually became prime minister (1963-68 and 1974-76). Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigade in March 1978, and murdered two months later. A devastated Pope Paul VI presided at his funeral. In 1954, Montini was named archbishop of Milan, where he sought to win disaffected workers back to the Catholic Church. He called himself the “archbishop of the workers” and visited factories regularly while overseeing the rebuilding of a local Church tremendously disrupted by World War II. In 1958, Montini was the first of 23 cardinals named by Pope John XXIII, two months after the latter’s election as pope. Cardinal Montini helped in preparing Vatican II and participated enthusiastically in its first sessions. When he was elected pope in June 1963, he immediately decided to continue that Council, which had another three sessions before its conclusion on December 8, 1965. The day before Vatican II concluded, Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras revoked the excommunications that their predecessors had made in 1054. Pope Paul worked very hard to ensure that bishops would approve the Council’s 16 documents by overwhelming majorities. Paul VI had stunned the world by visiting the Holy Land in January 1964, and meeting Athenagoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in person. The pope made eight more international trips, including one in 1965, to visit New York City and speak on behalf of peace before the United Nations General Assembly. He also visited India, Columbia, Uganda, and seven Asian countries during a 10-day visit in 1970. In 1965, he instituted the World Synod of Bishops and the next year decreed that bishops must offer their resignations on reaching age 75. In 1970, he decided that cardinals over 80 would no longer vote in papal conclaves or head the Holy See’s major offices. He had increased the number of cardinals significantly, giving many countries their first cardinal. Eventually establishing diplomatic relations between the Holy See and 40 countries, he also instituted a permanent observer mission at the United Nations in 1964. Pope Paul wrote seven encyclicals; his last one in 1968, on human life ( Humanae Vitae ) prohibited artificial birth control. He died at Castel Gandolfo on August 6, 1978, and was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica. He was beatified on October 19, 2014. Reflection Blessed Pope Paul’s greatest accomplishment was the completion and implementation of Vatican II. Its decisions about liturgy were the first ones noticed by most Catholics, but its other documents—especial ly the ones about ecumenism, interfaith relations, divine revelation, religious liberty, the Church’s self-understanding and the Church’s work with the entire human family—have become the Catholic Church’s road map since 1965. www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Sep 26, 2016 | post #2855)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

Joseph of Cupertino engraving Image : Saint Joseph of Cupertino. Engraving after F.A. Lorenzini. | Wellcome. Saint Joseph of Cupertino Saint of the Day for September 18 (June 17, 1603 – September 18, 1663) https://wp.francis canmedia.org/wp-co ntent/uploads/2016 /08/SODSep18.mp3 Saint Joseph of Cupertino’s Story Joseph is most famous for levitating at prayer. Already as a child, Joseph showed a fondness for prayer. After a short career with the Capuchins, he joined the Conventual Franciscans. Following a brief assignment caring for the friary mule, Joseph began his studies for the priesthood. Though studies were very difficult for him, Joseph gained a great deal of knowledge from prayer. He was ordained in 1628. Joseph’s tendency to levitate during prayer was sometimes a cross; some people came to see this much as they might have gone to a circus sideshow. Joseph’s gift led him to be humble, patient, and obedient, even though at times he was greatly tempted and felt forsaken by God. He fasted and wore iron chains for much of his life. The friars transferred Joseph several times for his own good and for the good of the rest of the community. He was reported to and investigated by the Inquisition; the examiners exonerated him. Joseph was canonized in 1767. In the investigation preceding the canonization, 70 incidents of levitation are recorded. Reflection While levitation is an extraordinary sign of holiness, Joseph is also remembered for the ordinary signs he showed. He prayed even in times of inner darkness, and he lived out the Sermon on the Mount. He used his “unique possession” (his free will) to praise God and to serve God’s creation. Saint Joseph of Cupertino is the Patron Saint of: Air travelers Astronauts Pilots  (Sep 18, 2016 | post #2853)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

Saint Teresa of Calcutta Monday, September 5, 2016 Lived(1910-1997) | Feast Day: Monday, September 5, 2016 Facebook Twitter Mother Teresa of Kolkata, the tiny woman recognized throughout the world for her work among the poorest of the poor, was beatified October 19, 2003. Among those present were hundreds of Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded in 1950 as a diocesan religious community. Today the congregation also includes contemplative sisters and brothers and an order of priests. Born to Albanian parents in what is now Skopje, Macedonia (then part of the Ottoman Empire), Gonxha (Agnes) Bojaxhiu was the youngest of the three children who survived. For a time, the family lived comfortably, and her father's construction business thrived. But life changed overnight following his unexpected death. During her years in public school Agnes participated in a Catholic sodality and showed a strong interest in the foreign missions. At age 18 she entered the Loreto Sisters of Dublin. It was 1928 when she said goodbye to her mother for the final time and made her way to a new land and a new life. The following year she was sent to the Loreto novitiate in Darjeeling, India. There she chose the name Teresa and prepared for a life of service. She was assigned to a high school for girls in Kolkata, where she taught history and geography to the daughters of the wealthy. But she could not escape the realities around her—the poverty, the suffering, the overwhelming numbers of destitute people. In 1946, while riding a train to Darjeeling to make a retreat, Sister Teresa heard what she later explained as “a call within a call. The message was clear. I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them.” She also heard a call to give up her life with the Sisters of Loreto and, instead, to “follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.” After receiving permission to leave Loreto, establish a new religious community and undertake her new work, she took a nursing course for several months. She returned to Kolkata, where she lived in the slums and opened a school for poor children. Dressed in a white sari and sandals (the ordinary dress of an Indian woman) she soon began getting to know her neighbors—especial ly the poor and sick—and getting to know their needs through visits. The work was exhausting, but she was not alone for long. Volunteers who came to join her in the work, some of them former students, became the core of the Missionaries of Charity. Others helped by donating food, clothing, supplies, the use of buildings. In 1952 the city of Kolkata gave Mother Teresa a former hostel, which became a home for the dying and the destitute. As the order expanded, services were also offered to orphans, abandoned children, alcoholics, the aging, and street people. For the next four decades Mother Teresa worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor. Her love knew no bounds. Nor did her energy, as she crisscrossed the globe pleading for support and inviting others to see the face of Jesus in the poorest of the poor. In 1979 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On September 5, 1997, God called her home. Comment: Mother Teresa's beatification, just over six years after her death, was part of an expedited process put into effect by Pope John Paul II. Like so many others around the world, he found her love for the Eucharist, for prayer and for the poor a model for all to emulate. Quote: Speaking in a strained, weary voice at the 2003 beatification Mass, Pope John Paul II declared her blessed, prompting waves of applause before the 300,000 pilgrims in St. Peter's Square. In his homily, read by an aide for the aging pope, the Holy Father called Mother Teresa “one of the most relevant personalities of our age” and “an icon of the Good Samaritan.” Her life, he said, was “a bold proclamation of the gospel.” www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Sep 5, 2016 | post #2852)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

St. Rose of Viterbo Sunday, September 4, 2016 Lived(1233-1251) | Feast Day: Sunday, September 4, 2016 Facebook Twitter Rose achieved sainthood in only 18 years of life. Even as a child Rose had a great desire to pray and to aid the poor. While still very young, she began a life of penance in her parents’ house. She was as generous to the poor as she was strict with herself. At the age of 10 she became a Secular Franciscan and soon began preaching in the streets about sin and the sufferings of Jesus. Viterbo, her native city, was then in revolt against the pope. When Rose took the pope’s side against the emperor, she and her family were exiled from the city. When the pope’s side won in Viterbo, Rose was allowed to return. Her attempt at age 15 to found a religious community failed, and she returned to a life of prayer and penance in her father’s home, where she died in 1251. Rose was canonized in 1457. Comment: The list of Franciscan saints seems to have quite a few men and women who accomplished nothing very extraordinary. Rose is one of them. She did not influence popes and kings, did not multiply bread for the hungry and never established the religious order of her dreams. But she made a place in her life for God’s grace, and like St. Francis before her, saw death as the gateway to new life. Quote: Rose's dying words to her parents were: "I die with joy, for I desire to be united to my God. Live so as not to fear death. For those who live well in the world, death is not frightening, but sweet and precious." www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Sep 4, 2016 | post #2851)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

St. Pius X Sunday, August 21, 2016 Lived(1835-1914) | Feast Day: Sunday, August 21, 2016 Facebook Twitter Pope Pius X is perhaps best remembered for his encouragement of the frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children. The second of 10 children in a poor Italian family, Joseph Sarto became Pius X at 68, one of the 20th century’s greatest popes. Ever mindful of his humble origin, he stated, “I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor.” He was embarrassed by some of the pomp of the papal court. “Look how they have dressed me up,” he said in tears to an old friend. To another, “It is a penance to be forced to accept all these practices. They lead me around surrounded by soldiers like Jesus when he was seized in Gethsemani.” Interested in politics, he encouraged Italian Catholics to become more politically involved. One of his first papal acts was to end the supposed right of governments to interfere by veto in papal elections—a practice that reduced the freedom of the 1903 conclave which had elected him. In 1905, when France renounced its agreement with the Holy See and threatened confiscation of Church property if governmental control of Church affairs were not granted, Pius X courageously rejected the demand. While he did not author a famous social encyclical as his predecessor had done, he denounced the ill treatment of indigenous peoples on the plantations of Peru, sent a relief commission to Messina after an earthquake and sheltered refugees at his own expense. On the 11th anniversary of his election as pope, Europe was plunged into World War I. Pius had foreseen it, but it killed him. “This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me. I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge.” He died a few weeks after the war began and was canonized in 1954. Comment: His humble background was no obstacle in relating to a personal God and to people whom he loved genuinely. He gained his strength, his gentleness and warmth for people from the source of all gifts, the Spirit of Jesus. In contrast, we often feel embarrassed by our backgrounds. Shame makes us prefer to remain aloof from people whom we perceive as superior. If we are in a superior position, on the other hand, we often ignore simpler people. Yet we, too, have to help “restore all things in Christ,” especially the wounded people of God. Quote: Describing Pius X, a historian wrote that he was “a man of God who knew the unhappiness of the world and the hardships of life, and in the greatness of his heart wanted to comfort everyone.” www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Aug 21, 2016 | post #2850)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

St. Joan of the Cross Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Lived(1666-1736) | Feast Day: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Facebook Twitter An encounter with a shabby old woman many dismissed as insane prompted St. Joan to dedicate her life to the poor. For Joan, who had a reputation as a businesswoman intent on monetary success, this was a significant conversion. Born in 1666 in Anjou, France, Joan worked in the family business—a small shop near a religious shrine—from an early age. After her parents’ death she took over the shop herself. She quickly became known for her greediness and insensitivity to the beggars who often came seeking help. That was until she was touched by the strange woman who claimed she was on intimate terms with the deity. Joan, who had always been devout, even scrupulous, became a new person. She began caring for needy children. Then the poor, elderly and sick came to her. Over time she closed the family business so she could devote herself fully to good works and penance. She went on to found what came to be known as the Congregation of St. Anne of Providence. It was then she took the religious name of Joan of the Cross. By the time of her death in 1736 she had founded 12 religious houses, hospices and schools. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 1982. Comment: The downtown areas of most major cities hold a population of “street people.” Well-dressed folks usually avoid making eye contact, probably for fear of being asked for a handout. That was Joan’s attitude until the day one of them touched her heart. Most people thought the old woman was crazy, but she put Joan on the road to sainthood. Who knows what the next beggar we meet might do for us? www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Aug 17, 2016 | post #2849)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary Monday, August 15, 2016 | Feast Day: Monday, August 15, 2016 Facebook Twitter On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith: “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.” The pope proclaimed this dogma only after a broad consultation of bishops, theologians and laity. There were few dissenting voices. What the pope solemnly declared was already a common belief in the Catholic Church. We find homilies on the Assumption going back to the sixth century. In following centuries the Eastern Churches held steadily to the doctrine, but some authors in the West were hesitant. However, by the 13th century there was universal agreement. The feast was celebrated under various names (Commemoration, Dormition, Passing, Assumption) from at least the fifth or sixth century. Today it is celebrated as a solemnity. Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. Nevertheless, Revelation 12 speaks of a woman who is caught up in the battle between good and evil. Many see this woman as God’s people. Since Mary best embodies the people of both Old and New Testament, her Assumption can be seen as an exemplification of the woman’s victory. Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 15:20 Paul speaks of Christ’s resurrection as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Since Mary is closely associated with all the mysteries of Jesus’ life, it is not surprising that the Holy Spirit has led the Church to belief in Mary’s share in his glorification. So close was she to Jesus on earth, she must be with him body and soul in heaven. Comment: In the light of the Assumption of Mary, it is easy to pray her Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55) with new meaning. In her glory she proclaims the greatness of the Lord and finds joy in God her savior. God has done marvels to her and she leads others to recognize God’s holiness. She is the lowly handmaid who deeply reverenced her God and has been raised to the heights. From her position of strength she will help the lowly and the poor find justice on earth, and she will challenge the rich and powerful to distrust wealth and power as a source of happiness. Quote: “In the bodily and spiritual glory which she possesses in heaven, the Mother of Jesus continues in this present world as the image and first flowering of the Church as she is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise, Mary shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come (cf. 2 Peter 3:10), as a sign of certain hope and comfort for the pilgrim People of God” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 68). www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Aug 15, 2016 | post #2847)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

St. Cajetan Sunday, August 7, 2016 Lived(1480-1557) | Feast Day: Sunday, August 7, 2016 Facebook Twitter Like most of us, Cajetan seemed headed for an “ordinary” life—first as a lawyer, then as a priest engaged in the work of the Roman Curia. His life took a characteristic turn when he joined the Oratory of Divine Love in Rome, a group devoted to piety and charity, shortly after his ordination at 36. When he was 42 he founded a hospital for incurables at Venice. At Vicenza, he joined a “disreputable” religious community that consisted only of men of the lowest stations of life—and was roundly censured by his friends, who thought his action was a reflection on his family. He sought out the sick and poor of the town and served them. The greatest need of the time was the reformation of a Church that was “sick in head and members.” Cajetan and three friends decided that the best road to reformation lay in reviving the spirit and zeal of the clergy. (One of them later became Paul IV.) Together they founded a congregation known as the Theatines (from Teate [Chieti] where their first superior-bishop had his see). They managed to escape to Venice after their house in Rome was wrecked when Emperor Charles V’s troops sacked Rome in 1527. The Theatines were outstanding among the Catholic reform movements that took shape before the Protestant Reformation. He founded a monte de pieta (“mountain [or fund] of piety”) in Naples—one of many charitable, nonprofit credit organizations that lent money on the security of pawned objects. The purpose was to help the poor and protect them against usurers. Cajetan’s little organization ultimately became the Bank of Naples, with great changes in policy. Comment: If Vatican II had been summarily stopped after its first session in 1962, many Catholics would have felt that a great blow had been dealt to the growth of the Church. Cajetan had the same feeling about the Council of Trent (1545-63). But, as he said, God is the same in Naples as in Venice, with or without Trent or Vatican II. We open ourselves to God’s power in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, and God’s will is done. God’s standards of success differ from ours. www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Aug 7, 2016 | post #2846)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

St. Ignatius of Loyola Sunday, July 31, 2016 Lived(1491-1556) | Feast Day: Sunday, July 31, 2016 Facebook Twitter The founder of the Jesuits was on his way to military fame and fortune when a cannon ball shattered his leg. Because there were no books of romance on hand during his convalescence, Ignatius whiled away the time reading a life of Christ and lives of the saints. His conscience was deeply touched, and a long, painful turning to Christ began. Having seen the Mother of God in a vision, he made a pilgrimage to her shrine at Montserrat (near Barcelona). He remained for almost a year at nearby Manresa, sometimes with the Dominicans, sometimes in a pauper’s hospice, often in a cave in the hills praying. After a period of great peace of mind, he went through a harrowing trial of scruples. There was no comfort in anything—prayer, fasting, sacraments, penance. At length, his peace of mind returned. It was during this year of conversion that Ignatius began to write down material that later became his greatest work, the Spiritual Exercises. He finally achieved his purpose of going to the Holy Land, but could not remain, as he planned, because of the hostility of the Turks. He spent the next 11 years in various European universities, studying with great difficulty, beginning almost as a child. Like many others, his orthodoxy was questioned; Ignatius was twice jailed for brief periods. In 1534, at the age of 43, he and six others (one of whom was St. Francis Xavier, December 2) vowed to live in poverty and chastity and to go to the Holy Land. If this became impossible, they vowed to offer themselves to the apostolic service of the pope. The latter became the only choice. Four years later Ignatius made the association permanent. The new Society of Jesus was approved by Paul III, and Ignatius was elected to serve as the first general. When companions were sent on various missions by the pope, Ignatius remained in Rome, consolidating the new venture, but still finding time to found homes for orphans, catechumens and penitents. He founded the Roman College, intended to be the model of all other colleges of the Society. Ignatius was a true mystic. He centered his spiritual life on the essential foundations of Christianity—the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, ad majorem Dei gloriam—“for the greater glory of God.” In his concept, obedience was to be the prominent virtue, to assure the effectiveness and mobility of his men. All activity was to be guided by a true love of the Church and unconditional obedience to the Holy Father, for which reason all professed members took a fourth vow to go wherever the pope should send them for the salvation of souls. Comment: Luther nailed his theses to the church door at Wittenberg in 1517. Seventeen years later, Ignatius founded the Society that was to play so prominent a part in the Catholic Reformation. He was an implacable foe of Protestantism. Yet the seeds of ecumenism may be found in his words: “Great care must be taken to show forth orthodox truth in such a way that if any heretics happen to be present they may have an example of charity and Christian moderation. No hard words should be used nor any sort of contempt for their errors be shown.” One of the greatest 20thh-century ecumenists was Cardinal Bea, a Jesuit. Quote: Ignatius recommended this prayer to penitents: “Receive, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your divine will, that you dispose of me. Give me only your love and your grace. With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.” www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Jul 31, 2016 | post #2845)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

St. Leopold Mandic Thursday, July 28, 2016 Lived(1887-1942) | Feast Day: Saturday, July 30, 2016 Facebook Twitter Western Christians who are working for greater dialogue with Orthodox Christians may be reaping the fruits of Father Leopold’s prayers. A native of Croatia, Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans and was ordained several years later in spite of several health problems. He could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly. For many years he also suffered from severe arthritis, poor eyesight and a stomach ailment. Leopold taught patrology, the study of the Church Fathers, to the clerics of his province for several years, but he is best known for his work in the confessional, where he sometimes spent 13-15 hours a day. Several bishops sought out his spiritual advice. Leopold’s dream was to go to the Orthodox Christians and work for the reunion of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. His health never permitted it. Leopold often renewed his vow to go to the Eastern Christians; the cause of unity was constantly in his prayers. At a time when Pope Pius XII said that the greatest sin of our time is "to have lost all sense of sin," Leopold had a profound sense of sin and an even firmer sense of God’s grace awaiting human cooperation. Leopold, who lived most of his life in Padua, died on July 30, 1942, and was canonized in 1982. Comment: St. Francis advised his followers to "pursue what they must desire above all things, to have the Spirit of the Lord and His holy manner of working" (Rule of 1223, Chapter 10)—words that Leopold lived out. When the Capuchin minister general wrote his friars on the occasion of Leopold’s beatification, he said that this friar’s life showed "the priority of that which is essential." Quote: Leopold used to repeat to himself: “Remember that you have been sent for the salvation of people, not because of your own merits, since it is the Lord Jesus and not you who died for the salvation of souls.... I must cooperate with the divine goodness of our Lord who has deigned to choose me so that by my ministry, the divine promise would be fulfilled: ‘There will be only one flock and one shepherd’” (John 10:16). www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Jul 28, 2016 | post #2844)

Roman Catholic Church

Saint of the Day thread

St. Sharbel Makhluf Sunday, July 24, 2016 Lived(1828-1898) | Feast Day: Sunday, July 24, 2016 Facebook Twitter Although this saint never traveled far from the Lebanese village of Beka-Kafra, where he was born, his influence has spread widely. Joseph Zaroun Makluf was raised by an uncle because his father, a mule driver, died when Joseph was only three. At the age of 23, Joseph joined the Monastery of St. Maron at Annaya, Lebanon, and took the name Sharbel in honor of a second-century martyr. He professed his final vows in 1853 and was ordained six years later. Following the example of the fifth-century St. Maron, Sharbel lived as a hermit from 1875 until his death. His reputation for holiness prompted people to seek him to receive a blessing and to be remembered in his prayers. He followed a strict fast and was very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. When his superiors occasionally asked him to administer the sacraments to nearby villages, Sharbel did so gladly. He died in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. Christians and non-Christians soon made his tomb a place of pilgrimage and of cures. Pope Paul VI beatified him in 1965 and canonized him 12 years later. Comment: Saint John Paul II often said that the Church has two lungs (East and West) and it must learn to breathe using both of them. Remembering saints like Sharbel helps the Church to appreciate both the diversity and unity present in the Catholic Church. Like all the saints, Sharbel points us to God and invites us to cooperate generously with God's grace, no matter what our situation in life may be. As our prayer life becomes deeper and more honest, we become more ready to make that generous response. Quote: When Sharbel was canonized in 1977, Bishop Francis Zayek, head the U.S. Diocese of St. Maron, wrote a pamphlet entitled “A New Star of the East.” Bishop Zayek wrote: “St. Sharbel is called the second St. Anthony of the Desert, the Perfume of Lebanon, the first Confessor of the East to be raised to the Altars according to the actual procedure of the Catholic Church, the honor of our Aramaic Antiochian Church, and the model of spiritual values and renewal. Sharbel is like a Cedar of Lebanon standing in eternal prayer, on top of a mountain.” The bishop noted that Sharbel's canonization plus other beatification cases prove “that the Aramaic Maronite Antiochian Church is indeed a living branch of the Catholic Church and is intimately connected with the trunk, who is Christ, our Savior, the beginning and the end of all things.” www.AmericanCathol ic.org  (Jul 24, 2016 | post #2843)

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