Devotions, prayers, novenas lives of saints and their writings from the Roman and Byzantine traditions of the Catholic Church.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
March 20: St. Cuthbert
St. Cuthbert lived in England in the seventh century. He was a poor shepherd boy who loved to play games with his friends. He was very good at them, too. One of his friends scolded him for loving to play so much. In fact, his playmate said words that he didn't seem to be saying himself. The child said, "Cuthbert, how can you waste your time playing games when you have been chosen to be a priest and a bishop?" Cuthbert was confused and very impressed. He wondered if he really was going to be a priest and a bishop. In August, 651, fifteen-year-old Cuthbert had a religious experience. He saw a totally black sky. Suddenly a bright beam of light moved across it. In the light were angels carrying a ball of fire up beyond the sky. Sometime later, Cuthbert learned that the same night of the vision, the bishop, St. Aiden, had died. Cuthbert did not know how this all involved him, but he made up his mind about his life's vocation and entered a monastery. Cuthbert became a priest and a bishop. From one village to another, from house to house, St. Cuthbert went, on horse or on foot. He visited the people to help them spiritually. Best of all, he could speak the dialect of the peasants because he had once been a poor shepherd boy. He did good everywhere and brought many people to God. Cuthbert was cheerful and kind. People felt attracted to him and no one was afraid of him. He was also a prayerful, holy monk. When Cuthbert was ordained a bishop, he worked just as hard as ever to help his people. He visited them no matter how difficult the travel on poor roads or in very bad weather. As he lay dying, Cuthbert urged his monks to live in peace and charity with everyone. He died peacefully in 687. Reflection: Let us pray today for those who are called to leadership in the Church-in our parishes, dioceses and throughout the world-that these people may have the wisdom and courage necessary to offer their gifts in service.
+ I believe in one only God (Πιστεύω εις ένα Θεόν) Father, Son and Holy Spirit, creator of things visible such as this world in which our transient life passes, of things invisible such as the pure spirits which are also called angels, and creator in each man of his spiritual and immortal soul.
I believe that this only God is absolutely one in His infinitely holy essence as also in all His perfections, in His omnipotence, His infinite knowledge, His providence and His love. He is, He who is ( Ο ών ) as He revealed to Moses, and He is love, as the apostle John teaches us: so that these two names, being and love, express ineffably the same divine reality of Him who has wished to make Himself known to us, and who, "dwelling in light inaccessible" is in Himself above every name, above every thing and above every created intellect. God alone can give us right and full knowledge of this reality by revealing Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in whose eternal life I am by grace called to share here below in the obscurity of faith and after death in eternal light. The mutual bonds which eternally constitute the Three Persons, who are each one and the same divine being, are the blessed inmost life of God, thrice holy, infinitely beyond all that I can conceive in human measure. I give thanks, however, to the divine goodness that very many believers can testify with me before men to the unity of God, even though they know not the mystery of the most Holy Trinity.
I believe then in the Father who eternally begets the Son, in the Son, the Word of God who is the Only-Begotten ( Μονογενή ) begotten of the Father before all ages. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the uncreated Person who proceeds from the Father and the Son ( qui ex Patre Filioque procedit ). Thus in the Three Divine Persons ( coaeternae sibi et coaequales ) the life and beatitude of God, perfectly one, superabound and are consummated in the supreme excellence and glory proper to uncreated being, and always "there should be venerated unity in the Trinity and Trinity in the unity."
I believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. He is the Eternal Word, born of the Father before time began ( τον εκ του Πατρός γεννηθέντα προ πάντων των αιώνων ) and one in substance with the Father ( ομοούσιον τω Πατρί ) and through Him all things were made. He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, and was made man: equal therefore to the Father according to His divinity, and inferior to the Father according to His humanity; and Himself one, not by some impossible confusion of His natures, but by the unity of His person.
He dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. He proclaimed and established the Kingdom of God and made us know in Himself the Father. He gave us His new commandment to love one another as He loved us. He taught us the way of the beatitudes of the Gospel: poverty in spirit, meekness, suffering borne with patience, thirsting after righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, a benevolent will for peace, persecution - willingly suffered for the sake of justice. Under Pontius Pilate He suffered - the Lamb of God bearing on Himself the sins of the world. He died for us on the cross, saving us by His redeeming blood. He was buried, and, in an awesome display of further condescension, He descended into Hell. Of His own power, He rose on the third day, thereby blazing a path for all flesh by His resurrection. He ascended to heaven, and He will come again in glory, to judge the living and the dead: each according to his merits - those who have responded to the love and mercy of God going to eternal life, those who have refused them to the end going to the fire that is not extinguished. And His Kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, who is Lord, and Giver of life ( Πνεύμα το Άγιον, το Κύριον, το Ζωοποιόν ) who is adored and glorified together with the Father and the Son. He spoke to us by the prophets; He was sent by Christ after His resurrection and His ascension to the Father; He illuminates, vivifies, protects and guides the Church; He purifies the Church's members if they do not shun His grace. His action, which penetrates to the inmost of the soul, enables man to respond to the call of Jesus: Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
I believe that Mary, who remained ever a Virgin, is the Mother of the Incarnate Word, our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore rightly, she is called Θεοτοκος ( Mother of God ). By reason of this singular election, she was, in consideration of the merits of her Son, redeemed in a more eminent manner, preserved from all stain of original sin and filled with the gift of grace more than all other creatures. Joined by a close and indissoluble bond to the Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Θεοτοκος ( God-Bearer ), the Immaculate, was at the end of her earthly life raised body and soul to heavenly glory and likened to her risen Son in anticipation of the future lot of all the just; and I believe that the Blessed Mother of God, the New Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven her maternal role with regard to Christ's members, cooperating with the birth and growth of divine life in the souls of the redeemed.
I believe that in Adam, all have sinned, which means that the original offense committed by him caused human nature, common to all men, to fall to a state in which this nature bears the consequences of that offense, and which is not the state in which it was at first in our first parents at the beginning - established as they were; in holiness and justice, and in which man knew neither evil nor death. It is human nature so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death, that is transmitted to all men, and it is in this sense that every man is born in sin. I therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin, is transmitted with human nature, not by imitation, but by propagation and that it is thus proper to all mankind.
I believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ, by His sacrifice on His Holy Cross redeemed us from the fallenness brought on by original sin and all the personal sins committed by each one of us, so that, in accordance with the word of the apostle, “where sin abounded grace did more abound.” I believe in one Baptism ( Confiteor unum baptisma ) instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Baptism should be administered even to little children who have not yet been able to be guilty of any personal sin, so that, though born deprived of supernatural grace, they may be reborn of water and the Holy Spirit to the divine life in Christ Jesus.
I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church ( Εις Μίαν, Αγίαν, Καθολικήν και Αποστολικήν Εκκλησίαν ) built by Jesus Christ on that rock which is S. Peter. I further confess that this one true Church subsists in the Catholic Church headed by, the Vicar of Christ and spiritual descendant in authority, the Pope. She is the Mystical Body of Christ; at the same time a visible society instituted with hierarchical organs, and a spiritual community; the Church on earth, the pilgrim People of God here below, and the Church filled with heavenly blessings; the germ and the first fruits of the Kingdom of God, through which the work and the sufferings of Redemption are continued throughout human history, and which looks for its perfect accomplishment beyond time in glory. in the fullness of time, the Lord Jesus forms His Church by means of the sacraments emanating from His plenitude. By these She makes Her members participants in the Mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, in the grace of the Holy Spirit who gives Her life and movement. She is therefore Holy, though She has sinners in Her bosom, because She herself has no other life but that of grace: it is by living by Her life that Her members are sanctified; it is by removing themselves from Her life that they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of Her sanctity. This is why She suffers and She does penance for these offenses, of which She has the power to heal Her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Heiress of the divine promises and Daughter of Abraham according to the Spirit, through that Israel whose scriptures She lovingly guards, and whose patriarchs and prophets She venerates; founded upon the apostles and handing on from century to century their ever-living word and their power as pastors in the successor of Peter, the bishop of Rome, and the hierarchs in communion with him; perpetually assisted by the Holy Spirit. She has the charge of guarding, teaching, explaining and spreading the Truth which God revealed by the prophets, in a then veiled manner, and after the fullness of time, by the Lord Jesus the Christ. I believe all that is contained in the word of God written or handed down, and that the Church proposes for belief as divinely revealed, whether by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal magisterium. I believe in the infallibility enjoyed by the successor of S. Peter, the Supreme Pontiff, by virtue of his office as Pastor and Doctor of all the Christian faithful, he proclaims by definitive act that a particular doctrine of faith or morals is to be held ( Infallibiltate in magesterio, vi muneris sui gaudet Summus Pontifex quando ut suremus omnium christifidelium Pastor et Doctor, doctrinam de fide vel de moribus tenendam definitivo actu proclamat ). I further profess that the College of Bishops also posseses infalibility in teaching when gathered together in an Ecumenical Council, excersising the magisterium as teachers and judges of the faith and its morals, declaring for the universal Church that a particular doctine of faith or morals is to be held definitively ( Infallibiltate in magesterio pollet quoque Collegium Episcoporum quando magisterium exercent Episcopi in Concilio Oecumenico coadunati, qui ut fidei et morum doctores et iudices, pro Universa Ecclesia doctinam de fide vel de moribus definitive tenendam declarant ); or when dispersed throughout the world, but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of S Peter, and teaching authentically together with the same Roman Pontiff, matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively ( aut quando per orbem dispersi, communionis nexum inter se et cum Petri successore servantes, una cum eodem Romano Pontifice authentice res fidei vel morum docentes, in unam sententiam tamquam definitive tenendam conveniunt ).
I believe that the Church founded by Jesus Christ and for which He prayed is indefectibly one in faith, worship and the bond of hierarchical communion. In the bosom of this Church, the rich variety of liturgical rites and the legitimate diversity of theological and spiritual heritages and special disciplines, far from injuring her unity, make Her more manifest. Recognizing also the existence of numerous elements of truth and sanctification, outside the organism of the Church, which belong to Her as Her own and tend to Catholic unity, and believing in the action of the Holy Spirit who stirs up in the heart of the disciples of Christ love of this unity, I entertain the hope that those Christians who are not yet in the full communion with the one only Church, will one day be reunited in one flock with one only shepherd.
I believe that the Church is necessary for salvation, because Christ, who is the sole mediator and way of salvation, renders Himself present for us in His body which is the Church. By the divine design of salvation, She embraces all men, and those who, without fault on their part, do not know the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but seek God sincerely, and under the influence of grace endeavor to do His will as recognized through the promptings of their conscience, they, in a number known only to God, can obtain salvation. I further assert the even in their ignorance of this it is through the one Church that this grace is benefacted.
I believe that the Mass and Divine Liturgy, celebrated by the priest - representing the person of Christ - by virtue of the power received through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and offered by him in the name of Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, is the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars. I believe that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper are changed into His body and His blood which were offered for us on the cross, likewise the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed into the very body and very blood of Christ - enthroned gloriously in heaven - and I believe that the mysterious presence of the Lord, under what continues to appear to our senses as before, is a true, real and substantial presence, ever eaten yet never consumed, sanctifying the faithful who partake thereof.
Christ cannot be thus present in this sacrament except by the change into His body of the reality itself of the bread and the change into His blood of the reality itself of the mingled wine, leaving unchanged only the properties of the bread and wine which our senses perceive. This mysterious change is very appropriately called by the Church transubstantiation. Every theological explanation which seeks some understanding of this mystery must, in order to be in accord with Catholic faith, maintain that in reality itself, independently of our mind, ontologically, the bread and wine have ceased to exist after the Consecration, so that it is the adorable body and precious blood of the Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, that from then on are really before us under the sacramental species of bread and wine, as the Lord willed it, in order to give Himself to us as food and to associate us with the unity of His Mystical Body.
The unique and indivisible existence of the Lord glorious in heaven is not multiplied, but is rendered present by the sacrament in the many places on earth where Mass and Divine Liturgies are celebrated. And this existence remains present, after the sacrifice, in the Blessed Sacrament which is, in the tabernacle, the living heart of each of our churches. And it is our duty to honor and adore, in the blessed Host and the consecrated Lamb, which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word whom they cannot see, and who, without leaving heaven, is made present before us.
I confess that the Kingdom of God begun here below in the Church of Christ is not of this world whose form is passing, and that its proper growth cannot be confounded with the progress of civilization, of science or of human technology, but that it consists in an ever more profound knowledge of the unfathomable riches of Christ, an ever stronger hope in eternal blessings, an ever more ardent response to the love of God, and an ever more generous bestowal of grace and holiness among men. But it is this same love which induces the Church to concern herself constantly about the true temporal welfare of all humanity. Without ceasing to recall to her children that they have not here a lasting dwelling, she also urges them to contribute, each according to his vocation and his means, to the welfare of their earthly city, to promote justice, peace and brotherhood among men, to give their aid freely to their kin - both of the flesh and the spirit - especially to the poorest and most unfortunate. I further believe that this charity must also extend to those outside our kin who know not what has been so graciously revealed to us. Therefore, the deep solicitude of the Church, the Spouse of Christ, is for the needs of men, for their joys and hopes, their griefs and efforts, and nothing other than Her great desire to be present to them, to illuminate them with the light of Christ and to gather them all in Him, their only Savior. This solicitude can never mean that the Church conform herself to the things of this world, or that She lessen the ardor of Her expectation of Her Lord and of the eternal Kingdom.
I believe in the life eternal. I believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ - whether they must still be purified in Purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies Jesus takes them to Paradise as He did for the Good Thief - are the People of God in the eternity beyond death, which will be finally conquered on the day of the Resurrection when these souls will be reunited with their bodies. I believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in paradise forms the Church of Heaven, the Church Triumphant, where in eternal beatitude they see God as He is, and where they also, in different degrees, are associated with the holy angels in the Divine Rule exercised by Christ in glory, interceding for us and helping our nakedness and frailty by their brotherly care.
I believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are attaining their purification, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; and I believe that in this communion the merciful love of God and His saints is ever listening to our prayers, as Jesus told us: Ask and you will receive.
Thus it is with faith and in a Christo-centric hope that I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
With this confession, I repudiate and repent of any and all false beliefs I held while in schism from the one true Church. I especially repent of my youthful and impetuous act schism.
I submit myself, fully to the authority of the Catholic Church and her Supreme Pontiff His Holiness Benedict XVI the Supreme Pontiff, and to my Bishop.
Πιστεύω εις ένα Θεόν, Πατέρα, Παντοκράτορα, ποιητήν ουρανού και γης, ορατών τε πάντων και αοράτων. Και εις έναν Κύριον Ιησούν Χριστόν, τον Υιόν του Θεού τον Μονογενή, τον εκ του Πατρός γεννηθέντα προ πάντων των αιώνων. Φως εκ φωτός, Θεόν αληθινόν εκ Θεού αληθινού γεννηθέντα, ου ποιηθέντα, ομοούσιον τω Πατρί, δι’ ου τα πάντα εγένετο. Τον δι’ ημάς τους ανθρώπους και δια την ημετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα εκ των ουρανών και σαρκωθέντα εκ Πνεύματος Αγίου και Μαρίας της Παρθένου και ενανθρωπήσαντα. Σταυρωθέντα τε υπέρ ημών επί Ποντίου Πιλάτου και παθόντα και ταφέντα. Και αναστάντα τη τρίτη ημέρα κατά τας Γραφάς. Και ανελθόντα εις τους Ουρανούς και καθεζόμενον εκ δεξιών του Πατρός. Και πάλιν ερχόμενον μετά δόξης κρίναι ζώντας και νεκρούς, Ου της βασιλείας ουκ έσται τέλος. Και εις το Πνεύμα το Άγιον, το Κύριον, το Ζωοποιόν, το εκ του Πατρός εκπορευόμενον, το συν Πατρί και Υιώ συμπροσκυνούμενον και συνδοξαζόμενον, το λαλήσαν δια των Προφητών. Εις Μίαν, Αγίαν, Καθολικήν και Αποστολικήν Εκκλησίαν. Ομολογώ εν Βάπτισμα εις άφεσιν αμαρτιών. Προσδοκώ ανάστασιν νεκρών. Και ζωήν του μέλλοντος αιώνος. Αμήν.
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem Omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium. Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis. Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam, Sanctam, Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.
PRAY FOR VOCATIONS !
Lord Jesus, we pray to you for the Catholic priesthood. Give us more priests, but most especially we ask you to give us holy priests. Messengers of a truth that is all-encompassing and eternal, holy priests who know how to offer this truth to the people of their own time and place. Holy men for today, priests firmly rooted in the tradition, yet imbued with the spirit of this age. They have undertaken a mission in Your name, Lord. May the reflection of Your power in them always make it clear that they are Your witnesses Grant that they may conform their lives to the Paskhal mystery that they celebrate each day in the Eucharist. May they sense in this mystery the anxious hunger of the world and of their own brothers and sisters for salvation. May they know, despite this hunger, how to respect the spiritual freedom of others; for it is Your word which has given the world a taste for this freedom. May they understand and speak the language of their own time. And may they be careful never to compromise, with opinions that come and go, the imperishable newness of Your Gospel. May they always keep through the dark wintry night of the soul an obstinate hope for the springtime to come. And when they meet those who persecute You, may they always remember the road to Damascus and the hidden ways of Your providence.
MY OTHER BLOG:
+ JESUS CHRIST
Prayers and devotions to our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.
+ LITANY OF HUMILITY
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me. From the desire of being esteemed, Jesus, deliver me. From the desire of being loved, Jesus, deliver me. From the desire of being extolled, Jesus, deliver me. From the desire of being honored, Jesus, deliver me. From the desire of being praised, Jesus, deliver me. From the desire of being preferred to others, Jesus, deliver me. From the desire of being consulted, Jesus, deliver me. From the desire of being approved, Jesus, deliver me. From the fear of being humiliated, Jesus, deliver me. From the fear of being despised, Jesus, deliver me. From the fear of suffering rebukes, Jesus, deliver me. From the fear of being calumniated, Jesus, deliver me. From the fear of being forgotten, Jesus, deliver me. From the fear of being ridiculed, Jesus, deliver me. From the fear of being wronged, Jesus, deliver me. From the fear of being suspected, Jesus, deliver me. That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may become holier than I, and I may become as holy as I should. Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. Amen.
Akathist to Jesus, Light to those in Darkness
Kontakion 1 (Tone 7) Out of the depths of darkness and despair I cry to You, O Lord, You that hung upon the Cross in darkness. From the pit of pain and confusion, I lift up this prayer, and with all my heart I sing aloud to You: Jesus, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Ikos 1 (see Ps. 77) In the day of my trouble, I seek You, O Lord, and in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying. My eyes find no rest from weeping, and I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Yet as my spirit ponders in the night, I raise this song to You:
JESUS, rescuer of the abandoned!
JESUS, hope of those in despair!
JESUS, guiding star to the lost!
JESUS, joyful return of the exile!
JESUS, unforeseen victory!
JESUS, eternal triumph!
JESUS, radiant dawn after endless night!
JESUS, everlasting light of the Kingdom!
JESUS, wipe away my tears!
JESUS, calm the panic of my heart!
JESUS, exultation of those hemmed in by fear!
JESUS, joy of those crushed by sorrow!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 2 (see Ps. 88) O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried out to You day and night. My soul is full of troubles and my life has drawn near to Sheol. I lie in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep; my friends and those who love me are removed far from me, and my companions are in darkness. But by Your grace, I defy the darkness, and I declare Your saving help in the land of forgetfulness, crying aloud, Alleluia!
Ikos 2 Sorrow has isolated me from all those around me, and I cannot feel Your love either, O Lord. I walk about in the light like one forsaken among the dead, like the slain who molder in the grave whom You remember no more. But You are the One who performs wonders for the dead, and whose steadfast love is declared in the grave. Trusting in You alone, I make known Your wonders:
JESUS, comforter of the bereaved!
JESUS, consoler of the dying!
JESUS, liberty of the imprisoned and forgotten!
JESUS, companion of the divorced and abandoned!
JESUS, grant peace to a heart in turmoil!
JESUS, work through me to touch others in pain!
JESUS, calmer of storms!
JESUS, haven of the voyager!
JESUS, resurrection for those whose children have died!
JESUS, serenity for those in chronic pain!
JESUS, promise of final triumph!
JESUS, possession of invincible peace!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 3: (see Ps. 143) The enemy has pursued my soul, O Lord, he has crushed my life to the ground, and I am made to sit in darkness, like those who have been long dead. My spirit within me is overwhelmed by depression, and my heart within is appalled. But I am Your servant, O merciful God, and Your good Spirit will lead me on level paths with renewed strength. Looking to that day, even now I stretch out my hands, crying: Alleluia!
Ikos 3 Despite the attacks of my spiritual foes, I put my trust in You, O Saviour, knowing that You will teach me the way in which I should walk in safety. Though I dwell in parched land, I look to You for the water of life, offering to You such songs as these:
JESUS, shield and buckler!
JESUS, unfailing defense!
JESUS, well-spring in the desert!
JESUS, fountain of the Kingdom!
JESUS, drive away all depression!
JESUS, be my radiance of heart!
JESUS, security in the midst of enemies!
JESUS, hope when all other hope is lost!
JESUS, pledge of eternal gladness!
JESUS, banisher of life’s shadows!
JESUS, vindicate my innocence!
JESUS, forgive all my sins!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 4 (see Mt. 15:21:28, Ps. 54) The Syro-Phoenician woman whose daughter was cruelly demon-possessed shouted after You, O Son of David, only to learn that You were sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Despite Your silence, the faith of this Gentile found Your compassion, and she returned home singing: Alleluia!
Ikos 4 Despite my many and ceaseless supplications, I can find no answer, O Lord, and my heart is too tired to go on. I feel unworthy even to gather up the crumbs under Your table, and from all sides I find nothing but discouragement. But knowing that You save those who invoke Your Name, O Jesus, and trusting that You will give ear to the words of my mouth, I bow down before You, saying:
JESUS, welcomer of strangers!
JESUS, boast of the saints!
JESUS, save me as I chant Your Name with love!
JESUS, vindicate me as I cling to Your mercy with faith!
JESUS, pardoner of my many offences!
JESUS, healer of my sinful heart!
JESUS, feeder of children!
JESUS, feast of the poor!
JESUS, King who gives strength to the weary!
JESUS, Master who grants deliverance to the oppressed!
JESUS, destroyer of demons!
JESUS, song of the angels!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 5 (see Mk. 10:46-52, Ps. 57) The blind beggar Bartimaeus thought that You would pass him by, O Saviour, and though many rebuked him, he did not cease to cry, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!” In Your customary lovingkindness, You called him to Yourself and granted him illumination, so that he followed You on the way, singing Alleluia!
Ikos 5 Like a child left alone in the dark, I cry out to You, Son of David, taking refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the storms of destruction pass by. Though my soul is among lions who roar out that there is no salvation for me, my heart is steadfast and I sing these praises:
JESUS, sight for the blind!
JESUS, wealth for the beggar!
JESUS, harbour for those who are bestormed!
JESUS, fortress for all who are besieged!
JESUS, Your glory is above the heavens!
JESUS, Your radiance fills the earth!
JESUS, exaltation of the transcendent Father!
JESUS, bestower of the life-giving Spirit!
JESUS, hear my cry when all others are deaf!
JESUS, call me to Your throne and save me!
JESUS, bottomless ocean of mercy!
JESUS, infinite firmament of truth!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 6 (see Ps. 42-43) Like the deer who pants for flowing streams, like the parent who mourns the loss of a child, I am left breathless. Grief grips me, and my tears have been my food day and night. Although all the waves of panic have rolled over me, You remain the help of my countenance, O God, and my song to You in the night remains: Alleluia!
Ikos 6 The joy of Paschal processions around the House of God remains a distant memory, O Lord, and my soul is in despair. All my former faith has been disturbed, so that I say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?” But the Lord will yet command His steadfast love to me, and hoping in His help I praise Him, saying:
JESUS, joy of homecoming for those on earth!
JESUS, long-awaited reunion with all in heaven!
JESUS, dry my bitter tears!
JESUS, restore my forgotten song!
JESUS, light sent out from the luminous Father!
JESUS, truth that leads us to the heavenly altar of God!
JESUS, celebration that lifts the heavy heart!
JESUS, tranquility that calms the troubled mind!
JESUS, return of celebration for the down-cast!
JESUS, restoration of festivity for the weary!
JESUS, You that make the woeful to dance!
JESUS, You that make the depressed to sing!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 7 (see Mk. 5:21-24, 35-43) The man whose young daughter had just died was in anguish, O Lord, when it seemed that Your coming to save her was too late. But You told him to fear not, but to have faith, and with a simple command You raised the girl from death. Beside himself with joy, the bereaved parent exclaimed, Alleluia!
Ikos 7 Like those whose houses are made desolate by death, my own home is filled with mourning, and I look to the dawning of each new day with fear. But keeping my faith in You, I trample down my fear, and open my mouth with defiance to offer these hymns to You, O Life-giving Lord:
JESUS, vanquisher of hell!
JESUS, giver of resurrection!
JESUS, banish my fear of the future!
JESUS, heal the sorrows of my past!
JESUS, redeem my soul in peace from the battle with my foes!
JESUS, conquer my many spiritual enemies!
JESUS, You that put despair to flight!
JESUS, You that fill the heart with hope!
JESUS, light that no darkness can extinguish! JESUS, joy that no sorrow can quench!
JESUS, glorious liberty of the children of God!
JESUS, endless song of those raised to new life!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 8 (see Mk. 5:25-34, Ps. 38) The woman with a hemorrhage suffered for many years, growing only worse for all the money she had spent on physicians. In her uncleanness, she was afraid to approach You, O Lord, and so she secretly touched the hem of Your garment to find healing. But when You found her in the crowd, You took away her fears as well as her disease and dismissed her in peace. When she experienced Your unexpected compassion, her heart leaped up and cried, Alleluia!
Ikos 8 O Lord, there is no soundness in my flesh and my pain is ever with me. My wounds grow foul and fester, and I go about mourning all the day. Though many try to comfort me, I am benumbed, and find only groaning because of the tumult of my heart. But You are not far from me, O my God, and You will make haste to help me. Therefore I open my mouth in praise to the Lord my salvation, saying:
JESUS, health of my bones!
JESUS, promise of my resurrection!
JESUS, unfailing strength!
JESUS, forgiveness of my folly!
JESUS, healing for all who just touch the hem of Your robe!
JESUS, restoration for all who but trust in Your mercy!
JESUS, sudden joy!
JESUS, eternal exultation!
JESUS, hold me up when I am ready to fall!
JESUS, forgive me when my iniquities go over my head!
JESUS, power of my youth!
JESUS, wisdom of my old age!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 9 (see Mk. 5:1-20, Ps. 56) The Gadarene demoniac was overwhelmed by a legion of demons within, O saving Master, and he dwelt in the deserts of despair, for no human chains were strong enough to restrain his fury. Seeing his Saviour come near, he ran up to Him and bowed down before Him, imploring deliverance. When You drove out his enemies and drowned his sins in the depths of the sea, he breathed forth a sigh of peace, saying Alleluia!
Ikos 9 My spiritual foes have trampled me to the ground, O Lord my God, for they are many who fight against me. A legion of internal sins fights proudly against me, lurking to trip up my every step. Yet You have seen all my tears, O Christ, and noted all my grief in Your book, and You will deliver my feet from falling so that I may walk before You in the light of life, praising Your word and saying:
JESUS, absolution of the condemned!
JESUS, song of the forgiven!
JESUS, drive away my countless foes!
JESUS, forgive the multitude of my sins!
JESUS, robe of the naked!
JESUS, sanity for the distracted!
JESUS, terror of demons who fly from Your Name!
JESUS, hymn of the angels who draw near to Your love!
JESUS, You that wipe away my tears!
JESUS, You that calm my agitation!
JESUS, You that bring joy to those in the desert!
JESUS, You that restore the exile to his home!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 10 (see Lk. 7:11-17) The widow whose only son had died was left all alone in the world, abandoned by those who had loved her. When her son was being carried out to burial, the Lord met her and bade her dry her tears. With a word he raised the young man to new life, teaching all there to change their funeral dirge to the song Alleluia!
Ikos 10 O Lord, I am separated from the one who once loved me, and sorrow has estranged me from my friends. I am weary with crying, and my eyes fail while I wait for my God. Emptiness and loneliness crush me every night, and meaninglessness haunts me by day. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint, lifting up to You these praises:
JESUS, unfailing friend for the abandoned!
JESUS, lover of my soul!
JESUS, serenity for those in the midst of storms!
JESUS, renewed strength for the burdened!
JESUS, fill the emptiness of my heart!
JESUS, use me as the instrument of Your peace!
JESUS, strength for the day of battle!
JESUS, banner of glorious victory!
JESUS, healer of the past!
JESUS, guide for the future!
JESUS, triumphant forgiveness!
JESUS, eternal vindication!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 11 (see Jn. 11:1-44, Ps. 6) Jesus allowed His beloved friend Lazarus to face the bitterness of death, so that he lay in the tomb for four days, his flesh experiencing corruption. But Christ came into the world to trample down death, and with a mighty cry He summoned Lazarus from the depths, so that the man doomed to death emerged from the tomb to cry: Alleluia!
Ikos 11 That which I greatly feared has come upon me, and death looms before me. My faith in which I trusted is no defense against the cold fear that grips my heart, and every night I flood my bed with tears. But You, O Jesus, are the resurrection and the life, and even in Sheol I will not cease to give You praise:
JESUS, hope of those sentenced to death!
JESUS, resurrection of those who believe in Your word!
JESUS, song that no fear can silence!
JESUS, tranquility that no horror can shake!
JESUS, raise my eyes from death to see Your unfading Kingdom!
JESUS, fill my heart with the promise of Your unending life!
JESUS, radiant glory of those facing death!
JESUS, timeless boast of the martyrs!
JESUS, courage in the face of mortal danger!
JESUS, constancy before continual trial!
JESUS, divine glory, transfiguring the wounded hearts!
JESUS, victory of God, bringing the embattled home!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 12 (see Lk. 22:41-44, Heb. 5:7-9) With loud cries and tears, O Jesus, You asked that the cup of grief might be removed from You, and sweat from Your holy body fell like drops of blood. Though all Your disciples forsook You and fled, O Christ, You never faltered, but fulfilled the will of the Father until the end. Marveling at Your faithfulness, we who are weak exclaim, Alleluia!
Ikos 12 For the sake of us men and for our salvation, O Son of God, You hung upon the Cross. Though You cried out that God had forsaken You, in obedience You drained the cup of suffering to its very dregs. Though all those around You jeered at You and blasphemed, You committed Your spirit into the Father’s hands and died in the darkness. Struck with awe at this mystery, we sinners cry from the depths of our souls:
JESUS, Lamb whose meekness is stronger than the world!
JESUS, Sacrifice whose Blood washes clean the whole earth!
JESUS, rejected by men, obedient to the death of the Cross!
JESUS, King of the ages, ruling from the heavenly throne!
JESUS, keep me from failing in the hour of trial!
JESUS, strengthen me for the impending battle!
JESUS, whose death on the Tree tramples down my mortality!
JESUS, whose lifting up on the Cross casts down the ruler of this age!
JESUS, everlasting Pascha and power of God!
JESUS, universal Kingdom given to us sinners!
JESUS, light of the despairing children of the earth!
JESUS, light of the triumphant saints in glory!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 13 (said thrice) O Jesus our Lord, God and Saviour, in Your word alone we put our trust. Though suffering and agitation fill our minds, we reach up through the darkness to seize Your hand and receive Your mercy. Be our joy and peace as we pass through this terrible valley, and carry us through when our strength fails that we may sing to You through the ages, Alleluia!
Ikos 1 In the day of my trouble, I seek You, O Lord, and in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying. My eyes find no rest from weeping, and I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Yet as my spirit ponders in the night, I raise this song to You:
JESUS, rescuer of the abandoned!
JESUS, hope of those in despair!
JESUS, guiding star to the lost!
JESUS, joyful return of the exile!
JESUS, unforeseen victory!
JESUS, eternal triumph!
JESUS, radiant dawn after endless night!
JESUS, everlasting light of the Kingdom!
JESUS, wipe away my tears!
JESUS, calm the panic of my heart!
JESUS, exultation of those hemmed in by fear!
JESUS, joy of those crushed by sorrow!
JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
Kontakion 1 (Tone 7): Out of the depths of darkness and despair I cry to You, O Lord, You that hung upon the Cross in darkness. From the pit of pain and confusion, I lift up this prayer, and with all my heart I sing aloud to You: Jesus, light to those in darkness, glory to You!
O Jesus our King, have mercy on us as we struggle, and receive our songs as a fragrant offering and a sweet-smelling sacrifice. In all our turmoil, emptiness and suffering, we turn to You, praising You for Your great glory. Lift us up as a father lifts up his little child, and bring us through this season of darkness and pain into Your marvelous light. Resolve our distresses as You will, according to Your great wisdom and love. We accept all that comes from Your merciful hand, and ask that You grant us to do Your will. Thus strengthened to walk in a way that is pleasing to You, to our last breath we never cease to praise Your most holy Name, together with that of Your Father who has no beginning and Your all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.
Novena in Honor of the Most Holy Face of Jesus
"I firmly wish that my face reflecting the intimate pains of my soul, the suffering and love of my heart, be more honored! Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ to Sister Pierina) DAILY PREPARATORY PRAYER O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with all His sorrows, love and total abandonment. We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. (Start novena) "All those who, attracted by my love, and venerating my countenance, shall receive, by virtue of my humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of my divinity. This splendor shall enlighten the depths of their souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance." (Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude)
First Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 3-4. Have mercy on me, O God in your goodness, in your great tenderness wipe away my faults; wash me clean of my guilt, purify me from my sin. O most Holy Face of Jesus, look with tenderness on us who are sinners. You are a merciful God, full of love and compassion. Keep us pure of heart, so that we may see Thee always. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us; Saint Joseph, pray for us. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy. Prayer to Our Almighty Father Almighty Father, come into our hearts, and so fill us with your love that forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace you, our only good. Show us, O Lord our God, what you are to us. Say to our souls, I am your salvation, speak so that we may hear. Our hearts are before you; open our ears; let us hasten after your voice. Hide not your Face from us, we beseech you, O Lord. Open our hearts so that you may enter in. Repair the ruined mansions, that you may dwell therein. Hear us, O Heavenly Father, for the sake of your only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever Amen.(St. Augustine) Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be, O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)
Second Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 5-6a. My offenses truly I know them; My sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; What is evil in your sight I have done. Most Holy Face of Jesus, we are truly sorry that we have hurt you so much by constantly doing what is wrong; and for all the good works we have failed to do. Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Joseph, intercede for us, help us to console the Most Holy Face of Jesus. Pray that we may share in the tremendous love Thou hast for one another, and for the most Holy and Blessed Trinity. Amen. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy. Prayer to the Holy Spirit Come, Holy Spirit, Sanctifier, all powerful God of love, Thou who didst fill the Virgin Mary with grace, Thou who didst wonderfully transform the hearts of the apostles, Thou who didst endow all Thy martyrs with a miraculous heroism, come and sanctify us, illumine our minds, strengthen our wills, purify our consciences, rectify our judgments, set our hearts on fire and preserve us from the misfortune of resisting Thine inspirations. We consecrate to Thee our understanding, our heart and our will, our whole being for time and for eternity. May our understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations and to the teachings of Thy Holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible guide; may our heart be ever inflamed with love of God and neighbor; may our will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may our whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory forever. Amen Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)
Third Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 6b-7. You are just when you pass sentence on me, blameless when you give judgment. You know I was born guilty, a sinner from the moment of conception. Prayer of Pope Pius IX O Jesus! Cast upon us a look of mercy; turn your Face towards each of us as you did to Veronica; not that we may see it with our bodily eyes, for this we do not deserve, but turn it towards our hearts, so that, remembering you, we may ever draw from this fountain of strength the vigor necessary to sustain the combats of life. Amen. Mary, Our Mother, and Saint Joseph, pray for us. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy. Prayer of Saint Francis All highest, glorious God, cast your light into the darkness of our hearts, give us true faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, so that with wisdom, courage and perception, O Lord, we may do what is truly your holy will. Amen. To the Angels and Saints We salute you, through the Holy Face and Sacred Heart of Jesus, O all you Holy Angels and Saints of God. We rejoice in your glory, and we give thanks to our Lord for all the benefits which He has showered upon you; we praise Him and glorify Him, and offer you for an increase of your joy and honor, the most Holy Face and gentle Heart of Jesus. Pray that we may become formed according to the heart of God. Amen. Pray (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary’s, one (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)
Fourth Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 8-9. Indeed you love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me Wisdom. O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow. O Lord Jesus, who has said, learn of me for I am meek and gentle of heart, and who did manifest upon Thy Holy Face the sentiments of Thy divine heart, grant that we may love to come frequently and meditate upon Thy divine features. We may read there Thy gentleness and Thy humility, and learn how to form our hearts in the practice of these two virtues which Thou desires to see shine in Thy servants. Mary our Mother and Saint Joseph help us. Through the merits of Thy precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy. Prayer in Honor of the Dolors of the Blessed Virgin O Most Holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs! Who stood beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of your dying Son, look down with a mother’s tenderness and pity on us as we kneel before you to venerate your Dolors, and place our requests, with filial confidence, in the sanctuary of your wounded heart. Present them on our behalf to Jesus, through the merits of His most sacred Passion and Death, together with your sufferings at the foot of the cross, and through the united efficacy of both, obtain the favor which we humbly ask. To whom shall we go in our wants and miseries if not to you. O Mother of Mercy, who having so deeply drunk of the chalice of your Son, graciously alleviate the sufferings of those who still sigh in this land of exile. Amen. Prayer to the Souls in Purgatory My Jesus, by the sorrows you suffered in your agony in the garden, in your scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary, in your crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken. Deliver them from the dire torments they endure. Call them and admit them to your most sweet embrace in Paradise. Amen. Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)
Fifth Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 5 1, 10-11. Make me hear rejoicing and gladness, that the bones you have crushed may revive. From my sins turn away your Face, and blot out all my guilt. Holy Face of Jesus, Sacred Countenance of’ God, how great is your patience with humankind, how infinite your forgiveness. We are sinners, yet you love us. This gives us courage. For the glory of your Holy Face and of the Blessed Trinity, hear and answer us. Mary our Mother, intercede for us, Saint Joseph, pray for us. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy. Prayer to Saint Joseph Dear Saint Joseph! Adopt us as thy children, take charge of our salvation; watch over us day and night; preserve us from occasions of sin; obtain for us purity of body and soul, and the spirit of prayer, through thy intercession with Jesus, grant us a spirit of sacrifice, of humility and self-denial; obtain for us a burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and a sweet, tender love for Mary, our Mother. Saint Joseph, be with us in life, be with us in death and obtain for us a favorable judgment from Jesus, our merciful Savior. Amen. Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)
Sixth Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 12-13. A pure heart create for us O God, put a steadfast spirit within us. Do not cast us away from your presence nor deprive us of your Holy Spirit. May our hearts be cleansed, O Lord, by the inpouring of the Holy Spirit, and may He render them fruitful by watering them with His heavenly dew, Mary, the most chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit, intercede for us, Saint Joseph pray for us. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy. Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel O Victorious Prince, most humble guardian of the Church of God and of faithful souls, who with such charity and zeal took part in so many conflicts and gained such great victories over the enemy, for the conservation and protection of the honor and glory we all owe to God, as well as for the promotion of our salvation, come, we pray Thee, to our assistance, for we are continually besieged with such great perils by our enemies, the flesh, the world and the devil; and as Thou wast a leader for the peopleofGod through the desert, so also be our faithful leader, and companion through the desert of this world, until Thou conduct us safely into the happy land of the living, in that blessed fatherland from which we are all exiles. Amen. (St. Aloysius) Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)
Seventh Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 14-15. Give me again the joy of your help, with a spirit of fervor sustain me, that I may teach transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you. Lord Jesus! After contemplating Thy features, disfigured by grief, after meditating upon Thy passion with compunction and love, how can our hearts fail to be inflamed with a holy hatred of sin, which even now outrages Thy Adorable Face! Lord, suffer us not to be content with mere compassion, but give us grace so closely to follow Thee in this Calvary, so that the approbrium destined for Thee may fall on us, O Jesus, that thus we may have a share, small though it may be, in expiation of sin. Amen. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us, Saint Joseph pray for us. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy. Prayer in Honor of Mary Hail Mary, Daughter of God the Father! Hail Mary, Mother of God the Son! Hail Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit! Hail Mary, Temple of the Most Holy Trinity! Hail Mary, our mistress, our wealth, our mystic rose, Queen of our hearts, our Mother, our life, our sweetness and our dearest hope! We are all Thine, and all we have is Thine. O Virgin blessed above all things, may Thy soul be in us to magnify the Lord; may Thy spirit be in us to rejoice in God. Place Thyself, O faithful Virgin, as a seal upon our hearts, that in Thee and through Thee we may be found faithful to God. Grant, most gracious Virgin, that we may be numbered among those whom Thou art pleased to love, to teach and to guide, to favor and to protect as Thy children. Grant that with the help of Thy love, we may despise all earthly consolation and cling to heavenly things, until through the Holy Spirit, Thy faithful spouse, and through Thee, His faithful spouse, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, be formed within us for the glory of the Father. Amen. (St. Grignon de Montfort) Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)
Eighth Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 16-17. O rescue me, God my helper, and my tongue shall ring out your goodness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise. Most merciful Face of Jesus, who in this vale of tears was so moved by our misfortunes to call yourself the healer of the sick, and the good Shepherd of the souls gone astray, allow not Satan to draw us away from you, but keep us always under your loving protection, together with all souls who endeavor to console you. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us, Saint Joseph, pray for us. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy. Prayer to Saint Peter O glorious Saint Peter, who in return for thy lively and generous faith, thy profound and sincere humility and thy burning love, was honored by Jesus Christ with singular privileges, and in particular, with the leadership of the other apostles and the primacy of the whole church, of which thou was made the foundation stone, do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith, that shall not fear to profess itself openly in its entirety and in all of its manifestations, even to the shedding of blood, if occasion should demand it, and to the sacrifice of life itself in preference to surrender. Obtain for us likewise a sincere loyalty to our Holy Mother the Church. Grant that we may ever remain most closely and sincerely united to the Holy Father, who is the heir of thy faith and of thy authority, the one true visible head of the Catholic Church. Grant, moreover, that we may follow, in all humility and meekness, the Church’s teaching and counsels and may be obedient to all her precepts, in order to be able here on earth to enjoy a peace that is sure and undisturbed, and to attain one day in heaven to everlasting happiness. Amen. Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)
Ninth Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 18-21. For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn. In your goodness, show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, holocausts offered on your altar, Sacred Face of our Lord and our God, what words can we do to express our gratitude? How can we speak of our joy? That you have deigned to hear us, that you have chosen to answer us in our hour of need. We say this because we know that our prayers will be granted. We know that you, in your loving kindness, listened to our pleading hearts, and will give, out of your fullness, the answer to our problems. Mary, our Mother, thank you for your intercession on our behalf. Saint Joseph, thank you for your prayers. Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, , Pardon and Mercy. Prayer to the Holy Trinity Most Holy Trinity, Godhead indivisible, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our first beginning and our last end. Since you have made us after your own image and likeness, grant that all the thoughts of our minds, all the words of our tongues, all the affections of our hearts and all our actions may be always conformed to your most Holy Will, so that after having seen you here on earth in appearances and in a dark manner by the means of faith, we may come at last to contemplate you face to face, in the perfect possession of you forever in paradise. Amen. Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary’s, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)
Act of Consecration O Lord Jesus, we believe most firmly in You, we love You. You are the Eternal Son of God and the Son Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You are the Lord and Absolute Ruler of all creation. We acknowledge You, therefore, as the Universal Sovereign of all creatures. You are the Lord and Supreme Ruler of all mankind, and we, in acknowledging this Your dominion, consecrate ourselves to You now and forever. Loving Jesus, we place our family under the protection of Your Holy Face, and of Your Virgin Mother, Mary most sorrowful. We promise to be faithful to You for the rest of our lives and to observe with fidelity Your Holy Commandments, We will never deny before men, You and Your Divine rights over us and all mankind. Grant us the grace to never sin again; nevertheless, should we fail, O Divine Savior, have mercy on us and restore us to Your grace. Radiate Your Divine Countenance upon us and bless us now and forever. Embrace us at the hour of death in Your Kingdom for all eternity, through the intercession of Your Blessed Mother, of all Your Saints who behold You in Heaven, and the just who glorify You on earth, O Jesus, be mindful of us forever and never forsake us; protect our family. O Mother of Sorrows, by the eternal glory which you enjoy in Heaven, through the merits of your bitter anguish in the Sacred Passion of your Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for us the grace that the Precious Blood shed by Jesus for the redemption of our souls, be not shed for us in vain. We love you, O Mary. Embrace us and bless us, O Mother. Protect us in life and in death. Amen. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
+ THE MOTHER OF GOD
Prayers and devotions to Our Lady, the Theotokos, the Mother of God.
OUR LADY OF SORROWS
PRAYER OF CONSECRATION TO OUR LADY OF SORROWS
Most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, Mary, would that I could be in Heaven, there to contemplate the honors rendered to thee by the Most Holy Trinity and by the whole Heavenly Court! But since I am still a pilgrim in this vale of tears, receive from me, thy unworthy servant and a poor sinner, the most sincere homage and the most perfect act of vassalage a human creature can offer thee. In thy Immaculate Heart, pierced with so many swords of sorrow, I place today my poor soul forever; receive me as a partaker in thy dolors, and never suffer that I should depart from that Cross on which thy only begotten Son expired for me. With thee, O Mary, I will endure all the sufferings, contradictions, infirmities, with which it will please thy Divine Son to visit me in this life. All of them I offer to thee, in memory of the Dolors which thou didst suffer during thy life, that every thought of my mind, every beating of my heart may henceforward be an act of compassion to thy Sorrows, and of complacency for the glory thou now enjoyest in Heaven. Since then, O Dear Mother, I now compassionate thy Dolors, and rejoice in seeing thee glorified, do thou also have compassion on me, and reconcile me to thy Son Jesus, that I may become thy true and loyal son (daughter); come on my last day and assist me in my last agony, even as thou wert present at the Agony of thy Divine Son Jesus, that from this painful exile I may go to Heaven, there to be made partaker of thy glory. Amen.
LITANY TO OUR LADY
OF THE SEVEN SORROWS by Pope Pius VII
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God, the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us. God the Holy Ghost, pray for us. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us. Mother of the Crucified, pray for us. Sorrowful Mother, pray for us. Mournful Mother, pray for us. Sighing Mother, pray for us. Afflicted Mother, pray for us. Foresaken Mother, pray for us. Desolate Mother, pray for us. Mother most sad, pray for us. Mother set around with anguish,pray for us. Mother overwhelmed by grief, pray for us. Mother transfixed by a sword, pray for us. Mother crucified in thy heart, pray for us. Mother bereaved of thy Son, pray for us. Sighing Dove, pray for us. Mother of Dolors, pray for us. Fount of tears, pray for us. Sea of bitterness, pray for us. Field of tribulation, pray for us. Mass of suffering, pray for us. Mirror of patience, pray for us. Rock of constancy, pray for us. Remedy in perplexity, pray for us. Joy of the afflicted, pray for us. Ark of the desolate, pray for us. Refuge of the abandoned, pray for us. Shield of the oppressed, pray for us. Conqueror of the incredulous, pray for us. Solace of the wretched, pray for us. Medicine of the sick, pray for us. Help of the faint, pray for us. Strength of the weak, pray for us. Protectress of those who fight, pray for us. Haven of the shipwrecked, pray for us. Calmer of tempests, pray for us. Companion of the sorrowful, pray for us. Retreat of those who groan, pray for us. Terror of the treacherous, pray for us. Standard-bearer of the Martyrs, pray for us. Treasure of the Faithful, pray for us. Light of Confessors, pray for us. Pearl of Virgins, pray for us. Comfort of Widows, pray for us. Joy of all Saints, pray for us. Queen of thy Servants, pray for us. Holy Mary, who alone art unexampled, pray for us. Pray for us, most Sorrowful Virgin,. that we may be made worth of the promises of Christ. O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of grief pierced through the most sweet soul of Thy glorious Blessed Virgin Mother Mary: grant that we, who celebrate the memory of her Seven Sorrows, may obtain the happy effect of Thy Passion, Who lives and reigns world without end, Amen.
Prayers and devotions to saints and of the saints
SAINTS & HEROES:
Saints and some of my favorite personalities.
Venerable Fr. Michael J. McGivney
Please remember the venerable servant of God, Fr. Michael J. McGivney in your prayers. Ask the Lord through the intercessions of His most pure Mother to quickly complete his cause for canonization.
Prayer for the Canonization of Father Michael J. McGivney, Founder of the Knights of Columbus God, our Father, protector of the poor and defender of the widow and orphan, You called your priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, to be an apostle of Christian family life and to lead the young to generous service of the neighbor. Through the example of his life and virtue may follow your Son, Jesus Christ more closely, fulfilling His commandment of charity and building up His Body which is the Church. Let the inspiration of your servant prompt us to greater confidence in your love so that we may continue his work of caring for the needy and the outcast. We humbly ask that You glorify Your servant Father Michael J. McGivney on earth according to the design of Your holy will. Through his intercession, grant the favor I now present... (ask here your favor to our Lord, through Fr. McGivney’s intercession) Through Christ our Lord. Amen then: Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be to our Father...
We venerate you, Father Micheal J. McGivney, and we honor your memory. Protector of the poor and orphaned and founder of the Knights of Columbus.
Visit this link to learn more about Fr Micheal J McGivney. http://www.fathermcgivney.org/mcg/index.do + TEMPUS FUGIT, MEMENTO MORI + + TIME IS PASSING, REMEMBER DEATH + + VIVAT JESUS +
Blessed Charles de Foucauld
Prayer of Abandonment
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures. I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.
Πατέρα μου, Εγκαταλείπομαι σε Σένα. Κάνε με ό,τι θέλεις.
Όπως κι αν με μεταχειρισθείς, Σ'ευχαριστώ. Είμαι έτοιμος για όλα, δέχομαι τα πάντα. Αρκεί να γίνει το θέλημά Σου σε μένα και σε όλα τα πλάσματά Σου. Δεν ποθώ τίποτ' άλλο, Θεέ μου.
Εναποθέτω την ψυχή μου στα χέρια Σου. Σου την προσφέρω, Θεέ μου, με όλη την αγάπη της καρδιάς μου. γιατί Σ'αγαπώ, κι είναι για μένα ανάγκη της ίδιας της αγάπης μου να προσφερθώ, να εγκαταλειφθώ στα χέρια Σου, χωρίς μέτρο, με απεριόριστη εμπιστοσύνη, γιατί Εσύ είσαι ο Πατέρας μου.
Padre mio, io mi abbandono a te, fa di me ciò che ti piace.
Qualunque cosa tu faccia di me Ti ringrazio.
Sono pronto a tutto, accetto tutto. La tua volontà si compia in me, in tutte le tue creature. Non desidero altro, mio Dio.
Affido l'anima mia alle tue mani Te la dono mio Dio, con tutto l'amore del mio cuore perché ti amo, ed è un bisogno del mio amore di donarmi di pormi nelle tue mani senza riserve con infinita fiducia perché Tu sei mio Padre.
Blessed Brother Andre Bessette, CSC
A Prayer for Canonization Lord, you have chosen Blessed Brother Andre to spread devotion to Saint Joseph and to dedicate himself to all those who are afflicted. Grant through his intercession the favor that we now request... We also pray that the Church may canonize him as soon as possible. Grant us the grace to imitate his piety and charity so that, with him, we may share the reward promised to all who care for their neighbors out of love for you. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
ST JOSAPHAT OF PLOTSK MARTYR FOR UNION
Josaphat, an Eastern Rite bishop, is held up as a martyr to church unity because he died trying to bring part of the Orthodox Church into union with Rome.
In 1054, a formal split called a schism took place between the Eastern Church centered in Constantinople and the Western Church centered in Rome. Trouble between the two had been brewing for centuries because of cultural, political, and theological differences. In 1054 Cardinal Humbert was sent to Constantinople to try and reconcile the latest flare up and wound up excommunicating the patriarch. The immediate problems included an insistence on the Byzantine rite, married clergy, and the disagreement on whether the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son. The split only grew worse from there, centering mostly on whether to except the authority of the Pope and Rome.
More than five centuries later, in what is now known as Byelorussia and the Ukraine but what was then part of Poland-Lithuania, an Orthodox metropolitan of Kiev and five Orthodox bishops decided to commit the millions of Christians under their pastoral care to reunion with Rome. Josaphat Kunsevich who was born in 1580 or 1584 was still a young boy when the Synod of Brest Litovsk took place in 1595-96, but he was witness to the results both positive and negative.
Many of the millions of Christians did not agree with the bishops decision to return to communion with the Catholic Church and both sides tried to resolve this disagreement unfortunately not only with words but with violence. Martyrs died on both sides. Josaphat was a voice of Christian peace in this dissent.
After an apprenticeship to a merchant, Josaphat turned down a partnership in the business and a marriage to enter the monastery of the Holy Trinity at Vilna in 1604. As a teenager he had found encouragement in his vocation from two Jesuits and a rector who understood his heart. And in the monastery he found another soulmate in Joseph Benjamin Rutsky. Rutsky who had joined the Byzantine Rite under orders of Pope Clement VIII after converting from Calvinism shared the young Josaphat's passion to work for reunion with Rome. The two friends spent long hours making plans on how they could bring about that communion and reform monastic life.
The careers of the two friends parted physically when Josaphat was sent to found new houses in Rome and Rutsky was first made abbot at Vilna. Josaphat replaced Rutsky as abbot when Rutsky became metropolitan of Kiev. Josaphat immediately put into practice his early plans of reform. Because his plans tended to reflect his own extremely austere ascetic tendencies, he was not always met with joy. One community threatened to throw him into the river until his general compassion and his convincing words won them over to a few changes. Josaphat faced even more problems when he became first bishop of Vitebsk and then Polotsk in 1617. The church there was literally and figuratively in ruins with buildings falling apart, clergy marrying two or three times, and monks and clergy everywhere not really interested in pastoral care or model Christian living. Within three years, Josaphat had rebuilt the church by holding synods, publishing a catechism to be used all over, and enforcing rules of conduct for clergy. But his most compelling argument was his own life which he spent preaching, instructing others in the faith, visiting the needy of the towns.
But despite all his work and the respect he had, the Orthodox separatists found fertile ground with they set up their own bishops in the exact same area. Meletius Smotritsky was named his rival archbishop of Polotsk. It must have hurt Josaphat to see the people he had served so faithfully break into riots when the King of Poland declared Josaphat the only legitimate archbishop. His former diocese of Vitebsk turned completely against the reunion and him along with two other cities.
But what probably hurt even more was that the very Catholics he looked to for communion opposed him as well. Catholics who should have been his support didn't like the way he insisted on the use of the Byzantine rite instead of the Roman rite. Out of fear or ignorance, Leo Sapiah, chancellor of Lithuania, chose to believe stories that Josaphat was inciting the people to violence and instead of coming to his aid, condemned him. Actually his only act of force was when the separatists took over the church at Mogilev and he asked the civil power to help him return it to his authority.
In October 1623, Josaphat decided to return to Vitebsk to try to calm the troubles himself. He was completely aware of the danger but said, "If I am counted worthy of martyrdom, then I am not afraid to die."
The separatists saw their chance to get rid of Josaphat and discredit him if they could only stir Josaphat's party to strike the first blow. Then they would have an excuse to strike back. Their threats were so public that Josaphat preached on the gospel verse John 16:2, "Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God." He told the people, "You people want to kill me. You wait in ambush for me in the streets, on the bridges, on the highways, in the marketplace, everywhere. Here I am; I came to you as a shepherd. You know I would be happy to give my life for you. I am ready to die for union of the Church under St. Peter and his successor the Pope."
But aside from words, Josaphat insisted that his party not react in anyway that did not show patience and forbearance. When the separatists saw that they were not getting the violent response they had hoped for they decided to wear Josaphat and the others down as they plotted more direct action. A priest named Elias went to the house where everyone was staying and shouted insults and threats to everyone he saw, focusing on calumniating Josaphat and the Church of Rome. Josaphat knew of the plot against him and spent his day in prayer. In the evening he had a long conversation with a beggar he had invited in off the streets.
When Elias was back the next morning of November 12, the servants were at their wits' ends and begged Josaphat's permission to do something. Before he went off to say his office he told them they could lock Elias away if he caused trouble again. When he returned to the house he found that the servants had done just that and Josaphat let Elias out of the room.
But it was too late. The mistake had been made. Elias had not been hurt in anyway but as soon as the mob saw that Elias had been locked up they rejoiced in the excuse they had been waiting for. Bells were rung and mobs descended on the house. By the time they reached the house, Elias had been released but the mob didn't care; they wanted the blood they had been denied for so long.
Josaphat came out in the courtyard to see the mob beating and trampling his friends and servants. He cried out, "My children what are you doing with my servants? If you have anything against me, here I am, but leave them alone!" With shouts of "Kill the papist" Josaphat was hit with a stick, then an axe, and finally shot through the head. His bloody body was dragged to the river and thrown in, along with the body of a dog who had tried to protect him.
The unsung heroes of this horrible terrorism were the Jewish people of Vitebsk. Some of the Jewish people risked their own lives to rush into the courtyard and rescue Josaphat's friends and servants from the bloodthirsty mobs. Through their courage, lives were saved. These same Jewish people were the only ones to publicly accuse the killers and mourn the death of Josaphat while the Catholics of the city hid in fear of their lives.
As usual violence had the opposite affect from that intended. Regret and horror at how far the violence had gone and the loss of their archbishop swung public opinion over toward the Catholics and unity. Eventually even Archbishop Meletius Smotritsky, Josaphat's rival, was reconciled with Rome. And in 1867 Josaphat became the first saint of the Eastern church to be formally canonized by Rome.
Κωνσταντίνος Παλαιολόγος Constantine XI Palaiologos Last reigning Emperor of the Byzantin
Constantine was born in Constantinople as the eighth of ten children of Manuel II Palaiologos and Helena Dragaš, the daughter of the Serbian prince Constantine Dragaš of Kumanovo. In a variant of the Byzantine practice of adopting the distaff surname where it connoted more prestige, Constantine liked to be known by his mother's name of Dragaš (Serbian: Драгаш) or Dragasēs, which she inherited from her Serbian father. He spent most of his childhood in Constantinople under the supervision of his parents. During the absence of his older brother in Italy, Constantine was regent in Constantinople from 1437 to 1439.
Constantine became the Despotes of Morea (the Medieval name for the Peloponnesus) in 1443 which he ruled from the palace in Mistra. In 1443, he launched an invasion of the Latin Duchy of Athens from Morea, swiftly conquering Thebes and Athens and forcing its Florentine duke to pay him tribute. However, his triumph was short-lived, as the Ottomans soon intervened and drove him back into Morea.
Constantine XI married twice: the first time on July 1, 1428 to Maddalena Tocco, niece of Carlo I Tocco of Epirus, who died in November 1429; the second time to Caterina Gattilusio, daughter of the Genoese lord of Lesbos, who also died (1442). Some sources record that he had no children by either marriage, others that he had one daughter, Magdalena.
When his brother, Emperor John VIII Palaiologos, died, a dispute erupted between Constantine and his brother Demetrios Palaiologos over the throne. They appealed to the Ottoman Sultan Murad II to arbitrate the disagreement. He chose Constantine, who was crowned at Mistra on January 6, 1449. Constantine XI attempted to marry a distant cousin, Maria Branković, the widow of Murad II, but the courtship failed. Soon afterwards, Sultan Mehmed II began agitating for ownership of Constantinople. Desperate for any type of military assistance, Constantine XI appealed to the West, but he was refused help unless he united the Orthodox Church with the Roman Catholic Church, which was a policy pursued by his predecessors. He declared the churches united after the Council of Florence in 1452, but the union was overwhelmingly rejected by his subjects and it dangerously estranged him from his chief minister and military commander, the Megas Doux Loukas Notaras.
Mehmed II offered Constantine XI the chance to rule in Mistra before the siege of Constantinople, but he refused, preferring to fight and die defending his empire. His wish to die in defence of the Empire would come true, as he was killed while defending the gates of Constantinople on May 29, 1453. The Emperor, when realising that the end had come ("The City is fallen but I am alive"), discarded his purple cloak and charged into the breach. Some sources record that he was only recognized afterwards by his purple boots, and others that the Turks were never able to identify his body, and so the last Emperor of Rome was buried in a mass grave along with his soldiers. A legend refers to the Marble King, Constantine XI, holding that, when the Ottomans entered the city, an angel rescued the emperor, turned him into marble and placed him in a cave under the earth near the Golden Gate, where he waits to be brought to life again.
Orthodox Christians consider Constantine XI a saint, but he has not been officially recognized as such. However, his bravery and last stand are seen by many as a great heroic act. Additionally, in the centuries of Ottoman rule, any effort on the part of the Orthodox Church to officially glorify Constantine XI as a saint would have been seen as an act of rebellion, and hence decidedly ill-advised. After the Greek War of Independence (1821-1831), when the Greek Orthodox Church once again had freedom to act, an official act of glorification was thought to be superfluous, on account of longstanding veneration as a saint and martyr, specifically, an ethnomartyr, Greek ἐθνομάρτυρας. However, the erection of the statue of "Saint Constantine XI the Ethnomartyr" in the Cathedral Square in Athens, with the formal blessing of the Church authorities, appears to be a semi-official act of recognition. His feast falls on 29 May.
Never having repudiated his union with Rome, and dying in full communion with Rome, having received Holy Communion at the hands of Cardinal Isidore of Kiev only a few hours before his death, he technically died a Greek-Catholic, and for this reason he is also venerated by Eastern Catholics.
SAINT PADRE PIO
Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, peasant farmers, in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. From his childhood, it was evident that he was a special child of God. Francesco was very devout even as a child, and at an early age felt drawn to the priesthood. He became a Capuchin novice at the age of sixteen and received the habit in 1902. Francesco was ordained to the priesthood in 1910 after seven years of study and became known as Padre Pio. On September 20, 1918, Padre Pio was kneeling in front of a large crucifix when he received the visible marks of the crucifixion, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of Church. The doctor who examined Padre Pio could not find any natural cause for the wounds. Upon his death in 1968, the wounds were no longer visible. In fact, there was no scaring and the skin was completely renewed. He had predicted 50 years prior that upon his death the wounds would heal. The wounds of the stigmata were not the only mystical phenomenon experienced by Padre Pio. The blood from the stigmata had an odor described by many as similar to that of perfume or flowers, and the gift of bilocation was attributed to him. Padre Pio had the ability to read the hearts of the penitents who flocked to him for confession which he heard for ten or twelve hours per day. Padre Pio used the confessional to bring both sinners and devout souls closer to God; he would know just the right word of counsel or encouragement that was needed. Even before his death, people spoke to Padre Pio about his possible canonization. He died on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. His funeral was attended by about 100,000 people. On June 16, 2002, over 500,000 Padre Pio devotees gathered in Rome to witness Pope John Paul II proclaim Padre Pio, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. The Padre Pio Foundation and many benefactors traveled to Rome, San Giovanni Rotondo, Pietrelcina, Piana Romana and many other holy places to celebrate Padre Pio's Canonization. Pope John Paul II - Homily at the Canonization of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Capuchin Priest - 16 June 2002 1. "For my yoke is easy and my burden light" (Mt 11,30). Jesus' words to his disciples, which we just heard, help us to understand the most important message of this solemn celebration. Indeed, in a certain sense, we can consider them as a magnificent summary of the whole life of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, today proclaimed a saint. The evangelical image of the "yoke" recalls the many trials that the humble Capuchin of San Giovanni Rotondo had to face. Today we contemplate in him how gentle the "yoke" of Christ is, and how truly light is his burden when it is borne with faithful love. The life and mission of Padre Pio prove that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted out of love, are transformed into a privileged way of holiness, which opens onto the horizons of a greater good, known only to the Lord. 2. "But may I never boast except in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal 6,14). Is it not, precisely, the "glory of the Cross" that shines above all in Padre Pio? How timely is the spirituality of the Cross lived by the humble Capuchin of Pietrelcina. Our time needs to rediscover the value of the Cross in order to open the heart to hope. Throughout his life, he always sought greater conformity with the Crucified, since he was very conscious of having been called to collaborate in a special way in the work of redemption. His holiness cannot be understood without this constant reference to the Cross. In God's plan, the Cross constitutes the true instrument of salvation for the whole of humanity and the way clearly offered by the Lord to those who wish to follow him (cf. Mk 16,24). The Holy Franciscan of the Gargano understood this well, when on the Feast of the Assumption in 1914, he wrote: "In order to succeed in reaching our ultimate end we must follow the divine Head, who does not wish to lead the chosen soul on any way other than the one he followed; by that, I say, of abnegation and the Cross" (Epistolario II, p. 155). 3. "I am the Lord who acts with mercy" (Jer 9,23). Padre Pio was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making himself available to all by welcoming them, by spiritual direction and, especially, by the administration of the sacrament of Penance. I also had the privilege, during my young years, of benefitting from his availability for penitents. The ministry of the confessional, which is one of the distinctive traits of his apostolate, attracted great crowds of the faithful to the monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo. Even when that unusual confessor treated pilgrims with apparent severity, the latter, becoming conscious of the gravity of sins and sincerely repentant, almost always came back for the peaceful embrace of sacramental forgiveness. May his example encourage priests to carry out with joy and zeal this ministry which is so important today, as I wished to confirm this year in the Letter to Priests on the occasion of Holy Thursday. 4. "You, Lord, are my only good". This is what we sang in the responsorial psalm. Through these words, the new Saint invites us to place God above everything, to consider him our sole and highest good. In fact, the ultimate reason for the apostolic effectiveness of Padre Pio, the profound root of so much spiritual fruitfulness can be found in that intimate and constant union with God, attested to by his long hours spent in prayer and in the confessional. He loved to repeat, "I am a poor Franciscan who prays" convinced that "prayer is the best weapon we have, a key that opens the heart of God". This fundamental characteristic of his spirituality continues in the "Prayer Groups" that he founded, which offer to the Church and to society the wonderful contribution of incessant and confident prayer. To prayer, Padre Pio joined an intense charitable activity, of which the "Home for the Relief of Suffering" is an extraordinary expression. Prayer and charity, this is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio's teaching, which today is offered to everyone. 5. "I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because ... these things ... you have revealed to little ones" (Mt 11,25). How appropriate are these words of Jesus, when we think of them as applied to you, humble and beloved Padre Pio. Teach us, we ask you, humility of heart so we may be counted among the little ones of the Gospel, to whom the Father promised to reveal the mysteries of his Kingdom. Help us to pray without ceasing, certain that God knows what we need even before we ask him. Obtain for us the eyes of faith that will be able to recognize right away in the poor and suffering the face of Jesus. Sustain us in the hour of the combat and of the trial and, if we fall, make us experience the joy of the sacrament of forgiveness. Grant us your tender devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. Accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage toward the blessed homeland, where we hope to arrive in order to contemplate forever the glory of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
St. Isaac of Nineveh
The great luminary of the life of stillness, St Isaac, was born in the early seventh century in eastern Arabia, the present day Qatar on the Persian Gulf. He became a monk at a young age, and at some time left Arabia to dwell with monks in Persia. He was consecrated Bishop of Nineveh (and is therefore sometimes called St Isaac of Nineveh), but after five months received permission to return to solitude; he spent many years far south of Nineveh in the mountainous region of Beit Huzaye, and lastly at the Monastery of Rabban Shabur. He wrote his renowned and God inspired Ascetical Homilies toward the end of his long life of monastic struggle, about the end of the seventh century.
The fame of his Homilies grew quickly, and about 100 years after their composition they were translated from Syriac into Greek by two monks of the Monastery of Mar Sabbas in Palestine, from which they spread throughout the monasteries of the Roman Empire and became a guide to all generations thereafter.
Isaac consciously avoided writing on topics that were disputed or discussed in the contemporary theological debates. This gives Isaac a certain ecumenical potential, and is probably the reason that although he was faithful to his own tradition he has come to be venerated and appreciated far outside his own "Nestorian" church.
SOME OF ST. ISAAC’S THOUGHTS:
"Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others.
Be crucified, but do not crucify others.V Be slandered, but do not slander others.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity.
Suffer with the sick.
Be afflicted with sinners.
Exult with those who repent.
Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone.
Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body distant from all.
Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly.
Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them.
And if you cannot take the fault on yourself and accept punishment in their place, do not destroy their character.."
"Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark and you seek help and do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits."
“What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person's heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns with without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.”
“The person who is genuinely charitable not only gives charity out of his own possessions, but gladly tolerates injustice from others and forgives them. Whoever lays down his soul for his brother acts generously, rather than the person who demonstrates his generosity by his gifts.”
“God is not One who requites evil, but who sets evil right.”
“As for me I say that those who are tormented in hell are tormented by the invasion of love. What is there more bitter and violent than the pains of love? Those who feel they have sinned against love bear in themselves a damnation much heavier than the most dreaded punishments. The suffering with which sinning against love afflicts the heart is more keenly felt than any other torment. It is absurd to assume that the sinners in hell are deprived of God's love. Love is offered impartially. But by its very power it acts in two ways. It torments sinners, as happens here on earth when we are tormented by the presence of a friend to whom we have been unfaithful. And it gives joy to those who have been faithful. That is what the torment of hell is in my opinion: remorse. But love inebriates the souls of the sons and daughters of heaven by its delectability.”
“If zeal had been appropriate for putting humanity right, why did God the Word clothe himself in the body, using gentleness and humility in order to bring the world back to his Father?”
“ ‘Will God, if I ask, forgive me these things by which I am pained and by whose memory I am tormented, things by which, though I abhor them, I go on backsliding? Yet after they have taken place the pain they give me is even greater than that of a scorpion's sting. Though I abhor them, I am still in the middle of them, and when I repent of them with suffering I wretchedly return to them again.’
This is how many God-fearing people think, people who foster virtue and are pricked with the suffering of compunction, who mourn over their sin; yet human prosperity compels them to bear with the backsliding which results from it. They live between sin and repentance all the time. Let us not be in doubt, O fellow humanity, concerning the hope of our salvation, seeing that the One who bore sufferings for our sakes is very concerned about our salvation; God's mercifulness is far more extensive than we can conceive, God's grace is greater than what we ask for.”
...SAINT ISAAC, YOU’RE AWESOME!
St. Alphonsus Liguori
St. Alphonsus received a doctorate at the age of 16 in both canon and civil law by acclamation at the University of Naples, but soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups.
He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over.
Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions.
He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese.
Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement. In his day, he fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.
His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united.
At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent.
Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His Glories of Mary is one of the great works on that subject, and his book Visits to the Blessed Sacrament went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.
Comment: St. Alphonsus was known above all as a practical man who dealt in the concrete rather than the abstract. His life is indeed a “practical” model for the everyday Christian who has difficulty recognizing the dignity of Christian life amid the swirl of problems, pain, misunderstanding and failure. Alphonsus suffered all these things. He is a saint because he was able to maintain an intimate sense of the presence of the suffering Christ through it all.
Quote: Someone once remarked, after a sermon by Alphonsus, "It is a pleasure to listen to your sermons; you forget yourself and preach Jesus Christ."
A Great Mistake If it be a great mistake, as has been already said, to converse mistrustfully with God, to be always coming before Him as a slave, full of fear and confusion, comes before his prince, trembling with dread, it would be a greater to think that conversing with God is but weariness and bitterness. No, it is not so: Her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness. Ask those souls who love him with a true love, and they will tell you that in the sorrows of their life they find no greater, no truer relief, than in a loving converse with God. Now this does not require that you continually apply your mind to it, so as to forget all your employments and recreations. It only requires of you, without putting these aside, to act towards God as you act on occasion towards those who love you and whom you love. Your God is ever near you, nay, within you: In Him we live, and move, and be. There is no barrier at the door against any who desire to speak with Him; nay, God delights that you should treat with Him confidently. Treat with Him of your business, your plans, your griefs, your fears, of all that concerns you. Above all, do so with confidence, with an open heart. For God is not wont to speak to the soul that speaks not to Him ; forasmuch as, if it be not used to converse with Him, it would little understand His voice when He spoke to it. And this is what the Lord complains of: Our sister is little : what shall we do to our sister in the day when she is to be spoken to? Our sister is but a child in my love ; what shall we do to speak to her if she understand Me not ? God will have Himself esteemed the Lord of surpassing power and terribleness, when we despise His grace; but, on the contrary, He will have himself treated with as the most affectionate friend when we love him; and to this end He would have us often speak with Him familiarly and without restraint.
Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos
Francis Xavier Seelos was born on January 11, 1819 in Fussen, Bavaria, Germany. He was baptized on the same day in the parish church of St. Mang. Having expressed a desire for the priesthood since childhood, he entered the diocesan seminary in 1842 after having completed his studies in philosophy. Soon after meeting the missionaries of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), founded for the evangelization of the most abandoned, he decided to enter the Congregation and to minister to the German speaking immigrants in the United States. He was accepted by the Congregation on November 22, 1842, and sailed the following year from Le Havre, France arriving in New York on April 20, 1843. On December 22, 1844, after having completed his novitiate and theological studies, Seelos was ordained a priest in the Redemptorist Church of St. James in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. After being ordained, he worked for nine years in the parish of St. Philomena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, first as assistant pastor with St. John Neumann, the superior of the Religious Community, and later as Superior himself and for the last three years as pastor. During this time, he was also the Redemptorist Novice Master. With Neumann he also dedicated himself to preaching missions. Regarding their relationship, Seelos said: “He has introduced me to the active life” and, “he has guided me as a spiritual director and confessor.” His availability and innate kindness in understanding and responding to the needs of the faithful, quickly made him well known as an expert confessor and spiritual director, so much so that people came to him even from neighboring towns. Faithful to the Redemptorist charism, he practiced a simple lifestyle and a simple manner of expressing himself. The themes of his preaching, rich in biblical content, were always heard and understood even by everyone, regardless of education, culture, or background. A constant endeavor in this pastoral activity was instructing the little children in the faith. He not only favored this ministry, he held it as fundamental for the growth of the Christian community in the parish. In 1854, he was transferred from Pittsburgh, to Baltimore, then Cumberland in 1857, and to Annapolis (1862), all the while engaged in parish ministry and serving in the formation of future Redemptorists as Prefect of Students. Even in this post, he was true to his character remaining always the kind and happy pastor, prudently attentive to the needs of his students and conscientious of their doctrinal formation. Above all, he strove to instill in these future Redemptorist missionaries the enthusiasm, the spirit of sacrifice and apostolic zeal for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the people. In 1860 he was proposed as a candidate for the office of Bishop of Pittsburgh. Having been excused from this responsibility by Pope Pius IX, from 1863 until 1866 he dedicated himself to the life of an itinerant missionary preaching in English and German in the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. After a brief period of parish ministry in Detroit, Michigan, he was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here also, as pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, he was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned. In God’s plan, however, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief. In the month of September, exhausted from visiting and caring for the victims of yellow fever, he contracted the dreaded disease. After several weeks of patiently enduring his illness, he passed on to eternal life on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48 years and 9 months. His Holiness Pope John Paul II, proclaimed Father Seelos Blessed in St. Peter's Square on April 9th of the Solemn Jubilee Year 2000. His Feast Day is October 5. Prayer to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos C.Ss.R. O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight. I offer praise to You for the grace You have bestowed on Your humble missionary, Father Francis Xavier Seelos May I have the same joyful vigor that Father Seelos possessed during his earthly life to love You deeply and live faithfully Your gospel. Amen. Divine Physician, You infused Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos with the gift of Your healing. By the help of his prayers, sustain in me the grace to know Your will and the strength to overcome my afflictions. For love of You, make me whole. May I learn from the example of Father Seelos and gain comfort from his patient endurance. Amen. Bountiful God, in Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, You have given Your people a model for those who labor joyfully in Your earthly kingdom. May his smile dwell on those who find life burdensome. In him, our eyes continually behold the gentleness of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.
Blessrd Seelos' Top 10 Practical Guide to Holiness 1. Go to Mass with deepest devotion. 2. Spend a half hour to reflect upon your main failing & make resolutions to avoid it. 3. Do daily spiritual reading for at least 15 minutes, if a half hour is not possible. 4. Say the rosary every day. 5. Also daily, if at all possible, visit the Blessed Sacrament; and toward evening, meditate on the Passion of Christ for a half hour. 6. Conclude the day with evening prayer & an examination of conscience over all the faults & sins of the day. 7. Every month make a review of the month in confession. 8. Choose a special patron every month & imitate that patron in some special virtue. 9. Precede every great feast with a novena, that is, nine days of devotion. 10. Try to begin & end every activity with a “Hail Mary.”
Saint Thomas Becket 1170
A sword's crushing blow extinguished the life of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, on a cold December evening as he struggled on the steps of his altar. The brutal event sent a tremor through Medieval Europe. Public opinion of the time and subsequent history have laid the blame for the murder at the feet of Becket's former close personal friend, King Henry II.
Becket was born in 1118, in Normandy the son of an English merchant. His family was well off, his father a former Sheriff of London. Becket benefited from his family's status first by being sent to Paris for his education and from there to England where he joined the household of Theobold, the then Archbishop of Canterbury. Becket's administrative skills, his charm, intelligence and diplomacy propelled him forward. The archbishop sent him to Paris to study law and upon his return to England made him Archdeacon of Canterbury.
Becket's big break came in 1154, when Theobold introduced him to the newly crowned King, Henry II. The two hit it off immediately, their similar personal chemistries forming a strong bond between them. Henry named Becket his Chancellor. Archbishop Theobold died in 1161, and Henry immediately saw the opportunity to increase his influence over the Church by naming his loyal advisor to the highest ecclesiastical post in the land. Henry petitioned the Pope who agreed. There was only one slight hindrance. Becket, busy at court, had never been ordained. No problem, Becket was first invested as a priest. The next day he was ordained a Bishop, and that afternoon, June 2, 1162, made Archbishop of Canterbury.
If King Henry believed that by having "his man" in the top post of the Church, he could easily impose his will upon this powerful religious institution, he was sadly mistaken. Becket's allegiance shifted from the court to the Church inspiring him to take a stand against his king. In those days, the Church reserved the right to try felonious clerics in their own religious courts of justice and not those of the crown. Henry was determined to increase control of his realm by eliminating this custom. In 1163, a Canon accused of murder was acquitted by a church court. The public outcry demanded justice and the Canon was brought before a court of the king. Becket's protest halted this attempt but the action spurred King Henry to change the laws to extend his courts' jurisdiction over the clergy. Becket vacillated in his support of the king, finally refusing to agree to changes in the law. His stand prompted a royal summons to Henry's court at Northampton and the king's demand to know what Becket had done with the large sums of money that had passed through his hands as Chancellor.
"Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?" Seeing the writing on the wall, Becket fled to France where he remained in exile for six years. The two former friends appeared to resolve their dispute in 1170 when King Henry and Becket met in Normandy. On November 30, Becket crossed the Channel returning to his post at Canterbury. Earlier, while in France, Becket had excomunicated the Bishops of London and Salisbury for their support of the king. Now, Becket remained steadfast in his refusal to absolve the bishops. This news threw King Henry (still in France) into a rage in which he was purported to shout: "What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest."
The king's exact words have been lost to history but his outrage inspired four knights to sail to England to rid the realm of this annoying prelate. They arrived at Canterbury during the afternoon of December 29 and immediately searched for the Archbishop. Becket fled to the Cathedral where a service was in progress. The knights found him at the altar, drew their swords and began hacking at their victim finally splitting his skull.
The death of Becket unnerved the king. The knights who did the deed to curry the king's favor, fell into disgrace. Several miracles were said to occur at the tomb of the martyr and he was soon canonized. Hordes of pilgrims transformed Canterbury Cathedral into a shrine. Four years later, in an act of penance, the king donned a sack-cloth walking barefoot through the streets of Canterbury while eighty monks flogged him with branches. Henry capped his atonement by spending the night in the martyr's crypt. St. Thomas continued as a popular cultist figure for the remainder of the Middle Ages.
Observations of a Monk
Edward Grim, a monk, observed the attack from the safety of a hiding place near the altar. He wrote his account some time after the event. Acceptance of his description must be qualified by the influence that Becket's sainthood had on Grim's perspective. However, the fundamentals of his narrative are no doubt true. We pick up the story after the knights have stormed into the cathedral.
"The murderers followed him; 'Absolve', they cried, 'and restore to communion those whom you have excommunicated, and restore their powers to those whom you have suspended.'
"He answered, 'There has been no satisfaction, and I will not absolve them.'
'Then you shall die,' they cried, 'and receive what you deserve.'
'I am ready,' he replied, 'to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace. But in the name of Almighty God, I forbid you to hurt my people whether clerk or lay.'
"Then they lay sacrilegious hands on him, pulling and dragging him that they may kill him outside the church, or carry him away a prisoner, as they afterwards confessed. But when he could not be forced away from the pillar, one of them pressed on him and clung to him more closely. Him he pushed off calling him 'pander', and saying, 'Touch me not, Reginald; you owe me fealty and subjection; you and your accomplices act like madmen.'
"The knight, fired with a terrible rage at this severe repulse, waved his sword over the sacred head. 'No faith', he cried, 'nor subjection do I owe you against my fealty to my lord the King.'
"Then the unconquered martyr seeing the hour at hand which should put an end to this miserable life and give him straightway the crown of immortality promised by the Lord, inclined his neck as one who prays and joining his hands he lifted them up, and commended his cause and that of the Church to God, to St. Mary, and to the blessed martry Denys. Scarce had he said the words than the wicked knight, fearing lest he should be rescued by the people and escape alive, leapt upon him suddenly and wounded this lamb who was sacrificed to God on the head, cutting off the top of the crown which the sacred unction of the chrism had dedicated to God; and by the same blow he wounded the arm of him who tells this. For he, when the others, both monks and clerks, fled, stuck close to the sainted Archbishop and held him in his arms till the one he interposed was almost severed.
"Then he received a second blow on the head but still stood firm. At the third blow he fell on his knees and elbows, offering himself a living victim, and saying in a low voice, 'For the Name of Jesus and the protection of the Church I am ready to embrace death.'
"Then the third knight inflicted a terrible wound as he lay, by which the sword was broken against the pavement, and the crown which was large was separated from the head. The fourth knight prevented any from interfering so that the others might freely perpetrate the murder.
"Let us away knights: He will rise no more." "As to the fifth, no knight but that clerk who had entered with the knights, that a fifth blow might not be wanting to the martyr who was in other things like to Christ, he put his foot on the neck of the holy priest and precious martyr, and, horrible to say, scattered his brain and blood over the pavement, calling out to the others, 'Let us away, knights; he will rise no more.'
References: Abbot, Edwin A., St. Thomas of Canterbury (1898); Compton, Piers, The Turbulent Priest (1964); Hollister, Warren C., Medieval Europe: a short history (1975)
"The Murder of Thomas Becket, 1170" EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (1997).
ST. THOMAS MORE
Martyr and Patron Saint of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers On October 31, 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed St. Thomas More, martyred in 1535, to be the patron of statesmen and politicians. He has also been known as the patron of Lawyers. The Pope said, "There are many reasons for proclaiming Thomas More Patron of statesmen and people in public life. Among these is the need felt by the world of politics and public administration for credible role models able to indicate the path of truth at a time in history when difficult challenges and crucial responsibilities are increasoing. Today in fact strongly innovative economic forces are reshaping social structures; on the other hand, scientific achievements in the area of biotechnology underline the need to defend human life at all its different stages, while the promises of a new society -- successfully presented to a bewildered public opinion -- urgently demand clear policital decisions in favor of the family, young people, the elderly and the marginalized. In this context, it is helpful to turn to the example of St. Thomas More, who distinguished himself by his constant fidelity to legitimate authority and institutions precisely in his intention to serve not power, but the supreme ideal of justice. His life teaches us that government is above all an exercise of virtue." V. Lord, have mercy R. Lord have mercy V. Christ, have mercy R. Christ have mercy V. Lord, have mercy R. Lord have mercy V. Christ hear us R. Christ, graciously hear us V. St. Thomas More, Saint and Martyr, R. Pray for us (Repeat after each invocation) St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers St. Thomas More, Patron of Justices, Judges and Magistrates St. Thomas More, Model of Integrity and Virtue in Public and Private Life St. Thomas More, Servant of the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ St. Thomas More, Model of Holiness in the Sacrament of Marriage St. Thomas More, Teacher of his Children in the Catholic Faith St. Thomas More, Defender of the Weak and the Poor St. Thomas More, Promoter of Human Life and Dignity V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world R. Spare us O Lord V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world R. Graciously hear us O Lord V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world R. Have mercy on us Let us pray: O Glorious St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, your life of prayer and penance and your zeal for justice, integrity and firm principle in public and family life led you to the path of martyrdom and sainthood. Intercede for our Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, that they may be courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life - the foundation of all other human rights. We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN
SAINT JOHN FISHER, BISHOP
Of all the English bishops, only Bishop John Fisher of Rochester publicly opposed Henry VIII's mandatory Oath of Allegience, which unlawfully declared King Henry the head of the Church of England. The bishop's stand ultimately cost him his life. May his example inspire all Catholics today, especially the bishops on whose courageous leadership the Church depends. Collect: Father, You confirm the true faith with the crown of martyrdom.
May the prayers of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More give us the courage to proclaim our faith by the witness of our lives.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
St. John Vianney Patron of parish priests
St. John Vianney, Priest (Patron of priests) Feast day - August 4 Universally known as the "Cure of Ars)," St. John Mary Vianney was ordained a priest in 1815. Three years later he was made parish priest of Ars, a remote French hamlet, where his reputation as a confessor and director of souls made him known throughout the Christian world. His life was one of extreme mortification.
Accustomed to the most severe austerities, beleaguered by swarms of penitents, and besieged by the devil, this great mystic manifested a imperturbable patience. He was a wonderworker loved by the crowds, but he retained a childlike simplicity, and he remains to this day the living image of the priest after the heart of Christ.
He heard confessions of people from all over the world for the sixteen hours each day. His life was filled with works of charity and love. It is recorded that even the staunchest of sinners were converted at his mere word. He died August 4, 1859, and was canonized May 31, 1925.
In his book Jesus of Nazareth (pp. 30-41), Pope Benedict XVI mentions a fascinating short story on the antichrist written by Russian author Vladimir Soloviev (1850-1900). Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, who delivered in 2007 a lenten meditation to pope Benedict and the leaders of the Roman Curia on the subject of Soloviev's antichrist, noted that "...the Antichrist will be a "convinced spiritualist," Soloviev says, an admirable philanthropist, a committed, active pacifist, a practicing vegetarian, a determined defender of animal rights. He will not be hostile "in principle" to Christ. Indeed, he will appreciate Christ's teaching. But he will reject the teaching that Christ is unique, and will deny that Christ is risen and alive today." (SEE article below: Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, “Soloviev and Our Time” ) Vladimir Solovyov was born in Moscow on 16 January, 1853, in the family of well-known Russian historian Sergey Mikhaylovich Solovyov (1820 - 1879). His mother, Polixena Vladimirovna, belonged to the Ukrainian-Polish family, having among her ancestors a remarkable thinker the 18th century Hryhori Skovoroda. In his teens Solovyov renounced Orthodox Christianity for nihilism Nihilism, though later Solovyov changed his earlier convictions and began expressing views in line again with the Russian Orthodox Church. Solovyov was also known to be a very close friend and confidant of Fyodor Dostoevsky, considered one of the greatest writers in Russian literature, whose works have had a profound and lasting effect on twentieth-century fiction. In opposition to Dostoevsky's apparent views of the Roman Catholic Church, Solovyov converted to Roman Catholicism four years before his death. It could be said that he did this to engage in the reconciliation between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, a reconciliation that Solovyov outspokenly favoured, but Solovyov himself always maintained that he was still a Russian Orthodox believer in communion with the Roman Pontiff. Solovyov believed that his mission in life was to move people toward “ sobornost “ or absolute unity - reunion.
PAPA LUCIANI THE SMILING POPE
This section is dedicated to my favorite, pope, and my hero. I pray most fervently that the Church will soon raise his memory to official status of sainthood and his devotion to the altars.
A FEW WORDS FROM PAPA LUCIANI
And then, for love to You, I love my others as myself. We are here before two inseparable loves: love to God and love to the others. French people say : Ce sont les frères jumeaux. They are like twin these two loves. They go together. God has wished like that. And, on the other hand, how can I do to love the others or, better, certain others if I don’ t love God, before? Some faces are not pleasant for me. Some persons have hurt me, they hate me, I must love them, too. I only risk if I extend over them the great love that I already feel for God. They wouldn' t deserve it, Lord, but they are Your little children, they are Christ' s brothers and sisters these persons, too. Like... and like, not only with words, but with facts. We will have a test at the end of our life and Jesus has already said which are the questions He will ask us: 'I was starved in my very little brothers, have you given me some food? I was sick, prisoner, have you come and visited me?' (cf. TM. 25, 34 ss.). These are the questions. We must answer them, here! Taking these words and another ones from the Bible, the Church has made two lists: seven works of temporal mercy and seven spiritual ones. They are not complete. It would be necessary to update them. For example, hunger. Today, it s not referred to this or that one individual. There are populations that are hungry. We all remember the great Pope Paul VI' s great words: 'the hunger populations call in a dramatic way the opulence populations. The Church is shaking before this shout of anguish and is calling each one to reply the own brother with love' (Populorum progressio, 3). And then, here, justice is joined to charity because the Pope also says, in the Populorum progressio always: 'Private property is not an inalienable and absolute right for anybody. Nobody has the prerogative of being able to use goods exclusively for the own benefits beyond the need, when there are those who are dying because they have nothing' (Populorum progressio, 22). They are serious words, together with another ones. At the light of these words, not only nations, but also we, private, especially we from the Church, have to wonder: Have we really fulfil Christ' s precept: 'Love your neighbour as yourself?'. And, Jesus' precept is also forgiveness, maybe the most difficult thing but it support us. It seems He has preferred forgiveness more than the divine cult. 'If you are before the altar to make your offer and there you remember your brother has something against you, leave your offer there, go first to reconcile with your brother, then, come back and make your offer' (Mt. 5, 23-24).
God' s Commandments Before God, the right position is Abraham' s when he said: 'I am just ash and dust before You, Lord!' We must feel small before God. When I say: 'Lord, I believe', I am not ashamed to feel like a boy before his mother; I believe in my mother; I believe in God and I believe in what He has revealed me. The Commandments are a little more difficult to fulfil, sometimes very difficult; but God has given them to us not as a whim or for His interest, but quite the contrary, only for our interest. Once, a person went to buy a car. The salesman made him notice some things: 'Look that the car has excellent conditions. Treat it well: you know, Super gasoline in the tank, and for the motor, fine oil'. The other one answered him: 'No; to your knowledge, I will tell you I do not bear neither the gasoline smell nor that one of the oil; in the tank, I will put champagne I like so much, and the motor I will grease it with jam. Do as you like, but do not come and complain if you end inside a hole with the car. The Lord has done something similar with us: He has given us this body, animated of an intelligent soul and a beautiful will. And He has said: this machine is good, but treat it well. These are the Commandments: Honour your father and your mother, do not kill, do not get angry, be delicate, do not say lies, do not steal... If we were able to fulfil the commandments, we would work better and the world would also work better.
Love and obedience to parents and superiors And then, the others... But the others are at three levels: they are over us, others are at our level and others are bellow. Over us, they are our parents. The Catechism said: to respect them, to love them, to obey them. The Pope must instil respect and obedience from children to their parents. I am told there are altar- boys from Malta here. Come one, please... the altar-boys of Malta, who have served for a month in St. Peter. So, what is your name? -- James. - - James! Tell me, have you ever been ill? -- No. - - Never? -- No. - - Haven' t you ever been ill? -- No. -- Not even a fever? -- No. - - What a lucky one! But, when a boy is ill, who gives him any broth, any medicine? Is it not mum? Alright. Later, you become elder and your mother grows old; you become a great gentleman and your poor mother will be ill in bed. Then, who will be going to give to mum a little milk and medicines? Who? -- My brothers and me. - - Wonderful! His brothers and him, he has said. I like this. Have you understood? But not always it happens like that. I, as Bishop in Venice, sometimes used to go and visit old people' s home. Once I met a sick, an old woman. 'How are you, madam?' 'Mmm' 'Eating?' 'OK' 'Heat, heating?' 'OK' 'So, are you glad, madam?' 'No, I am not ', and she started weeping. 'But, why are you weeping?' 'My daughter-in-law and my son never come and visit me. I'd like to meet my little grandchildren ' Heating, food are not enough: there is a heart; it is also necessary to think about our old ones' heart. The Lord has said that parents must be respected and be loved, also when they are old. And besides the parents, it is the State, the superior ones. Can the Pope recommend obedience? Bossuet, a great Bishop, wrote: Where no one gives orders, all give orders. Where all give orders, nobody gives orders, but chaos. Sometimes, something similar is also seen in this world. Let us respect, then, those who are superior.
Justice and charity Then, there are our equal ones. And usually here, there are two virtues to practice: justice and charity. But charity is justice heart. It is necessary to love the others, the Lord has recommended it to us so much! I always recommend not only great charities, but little charities. On a book titled 'The art of making friends', written by Carnegie, American, I have read this insignificant episode: One lady had four men at home: her husband, a brother and two children. She was in charge to go shopping, to wash and iron the clothes, the kitchen... everything, her. One Sunday, they come home. The table is ready for lunch, but there is only a handful of hay on the dishes. They protest and say: 'Oh, but what, hay!' And she says: 'No, everything is ready. But, let me tell you this: I change the menu, I keep all clean, I take care of everything. And never, you have never told me once: You have prepared us a pretty little lunch. I am not made of stone. One works more pleased when gratefulness is shown. These are the small charities. We all have some person at home who is waiting for a compliment. Besides, there are those who are smaller than us; they are the children, the sick, and even the sinners. As a Bishop, I have been even very close to those who do not believe in God. I have been convinced that they often reject not God, but the wrong idea they have about God. How much mercy it is necessary to have! And also those who are wrong... It is really necessary to be in order with us ourselves.
Meekness and goodness I limit myself to recommend you a virtue very estimated by the Lord. He has said: Learn from me that I am meek and humble of heart. I am risking of saying a nonsense. But I say it: the Lord loves so much humility that sometimes allows serious sins. Why? So that who have committed them -- these sins, I say – afterwards, being regretful, they stay humble. One is not feeling like thinking to be half a Saint, half an angel, when one knows that serious offences have been committed. The Lord has recommended as much: be humble! Even if you have made great things, say: useless servants we are. However the tendency of all of us is rather the opposite: to put ourselves in the first row. Humble, humble: it is the Christian virtue that concerns to all of us.
Papa Luciani (John Paul I) and Pope Benedict For all you trivia buffs: I will bet that you didn’t know Pope John Paul I once sent then Cardinal Ratzinger to Ecuador as his personal Legate. The city of Guayaquil, Ecuador was hosting a Marian Congress in honor of the Marian Year that had been proclaimed back in 1978. Given that Luciani had only been Pope for a couple of days, he sent Ratzinger in his stead. Read the words he used to describe our current Holy Father in his letter of appointment letter: “Indeed, we embrace the people of Ecuador in sincere charity; and desire in some way to participate in these solemnities in order that greater moment and luster may attend them. Wherefore, by these letters, we choose, make, and proclaim you our Legate Extraordinary, committing to you the office of presiding in our name and with our authority at these Marian celebrations. We have no doubt but that you will skillfully and fruitfully fulfill the office accredited to you, because of the richness of sacred doctrine which commends you, and the ardent love for the Mother of Christ and our Mother for which you are known.”
Papa Luciani in prayer...
holy father pray for us!
Papa Luciani full of the joy of Christ...
give us hope.
Papa Luciani princely & humble...
teach us humility.
Papa Luciani, man of prayer....
teach us to seek the Lord.
Papa Luciani gentle & meek...
teach us compassion.
PAPA LUCIANI POPE JOHN PAUL I SANTO SUBITO !
He was 33 days on St. Peter's Throne. However, he left an unforgetable mark... on the Church... and on the world.