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Friday, April 17, 2015

April 19 – Blessed Conrad of Ascoli


Friar Minor and missionary, born at Ascoli in the March of Ancona in 1234; died there, 19 April, 1289.
He belonged to the noble family of Milliano and from his earliest years made penance the predominating element of his life.
Bl. Conrad of Ascoli

He entered the Order of Friars Minor at Ascoli together with his townsman and lifelong friend, Girolamo d’Ascoli, afterwards minister general, and later pope under the title of Nicholas IV. Having completed his studies at Perugia, Conrad was sent to Rome to teach theology. Later he obtained permission to go to Africa, where he preached with much fruit through the different provinces of Libya and worked numerous miracles. He was recalled from Africa to go on a mission to the King of France, then at war with Spain, and subsequently he became lector of theology at Paris.
The Incorrupt body of Blessed Conrad of Ascoli in the Church of San Francesco in Ascoli Piceno, Italy. Photo by Revares.The Incorrupt body of Blessed Conrad of Ascoli in the Church of San Francesco in Ascoli Piceno, Italy. Photo by Revares

When not engaged in teaching, Conrad preached to the people or ministered to the sick in hospitals. In 1288 he was summoned to Rome by the new pope, Nicholas IV, who wished to make him cardinal, but Conrad died on the way after reaching his native city, being then fifty-five years of age.

Nicholas IV was deeply grieved at the loss of his saintly friend, on whose counsel and zeal he had counted so much, and declared that Conrad’s death was a great loss to the Church. The people of Ascoli erected a splendid tomb over the remains of Blessed Conrad. In 1371, when his body was removed to the new church of the Franciscans, it was found incorrupt and gave forth a sweet odour. Pius VI approved the cultus of Blessed Conrad. His feast is kept in the Order of Friars Minor on 19 April.
STEPHEN M. DONOVAN

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Picture from St. Thomas Aquinas Book Club



“Never will anyone who prays his Rosary every day be led astray.” St. Louis de Montfort

Saturday, April 11, 2015

THE MIRACLE OF THE EUCHARIST - Santarem, Portugal


Around the year 1225 there was a woman living in Santarem, who was very
unhappy with her marriage. She was convinced that her husband did not love
her, and was unfaithful. After many prayers and no relief from her
problems, she turned to a sorceress for help.

The sorceress promised the wife that her husband would return to his loving
ways, if the wife would bring her a Consecrated Host.

The woman was aware of the grave offense to God, and was frightened with
the prospect of committing a horrible sacrilege but unfortunately gave in
to temptation. She went to Mass at the Church of St. Stephen, and received
Communion, but did not consume the Host. Instead, she left the Church
immediately, and took the Host out of her mouth, putting It into her veil.

As she headed for the sorceress' cave, the first miracle occurred. Within
moments, blood began to issue from the host. The amount of blood was such
that it soon dripped from the cloth and attracted the attention of
bystanders who asked if she needed assistance. Becoming even more
frightened by the unexpected turn of events, she hurried home instead of
the sorcerer's cave, and put the veil with the host in a wooden chest in
the bedroom.

The second miracle took place that very night when both she and her husband
were awakened by a mysterious light penetrating through the wooden chest.
The woman then confessed her sin to her husband and they both spent the
remainder of the night on their knees in adoration. The following morning,
the parish priest was informed and people rushed to the house to
contemplate the Holy Miracle. The priest brought the host back to the
church in solemn procession, placed it in a small case of wax; and
deposited it in the tabernacle. A Church investigation was promptly
organized.

A third miracle occurred later when the priest opened the tabernacle door
and found the wax container had broken into small pieces. In its place was
a beautiful crystal pyx with the blood of the host inside. The pyx is
approximately 1/2" thick and 2" in diameter, crystalline clear and with a
small protrusion on the side that contains the largest collection of blood.
It is irregularly shaped crystal through which can be seen the real flesh
with delicate veins running from top to bottom and a quantity of blood
which is collected at one end.

It was later placed in a gold and silver pear-shaped monstrance with a
sunburst of 33 rays where it remains today. The reliquary that houses the
miraculous Host rests above the tabernacle, and can be viewed atop a set of
stairs from behind the main altar.

After the investigation and approval by the Church authorities, the Church
of St. Stephen was renamed "The Church of the Holy Miracle." The little
house where the miracle occurred was on Via delle Stuoie in Santarem.

From the time of the miracle until now, every year, on the Second Sunday of
April, the incident is re-enacted by local actors. The actual Eucharistic
Miracle is processed from the house, which was converted into a Chapel in
1684, to the Church. Miraculously, after 750 years, the precious blood
still remains in liquid form, defying the natural laws of science. The Host
is somewhat irregularly shaped, resembling real flesh with delicate veins
running from top to bottom, where a quantity of blood is collected in the
crystal.

This case, along with many other Eucharistic miracles, gives witness to the
real presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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It is the nature of Jesus Christ to lead us surely to the Father. In the same way, it is the nature of the Blessed Virgin to lead us surely to Jesus.
St. Louis Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716AD)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

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Tender Shepherd of My Soul

Retreat--Third Day


 
The time is drawing to a close, tender Shepherd of my soul, when I no longer may pass the day with Thee.  I must go out into the world and take up the same duties.  I shall meet the same people and I shall perhaps be thrown in the same occasions wherein before I fell.

Now what am I going to do, dear Shepherd?  Will I battle for awhile and then fall exhausted by the wayside?

Through these days of quiet peaceful thought, have I not learned to know Thee better, dearest Shepherd, to understand the true meaning of Life?

Do I not realize that it is an effort to be good,--that it is a struggle, a constant struggle to prevent myself from being drawn into the  mighty world-current surging about me?

When the ideals of my associates fall below those Thou hast given me,  divine Lord, shall I hold back and tremble to face their sneer,  their cold and piercing gaze?  Or will the thought of Thee, sweet Shepherd, be my strength and steady me to be true to my King?

It is very hard, divine Lord, but I can hear Thy reassuring Voice with its promise of victory.

Divine Shepherd of my soul,  I have a deep longing to be good, but a great fear of the pressure of external things and at times I lose sight of Thy beautiful Face which today is a charm to me.  Today I have an ardent desire to lead an entirely new life, a high supernatural life.  I feel today as though no cloud, no hardship, no suffering could deter me from being good.


 If the skies are dark and low,
And the waves run fast and free.
Oh! what to me are the clouds?
What are the waves to me?
Out on the offing there
A form in light I see."


Grant, beloved Lord, that all through the coming years Thy beautiful Form may stand out before me, no matter how great be the storms that rage in my bosom,--no matter how thick and dense be the fogs that close in about me.

"Stand, my beautiful  Lord,
So that Thy Face I see.
That its smile and Thine outstretched Arms
My beacon light may be.
And what to me shall be foaming wave
But foothold to come to Thee.

All through the coming years,
Call, keep calling to me
And clamp the trust in my heart
That shall steady my steps to Thee,
Then catch me up in Thine Arms at last
And bear me where I would be.



"Bless then,  tender Shepherd of my soul, this last day of my Retreat.  Let me pass it in close union with Thee.  Let it be a day of preparation for Thy coming tomorrow in Holy Communion.  I want my heart to be swept and garnished for the coming of my Lord.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Beautiful Hymns for this Solemn Feast

 


My Life, My Light, My Strength
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Retreat, Day Two

Beloved Lord, this is the second day of my Retreat.  If the first has not been so well spent as I should have wished , nor so silent as I had promised it should be.  I shall strive that today may be better.

I beg of Thee, true Life of my soul, to penetrate my heart with Thy light.  Let me feel Thy Presence.  Let me feel the need  I have of Thee.

Grant that things of the world may not have so great a hold on me,--that they may not blind me to the real value of life.

Although I am not worldly to any great extent,--although I receive Thee, sweet Lord, quite frequently in Holy Communion and am faithful to the requirements of the Church,--although I see nothing in my heart that startles or affrights me,--still I know for all that, my life, my  inner life, my  true life, the life that counts in Thy sight, may be very shallow, very shabby, empty of the things of real worth.

I realize, divine Master, that no matter how crowded with human affairs my days  may be ,--no matter how many social wheels I turn, unless I live a life of prayer, earnestly striving to grow daily better, more kind and more thoughtful of  others; unless I accept the difficulties of every day life with patience and carry my cross with a cheerful and loving heart; unless I do this, my life is of very little worth.

Teach me , beloved Strength of my soul, to have recourse to prayer in every event of life.  Let me feel the  need of the Blessed Sacrament.  When my heart is sad, or wounded,--or I am worried, disappointed, or perhaps chafing under some unkindness, draw me to Thee, tender Master.  Make me realize that at such times Thy strength alone can be of any help to me.

If my lips cannot utter a syllable, let me at least kneel in silence before Thee.

What need hast Thou, kind Light of my soul, what need hast Thou, that I should  tell  Thee that I suffer?  Thou knowest the pains hidden from all the world, the annoyances that I must bear alone, heartaches that checker my entire life, the endless chafing that robs life of its glow, and weighs heavily upon my untempered heart.

Teach me, beloved Lord, to profit by the suffering that comes across my path.  Let me so use it that it may mellow me, not harden and embitter me,-- that it may make me patient, not irritable,--broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty, and overbearing.

Bless then this second day, dearest Master.  Grant that I may better understand myself and what Thou expectest of me.

Let my day be one of more serious thought and reflection,-- an opening out of a broader, more unselfish life, a life more in touch with Thine, sweet Lord, so that from now on every thought, word, and act may be rich in good to my own soul, may overflow into the souls of others and may give pleasure to my beloved King who is my Life, my Light, my Strength, and my everlasting Joy.