Tuesday, February 23, 2010

St. Polycarp

Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the apostles and hear their stories of life with Jesus from their own lips. Imagine walking with those who had walked with Jesus, seen him, and touched him. That was what Polycarp was able to do as a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist.

But being part of the second generation of Church leaders had challenges that the first generation could not teach about. What did you do when those eyewitnesses were gone? How do you carry on the correct teachings of Jesus? How do you answer new questions that never came up before?

With the apostles gone, heresies sprang up pretending to be true teaching, persecution was strong, and controversies arose over how to celebrate liturgy that Jesus never laid down rules for.

Polycarp, as a holy man and bishop of Smyrna, found there was only one answer -- to be true to the life of Jesus and imitate that life. Saint Ignatius of Antioch told Polycarp "your mind is grounded in God as on an immovable rock."

When faced with heresy, he showed the "candid face" that Ignatius admired and that imitated Jesus' response to the Pharisees. Marcion, the leader of the Marcionites who followed a dualistic heresy, confronted Polycarp and demanded respect by saying, "Recognize us, Polycarp." Polycarp responded, "I recognize you, yes, I recognize the son of Satan."

On the other hand when faced with Christian disagreements he was all forgiveness and respect. One of the controversies of the time came over the celebration of Easter. The East, where Polycarp was from, celebrated the Passover as the Passion of Christ followed by a Eucharist on the following day. The West celebrated Easter on the Sunday of the week following Passover. When Polycarp went to Rome to discuss the difference with Pope Anicetus, they could not agree on this issue. But they found no difference in their Christian beliefs. And Anicetus asked Polycarp to celebrate the Eucharist in his own papal chapel.

Polycarp faced persecution the way Christ did. His own church admired him for following the "gospel model" -- not chasing after martyrdom as some did, but avoiding it until it was God's will as Jesus did. They considered it "a sign of love to desire not to save oneself alone, but to save also all the Christian brothers and sisters."

One day, during a bloody martyrdom when Christians were attacked by wild animals in the arena, the crowd became so mad that they demanded more blood by crying, "Down with the atheists; let Polycarp be found." (They considered Christians "atheists" because they didn't believe in their pantheon of gods.) Since Polycarp was not only known as a leader but as someone holy "even before his grey hair appeared", this was a horrible demand.

Polycarp was calm but others persuaded him to leave the city and hide at a nearby farm. He spent his time in prayer for people he knew and for the Church. During his prayer he saw a vision of his pillow turned to fire and announced to his friends that the dream meant he would be burned alive.

As the search closed in, he moved to another farm, but the police discovered he was there by torturing two boys. He had a little warning since he was upstairs in the house but he decided to stay, saying, "God's will be done."

Then he went downstairs, talked to his captors and fed them a meal. All he asked of them was that they give him an hour to pray. He spent two hours praying for everyone he had every known and for the Church, "remembering all who had at any time come his way -- small folk and great folk, distinguished and undistinguished, and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world." Many of his captors started to wonder why they were arresting this holy, eighty-six-year-old bishop.

But that didn't stop them from taking him into the arena on the Sabbath. As he entered the arena, the crowd roared like the animals they cheered. Those around Polycarp heard a voice from heaven above the crowd, "Be brave, Polycarp, and act like a man."

The proconsul begged the eighty-six-year-old bishop to give in because of his age. "Say 'Away with the atheists'" the proconsul urged. Polycarp calmly turned to the face the crowd, looked straight at them, and said, "Away with the atheists." The proconsul continued to plead with him. When he asked Polycarp to swear by Caesar to save himself, Polycarp answered, "If you imagine that I will swear by Caesar, you do not know who I am. Let me tell you plainly, I am a Christian." Finally, when all else failed the proconsul reminded Polycarp that he would be thrown to the wild animals unless he changed his mind. Polycarp answered, "Change of mind from better to worse is not a change allowed to us."

Because of Polycarp's lack of fear, the proconsul told him he would be burned alive but Polycarp knew that the fire that burned for an hour was better than eternal fire.

When he was tied up to be burned, Polycarp prayed, "Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, God of angels and powers, of the whole creation and of the whole race of the righteous who live in your sight, I bless you, for having made me worthy of this day and hour, I bless you, because I may have a part, along with the martyrs, in the chalice of your Christ, to resurrection in eternal life, resurrection both of soul and body in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, among those who are in you presence, as you have prepared and foretold and fulfilled, God who is faithful and true. For this and for all benefits I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be to you with him and the Holy Spirit glory, now and for all the ages to come. Amen."

The fire was lit as Polycarp said Amen and then the eyewitnesses who reported said they saw a miracle. The fire burst up in an arch around Polycarp, the flames surrounding him like sails, and instead of being burned he seemed to glow like bread baking, or gold being melted in a furnace. When the captors saw he wasn't being burned, they stabbed him. The blood that flowed put the fire out.

The proconsul wouldn't let the Christians have the body because he was afraid they would worship Polycarp. The witnesses reported this with scorn for the lack of understanding of Christian faith: "They did not know that we can never abandon the innocent Christ who suffered on behalf of sinners for the salvation of those in this world." After the body was burned, they stole the bones in order to celebrate the memory of his martyrdom and prepare others for persecution.

Thanks to Catholic.org

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Chair Of St. Peter

The story of The Chair of Saint Peter started after the Resurrection of Christ. Jesus asked "Peter do you love me?" Peter replied "Yes my lord I do." Christ asked a second time "Peter do you love me?" again peter responded "Yes my lord I do." Christ ask for the third and final time "Peter son of John do you love me?" Peter said for the third time "My lord you know I love you."Jesus said to Peter you are the rock,and upon this Rock, I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. To you have I entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." When Jesus handed the keys of Heaven to Peter, Peter at that time became the First Pope of the Catholic Church.Us as Catholics have Celebrated the Feast of The Chair Of St. Peter since the fourth century.The Chair of St. Peter is still intact in Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

The Chair of Saint Peter in Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

All-powerful Father,
you have built your Church
on the rock Saint Peter's confession of faith.
May nothing divide or weaken
our unity in faith and love.
We ask this through Christ
our lord.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

St. Peter Damian

St. Peter Damian is one of those stern figures who seem specially raised up, like St. John Baptist, to recall men in a lax age from the error of their ways and to bring them back into the narrow path of virtue. He was born at Ravenna and, having lost his parents when very young, he was left in the charge of a brother in whose house he was treated more like a slave than a kinsman. As soon as he was old enough he was sent to tend swine. Another brother, who was archpriest of Ravenna, took pity on the neglected lad and undertook to have him educated. Having found a father in this brother, Peter appears to have adopted from him the surname of Damian. Damian sent the boy to school, first at Faenza and then at Parma. He proved an apt pupil and became in time a master and a professor of great ability. He had early begun to inure himself to fasting, watching and prayer, and wore a hairshirt under his clothes to arm himself against the alurements of pleasure and the wiles of the devil. Not only did he give away much in alms, but he was seldom without some poor persons at his table, and took pleasure in serving them with his own hands. After a time Peter resolved to leave the world entirely and embrace a monastic life away from his own country. While his mind was full of these thoughts, two religious of St. Benedict, belonging to Fonte Avellana of the Reform of St. Romuald, happened to call at the house where he lived, and he was able to learn much from them about their Rule and mode of life. This decided him and he joined their hermitage, which was then in the greatest repute. The hermits, who dwelled in pairs in separate cells, occupied themselves chiefly in prayer and reading, and lived a life of great austerity. Peter's excessive watchings brought on a severe insomnia which was cured with difficulty, but which taught him to use more discretion. Acting upon this experience, he now devoted considerable time to Sacred studies, and became as well versed in the Holy Scriptures as he formerly had been in profane literature. By the unanimous consent of the hermits he was ordered to take upon himself the government of the Community in the event of the superior's death. Peter's extreme reluctance obliged the abbot to make it a matter of obedience. Accordingly after the abbot's decease about the year 1043, Peter assumed the direction of that holy family, which he governed with great wisdom and piety. He also founded five other hermitages in which he place Priors under his own general direction. His chief care was to foster in his disciples the spirit of solitude, charity, and humility. Many of them became great lights of the Church, including St. Dominic Loricatus, and St. John of Lodi, his successor in the priory of the Holy Cross, who wrote St. Peter's life and at the end of his days became Bishop of Gubbio. For years Peter Damian was much employed in the service of the Church by successive Popes, and in 1057 Stephen IX prevailed upon him to quit his desert and made him Cardinal-bishop of Ostia. Peter constantly solicited Nicholas II to grant him leave to resign his bishopric and return to the solitude, but the Pope had always refused. His successor, Alexander II, out of affection for the holy man, was prevailed upon with difficulty to consent, but reserved the power to employ him in Church matters of importance, as he might hereafter have need of his help. The saint from that time considered himself dispensed not only from the responsibility of governing his See, but from the supervision of the various religious settlements he had controlled, and reduced himself to the condition of a simple monk. In this retirement he edified the Church by his humility, penance and compunction, and labored in his writings to enforce the observance of morality and discipline. His style is vehement, and his strictness appears in all his works - especially when he treats of the duties of the clergy and of monks. He severely rebuked the Bishop of Florence for playing a game of chess. That prelate acknowledged his amusement to be unworthy, and received the holy man's reproof meekly, submitting to do penance by reciting the psalter three times and by washing the feet of twelve poor men and giving them each a piece of money. Peter wrote a treatise to the Bishop of Besancon in which he inveighed against the custom by which the Canons of that Church sang the Divine Office seated in choir, though he allowed all to sit for the lessons. He recommended the use of the discipline as a substitute for long penitential fasts. He wrote most severely on the obligation of monks and protested against their wandering abroad, seeing that the spirit of retirement is an essential condition of their state. He complained bitterly of certain evasions whereby many palliated real infractions of their vow of poverty. He justly observed, "We can never restore primitive discipline when once it is decayed; and if we, by negligence, suffer any diminution in what remains established, future ages will never be able to repair the breach. Let us not draw upon ourselves so foul a reproach; but let us faithfully transmit to posterity the example of virtue which we have received from our forefathers." St. Peter Damian fought simony with great vigor, and equally vigorously upheld clerical celibacy; and as he supported a severely ascetical, semi-eremitical life for monks, so he was an encourager of common life for the secular clergy. He was a man of great vehemence in all he said and did; it has been said of him that "his genius was to exhort and impel to the heroic, to praise striking achievements and to record edifying examples...an extraordinary force burns in all that he wrote". In spite of his severity, St. Peter Damian could treat penitents with mildness and indulgence where charity and prudence required it. Henry IV, the young king of Germany, had married Bertha, daughter of Otto, Marquee of the Marches of Italy, but two years later he sought a divorce under the pretense that the marriage had never been consummated. By promises and threats he won over the archbishop of Mainz, who summoned a council for the purpose of sanctioning the annulment of the marriage; but Pope Alexander II forbade him to consent to such an injustice and chose Peter Damian as his legate to preside over the synod. The aged legate met the king and bishops at Frankfurt, laid before them the order and instructions of the Holy See, and entreated the king to pay due regard to the law of God, the Canons of the Church and his own reputation, and also to reflect seriously on the public scandal which so pernicious an example would give. The nobles likewise entreated the monarch not to stain his honor by conduct so unworthy. Henry, unable to resist this strong opposition, dropped his project of a divorce, but remained the same at heart, only hating the queen more bitterly than ever. Peter hastened back to his desert of Fonte Avellana. Whatever austerities he prescribed for others, he practiced himself, remitting none of them even in his old age. He use to make wooden spoons and other little useful things that his hands might not be idle during the time he was not at work or at prayer. When Henry, Archbishop of Ravenna, had been excommunicated for grievous enormities, Peter was again sent by Alexander II as legate to settle the troubles. Upon his arrival at Ravenna he found that the prelate had just died, but he brought the accomplices of his crimes to a sense of their guilt and imposed on them suitable penance. This was Damian's last undertaking for the Church. As he was returning towards Rome he was arrested by an acute attack of fever in a monastery outside Faenza, and died on the eighth day of this illness, while the monks were reciting Matins round about him, on February 22, 1072. St. Peter was one of the chief forerunners of the Hildebrandine reform in the Church. His preaching was most eloquent and his writing voluminous, and he was declared a doctor of the Church in 1828.

Oh Blessed doctor, Saint Peter, light of the holy church and love of God's law, pray to the of God for us.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

St. Eleutherius of Tournai

This saint is very popular in northern Europe, lived in a very difficult period in the history of France was probably born in 456 and died in 531.
It is the time when the Gaul, and target several barbarian migrations, such as the Burgundes and that of the Visigoths - badly converted to Christianity, rising from idolatry to the Arian heresy - became a land of conquest of the Franks King Clovis. A conversion of these helped the Christian wife, Clotilde, venerated as a saint, the bishop of Reims, Saint Remigio and Saint Eleuterio, elected Bishop of Tournai in 484, when Clovis had made the city the capital of his kingdom, before to undertake the conquest of the Paris region.
Although historically we do not possess any documents securely on the activity of this holy bishop and his missionary work, a biography attributed to St. Medard, contemporary and even a playmate in childhood, has many stories of life in San Eleuterio and their contacts with the pagan king Clovis. THE Medardo same predicted that one day he would become a bishop, but that prophecy was tantamount to an omen of difficult life, including martyrdom.
The barbarian peoples of the eastern regions that were going moving into the green hills of France, knew no other authority but that of his king. A1 Bishop of Tournai was responsible for the task of spreading the word of God among a rude people and idolatrous, the Franks, in 506 before mass baptism will follow the example of their king, after the victory against the Germans de Tolbiac . But the honor of this abundant harvest will fall to San Remigio. In the cathedral of Tournai, the object of numerous pilgrimages, the remains of San Eleuterio, the humble and tireless worker for the Gospel, which had as its field of work the new frontier of Christianity, represented by the barbarians.

Father may the life and
martyrdom of Eleutherius
help us under stand that
your name is so holy we
should always defend it.
We ask this through Christ
our lord.

References: Catholic.Net

Friday, February 19, 2010

St. Conrad of Piacenza

Conrad's date of birth is uncertain. He belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza, and having married when he was quite young, led a virtuous and God-fearing life.
On one occasion, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to fire some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant, who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of being the author. He was imprisoned, tried, and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, made open confession of his guilt; and in order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, was obliged to sell all his possessions. Thus reduced to poverty, Conrad retired to a lonely hermitage some distance from Piacenza, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares.
Later he went to Rome, and thence to Sicily, where for thirty years he lived a most austere and penitential life and worked numerous miracles until he died at Noto in Sicily, on February 19, 1351.

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that as Thou wert pacified by the penance of Blessed Conrad, so we may imitate his example and blot out the stains of our sins by crucifying our flesh. Through Christ our Lord.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

St. Bernadette Soubirous

On February 11, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, recalls the apparitions of the Virgin to a girl of 14 who could neither read nor write, but he prayed the rosary every day, Bernadette Soubirous. Born in Lourdes in 1844 of very poor parents. Through it the Virgin brought forth a prodigious source of the miracle, to which pilgrims flock from around the world to rekindle their faith and hope. Many also come back from Lourdes cured in his body. The Virgin, during the second occurrence, she said: "I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the other."
In spite of being docile instrument in order to extend the devotion to the Immaculate Conception, Bernadette was not contaminated with human glory. The day the bishop of Lourdes, to 50,000 pilgrims placed the statue of the Virgin on the rock of Massabielle, Bernadette had to remain in his cell, a victim of an asthma attack. And when the physical pain became more unbearable, he sighed: "No, do not seek relief, but only the strength and patience." His short life was spent in the humble acceptance of suffering physical and generous response to the invitation of the Immaculate Conception to pay penance to the rescue of so many souls that live prisoners of evil.
While near the grotto of the apparitions was building a bigger sanctuary to accommodate the many pilgrims and the sick to seek relief, Bernadette seemed to disappear into the shadows. He spent six years at the Lourdes Institute of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, and which later was admitted as a novice. Your post was delayed due to his poor health. In the profession took the name Sister Mary Bernard. During the fifteen years of convent life did not know but the privilege of suffering. The same superiors treated her with indifference, by a providential design that prevents understanding the chosen souls and often even the benevolence of the poor souls. At first it was a nurse in the convent, then sacristan, until illness forced her to stay in bed for nine years, always between life and death.
To the person who encouraged answered with the radiant smile of the happy moments when I was in the presence of the white Lady of Lourdes: "Mary is so beautiful that those who are dying want to see her again." Bernadette, the humble shepherd who could see with their own eyes to the Immaculate Virgin, died on 16 April 1879.
She was canonized in 1935 and Pope Pius XI lifted it to the honor of the altars on 8 December 1933. She is an incorruptable.

This is the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette Soubirous.

Father may Bernadette be
an example to live by so
we all can love the Virgin Mary
like she did.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Saint Alexis Falconieri

Founder and mystic, one of the first Servants of Mary or Servites. The son of a wealthy merchant in Florence, Italy, Alexis and six companions joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin in Florence in 1225. Gathered together on the Feast of the Assumption in 1233, the group experienced a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary which inspired them to found a new religious community dedicated to prayer. They founded such a group at La Camarzia, near Florence, moving eventually to Monte Senario, on the outskirts of the city. Another vision inspired Alexis and his companions to form the Servites, or the Servants of Mary. All in the group were ordained priests, except for Alexis, who believed he was not worthy of such an honor. He helped build the Servite church at Cafaggio, and he managed the day-to-day temporal affairs of the congregation. The Servites received papal approval from Pope Benedict XI in 1304. Alexis was the only founding member still alive. He died at Monte Senario on February 17, 1310, recorded as 110 years old. Alexis and his companions are called the Seven Holy Founders.

Lord, may we be blessed with the memory of your servant Alexis Falconieri,
so that we too may rejoice with you in the life to come.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

St. Onesimus

He was a slave,how died in the year 90, St. Paul names him briefly in one of his letters. We know that was in the service of Philemon, the leader of the city of Colossae.
He had close friendships with Paul because he was one of his converts. He enjoyed a reputation as a friendly person, generous and hospitable.
The sin of stealing his master, he confessed and begged forgiveness. Since then and never let the steps of St. Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles.
He returned to the house of Philemon and accepted as a true brother, and that St. Paul appointed him again in the letter to the Colossians.
All the rest of his life is somewhat unknown. However, authors of reputable, as St. Jerome, claim that Onesimus became a preacher of the Word of God, and somewhat later was consecrated bishop, possibly from Berea in Macedonia, and its previous owner was also Bishop of Colossae.
Other sources claim that Onesimus preached in Spain and was martyred here.
What really shocked this saint was a visit he made to St. Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome, in prisons Mamertina in the Roman Forum itself. Today we can see.
This encounter left him so full soul, so happy and impressed by the attitude of Paul prisoner for Christ, who was the true source of his conversion to faith in Christ for life.
Domitian he wanted to know, not much to see His miracles and customs, but to end his life in the year 90.

Almighty and eternal God
we ask that Onesimus
help us love your name
like he did so we can always
love you.
We ask this through Christ our lord your son
who lives and reigns with you and the holy spirit,
one God forever and ever.

References: Catholic.Net

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ss. Faustinus and Jovita

Faustinus and Jovita were brothers, nobly born and natives of Brescia. All the incidents in their reputed "Acts" are of doubtful authority, and we can only be sure of their names and martyrdom. According to the tradition of Brescia, they preached Christianity fearlessly while their bishop lay in hiding. Their zeal excited the fury of the heathens against them, then they were arrested by a heathen lord called Julian. They were tortured and dragged to Milan, Rome and Naples, and then brought back to Brescia. As neither threats nor torments could shake their constancy, the Emperor Hadrian, who happened to be passing through Brescia, commended them to be beheaded. The city of Brescia honors them as its chief patrons and claims to possess their relics. On April 18 the Roman Martyrology names the martyr St. Calocerus, who figures largely in the legendary history of St. Faustinus and Jovita, whose heroic confession he is said to have witnessed when, as a court official, he accompanied Hadrian to his native city Brescia and was present in the amphitheatre. The constancy of the two confessors and the refusal of the wild beasts to touch them brought about his conversion, and he was baptized by Bishop Apollonius with twelve thousand other citizens. He was tortured and imprisoned in several Italian towns notably in Asti, where he instructed St. Secundus who visited him in gaol. Eventually, we are told, he was taken to Albanga in Liguria and beheaded on the seashore.

Lord you crowned these two brothers with the crown of martyrdom,
may we love you unconditionally as they did and have no fear.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

St. Valentine

Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith in effectual, commended him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270. Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to he memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly, Porta Valetini. The greatest part of his relics are now in the church of St. Praxedes. His name is celebrated as that of an illustrious martyr in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, the Roman Missal of Thomasius, in the calendar of F. Fronto and that of Allatius, in Bede, Usuard, Ado, Notker and all other martyrologies on this day. To abolish the heathens lewd superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the fifteenth of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given on this day.

The Origin of St. Valentine
The origin of St. Valentine, and how many St. Valentines there were, remains a mystery. One opinion is that he was a Roman martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Other historians hold that St. Valentine was a temple priest jailed for defiance during the reign of Claudius. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.

The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in a The Nuremberg Chronicle, a great illustrated book printed in 1493. [Additional evidence that Valentine was a real person: archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine.] Alongside a woodcut portrait of him, text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome [when helping them was considered a crime], Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner -- until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate [circa 269].

Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they're expected to keep busy: to perform miracles, to intercede. Being in jail or dead is no excuse for non-performance of the supernatural. One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine."

St. Valentine was a Priest, martyred in 269 at Rome and was buried on the Flaminian Way. He is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.

Almighty God, grant we beseech You,
that we who celebrate the glorious martyrdom of St. Valentine, Your servant, may by his intercession be filled with the love of God and neighbor and be delivered from all the evils that threaten us.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reference: Catholic.org

Ss.Cyril and Methodius

The two brothers Michael and Constantine, as monks took the name of Cyril and Methodius, respectively, did their missionary work in the ninth century in central Europe, and rightly are called the "apostles of the Slavs". They have the merit of having adapted to the people who came to evangelize and missionaries who used methods, although they had all the pope's approval, opposition arose between the Greeks and Latins.
They have the merit of having created a new alphabet called "Cyrillic" precisely by St. Cyril, offering the Slavic world, with translations of the Bible, the Missal and Ritual liturgical, linguistic and cultural unity. This great gift to the brothers Cyril and Methodius to the Slavs did was rewarded with love and devotion popular. But during his life, not everything was easy for the two holy missionaries, but had to fight hard against those who always oppose the great innovators.
The two brothers were born in Thessaloniki. They were sons of an imperial employee and knew the Slavic spoken in Macedonia. Constantine, the youngest, was born around 827, completed his studies at Constantinople under Photios, and after his ordination he devoted himself to teaching. Michael, however, followed the political career, but when he became governor of a Slavic-speaking Byzantine province, resigned from the desired position and became a monk by the name of Methodius. In the 860s the emperor ordered the two brothers the evangelization of Kazarian, and three years later came to Moravia at the invitation of Prince Ratislao. It was here where he developed the alphabet "Cyrillic" and translated the Bible where and missal in Slavonic. Cyril and Methodius were accused of schism and heresy, and therefore had to travel to Rome, where he warmly greeted Pope Adrian II, who allowed them to celebrate the sacred mysteries in Slavonic, being even present him with a community Christian very numerous.
St. Cyril died in Rome on 14 February 869 and was buried in the basilica of St. Clement, the martyr whose relics he had brought to Rome. Methodius, ordained by the Pope and appointed bishop of Pannonia, returned from their Slavic. He died on 6 April in the year 885 in the city of Velahrad (Czechoslovakia) and his funeral was used together with Slavic, Greek and Latin.

Father may Saints Cyril
and Methodius help
us understand the word
of Christ so we to can
preach it.

References: Catholic.Net

Saturday, February 13, 2010

St. Catherine de Ricci

Born in Florence, she was born Alessandra Lucrezia Romola de' Ricci. At age 6, her father put her in the Monticelli
convent near their home where she received an education. After a short time outside the convent, at 14, she went to the Dominican convent of San Vincenzo(St. Vincent) in Prato, Tuscany
. By age 25, she had risen to the post of perpetual prioress. She lived at San Vincenzo until her death in 1590 after a prolonged illness.
As the perpetual prioress of San Vincenzo, she developed into an effective and greatly admired administrator. She was an advisor on various topics to princes, bishops and cardinals. She corresponded with three men who were destined to become popes Pope Marcellus II, Pope Clement VIII, and Pope Leo XI.
An expert on religion, management and administration, her advice was eagerly sought. She gave counsel both in person and through writing letters. It is reported that she was extremely effective and efficient in her work, managing her priorities very well.
It is claimed that her meditation on the passion of Christ was so deep that she spontaneously bled as though scourged, and that a coral ring appeared at times of deep prayer on her finger (representing her marriage to Christ under the covenant of being a nun.) She was a very prayerful person from a very young age.
It is reported that she wore a "sharp iron chain" about her neck, engaged in extreme fasting and other forms of self punishment. Whether her stigmata
were miraculously created, or were the result of self injury while in a state of religious ecstasy is a matter of faith.

Father you gave Catherine
the wounds of Christ
so she can love you
more.Let us love you
more by adoring your
holy name.We ask this
through Christ our Lord.

Friday, February 12, 2010

St. Buonfiglio Monaldo

He was one of seven Florentines who had joined the Confdraternity of the Blessed Virgin (the Laudesi) in a particularly lax period in the city's history and who were inspired by a vision on the feast of the Assumption to take up a life of solitude and prayer. After nearly fifteen years of austerity at a hermitage on Monte Senario the took the name in 1240 of Servants of Mary, or Servites. Six were ordained, developed as mendicant friars under the direction of James of Poggibonsi and Bishop Ardingo of Florence and established many houses and foreign missions. Br. Bounfiglio served as its first prikor general from 1240 to 1256 and died on Jan 1. St. John Bounagiunta succeded him, St. Bartholomew Amidei (Br. Hugh) established the order in Paris and St. Ricovero Ugoccione (Br. Sostenesw) in lGermany. SS. Benedict dell'Antella (Br. Manettus) were ordained; St. Alexis Falconieri became a lay brother and was the only one to live to see the order approved by Pope Benedict XI in 1304. The "Seven Holy Founders" of the Servites were canonized in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII.

Father may the life of
Buonfiglio help us
understand that we will
never be alone since
you are always with us.
We ask this theough Christ
our Lord.

References: Catholic.Org

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Lady of Lourdes

In 1858 the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous near Lourdes in France within a cave of Massabielle. Through this humble girl, Mary called sinners to conversion enkindled within the Church a great zeal for prayer and charity, especially service to the sick and poor.
here is a full story of OurLady of Lourdes... follow this link.

Pray the rosary today

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blessed José Sánchez del Río

Born in Sahuayo, Michoacan, 28 March 1913, son of Macario and Maria Sanchez del Rio, Jose Luis was murdered on 10 February 1928, during Mexico's religious persecution known as The Cristero War.The Cristeros were a large group Mexican Catholics leveled against the oppression of the regime of Plutarco Elías Calles.
A year before his martyrdom, José Luis had joined the forces' Cristero »General Prudencio Mendoza, nestled in the town of Cotija, Michoacan.
The martyrdom was witnessed by two children, one of seven years and the other nine, who later became founders of religious congregations. One of them is the Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, born in Cotija, who in the interview book "My Life is Christ" reveals the crucial role that his vocation would be to the testimony of Jose Luis, who was a friend .
"He was captured by government forces, who wanted to give the civilian population that supported the Cristeros exemplary punishment," recalls the founder who was seven years. "They asked him to renounce his faith in Christ, on pain of death. Jose did not accept apostasy. His mother was pierced with grief and anguish, but encouraged his son, "he adds.
"Then they cut the skin on the soles of the feet and forced him to walk through the town toward the cemetery - remember -. He cried and moaned in pain, but would not budge. Occasionally they stopped and said, "If you shout 'Death to Christ the King'" will spare your life. "Say 'Death to Christ the King'." But he replied: "Viva Cristo Rey".
"Already in the cemetery, before shooting him, they asked last time if he deny his faith. He did and killed him right there. He died screaming like many other Mexican martyrs "Viva Cristo Rey!".
"These are indelible images from my memory and memory of the Mexican people, though not often speak of them in the official story," concludes Father Maciel.
Another witness to the events was the nine year old Enrique Amezcua Medina, founder of the Priestly Confraternity of the Operators of the Kingdom of Christ, with houses of formation in Mexico and in Spain and presence in several countries.
In the biography of the Fellowship that he founded, the father tells his meeting Amezcua - who always considered providential - with Jose Luis.
As discussed in that testimony, have been crossed with the child martyr Sahuayo - who asked to follow in his path, but, seeing him so small he said, "You'll do things I do I can not reach" - determined entering the priesthood.
Later, the training seminar Operators in Salvatierra, Guanajuato Seminar christened as Christ the King and his internship was called "Jose Luis", to honor the memory of this blessed future Mexican.
The remains of Jose Luis rest in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in his hometown.
He was beatified on 20 November 2005 in the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. People have given him the title of The Martyr of Sahuayo and The Martyr of Christ the King.

Father may your martyr Jose
be an example of bravery so
we can love you so much we
will always protect you forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

References: Catholic.Net


The only historical source on the life of St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, is Chapters 33 and 34 of the second book of the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great. The news, which added legendary enrich some simple and intense image of the saint. But Gregory was not interested in presenting a story full biography of St. Scholastica, but completing the internal profile of the father of Western monasticism.
It seems that the birth year of the two holy matches: 480. Therefore, Benedict and Scholastica were probably twins, and if it were anagrafica, yes they were spiritually, since their lives were parallel to the death, in 547, 40 days away.
Scholastica was born in Nursia very young and devoted himself to God, then followed his brother to San Benito Subiaco and Monte Cassino. In Piumarola, at the foot of the mountain, he established his monastery, as if humbly wanted to stop at the foot of the mountain, whose summit's brother had set his room. But despite being so close in place and affection, Benedict went down to visit her sister only once a year. St. Scholastica is understandable that I would stop for a little more with his brother, but St. Benedict was very rigorous in complying with the rule which he himself had imposed.She was a Benedictine Nun.
In the last symposium, held perhaps the first Thursday of Lent of 547, God showed that he liked the gesture of affectionate love that strict compliance with the rule. Indeed, Scholastic has asked me to stay with her brother, as St. Gregory relates, "so that all night until the next day they would speak of the joy of the heavenly life."
Faced with severe criticism of Benedict, Scholastica clasped her hands and remained in prayer. "It could more before God because he loved most," says St. Gregory the Great.
And indeed, few moments later it seemed that opened the cataracts of heaven, the rain and thunder forced to abandon San Benito return to the monastery, but he blamed the sister replied candidly: "Well, I'll I asked and I wanted to hear, and he asked the Lord if he heard me, go if you can, and returns to the monastery. "
At the site of the miracle was built the "church of the colloquium" and remember that episode at St. Scholastica is invoked against lightning and rain for. After three days of that wonderful symposium, San Benito, during prayer, he saw the soul flying to heaven Scholastica as a dove, and he followed 40 days to live forever "heavenly joy."

Father may the life of
St. Scholastica help us
make sacrifices so we
cane reach the glory
of your kingdom where
we will sing your glory
We ask this through Christ
our Lord.

References: Catholic.Net

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saint Apollonia

St. Apollonia's feast day is February 9. In Alexandria, Egypt, where Christians were being persecuted, Apollonia was dragged from her home and beaten by crowds of pagans. In the process of her beatings, all of her teeth were knocked out. This took place around the year 249.
The crowd threatened to throw her into a fire if she did not denounce God. As the legend goes, she told the crowd to wait for a brief moment, and then leapt into the flames on her own accord. St. Apollonia courageously became a martyr.
Rather than give a wild crowd what they wanted, Apollonia stuck firmly to her beliefs and shows to die instead of giving in to the power of the crowd.
Because Apollonia lost all of her teeth in the struggle, she is known as the patron saint of dentistry, and anyone suffering from dental problems should pray to St. Apollonia for their fast recovery.
Apollonia is often seen with pincers holding a tooth. She is also sometimes portrayed with a necklace with a golden tooth at the end.
Many Christians were being persecuted in Alexandria at the time Apollonia leapt into the fire, becoming a martyr. It was a difficult time for those who followed the Christian faith, these people were being ridiculed and persistently question, tortured and threatened with their lives. Rather then renounce Christ, Apollonia shows to go directly to Christ, by leaping into the fire.
After Apollonia's life, and her subsequent canonization, a great debate ensued. Was Apollonia truly a martyr, or did she commit suicide? That question really cannot be answered in the scope of this article, but has been a topic of discussion -- literally -- for centuries. St. Augustine declared Apollonius' act "heroic faith."

God our Father,
you give us joy each year
in honoring the memory of Saint Apollonia.
May her prayers be a source of courage and let it be our inspiration.
Grant this through Christ our Lord

Monday, February 8, 2010

St. Jerome Emiliani

We know very little about the early life of St. Jerome Emiliani(or Miani Miano also). Born in Venice in 1486, and like all important families followed a military career. In 1511 Castelnuovo was captured while fighting in the League of Cambrai. During his captivity, he dedicated himself to meditate on the impermanence of worldly power, as happened ten years after St. Ignatius of Loyola. Unexpectedly, was released a month later, and then felt alive vocation dedicated to serving the poor, the sick, young women abandoned and "repentance". A very vast field. After a short "novitiate" as a penitent with Giampietro Carafa, the future Paul IV, Jerome was ordained in 1518.
Ten years later there was a tremendous shortage throughout the region and then a plague epidemic, then Jerome sold everything he had, including home furnishings, and devoted himself to the care of the infected. We had to bury the dead, and it was getting dark. But we also had to think about the living, especially in children who had lost their parents, and women who by necessity engaged in prostitution. Verona, Brescia, Como, Bergamo was the field of his beneficent action. It was then in Somasca founded the Order of Clerics Regular, designed to help orphans and the poor. Parents were Somaschi who made the big project of the founder: the institution of free schools for all and in the adoption of the revolutionary method called "dialogical method".
St. Jerome Emiliani died on the groove: while attending plague patients Somasca, was attacked by the same fever and died among its favorite sons: the poor and sick, who had devoted all his efforts. It was on February 8, 1537. He was canonized in 1767 and in 1928 Pius XI named him patron of orphans and abandoned youth. Before the calendar reform, his feast was celebrated on July 20.He is patron saint of orphans and abandoned children.

Almighty and eternal God
may your servant Jerome
help us be better Christians
so we can love you more
each day.
We ask this through Christ our

References: Catholic.Net

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blessed Pope Pius IX

Bl. Pope Pius IX was born in Senigallia, Italy, on 13 May 1792, the son of Gerolamo of the Counts Mastai Ferretti, and Caterina Solazzi, of the local nobility. He was baptized on the day of his birth with the name Giovanni Maria. Of delicate physical constitution but of very lively intelligence, his childhood was marked by little voluntary mortifications and an intense religious life.
In 1809 he moved to Rome for higher studies. A disease not well diagnosed, which some called epilepsy, forced him to interrupt his studies in 1812. He was accepted into the Pontifical Noble Guard in 1815, but because of his illness he was immediately discharged. It was at this time that St Vincent Pallotti predicted that he would become Pope and that the Virgin of Loreto would free him eventually from the disease.
After serving briefly in the Tata Giovanni Educational Institute, he participated as a catechist in 1816 in a memorable mission in Senigallia and, immediately thereafter, decided to enter the ecclesiastical state. He was ordained a priest in 1819. Conscious of his noble rank, he committed himself to avoiding a prelatial career in order to remain only at the service of the Church.
He celebrated his first Mass in the Church of St Anne of the Carpenters at the Tata Giovanni Institute, of which he was named rector, remaining there until 1823. He was immediately recognized as assiduous in prayer, in the ministry of the Word, in the celebration of the liturgy, in the confessional and above all in his daily ministry at the service of the humblest and neediest. He admirably united the active and the contemplative life: ready for pastoral needs, but always interiorly recollected, with strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion and fidelity to daily meditation and the examination of conscience.
In 1823 he left the institute to serve the Apostolic Nuncio in Chile, Mons. Giovanni Muzi. There he remained until 1825, when he was elected President of St Michael's Hospice, a grand but complex institution in need of effective reform. To it Mastai applied himself with more than gratifying results, but without ever neglecting his priestly duties. Two years later, at the age of 35, he was consecrated Archbishop of Spoleto. In 1831 the revolution which had begun in Parma and Modena spread to Spoleto. The Archbishop did not want the shedding of blood and repaired, as much as possible, the deleterious effects of the violence. When calm was restored, he obtained a pardon for all, even for those who did not merit it.
Another turbulent see awaited Mastai in Imola, where he was transferred in 1832. He remained an eloquent preacher, prompt in charity toward everyone, zealous for the supernatural as well as the material well-being of his Diocese, devoted to his clergy and seminarians, a promoter of education for the young, sensitive to the needs of the contemplative life, devoted to the Sacred Heart and to Our Lady, benevolent towards all but firm in his principles. In 1840 he received the Cardinal's hat at the age of 48.
Despite having shunned honours, on the evening of 16 June 1846 Mastai found himself burdened with the greatest of them: he was elected Pope and took the name Pius IX.
He had a difficult pontificate, but precisely because of that he was a great Pope, certainly one of the greatest. Thoroughly aware of being the "Vicar of Christ" and responsible for the rights of God and of the Church, he was clear, simple consistent. He combined firmness and understanding, fidelity and openness.
He began with an act of generosity and Christian sensitivity: amnesty for political crimes. His first Encyclical was a programmatic vision, but anticipated the "Syllabus": in it he condemned secret societies, freemasonry and communism. In 1847 he promulgated a decree granting extensive freedom of the press and instituted a civil guard, the municipal and communal council, the Council of State and the Council of Ministers. From then on his interventions as Father of all nations and temporal Prince continued unabated.
The question of Italian independence, which he sympathized with, did not set the Prince against the Pope, a fact that alienated the most intransigent liberals. The situation came to a head on 15 November when Pellegrino Rossi, the head of government, was killed and Pius IX had to take refuge in Gaeta.
After the proclamation of the Roman Republic (9 February 1849), he moved to Portici and later returned to Rome (12 April 1850). He reorganized the Council of State, established the Council for Finances, granted a new amnesty, re-established the Catholic hierarchy in England and in Holland.
In 1853 he condemned Gallican doctrines and founded the well-known "Seminario Pio". He established the Commission on Christian Archaeology, defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1854 and blessed the rebuilt St Paul's Basilica which had been destroyed by fire in 1823.
In 1856 he approved the plan for railways in the Papal States and on 24 April 1859 inaugurated the first section between Rome and Civitavecchia. In 1857 he visited the Papal States and was welcomed everywhere with rejoicing. He sent missionaries to the North Pole, India, Burma, China and Japan.
Meanwhile dark clouds gathered over him with the Italian "Risorgimento", the Piedmontese annexations that were dismantling the Papal States and the expropriation of the Legations. Suffering but undaunted, he continued to show his charity and concern for all. In 1862 he established a dicastery to deal with the concerns of Eastern-rite Catholics; in 1864 he published his Syllabus condemning modern errors; in 1867 he celebrated the 18th centenary of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul; in 1869 he received the homage of the entire world for the golden jubilee of his priestly ordination. Later that year he opened the First Vatican Ecumenical Council, the pearl of his pontificate, and closed it on 18 July 1870.
With the fall of Rome (20 September 1870) and of the temporal power, the saddened Pontiff considered himself a prisoner of the Vatican, resisting the "Laws of Guarantees", but approving the "Work of Congresses". He consecrated the Church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, disciplined the participation of Catholics in political life with the Non expedit and restored the Catholic hierarchy of Scotland. Suffering from poor health, he gave his last address to the parish priests of Rome on 2 February 1878. On 7 February the longest pontificate in history ended with his holy death.

Lord you blessed your humble servant Pius IX, with being the Master Shepherd of your church here on earth, may we recieve his blessings in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN.

Reference: Vatican.va

Saturday, February 6, 2010

St. Paul Miki and companions

The first carried the announcement of the Christian faith in Japan was Saint Francis Xavier, who worked there from 1549 to 1551. In a few years became Christians around 300,000. Humanly speaking, it is double the "secret" which made possible the expansion: the respect that the Jesuit missionaries were the modes of Japanese life and beliefs not directly opposed to Christian teaching, and commitment of local elements to insert in word and in administration.
Jesuit catechist was a young man named Paul Miki, born between 1564 and 1566, from a rich family from Kyoto. I wanted to be a priest but his ordination was postponed "sine die", because the only diocese had not yet bishop. Furthermore, in 1587 the Emperor Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who proposed the conquest of Korea changed its benevolent attitude towards Christians and issued a decree expelling foreign missionaries.
The order was fulfilled in part: some missionaries remained in the country incognito, and in 1593 some Spanish Franciscans, led by Pedro Bautista, came to Japan from the Philippines and were well received by Hideyoshi. But soon after the final break came, including political anti-Spanish and anti-Western. On December 9, six Franciscans were arrested (Pedro Bautista, Martin de la Asuncion, Francisco Blanco, Philip Las Casas, Francisco de San Miguel and Gonzalo Garcia), three Jesuits (Paul Miki, John Soan de Goto and James Kisai) and fifteen laymen Tertiary Franciscans, who were added after two others were catechists.
After having cut the left lobe, the 26 were brought to Nagasaki meac to expose to the derision of crowds, rather admired the heroic courage expressed especially in the time of death, when they were crucified on a hill Nagasaki on 5 February 1597. Commotion woke the words of forgiveness and evangelical witness uttered by Paul Miki from the cross, and the serenity and courage they demonstrated Luis Ibaraki (11 years), Antonio (thirteen) and Tomas Cosaki (of fourteen), who died singing Psalm: Laudate, pueri, Dominum ...

Father may Paul Miki
help us learn that defending
your Son's name is
worth dieing for so we can
always love on Earth and in
We ask this through Christ
our Lord.

References: Catholic.Net

Friday, February 5, 2010

St. Agatha

Although we have evidence that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr.
In the legend of her life, we are told that she belonged to a rich, important family. When she was young, she dedicated her life to God and resisted any men who wanted to marry her or have sex with her. One of these men, Quintian, was of a high enough rank that he felt he could force her to acquiesce. Knowing she was a Christian in a time of persecution, he had her arrested and brought before the judge - - himself. He expected her to give in to when faced with torture and possible death, but she simply affirmed her belief in God by praying: "Jesus Christ, Lord of all, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. I am your sheep: make me worthy to overcome the devil."
Legend tells us that Quintian imprisoned her in a brothel in order to get her to change her mind. Quintian brought her back before him after she had suffered a month of assault and humiliation in the brothel, but Agatha had never wavered, proclaiming that her freedom came from Jesus. Quintian sent her to prison, instead of back to the brothel -- a move intended to make her more afraid, but which probably was a great relief to her. When she continued to profess her faith in Jesus, Quintian had her tortured. He refused her any medical care but God gave her all the care she needed in the form of a vision of St. Peter. When she was tortured again, she died after saying a final prayer: "Lord, my Creator, you have always protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Receive my soul."
Because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was to have her breasts cut off, she was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. It is thought that blessing of the bread that takes place on her feast may have come from the mistaken notion that she was carrying loaves of bread. As we see in the picture above, we can see Agatha with a bloody cloth covering her breast, this is an image of her after she had her breast cut off. Agatha was only 20 years old when she was killed.

Lord God, you showered heavenly gifts
on the virgin Agatha.
Hear the prayers of those who recall her devoted life
and who ask her to intercede for them in their necessity.
Help us to imitate her virtue during our earthly life
and enjoy eternal happiness with her in heaven.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

St. Joseph of Leonessa

This saint was born in 1556 in Leonessa in Umbria, and at the age of eighteen he made his profession as a Capuchin friar in his hometown, and took the name of Joseph Eufranio instead of its name.
He was humble, obedient and heroic degree mortified, and three days a week, took no other sustenance than bread and water. Generally preached a crucifix in hand, and the fire of his words inflamed the hearts of her listeners. In 1587 he was sent to Turkey as a missionary among the Christians of Pera, a suburb of Constantinople. They cheered and served the Christian slaves in the galleys with wonderful devotion, especially during a malignant fever, which became infected, but later recovered his health. Converted many apostates, and was exposed to the stringency of the Turkish law when he preached the faith to Muslims. Joseph was jailed twice, and the second time he was sentenced to a cruel death.
By sharp claws which crossed one of his hands and one foot was hanging from a gallows. However, after being tortured for hours, was released and his sentence was commuted to banishment. He landed in Venice and, after an absence of two years, returned back to Leonessa, where he resumed his duties with extraordinary zeal. Towards the end of his life suffered as a result of a tumor. For excised, underwent two operations during which breathed not the slightest whimper or complaint, all the time holding a crucifix on which his eyes were fixed. When it was suggested that before the operation should be attached, said the crucifix, saying: "This is the strongest bond, it will subject me better than any rope would." The operation was successful and happily San Jose died on 4 February 1612, at the age of fifty-eight.
He was canonized in 1745.

Father may Joseph
help us understand
your word,the Gospel
so we can predict it to
the world.
We ask this through Christ
Our Lord.

References: Catholic.Net

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Saint Blaise

Many Catholics might remember Saint Blaise's feast day because of the Blessing of the Throats that took place on this day. Two candles are blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat as the blessing is said. Saint Blaise's protection of those with throat troubles apparently comes from a legend that a boy was brought to him who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The boy was about to die when Saint Blaise healed him.
Very few facts are known about Saint Blaise. We believe he was a bishop of Sebastea in Armenia who was martyred under the reign of Licinius in the early fourth century.
The legend of his life that sprang up in the eighth century tell us that he was born in to a rich and noble family who raised him as a Christian. After becoming a bishop, a new persecution of Christians began. He received a message from God to go into the hills to escape persecution. Men hunting in the mountains discovered a cave surrounded by wild animals who were sick. Among them Blaise walked unafraid, curing them of their illnesses. Recognizing Blaise as a bishop, they captured him to take him back for trial. On the way back, he talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman. When Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman, in gratitude, sneaked into the prison with food and candles. Finally Blaise was killed by the governor.

Saint Blaise, pray for us that we may not suffer from illnesses of the throat and pray that all who are suffering be healed by God's love.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple

Forty days after the Nativity of Our Lord, was presented in the Temple in obedience to the law She said there was no date for the submission of the child, but as the mother was unclean for forty days, and could not touch anything holy or go to sanctuary (Lev 12:2), during that time could not present the child in the Temple, as stipulated in Exodus 13,12: "Consecrate to God every firstborn". With this event completing the formalities of the Incarnate Word of God.
A little house in Bethlehem
The Sacred Family, left the cave and stood at a house in Bethlehem, which has fulfilled the rite of circumcision, which incorporates the Child to the chosen people. We know from the circumcision of John and the comparative history of these events, this is a time of meeting all the relatives and friends, but Holy Family is not on your land and this time do not involve the angels to announce the ceremony, and occur singly. Loneliness is the price we must pay great personalities, they have to endure all those who are out of the normal and ordinary.
In the most momentous moments of life when it most needs the man a social being, the company and the warmth of their own. I have felt this much in the solemnity of my silver anniversary of priests, far from my homeland and the heat of the presence of mine. In circumcision, Jesus, child of eight days (Lev. 12:8), it feels lonely, they feel qquienes are Joseph and Mary.
Jesus savor the bitter loneliness as an adult, many times, but in a unique and tremendous, the eve of his sacrifice in the Garden, surrounded by sleeping friends. Soledad, contemplated, will comfort the elect of all time.
But the temple was not like
Not so in his Presentation in the Temple. Motivated by the two holy Spirit elderly, Anna and Simeon, they reached the Temple, and illuminated by the same Spirit gave them heart jumped by which they recognized the Lord and proclaimed clamorous. There were two venerable elders were the most genuine representatives of the people of Israel, while representatives of all humanity. The Spirit does not sleep. The Spirit awakened. They had waited so long.
God keeps, always keeps his promises. Do not hesitate never, never fail not. It will, will not fail their promises. At the time we do not know, that only he knows. The Spirit awakened to those loved by God, to come out publicly to receive the Savior of the people.
Male and female. A new Kingdom
To represent Israel, a man was enough. To represent humanity also needed a woman, because when God made man became man and wife (Genesis 1, 27). Neither the birth of the Son of God was King Herod, in whose territory they were not in his presentation, officiated by the priest on duty showed up and the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. Began a new kingdom. Began to govern a new law.
According to him, and she did not have the prominence of earthly powers, but people living in the Spirit. Simeon prophesies, and touts the Baby Anne A man and a woman presented to Israel in the Incarnate Word. Two deep inner souls and make the presentation of Jesus to the Jews gathered in the Temple to participate in the offering of the morning sacrifice.
There will always be in the Church and deep inner souls in its strength, close friends of God, who will meet you, they shall give him shall proclaim and sing her wonders. Jose makes for an offering of five shekels, the redemption price paid by the father's firstborn (Num 18.16). While two doves or pigeons, and poor for the purification of the mother (Lev 12:18).
The people inside out today
The Christian people out today to meet the Lord with lighted candles, which festive and joyous rite symbolizing Christ, Light of the Nations, which characterizes this event as "Candlemas" or the Purification, because Mary also went to the Temple to purify, in compliance with the law, as we have explained. Then Jesus came not to break the law but to perfect it.
The Lord whom you seek
Malachi 3.1 casts its light over the entrance of the Lord in the Temple: "Suddenly we enter into the sanctuary the Lord whom ye seek." Jesus is in compliance with the prediction of the prophet. Seeking God is the transcendent task of man, but the man did not look if I had not already found, for if the man seeking God, God is looking more and before the man, wrote St. John of the Cross, so great seeker and sought at once. And sublimely found.
"Who is this King of glory? Is the Lord, brave hero, the God of hosts, the King of Glory" Sal 23. There is an ambassador being entered, or a designated representative, or a prophet, as so often has been sent, not even an angel, is the same God who comes in person.
The mystery hidden for centuries
But therein lies the mystery of God, who wanted to participate our own flesh, as a member of the same human family, to death and dying, destroying the power of death, and death not only from her womb, suffering Death itself to defeat in his own domain, but him who had the power of death, the devil.
Because he had to look at all his brothers in the flesh and death, to compadececerse of our weakness and our slavery to atone for the sins of the people, as evidenced by the Hebrews 2,14.
He can sympathize because he has suffered. Do you know who has not suffered! -tell who both suffered as St. John of the Cross, because the condition for him was the way the discovery of great riches. "If I knew, my sister, the delectable joys that God rewarded the sufferings of that prison," he admitted talking to his cell in Toledo. And sing in the Flame: "O gentle hand! Delicate touch Oh!, / That tastes of eternal life / and pays all debts ...
Utopia sterile
"Who can endure the day of his coming?" Who shall stand when he appears? ". "What is man that thou art mindful of him?" (Ps 8:5). Before God every knee should bow in heaven, on earth, into the abyss. Humility, then, because we are all sinners. Before him there is no pride, but the deepest gloom, full of confidence.
Purify us, Lord, for our sins. For you alone are holy. "It will be a refiner's fire, a laundry bleach. Purify his blood shed on the cross, which will pour in baptism and the sacrament of forgiveness. With its sacraments purify his people. With his cross, with its trials and tribulations, expiate the sins of the people. Want to save humanity by another road and through other channels, is a utopia that always fail.
"We have to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is salvation, the glory, the resurrection. He has saved and liberated " (Gal 6:14).
The renovation is expected
Pope recently said that the devil is furious because he is fighting the last battle, as the Kingdom of God is near. For that "Refine the sons of Levi".
The Levitical priesthood, which was old, will be renewed, recreated as an extension of his eternal priesthood that will offer the unique offering that can erase sins. This offering will please the Lord. Because it will not be sacrificed animals, but Christ himself. As he offered his own life, should we offer our own. As practiced by men, they can age the Christian priesthood, and will need to renew and purify, especially from the interior.
Spiritual worship
The Second Vatican Council has appreciated the theology of the spiritual worship of Christians, for the sacrifice that pleases God is man, as a living sacrifice offered to God, as St. Paul exhorts us: "I beseech you, brethren, to present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is the cult that you must offer" (Romans 12:1).
We must be careful with love, to offer God from morning till night, our thoughts, feelings, desires, plans, failures, joys, sickness, tears and sadness, and all the virtues that life will provide the opportunity to practice , and all the battles that we hold, to unite them with Christ's sacrifice on the altar renewed. That's the gift that pleases the Father, who seeks worshipers in spirit and in truth.

The arrival at the temple

Jesus comes into the arms of Mary,
Look, yawns and continues sleeping;
His father Joseph was looking smile.
Under the Act, at forty days.
The priest offers the Victim
Ignoring what is happening
Mary knows that it is redeeming
In a gesture of love and the Eucharist.
The hells are beginning to worry
Feeling that his lie will end.
Simeon just going to prophesy:
Division, sword, light and darkness.
Who militate in each flag?
The Kingdom of Christ is about to begin.

God keeps his promises
Simeon supernatant into joy, says the Lord: Lord, you have fulfilled your word. You promised you would die before the Savior. "You can let your servant depart in peace. For my eyes have seen the Savior". Lk 2:22. Many desires and hopes and prayers reveal these words! Of Simeon and all of Israel, whom he represents.
The history of Israel was neither sterile nor futile: his eyes have seen the Savior, and knows he has already reached the triumph of life, because the Baby Jesus will grow and the hour of his sacrifice, with which redeem all people, not just to Israel. "This is because many in Israel to fall and rise, like a flag will be discussed. And a sword will pierce your soul." When a man is a calamity occurs, every attempt must not know his mother.
Mary was the exception. That must be to make it redeemer. She is the sign of the Church carries the grace of the Redeemer and, consequently, is converted, as he, as a sign of contradiction. The five courses offered by the parent, are a substitutionary sacrifice, until it comes to the sacrifice of Calvary, where there will be no replacement.
Christ will then be slaughtered and not replaced, but replaced all his brothers, accompanied by suffering and pain of Mary with the pierced heart, symbolized today by the pigeons slaughtered and burned in a holocaust. "Without shedding of blood there is no redemption" (Hebrews 9:22).
Souls Deep
Simeon and Anna embody, their lives and ministries they performed, the Jewish society that looked for redemption and liberation of the people. They are the most vivid example of Israel who waited until the last minute intervention of God in this human history to make it more livable, more just, more balanced.
The old Simeon and Anna are a symbol of that hope is a long journey, while the elderly witness who has fallen in the people of Israel in its structures and practices in their religion and their law. All Jewish religious and social model needed to be designed differently and therefore for the two characters in the Gospel story man and woman, for these two old, it was necessary that someone were to introduce a new and final time. Someone who came to inaugurate God's time.
The encounter with Jesus
To see Jesus, meet him, have contact with his person, by word and their work should lead us to act like Simeon. Meet Jesus should make us men and women trained to proclaim by word and especially with our actions, the time of God that Jesus has given us.
The Church is called to give testimony for God's time. We have to enable that time to reach our people with all its consequences. We must commit ourselves to this new time integration and, livable and credible in our communities through the love of God given in full through the incarnation of Jesus in our human history.
So Pope calls us to serve the Internet now, because history of evangelization is not just a question of geographic expansion, since the Church has also had to cross many cultural thresholds, each of which has required new energy and imagination to proclaim the Gospel.
The era of great discoveries, the Renaissance and the invention of printing, the Industrial Revolution and the birth of the modern world were also critical moments, which demanded new forms of evangelization.
Internet is a new "forum" understood in the ancient Roman sense of public place where it was politics and business, religious duties were fulfilled, developed much of the city's social life, and manifest the best and the worst of human nature. It was a place of crowded and bustling city, which not only reflected the surrounding culture, but also created a distinctive culture.
The same applies to cyberspace, which is a call to the great adventure of using its potential to proclaim the Gospel message. This challenge lies at the heart of what it means, at the beginning of the millennium to follow the commandment of the Lord "into the deep": "Duc in altum" (Lk 5, 4). Internet produce countless images that appear on millions of computer screens worldwide.
In this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ and hear his voice? Because only when you see his face and hear his voice the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption. This is what make the Internet a genuinely human space, because if there is no place for Christ, there is no place for man.
Therefore, I encourage the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to enter into the deepest part of the network, so that now, as in the past the great engagement of the Gospel and culture may show to the world "the glory of God in the face of Christ "(2 Cor 4, 6). May the Lord bless all those who work for this purpose, said John Paul II.

All-powerful father,
Christ your son became man for us
and was presented in the temple.
Mat he free our hearts from sin
and bring us into your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

References: Catholic.Net

Monday, February 1, 2010

St. Brigid of Ireland

Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, Ireland. Her parents were baptized by St. Patrick, with whom she developed a close friendship. According to legend, her father was Dubhthach, an Irish chieftain of Lienster, and her mother, Brocca, was a slave at his court. Even as a young girl she evinced an interest for a religious life and took the veil in her youth from St. Macaille at Croghan and probably was professed by St. Mel of Armagh, who is believed to have conferred abbatial authority on her. She settled with seven of her virgins at the foot of Croghan Hill for a time and about the year 468, followed Mel to Meath. About the year 470 she founded a double monastery at Kildare and was Abbess of the convent, the first in Ireland. The foundation developed into a center of learning and spirituality, and around it grew up the Cathedral city of Kildare. She founded a school of art at Kildare and its illuminated manuscripts became famous, notably the Book of Kildare, which was praised as one of the finest of all illuminated Irish manuscripts before its disappearance three centuries ago. Brigid was one of the most remarkable women of her times, and despite the numerous legendary, extravagant, and even fantastic miracles attributed to her, there is no doubt that her extraordinary spirituality, boundless charity, and compassion for those in distress were real. She died at Kildare on February 1. The Mary of the Gael, she is buried at Downpatrick with St. Columba and St. Patrick, with whom she is the patron of Ireland. Her name is sometimes Bridget and Bride. Her feast day is February 1.

Beloved Father, just before Saint Brigid was born, her Christian mother was sold to a Druid landowner. Even though she grew up oppressed as a slave, she found great joy in loving You. As the patron saint of babies, she has a special concern for the gift of new life, so I ask her to pray for the babies in my family, both born and unborn. May they grow up with Jesus and obtain the joy of knowing Him. I place into Your loving hands, Father, all the babies who died prematurely, through abortion, miscarriage or medical conditions. Ask them, Lord, to intercede for me and my family. Saint Brigid, pray for us.