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Friday, September 19, 2014

How the Blood of St. Januarius Undergoes Miraculous Changes





“A dark mass that half fills a hermetically sealed four-inch glass container, and is preserved in a double reliquary in the Naples cathedral as the blood of St. Januarius, liquefies 18 times during the year.... This phenomenon goes back to the 14th century.... Tradition connects it with a certain Eusebia, who had allegedly collected the blood after the martyrdom.... The ceremony accompanying the liquefaction is performed by holding the reliquary close to the altar on which is located what is believed to be the martyr's head. While the people pray, often tumultuously, the priest turns the reliquary up and down in the full sight of the onlookers until the liquefaction takes place.... Various experiments have been applied, but the phenomenon eludes natural explanation. There are, however, similar miraculous claims made for the blood of John the Baptist, Stephen, Pantaleon, Patricia, Nicholas of Tolentino and Aloysius Gonzaga—nearly all in the neighborhood of Naples” (Catholic Encyclopedia).

Thursday, September 18, 2014


 


"Clearly, what God wants above all is our will which we received as a free gift from God in creation and possess as though our own. When a man trains himself to acts of virtue, it is with the help of grace from God from whom all good things come that he does this. The will is what man has as his unique possession" (St. Joseph of Cupertino, from the reading for his feast in the Franciscan breviary).

Sunday, September 14, 2014


THE CONSOLER OF THE SUFFERING SOULS

    Dominica Clara of the Holy Cross, who died in the reputation of
sanctity in 1897, was often favored with apparitions of the souls in
Purgatory. One of these souls told the servant of God that she (the soul)
owed her salvation solely to her devotion to the sorrows of Mary. Her life
had been so wicked that without a special grace from God she could not
possibly have been saved, but Mary leaves nothing unrewarded that is done
in her honor.

    During life this person had felt a tender compassion for the Mother of
Sorrows, and whenever she beheld an image representing the Dolorous Mother,
she prayed the Hail Mary seven times in her honor. She admitted, however,
that often she had practiced this devotion more from custom than from
interior devotion; for her pious mother had implanted it so deeply in her
heart that, despite her wayward life, she had always remained faithful to
it. As a reward for this slight veneration, the Mother of God showed
special maternal solicitude for her at the hour of death, recalling to her
mind the image of her Seven Sorrows in so vivid a manner that in her last
moments the penitent was seized with most profound contrition for her
sinful life. For this reason she obtained the remission of all her sins.

    According to the information imparted by this soul, the sorrow she felt
for her sins, through the intercession of the Mother of Sorrows, was so
great that it expiated not only her sins but also a great part of the
temporal punishment due to them.
I
n addition to this incomparably great
grace, the soul, while in Purgatory, was consoled by frequent visits of the
Mother of God, each of which mitigated her sufferings. Her torments ceased
entirely during the time the Blessed Virgin was personally present.

    Thousands and thousands of souls, she asserted, who had not committed
one twentieth as much evil as she, were eternally lost. "Ah," she
exclaimed, "how lively are my sentiments of gratitude when I consider what
our dear Heavenly Mother did for me in the last moments of my life! Had it
not been for Mary, I too should have shared the fate of the reprobates. For
all eternity shall my tongue proclaim the love, the goodness, the
solicitude of this sweet Virgin; unceasingly shall my voice glorify her
with canticles of praise and thanksgiving."

    Dominica Clara of the Holy Cross writes further that many who are
especially devoted to the Sorrowful Mother are scarcely detained in
Purgatory at all, and are deprived only for a short time of the vision of
God.

---------

The above is taken from Chapter 2 of the booklet "Devotion to the Sorrowful
Mother" published by TAN Books

Friday, September 12, 2014

 Holy Name of Mary.....September 12



THE MOTHER OF MERCY

    Devotion to the sorrows of Mary should be practiced especially by souls
who wish to rid themselves of sinful habits. This devotion nourishes the
spirit of compunction, affords great consolation, strengthens confidence in
God's mercy, draws down the special protection of the Blessed Mother in the hour of temptation, and preserves the converted sinner from relapsing into sin.

    The Mother of God once said to her faithful servant St. Bridget: "No
matter how numerous a person's sins may be, if he turns to me with a
sincere purpose of amendment I am prepared forthwith to  receive him
graciously, for I do not regard the number of sins he has committed, but
look only upon the dispositions with which he comes to me; for I feel no
aversion in healing his wounds, because I am called and am in truth the
Mother of Mercy."

    "Poor abandoned sinners," exclaims St. Alphonsus Liguori, "do not
despair! Raise your eyes to Mary and be comforted, trusting in the clemency of this good Mother. For she will rescue you from the shipwreck you have suffered and conduct you to the haven of salvation."

    The Mother of Sorrows likewise lends her gracious assistance in
bringing back to the True Fold those who, unhappily, have been separated
from the household of the Faith.

    The great apostleship of prayer which was organized in England for the
conversion of that country invoked Mary as the Mother of Sorrows. The
fruits of that society were formerly so great that annually ten thousand or
more Protestants returned to the True Fold. Anyone who will but try this
devotion will experience that the Blessed Virgin will not leave a single
Hail Mary unrewarded.

    Those who implore her aid in virtue of her sufferings may confidently
expect her assistance. It seems that this devotion is destined by Heaven to avert God's punishment from sinful mankind, or at least to mitigate it.

---------

The above is taken from Chapter 2 of the booklet "Devotion to the Sorrowful
Mother"

Thursday, September 4, 2014


 ST. ROSE OF VITERBO:

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

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