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Friday, August 15, 2014


The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August Fifteenth


(From: "Divine Intimacy" by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.)

Presence of God - O most Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into heaven, I beg
you to purify my senses so that I may begin to enjoy God even while I am on
earth.

Meditation

1. The Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we contemplate today assumed body and soul
into heaven, reminds us very definitely that our permanent abode is not on
earth but in heaven where she, with her divine Son, has preceded us in all
the fulness of her human nature. This is the dominant thought in today's
liturgy. "O Almighty and everlasting God, who hast taken up body and soul
into heavenly glory the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy Son: grant,
we beseech Thee, that, ever intent upon heavenly things, we may be worthy
to be partakers of her glory" (Collect).

The Feast of the Assumption is a strong appeal to us to live "ever intent
upon heavenly things," and not allow ourselves to be carried away by the
vicissitudes and seductions of the world. Not only was our soul created for
heaven, but also our body, which, after the resurrection, will be welcomed
into our heavenly home and admitted to a participation in the glory of the
spirit. Today we contemplate in Mary, our Mother, this total glorification
of our humanity. That which has been wholly realized in her, will be
realized for us, as well as for all the saints, only at the end of time.
This privilege was very fitting for her, the all-pure, the all-holy one,
whose body was never touched by even the faintest shadow of sin, but was
always the temple of the Holy Spirit, and became the immaculate tabernacle
of the Son of God. It is a reminder to us to ennoble our whole life, not
only that of the spirit, but also that of the senses, elevating it to the
heights of the celestial life which awaits us. "O Mother of God and of
men," exclaims Pius XII in his beautiful prayer for the Assumption, "we beg
you to purify our senses, so that we may begin to enjoy God here on earth
and Him alone, in the beauty of creatures."

2. Mary's Assumption shows us the route we must follow in our spiritual
ascent : detachment from the earth, flight toward God, and union with God.

Our Lady was assumed body and soul into heaven because she was Immaculate;
she was all-pure -- free not only from every shadow of sin, but even from
the slightest attachment to the things of earth, so that she "never had the
form of any creature imprinted in her soul, nor was moved by such, but was
invariably guided by the Holy Spirit" (J.C. AS III, 2,10).

The first requirement for attaining God is this total purity, the fruit of
total detachment. The Blessed Virgin, who lived her earthly life in
absolute detachment from every created thing, teaches us not to allow
ourselves to be captivated by the fascination of creatures, but to live
among them, occupying ourselves with them with much charity, but without
ever letting our heart become attached to them, without ever seeking our
satisfaction in them.

In her Assumption Mary speaks to us of flight toward heaven, toward God. It
is not enough to purify our heart from sin and all attachment to creatures,
we must at the same time direct it toward God, tending toward Him with all
our strength. The Church has us pray in today's Mass, "O Lord, through the
intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was assumed into heaven, may
our hearts, enkindled by the fire of Thy love, continually aspire toward
Thee" (Secret). Our earthly life has value for eternal life insofar as it
is a flight toward God, a continual seeking after Him, a continual
adherence to His grace. When this flight fails, the supernatural value of
our existence lessens.

Mary has been taken up to heaven because she is the Mother of God. This is
the greatest of her privileges, the root of all the others and the reason
for them; it speaks to us, in a very special way, of intimate union with
God, as the fact of her Assumption speaks to us of the beatific union of
heaven. Mary herself stretches out her maternal hand to guide us to the
attainment of this high ideal. If we keep our eyes fixed on her, we shall
advance more easily; she will be our guide, our strength, and our
consolation in every trial and difficulty.

-------------------------------------------------

"Divine Intimacy" by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

Monday, August 11, 2014

 

 David Isaac Boniface Strandt was baptized and joined the Mystical Body of Christ yesterday.  Since I didn't know much about St. Boniface (which is his baptismal name) I found this short piece on him. 

St. Boniface


Boniface, known as the apostle of the Germans, was an English Benedictine monk who gave up being elected abbot to devote his life to the conversion of the Germanic tribes. Two characteristics stand out: his Christian orthodoxy and his fidelity to the pope of Rome.

How absolutely necessary this orthodoxy and fidelity were is borne out by the conditions he found on his first missionary journey in 719 at the request of Pope Gregory II. Paganism was a way of life. What Christianity he did find had either lapsed into paganism or was mixed with error. The clergy were mainly responsible for these latter conditions since they were in many instances uneducated, lax and questionably obedient to their bishops. In particular instances their very ordination was questionable.

These are the conditions that Boniface was to report in 722 on his first return visit to Rome. The Holy Father instructed him to reform the German Church. The pope sent letters of recommendation to religious and civil leaders. Boniface later admitted that his work would have been unsuccessful, from a human viewpoint, without a letter of safe-conduct from Charles Martel, the powerful Frankish ruler, grandfather of Charlemagne. Boniface was finally made a regional bishop and authorized to organize the whole German Church. He was eminently successful.

In the Frankish kingdom, he met great problems because of lay interference in bishops’ elections, the worldliness of the clergy and lack of papal control.

During a final mission to the Frisians, he and 53 companions were massacred while he was preparing converts for Confirmation.

In order to restore the Germanic Church to its fidelity to Rome and to convert the pagans, he had been guided by two principles. The first was to restore the obedience of the clergy to their bishops in union with the pope of Rome. The second was the establishment of many houses of prayer which took the form of Benedictine monasteries. A great number of Anglo-Saxon monks and nuns followed him to the continent. He introduced Benedictine nuns to the active apostolate of education.


Stories:

Boniface literally struck a blow for Christianity in his attempt to destroy pagan superstitions. On a day previously announced, in the presense of a tense crowd, he attacked with an ax Donar's sacred oak on Mount Gudenburg. The huge tree crashed, splitting into four parts. The people waited for the gods to strike Boniface dead—then realized their gods were powerless, nonexistent. He used planks from the tree to build a chapel.



Comment:

Boniface bears out the Christian rule: To follow Christ is to follow the way of the cross. For Boniface, it was not only physical suffering or death, but the painful, thankless, bewildering task of Church reform. Missionary glory is often thought of in terms of bringing new persons to Christ. It seems—but is not—less glorious to heal the household of the faith.

Patron Saint of:

Germany


Saturday, August 2, 2014

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Your Cross

 The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God. 
-St. Francis DeSales




CHAPTER XXV
HOW ST FRANCIS HEALED MIRACULOUSLY A LEPER BOTH IN HIS BODY AND IN HIS SOUL, AND WHAT THE SOUL SAID TO HIM ON GOING UP TO HEAVEN
The true disciple of Christ, St Francis, as long as he lived in this miserable life, endeavoured with all his might to follow the example of Christ the perfect Master; whence it happened often, through the operation of grace, that he healed the soul at the same time as the body, as we read of Jesus Christ himself; and not only did he willingly serve the lepers himself, but he willed that all the brethren of his Order, both when they were travelling about the world and when they were halting on their way, should serve the lepers for the love of Christ, who for our sake was willing to be treated as a leper. It happened once, that in a convent near the one in which St Francis then resided there was a hospital for leprosy and other infirmities, served by the brethren; and one of the patients was a leper so impatient, so insupportable, and so insolent, that many believed of a certainty that he was possessed of the devil (as indeed he was) for he ill-treated with blows and words all those who served him; and, what was worse, he blasphemed so dreadfully our Blessed Lord and his most holy Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, that none was found who could or would serve him. The brethren, indeed, to gain merit, endeavoured to accept with patience the injuries and violences committed against themselves, but their consciences would not allow them to submit to those addressed to Christ and to his Mother, wherefore they determined to abandon this leper, but this they would not do until they had signified their intention to St Francis, according to the Rule. On learning this, St Francis, who was not far distant, himself visited this perverse leper, and said to him: "May God give thee peace, my beloved brother!" To this the leper answered: "What peace can I look for from God, who has taken from me peace and every other blessing, and made me a putrid and disgusting object?" St Francis answered: "My son, be patient; for the infirmities of the body are given by God in this world for the salvation of the soul in the next; there is great merit in them when they are patiently endured." The sick man answered: "How can I bear patiently the pain which afflicts me night and day? For not only am I greatly afflicted by my infirmity, but the friars thou hast sent to serve me make it even worse, for they do not serve me as they ought." Then St Francis, knowing through divine revelation that the leper was possessed by the malignant spirit, began to pray, interceding most earnestly for him. Having finished his prayer, he returned to the leper and said to him: "My son, I myself will serve thee, seeing thou art not satisfied with the others." "Willingly," answered the leper; "but what canst thou do more than they have done?" "Whatsoever thou wishest I will do for thee," answered St Francis. "I will then," said he, "that thou wash me all over; for I am so disgusting that I cannot bear myself." Then St Francis heated some water, putting therein many odoriferous herbs; he then undressed him, and began to wash him with his own hands, whilst another brother threw the water upon him, and, by a divine miracle, wherever St Francis touched him with his holy hands the leprosy disappeared, and his flesh was perfectly healed also. On this the leper, seeing his leprosy beginning to vanish, felt great sorrow and repentance for his sins, and began to weep bitterly. While his body was being purified externally of the leprosy through the cleansing of the water, so his soul internally was purified from sin by the washing of tears and repentance; and feeling himself completely healed both in his body and his soul, he humbly confessed his sins, crying out in a loud voice, with many tears: "Unhappy me! I am worthy of hell for the wickedness of my conduct to the brethren, and the impatience and blasphemy I have uttered against the Lord"; and for fifteen days he ceased not to weep bitterly for his sins, imploring the Lord to have mercy on him, and them made a general confession to a priest. St Francis, perceiving this evident miracle which the Lord had enabled him to work, returned thanks to God, and set out for a distant country; for out of humility he wished to avoid all glory, and in all his actions he sought only the glory of God, and not his own. It pleased God that the leper, who had been healed both in his body and in his soul, after having done penance for fifteen days, should fall ill of another infirmity; and having received the sacraments of the Church, he died a most holy death. His soul on its way to heaven appeared in the air to St Francis, who was praying in a forest, and said to him: "Dost thou know me?" "Who art thou?" asked the saint. Said he: "I am that leper whom our Blessed Lord healed through thy merits, and to-day I am going to life eternal, for which I return thanks to God and to thee. Blessed by thy soul and thy body, blessed by thy holy words and works, for through thee many souls are saved in the world; and know that there is not a single day in which the angels and other saints do not return thanks to God for the holy fruits of thy preaching and that of thy Order in various parts of the world. Be comforted, then, and thank the Lord, and may his blessing rest on thee." Having said these words, he went up to heaven, leaving St Francis much consoled.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17 – Martyred in the Name of Equality

The Sixteen Blessed Teresian Martyrs of Compiègne

Carmelites
Guillotined at the Place du Trône Renversé (now called Place de la Nation), Paris, 17 July, 1794. They are the first sufferers under the French Revolution on whom the Holy See has passed judgment, and were solemnly beatified 27 May, 1906. Before their execution they knelt and chanted the “Veni Creator”, as at a profession, after which they all renewed aloud their baptismal and religious vows. The novice was executed first and the prioress last. Absolute silence prevailed the whole time that the executions were proceeding. The heads and bodies of the martyrs were interred in a deep sand-pit about thirty feet square in a cemetery at Picpus. As this sand-pit was the receptacle of the bodies of 1298 victims of the Revolution, there seems to be no hope of their relics being recovered. Their names are as follows:
Plaque at the Picpus Cemetery in Paris in memory of the 16 Martyrs of Compiègne, guillotined on July 17, 1794 and beatified by Pope Pius X on May 27, 1906. Photo by Mu
  • Madeleine-Claudine Ledoine (Mother Teresa of St. Augustine), prioress, b. in Paris, 22 Sept., 1752, professed 16 or 17 May, 1775;
  • Marie-Anne (or Antoinette) Brideau (Mother St. Louis), sub-prioress, b. at Belfort, 7 Dec., 1752, professed 3 Sept, 1771;
  • Marie-Anne Piedcourt (Sister of Jesus Crucified), choir-nun, b. 1715, professed 1737; on mounting the scaffold she said “I forgive you as heartily as I wish God to forgive me”;
  • Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret (Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection), sacristan, b. at Mouy, 16 Sept., 1715, professed 19 Aug., 1740, twice sub-prioress in 1764 and 1778. Her portrait is reproduced opposite p. 2 of Miss Willson’s work cited below;
  • Marie-Antoniette or Anne Hanisset (Sister Teresa of the Holy Heart of Mary), b. at Rheims in 1740 or 1742, professed in 1764;
  • Marie-Françoise Gabrielle de Croissy (Mother Henriette of Jesus), b. in Paris, 18 June, 1745, professed 22 Feb., 1764, prioress from 1779 to 1785;
16 Carmelites
  • Marie-Gabrielle Trézel (Sister Teresa of St. Ignatius), choir-nun, b. at Compiègne, 4 April, 1743, professed 12 Dec., 1771;
  • Rose-Chrétien de la Neuville, widow, choir-nun (Sister Julia Louisa of Jesus), b. at Loreau (or Evreux), in 1741, professed probably in 1777;
  • Anne Petras (Sister Mary Henrietta of Providence), choir-nun, b. at Cajarc (Lot), 17 June, 1760, professed 22 Oct., 1786.
  • Concerning Sister Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception accounts vary. Miss Willson says that her name was Marie Claude Cyprienne Brard, and that she was born 12 May, 1736; Pierre, that her name was Catherine Charlotte Brard, and that she was born 7 Sept., 1736. She was born at Bourth, and professed in 1757;
  • Marie-Geneviève Meunier (Sister Constance), novice, b. 28 May, 1765, or 1766, at St. Denis, received the habit 16 Dec., 1788. She mounted the scaffold singing “Laudate Dominum”. In addition to the above, three lay sisters suffered and two tourières. The lay sisters are:
  • Angélique Roussel (Sister Mary of the Holy Ghost), lay sister, b. at Fresnes, 4 August, 1742, professed 14 May, 1769;
  • Marie Dufour (Sister St. Martha), lay sister, b. at Beaune, 1 or 2 Oct., 1742, entered the community in 1772;
  • Julie or Juliette Vérolot (Sister St. Francis Xavier), lay sister, b. at Laignes or Lignières, 11 Jan., 1764, professed 12 Jan., 1789.

The two tourières, who were not Carmelites at all, but merely servants of the nunnery were: Catherine and Teresa Soiron, b. respectively on 2 Feb., 1742 and 23 Jan., 1748 at Compiègne, both of whom had been in the service of the community since 1772.
The miracles proved during the process of beatification were
  • The cure of Sister Clare of St. Joseph, a Carmelite lay sister of New Orleans, when on the point of death from cancer, in June, 1897;
  • The cure of the Abbé Roussarie, of the seminary at Brive, when at the point of death, 7 March, 1897;
  • The cure of Sister St. Martha of St. Joseph, a Carmelite lay Sister of Vans, of tuberculosis and an abcess in the right leg, 1 Dec., 1897;
  • The cure of Sister St. Michael, a Franciscan of Montmorillon, 9 April, 1898.
Five secondary relics are in the possession of the Benedictines of Stanbrook, Worcestershire.



PIERRE, Les Seize Carmélites de Compiègne (Paris, 1906); WILLSON, The Martyrs of Compiègne (Westminster, 1907).
JOHN B. WAINEWRIGHT (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Monday, July 14, 2014

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There's nothing so great, my children, as the Eucharist. If you were to put all the good actions in the world against a Communion well made, it would be like a grain of dust against a mountain.

St. John Vianney (1786-1859AD) on the Eucharist



Saturday, July 5, 2014










CHAPTER XXIV
HOW ST FRANCIS CONVERTED TO THE FAITH THE SULTAN OF BABYLON
St Francis, urged by zeal for the faith of Christ and by a wish to suffer martyrdom, took with him one day twelve of his most holy brethren, and went beyond the sea with the intention of going straight to the Sultan of Babylon. They arrived in a province belonging to the Saracens, where all the passes were guarded by men so cruel, that no Christian who passed that way could escape being put to death. Now it pleased God that St Francis and his companions should not meet with the same fate; but they were taken prisoners, and after being bound and ill-treated, were led before the Sultan. Then St Francis standing before him, inspired by the Holy Spirit, preached most divinely the faith of Christ; and to prove the truth of what he said, professed himself ready to enter into the fire. Now the Sultan began to feel a great devotion towards him, both because of the constancy of his faith, and because he despised the things of this world (for he had refused to accept any of the presents which he had offered to him), and also because of his ardent wish to suffer martyrdom. From that moment he listened to him willingly, and begged him to come back often, giving both him and his companions leave to preach wheresoever they pleased; he likewise gave them a token of his protection, which would preserve them from all molestation.
At length St Francis, seeing he could do no more good in those parts, was warned by God to return with his brethren to the land of the faithful. Having assembled his companions, they went together to the Sultan to take leave of him. The Sultan said to him: "Brother Francis, most willingly would I be converted to the faith of Christ; but I fear to do so now, for if the people knew it, they would kill both me and thee and all thy companions. As thou mayest still do much good, and I have certain affairs of great importance to conclude, I will not at present be the cause of thy death and of mine. But teach me how I can be saved, and I am ready to do as thou shalt order." On this St Francis made answer: "My lord, I will take leave of thee for the present; but after I have returned to my own country, when I shall be dead and gone to heaven, by the grace of God, I will send thee two of my friars, who will administer to thee the holy baptism of Christ, and thou shalt be saved, as the Lord Jesus has revealed to me; and thou in the meantime shalt free thyself from every hindrance, so that, when the grace of God arrives, thou mayest be found well disposed to faith and devotion." The Sultan promised so to do; and did as he had promised. Then St Francis returned with his company of venerable and saintly brethren, and after a few years ending his mortal life, he gave up his soul to God. The Sultan, having fallen ill, awaited the fulfillment of the promise of St Francis, and placed guards in all the passes, ordering them if they met two brothers in the habit of St Francis to conduct them immediately to him. At the same time St Francis appeared to two of his friars, and ordered them without delay to go to the Sultan and save his soul, according to the promise he had made him. The two set out, and having crossed the sea, were conducted to the Sultan by the guards he had sent out to meet them. The Sultan, when he saw them arrive, rejoiced greatly, and exclaimed: "Now I know of a truth that God has sent his servants to save my soul, according to the promise which St Francis made me through divine revelation." Having received the faith of Christ and holy baptism from the said friars, he was regenerated in the Lord Jesus Christ; and having died of his disease, his soul was saved, through the merits and prayers of St Francis.