Friday, November 30, 2012

St. Andrew the Apostle

Andrew, Peter's brother, and John were the first disciples to follow the Lord. With tender delicacy the Gospel (John 1:35-42) describes their first meeting with Jesus. Andrew did not belong to the inner circle of the apostles, Peter, James and John, and the evangelists narrate nothing extraordinary about him (John 6:8); but tradition (resting on apocrpyhal Acts) extols his great love of the Cross and of the Savior; and the Church distinguishes him both in the Mass (his name occurs in the Canon and in the Libera since the time of Pope St. Gregory I who had a special devotion to him) and in the Breviary.

The story of his martyrdom rests on the apocryphal Acts which lack historical foundation. The pagan judge exhorted him to sacrifice to the gods. Andrew replied: "I sacrifice daily to almighty God, the one and true God. Not the flesh of oxen and the blood of goats do I offer, but the unspotted Lamb upon the altar. All the faithful partake of His flesh, yet the Lamb remains unharmed and living." Angered by the reply, Aegeas commanded him to be thrown into prison. With little difficulty the people would have freed him, but Andrew personally calmed the mob and earnestly entreated them to desist, as he was hastening toward an ardently desired crown of martyrdom.

When Andrew was led to the place of martyrdom, on beholding the cross from a distance he cried out: "O good Cross, so long desired and now set up for my longing soul I confident and rejoicing come to you; exultingly receive me, a disciple of Him who hung on you." Forthwith he was nailed to the cross. For two days he hung there alive, unceasingly proclaiming the doctrine of Christ until he passed on to Him whose likeness in death he had so vehemently desired. --The legendary account of our saint's martyrdom has this value: it presents to us the mysticism of the Cross of later times.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Patron: Achaia; Amalfi, Italy; anglers; Burgundy; diocese of Constantinople; fish dealers; fish mongers; fishermen; gout; Greece; Lampertheim; Germany; maidens; old maids; Patras, Greece; Russia; Scotland; singers; sore throats; spinsters; University of Patras; unmarried women; women who wish to become mothers.

Symbols: Fish; Saint Andrew's cross; Cross saltire (x-shaped); V or Y shaped cross; two fishes; tall cross and book; vertical spear; primitive fish hook; fisherman's net. 
Often Portrayed As: Man bound to a cross; man preaching from a cross; preacher holding some fish.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pope greets new cardinals and their families


The Pope individually greeted and congratulated all six new cardinals before they headed back home. In fact, the Pope also met their families.

BENEDICT XVI - “I am very happy to welcome you again today, in this simple family gathering and to greet the new cardinals, their families and friends and all those who accompany them, on this solemn and and important occasion.” 

The gathering was short, but moving. Outside the Vatican's Paul VI hall, the new cardinals described their experience. 

CARD. JOHN OLORUNFEMI ONAIYEKAN -Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria) “It's a long occasion and event to give thanks to God. I am not afraid, although the challenges are high. I am not afraid because I've learned in my many years, that the Church and that God will never send us anywhere if we are not accompanied by His grace. So I am good and happy and confident with God's grace." 

CARD. BASELIOS CLEEMIS THOTTUNKAL - Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Church (India) “This is a new mission for us, for the Church in India, for the Syro-Malankara Church, but again it is reconfirmed with the presence of so many people from different parts of the world. That the Church is one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.” 

CARD. BÉCHARA BOUTROS RAÏ -Maronite Patriarch (Lebanon) “This gesture of the Holy Father stressed the importance of Christians in Lebanon and in the Middle East. So after my appointment by the Holy Father, I've lived these days full of joy. Strengthened by God's grace, I've seen growing confidence in my mission and the challenges we face in the Middle East.” 

Colombia's new Cardinal, Ruben Salazar, took the opportunity to reflect on the future of his country, especially in eradicating the violence. 

CARD. RUBEN SALAZAR - Archbishop of Bogota (Colombia) “Every single Colombian is always in my prayers. I'm convinced that God will bless us with peace. I'm hoping that the negotiations taking place right now between the government and FARC rebels will put an end to the conflicts. Then, all Colombians will be able to work towards a country where no one is excluded or marginalized. A country where we can all work for the good of others.” 

From the Philippines, 55 year old Cardinal Tagle from Manila got to enjoy the moment along with both his parents. 

CARD. LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE - Archbishop of Manila (Philippines) “It's a grace. Some of the cardinals approached me and told me that their parents are no longer here. It's a blessing that my parents are both healthy and my brother is here too. Many of my relatives witnessed the event. It's not only a blessing for me and my family, but for the Church in Manila and the Church in the Philippines. We also know that it's a calling to wake up to the calling of our mission.” 

Now these six princes of the Church, will head back home, as cardinals and as collaborators of the Pope.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daily Strength - ‘Helping’ God take out the trash

When granddaughter, Hannah, was two years old, she loved to help "Papaw" take out the trash. She would grab one of the ties on the bag and I would lift the other. She was so proud that she was "helping." Of course, she only carried about 1 percent of the total load—more often adding to the weight as she leaned into the trash bag.

I'm sure that God is equally bemused when we proudly perform some righteous acts: writing a book, preaching a message, singing in the choir, helping the poor, etc. He's carrying 99 percent of the load—more often carrying the whole load as we lean on Him.

You can learn a lot of good theology from a two-year old!

The Miraculous Medal



Today, November 27, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Devotion to and wearing of the Miraculous Medal is second to the Rosary in popularity among traditional Catholic devotions.

History 

On the night of 18 July, 1830, a "child" awakened Sr. Catherine Labouré (seen above) in her Daughters of Charity convent at 140 Rue du Bac, Paris, telling her to go to the convent's chapel where Mary awaited her.

There Mary told her:

God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world. Come to the foot of the altar. Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek them. Another community of sisters will join the Rue du Bac community. The community will become large; you will have the protection of God and Saint Vincent; I will always have my eyes upon you.

Later that year, on 27 November, Catherine saw another vision of Mary. She describes her like this:
Her height was medium and her countenance, indescribably beautiful. She was dressed in a robe the color of the dawn, high-necked, with plain sleeves. Her head was covered with a white veil, which floated over Her shoulders down to her feet. Her feet rested upon a globe, or rather one half of a globe, for that was all that could be seen. Her hands which were on a level with her waist, held in an easy manner another globe, a figure of the world. Her eyes were raised to Heaven, and her countenance beamed with light as She offered the globe to Our Lord.

Mary told her that the globe represented the whole world, especially France, a country whose faithful had recently suffered horrible persecutions in the Revolution's Terrors and was still going through "Enlightenment" perfidy. 

The vision changed to Mary, still standing on a globe, rays of light streaming from her fingers, enframed in an oval frame inscribed with the words, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." The whole vision "turned" showing the back of the oval inscribed with the letter "M" entwined with a Cross, and the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the former surrounded with thorns, the latter pierced with a sword. 12 stars circled this oval frame, symbolizing the 12 Tribes of Israel and the 12 Apostles, and showing Mary as the Mother of Israel, per the Apocalypse (ch. 12). Mary told her to strike a medal in this form, and that all who wore it after having it blessed would receive graces. 

Sr. Catherine's spiritual director told Catherine's story to the Bishop of Paris, who not only allowed the medal to be struck, but received some of them himself. One of these he had with him when ministering to Napoleon's dying, heretical chaplain. The dying man had obstinately refused to reconcile with the Church, but as the Bishop was leaving after trying one last time to get him to see the error of his ways, the man suddenly broke down and repented. The Bishop attributed this to the Virgin's intercessions through the medal.

Another miraculous conversion involved that of a wealthy Jewish banker-lawyer named Alphonse Ratisbonne. He was actually dared to wear one of the medals and to pray the Memorare. This he did, and as he visited a church to arrange a funeral for a friend, he had a vision of Our Lady as she appears on the Medal. He instantly converted, and became a priest.

The Medal of the Immaculate Conception, now known as the Miraculous Medal, has become one of the most commonly worn sacramentals in the Roman Church.

St. Catherine Labouré's body remains incorrupt to this day and can be seen at her convent at Rue du Bac.

Note: St. Maximillian Kolbe (+ 1941) adopted the miraculous medal as the badge of the "Pious Union of the Militia of the Immaculate Conception" in 1917, which he founded in Rome while still a young religious of the Conventual Friars Minor

Monday, November 26, 2012

St. John Berchmans

This young saint of the Society of Jesus was born in Flanders, the oldest of five children. He grew up in an atmosphere of political turmoil caused by a religious war between the Catholic and Protestant sections of the Netherlands. He studied at the Gymnasium at Diest and worked as a servant in the household of Canon John Froymont at Malines in order to continue his studies.

In 1615, the Jesuits opened a college at Malines, and St. John Berchmans was one of the first to enter. He was an energetic student and was a leader among the students. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Malines and came under the influence of Father Antoine Sucquet. The young Berchmans developed a strong and deep spirituality based on the loving practice of fidelity. St. Aloysius of Gonzaga was his spiritual model, and he was influenced as well by the example of the Jesuit English martyrs.

It was his realistic appreciation for the value of ordinary things, a characteristic of the Flemish mystical tradition, which constituted his holiness. He was affable, kind, and endowed with an outgoing personality that endeared him to everyone. In 1618, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy and was an exceptional student. He requested after ordination to become a chaplain in the army, hoping to be martyred on the battlefield.

In the summer of 1619, the intense heat of Rome started to affect his health and he began progressively to get weaker. The doctors could not determine what was wrong, and for two years he was continually sick, requiring medical care, and as the summer of 1621 came, it was clear that he would not last long. He died peacefully on August 13, 1621, and numerous miracles were attributed to him at the time of his funeral.

He was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1865 and canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. His body lies in the church of St. Ignatius in Rome, where Aloysius of Gonzaga is also buried.

Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens

Patron: Altar boys; altar servers; Oblate novices; young people.

Symbols: Standing with hands clasped, holding his crucifix, his book of rules, and his rosary.

Friday, November 23, 2012

St. Clement

St. Clement I of Rome (92-101) was one of the first popes; according to St. Ireneus, he was the third after Peter. Clement most probably died as a martyr. Otherwise little is known of his life. It is not certain whether he is the one Paul mentions as his companion in Phil. 4:3. St. Clement's letter to the Corinthians is authentic; in it he authoritatively intervenes in that strife-torn community, a memorable act in the early history of the papacy.

The breviary gives these legendary details. Because of his zeal for souls, Pope Clement was banished to distant Chersonese; there he found two-thousand Christians who had received a similar sentence. When he came to these exiles he comforted them. "They all cried with one voice: Pray for us, blessed Clement, that we may become worthy of the promises of Christ. He replied: Without any merit of my own, the Lord sent me to you to share in your crowns." When they complained because they had to carry the water six miles, he encouraged them, "Let us all pray to the Lord Jesus Christ that He may open to His witnesses a fountain of water." "While blessed Clement was praying, the Lamb of God appeared to him; and at His feet a bubbling fountain of fresh water was flowing." Seeing the miracle, "All the pagans of the neighborhood began to believe."

When Trajan heard of these marvels, he ordered Clement to be drowned with an iron anchor about his neck. "While he was making his way to the sea, the people cried with a loud voice: Lord Jesus Christ, save him! But Clement prayed in tears: Father, receive my spirit." At the shore the Christians asked God to give them the body. The sea receded for three miles and there they found the body of the saint in a stone coffin within a small marble chapel; alongside lay the anchor. "You have given a dwelling to Your martyr Clement in the sea, O Lord, a temple of marble built by the hands of angels." The body was taken to Rome under Nicholas 1 (858-867) by Sts. Cyril and Methodius and placed in a church dedicated to his honor (S. Clemente). This is one of the most venerable of the churches in Rome because it retains all the liturgical arrangements of ancient times.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Patron: Boatmen; marble workers; mariners; sailors; sick children; stonecutters; watermen.

Symbols: Double or triple cross; tiara; fountain; anchor; maniple; marble temple in the sea; cross and anchor; nimbed lamb.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

St. Bernward

Saint Berward served as the thirteenth Bishop of Hildesheim, Germany during the middle of the tenth century. His grandfather was Athelbero, Count Palatine of Saxony. After having lost his parents, Bernward was sent to live with his uncle Volkmar, Bishop of Utrecht. His uncle enlisted the assistance of Thangmar, the pious and learned director of the cathedral school at Heidelberg, for the boy's education. Under the instruction of Thangmar, Bernward made rapid progress in Christian piety as well as in the sciences. He became very proficient in mathematics, painting, architecture, and particularly in the manufacture of ecclesiastical vessels and ornaments of silver and gold.

Saint Bernward completed his studies at Mainz, where he was then ordained a priest. In leiu of being placed in the diocese of his uncle, Bishop Volkmar, he chose to remain near his grandfather, Athelbero, to comfort him in his old age. Upon his grandfather’s death in 987, he became chaplain in the imperial court, and the Empress-Regent Theophano quickly appointed him to be tutor of her son Otto III, who was only six years old at the time. Bernward remained at the imperial court until 993, when he was elected Bishop of Hildesheim.

His knowledge and practice of the arts were entirely employed in the service of the Church. A man of extraordinary piety, he was devoted to prayer as well as the practice of mortification.

Shortly before his death in 1022 he was vested in the Benedictine habit. He was canonized by Pope Celestine III in 1193.

Excerpted from Catholic News Agency

St. Felix of Valois

Felix, born in 1127, and John of Matha founded the Order of Trinitarians for liberating captured Christians from Saracen slavery. He belonged to the royal family of Valois. The breviary recounts several marvelous events from his life. As a boy he frequently gave away his clothes to clothe the naked. He pleaded for the life of a murderer condemned to death and foretold that he would reform and lead a highly edifying life-which prophecy proved true. With St. John of Matha he journeyed to Rome at the bidding of an angel and requested permission from Pope Innocent III to found a religious Order (1198). During holy Mass the Pope was granted a revelation regarding the proposed foundation; an angel appeared to him clothed in white with a red and blue cross. At Innocent's bidding the Order took the name of the Blessed Trinity.

In the newly-founded monastery at Cerfroi, Felix was favored with a visit by the Blessed Virgin. During the night preceding the feast of Mary's Nativity all the brethren slept through Matins by a special divine dispensation. Felix alone appeared at choir, where he found the Blessed Virgin clothed in the habit of the Trinitarians, accompanied by a great throng of angels similarly dressed. United with them, with Mary as choir leader, Felix recited the Office as usual. When he was about to leave the earthly choirs to join those of heaven, an angel foretold to him the day of his departure; he admonished his brethren to persevere in love toward captives and the poor, and died on November 4, 1212, mature in age and merit.

— The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Symbols: Cloak with red and blue cross; white stage with cross between its horns; fountain; flag; purse; slave; 
Often Portrayed As: old man in Trinitarian habit with a coronet at his feet; Trinitarian with a stag nearby; Trinitarian with chains or captives nearby; with Saint John of Matha; with the Holy Trinity.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Keep Me Focused, Lord

Time is what I pray about most. The older I get, the more I appreciate the preciousness of time. I only have so much of it allotted to me, and there are no reruns. I have to be busy attending to my Father’s work before the sand in my hourglass runs out.


— from Envoy for Christ



Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

Origin of the Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

In the writings of St. Margaret Mary we find the following exhortation: "In union with the divine Heart of Jesus make a short pilgrimage to Purgatory at night. Offer Him all your activities of the day and ask Him to apply His merits to the suffering souls. At the same time implore them to obtain for you the grace to live and die in the love and friendship of this divine Heart. May He never find in you any resistance to His holy will, not any wish to thwart His designs in your regard. Fortunate will you be, if you succeed in obtaining deliverance for some of these imprisoned souls, for you will gain as many friends in heaven."

This pious practice which St. Margaret Mary recommended to her novices for the octave of All Souls, was introduced to the members of the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the year 1885. Since then many of the faithful have made this pilgrimage daily. Our world-wide Archconfraternity, therefore, would seem to have been chosen by divine Providence to obtain comfort and deliverance for many souls in purgatory.

In a letter of recommendation, given on January 5, 1884, His Eminence, Cardinal Monaco la Vaette, Vicar General of His Holiness, sanctioned the propagation of the "Daily Pilgrimage toPurgatory." On October 8 of the following year, his successor, Cardinal Patochi, deigned not only to honor us with a letter of approbation, but also delivered a splendid sermon on this practice in the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Rome, in which it had been introduced. "May it please the divine Heart of Jesus to use this booklet as a means of spreading.this work of sympathetic love for the Poor Souls everywhere. May this most benevolent of hearts extend to all who in any way assist in its circulation, the fullness of His graces and blessings."

Advantages of this Practice

It is short. A "Daily Pilgrimage" It requires little more of your time than an ordinary prayer, a religious thought, or a devout ejaculation.

It is easy. It can be practiced by any one without effort, regardless of age or state of life, at any time, and in any place. It is comforting. No more is required than to descend in spirit for a few moments into Purgatory; to petition God to send light, relief and peace to the holy souls; to relieve them of their sufferings, and to hasten the hour of their deliverance.

It is holy. It is in accordance with the wishes of the Sacred Heart; it increases His honor; He is our companion on this pilgrimage. We share in His love, and receive from Him light, relief and peace for the suffering souls.

It is generous. It offers to the Sacred Heart every meritorious deed performed in the course of a day: prayers, mortifications, good works, alms, suffrages of every kind, and places them at His disposal in behalf of the Poor Souls.

It is inexhaustible. It implores Out Lord and Savior to apply to them the infinite merits of His Life, His Passion and Death, and also those of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and all the Saints.

It is efficacious. If only you knew with what ardent desire these holy souls long for this new "remedy" which has such efficacy to relieve their sufferings. For this is what St. Margatet Mary calls the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

It is meritorious. By extending this act of brotherly love to the Poot Souls, our own merits are increased in the same measure as the pious thoughts which it inspires, the good disposition which it creates, the acts of virtue which it prompts. 

It goes on unceasingly. At every moment of the day and night, somewhere on earth members of the Archconfraternity pray for our departed friends according to our intention. There is an uninterrupted sequence of holy Masses, Stations of the Cross, good works, prayers and indulgences. Those whose death we mourn will never be forgotten.

It is approved by the Church. Many bishops have readily given their approval. His Eminence, the Cardinal Vicar of His Holiness, has recommended it twice in a most explicit manner. The Holy Father himself has deigned to bestow the richest privileges upon the altar of the Poor Souls in the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Rome.

It is favored by God Himself. Numerous spiritual and temporal favors have manifested, again and again, how pleasing this practice is to the Sacred Heart. One may use it with confidence as a means of obtaining the conversion of a sinner, the restoration of heath, or a special grace. Very effective also is the promise to promote this devotion if a petition be heard. If the Lord rewards in this life the gift of a cup of cold water, given in His name to the poor, He certainly will reward, even more generously, the help offered for His sake to the Poor Souls.

It is Salutary. By helping the Poor Souls, we assure ourselves their perpetual gratitude; they will pray for us, especially after their entrance into eternal happiness; in particular will they endeavor to obtain for us the grace of a happy death. "On awaking this morning, on the Sunday of the Good Shepherd," wrote St. Margaret Mary two hundred years ago, "two of my suffering friends came to take leave of me; today the Good Shepherd received them into His eternal home. They left with untold joy and happiness. When I asked them to remember me, they replied: 'Ingratitude has never entered heaven'."

It deserves to be propagated. O you my Christian friends who read these lines, priests, religious or devout lay-people, help to spread this devotion. It is so simple, and requires so little effort; moreover, you will be rewarded for it. Let at least one tiny drop of water trickle into Purgatory every day. If no one refuses to do so, many souls will be released, and a refreshing stream of grace will flow without ceasing through that prison of fire.

PRAYERS

O St. Margaret Mary, whom the Lord has chosen to reveal to the whole world all the treasures hidden in His merciful Heart of Love! O thou, who hast heard how the Poor Souls in Purgatory begged for this new remedy, the devotion to the Sacred Heart, which relieves them so effectively of their torments! O thou, who hast set free so many of these poor prisoners by practicing this devotion: obtain for us the grace to make this Pilgrimage worthily in the company of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.

I unite all my intentions with all the faithful, who make this pilgrimage daily.


Consecration of the Day


Divine Heart of Jesus, in making this pilgrimage with Thee as my Companion, I consecrate to Thee all my thoughts, words and actions of the entire day. I pray Thee to unite my small merits with Thine and to apply them to the Poor Souls, especially the soul of Thy servant (s), N. N.

Likewise do I entreat you, holy souls, to help me obtain the grace to persevere in love and loyalty toward the Sacred Heart, by submitting readily and without complaint to whatever designs He may have in my regard.


Offering


Eternal Father, we offer Thee the Blood, Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, and the sorrows of the most holy Mary and St. Joseph, in payment for our sins, in suffrage for the holy souls in Purgatory, for the wants of our Holy Mother the Church, and for the conversion of sinners. Amen.


Ejaculations


"May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere."
"Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us."
"St. Joseph, model and patron of those who love the Sacred Heart, pray for us."


Preparatory Meditation


Let us for a moment, in company with the Sacred Heart, descend in spirit into the consuming flames of Purgatory.

How many of these souls are beginning their painful imprisonment this very moment! How many of them have been there for a long time and shall be there for a longer time to come! And what a holy legion, almost entirely purified and cleansed at the present moment, shall rise to heaven this very day!

How happy the Poor Souls are! They have escaped hell forever. They are certain to obtain eternal happiness. They are friends of God; they are saved.

And yet, how miserable they are at the same time. They must still suffer temporal punishment for the sins which have been already forgiven them. The gates of the heavenly fatherland are still closed to them; they are sentenced to expiating fire.

Behold them in their present plight! Listen to their lamentations! Speak to them a word of friendship and sympathy, and hasten to their assistance!


De Profundis
Psalm 129

Out of the depths I have cried unto Thee, O Lord, Lord hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, shalt mark our iniquities, O Lord, who can abide it?
For with Thee there is mercy; and by reason of Thy law I have waited on Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath waited on His word; my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even unto the night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy; and with Him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.


Monday

Regret: Extravagance in the use of earthly possessions.

Pious Exercises



Resolution: To assist the souls of the faithful departed from all parts of Europe. I also recommend myself to those who are entering heaven at this moment.



Thought for the Day: "The gates of heaven are opened by alms." (St. John Chrys. hom. 32 in Ep. ad Heb.)



Exercise: Give an alms for the propagation of the devotion to the divine Heart of Jesus.



Special Intention: Pray for the soul nearest to heaven.



Motive: The closer the soul is to the end of its sufferings, the more ardently will it long for union with the Sacred Heart. Remove, therefore, the obstacles still in its way. In return, it will obtain for you the grace to sever the ties which now prevent you from giving yourself entirely to God.



Prayer


O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in Purgatory and that soul especially which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory; that so it may forthwith begin to praise and bless Thee forever. Amen.

Our Father . . . Hail Mary


Ejaculation: Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!

Friday, November 16, 2012

St. Gertrude

St. Gertrude was born in Eisleben, Germany in 1256. As a five year old, she was received into the monastery of the Cistercian nuns in Helfta. She was an intellectually gifted student with a gentle disposition who applied herself to her studies, concentrating on literature and philosophy.

At the age of 26, Gertrude had the first of many visions of Jesus which brought about a deep interior conversion, drawing her into the innermost recesses of His Sacred Heart. Her heart symbolically united in a vision to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she was a precursor of the later devotion to the Sacred Heart. She also advocated frequent reception of the Eucharist and devotion to St Joseph. 

Similar to other mystics, such as St. Teresa of Avila, the Passion of Christ was her favorite devotion and when she meditated on it, or on the blessed Eucharist, she was often unable to control the torrents of tears which flowed from her eyes. She frequently went into ecstasy when she meditated or focused on the great love of Christ and united her heart with His.

On one occasion, Jesus, appeared to Gertrude in a vision and pointed out to her the wound in his side, out of which flowed a stream of crystal-clear water. The heart of Christ seemed to her to be suspended like a lamp in her own heart. She heard it throbbing with His unconditional, redemptive love for both saint and sinner. 

In her short book of "Divine Insinuations, or Communications and Sentiments of Love," she proposed exercises for the renewal of baptismal vows, by which the soul completely renounces the world and herself, consecrates herself to the pure love of God, abandoning herself entirely to His holy will. 

When in a vision the Lord asked Gertrude whether she would prefer health or sickness, she responded, "Divine Lord, give me whatever pleases You. Do not consider my wishes at all. I know that what You choose to send is the best for me."

Gertrude was an extraordinarily charitable person toward all those she encountered and her love for others manifested itself in tender sympathy towards the souls in purgatory. An extremely humble person, she prayed that her many spiritual gifts not be manifested outwardly to others and her request was granted. Gertrude was blessed with the gift of prophecy as well as the gift of miracles. A prolific writer, she authored five books on spirituality. However, only three of them are still in existence.

Gertrude died on November 17th, 1301 or 1302 of natural causes. She is the patron saint of nuns, travelers, and the West Indies.

Prayer of Saint Gertrude the Great

Dictated by Our Lord, to release 1000 souls from purgatory each time it is said.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son Jesus Christ, in union with the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, said throughout the world today, for all the holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home, and within my family.

St. Margaret of Scotland

She was born in Hungary (1046), where her father was living in exile, and likewise spent her childhood there as an unusually devout and pious girl. In the course of time she went to England, when her father was called to high office in his fatherland by his uncle, King St. Edward III. Fortune, however, soon reversed itself again (Margaret's father died suddenly in 1057), and upon leaving England a mighty storm — or better, divine Providence — brought her to the shores of Scotland. Upon instructions from her mother, Margaret married Malcolm III, king of Scotland, in 1069. The country was blessed by her holy life and by her deeds of charity for the next thirty years. Her eight children she zealously trained in the practice of Christian virtues.

In the midst of royal splendor Margaret chastised her flesh by mortification and vigils and passed the greater part of the night in devout prayer. Her most remarkable virtue was love of neighbor, particularly love toward the poor. Her alms supported countless unfortunates; daily she provided food for three hundred and shared in the work of serving them personally, washing their feet and kissing their wounds.

—Excerpted from the Roman Breviary

Queen Margaret of Scotland is the secondary patroness of Scotland. Margaret's copy of the Gospels is preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.

Patron: Death of children; large families; learning; queens; Scotland; widows.

Symbols: Black cross; sceptre and book; hospital.
Often portrayed as: queen, often carrying a black cross, dispensing gifts to the poor.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Keeping in touch, one tweet at a time. The touching story of three Spanish brothers


Using twitter may be a hobby for most people, but for two Spanish brothers, it's more of a necessity. Under doctors orders, they have to be in complete isolation from the outside world, for an entire month. 

It all started when 18 year old, Javier Alonso Nestares, was diagnosed with a disease that prevents him from producing white blood cells. To survive, doctors told him he needed a bone marrow transplant. 

His family didn't waste any time. It turns out, his brother, 20 year old Federico is a match-who agreed to be a donor. To follow their journey, their eldest brother, Borja, created a twitter account@Enaislamiento, to document the process. 

Now that Javier has received the transplant, he's recuperating at a hospital in Northern Spain, but to keep him company, his older brother was allowed to stay with him, also in isolation for that entire month. 

So, Javier and Borja, may not be able to go outside their hospital room, but through twitter they keep in touch with their family, and that includes Federico. More than 10,000 people are following their twitter account, to enjoy a real life story of life, sacrifice, brotherly love and solidarity.

St. Albert the Great

Albert, the "light of Germany," called the Great because of his encyclopedic knowledge, was born in 1193 at Lauingen, Donau. He studied at Padua, where under the influence of the second Dominican general, he joined the newly-founded Order of Preachers (1223). Soon he was sent to Germany, taught in various cities, particularly Cologne; Thomas Aquinas was his student. In 1248 he received the honor of Master in Sacred Theology at Paris. Throngs attended his lectures.

In 1254 Albert was chosen provincial of his Order in Germany. For a time he lived at the court of Pope Alexander II, who in 1260 made him bishop of Regensburg; two years later, however, he returned to his community at Cologne. There he acted as counselor, peacemaker, and shepherd of souls with great success. He died at the age of eighty-seven. Pope Pius XI numbered him among the ranks of the saints on December 16, 1931, and declared him a doctor of the Church. Much of his life was given to writing. His twenty-one folio volumes are devoted to commentaries on Aristotle (whose works were just then becoming known in the West) and the Bible. Legend credits him with drawing the ground plans for the cathedral at Cologne. Albert, the greatest German scholar of the Middle Ages, was outstanding in the fields of natural science, theology, and philosophy.

—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Albert is named "Doctor Universalis" because of his vast knowledge and writings.

Patron: Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio; medical technicians; natural sciences; philosophers; schoolchildren; scientists; students; students of theology.

Symbols: crosier of a bishop; cap of the teacher; large book; cross over the sun, the moon and the earth (symbolizing his theological wisdom and knowledge of nature); Man dressed as a Dominican bishop lecturing from a pulpit; man arguing with Saint Thomas Aquinas; Dominican holding a globe, lecturing from a pulpit, or studying.

Quote: "The greater and more persistent your confidence in God, the more abundantly you will receive all that you ask."

Prayer of St. Albert

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who seekest those who stray and receivest them when returning, make me approach to Thee through the frequent hearing of They Word, lest I sin against my neighbor by the blindness of human judgement, through the austerity of false justice, through comparing his inferior status, through too much trust in my merits or through ignorance of the Divine Judgement. Guide me to search diligently each corner of my conscience lest the flesh dominate the spirit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daily Strength - It is good to be elderly!


It is good to be elderly! At every age it is necessary to know how to discover the presence and the blessing of the Lord, and the richness that this brings. We must not allow ourselves to be imprisoned by sadness! We have received the gift of long life. To live is beautiful, even at our age and despite infirmities or limitations. Let our faces always reflect the joy of being loved by God, and never sadness".


Pope Benedict XVI - During his visit to "Viva gli Anziani" rest home for the elderly in Rome on November 12th 2012

St. Lawrence O'Toole



The saint of the day for November 14 is St. Lawrence O'Toole.

St. Lawrence O'Toole was born around 1128 in County Kildare, Ireland. His father was the chief of Hy Murray, and his mother one of the Clan O'Byrne. At the age of 10, Lawrence was given up as a hostage to King Mac Murehad of Leinster, who treated him with such inhumanity that his father obliged the King to turn him over to the Bishop of Glendalough.

St. Lawrence grew to be such a model of virtue, that at the young age of 25 he was chosen to replace the Bishop as abbot upon the Bishop’s death. He governed his community with virtue and prudence, and was unanimously chosen to fill the new See of Dublin in 1161.

In 1171, St. Lawrence visited King Henry II of England to handle affairs of his diocese. While approaching the altar to officiate at Mass, the Archbishop was violently attacked by a maniac. Everyone present thought he was mortally wounded, but Saint Lawrence came to, asked for some water, blessed it and applied it to his wound. The bleeding immediately stopped and the Archbishop continued to celebrate Mass.

St. Lawrence was most widely known for his piety, charity, and prudence, and was respected as a negotiator.

He died on November 14, 1180, at Eu in Normandy. He was canonized in 1225 by Honorius III.

St. Lawrence is the patron of the archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TO GIVE SPACE TO THE ELDERLY IS TO GIVE SPACE TO LIFE

Vatican City, (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father visited the Sant Egidio Community's "Viva gli Anziani" rest home for the elderly in Rome. In a brief address to the residents he said that he came among them "as Bishop of Rome, but also as an elderly person visiting his peers. I well know the difficulties and limitations of age, and am aware that for many people these difficulties are aggravated by the economic crisis".

"At times", he continued, "at a certain age, one turns to the past with regret for the loss of youth, its energy and plans for the future. At times our perspective is veiled with sadness, as we consider this phase as the twilight of life. This morning, ideally addressing all the elderly and aware of the difficulties that our age brings, I would like to say to you with profound conviction: it is good to be elderly! At every age it is necessary to know how to discover the presence and the blessing of the Lord, and the richness that this brings. We must not allow ourselves to be imprisoned by sadness! We have received the gift of long life. To live is beautiful, even at our age and despite infirmities or limitations. Let our faces always reflect the joy of being loved by God, and never sadness".

The Holy Father recalled that in the Bible, "longevity is considered as a blessing from God; today this blessing is widespread and must be seen as a gift to appreciate and value. Yet often society, dominated by the logic of efficiency and profit, does not welcome it as such; on the contrary, it often rejects it, considering the elderly as unproductive and useless". However, the Pope observed, the elderly are a source of wisdom and "a great resource. The quality of a society, of a civilisation, may also be judged by how it treats its elderly and by the place reserved for them in communal life. To give space to the elderly is to give space to life!"

Benedict XVI's visit forms a part of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Among Generations, and in this context he affirmed that the elderly "are of value to society, above all for the young. There can be no true human education and growth without fruitful contact with the elderly, because their very existence is like an open book in which younger generations may find valuable guidance for their own journey through life". 

"At our age", he observed, "we often experience the need for the assistance of others, and this also happens to the Pope. ... I would like to invite you to see in this too a gift from the Lord. It is a grace to be supported and accompanied, to receive the affection of others! This is important in every phase of life: no one can live alone and without help; humans are relational beings. … Never be discouraged: you are valuable to society, even in suffering and sickness. And this phase of life is a gift that also allows us to deepen our relationship with God. The example of Blessed Pope John Paul II was and remains illuminating to all. Do not forget that, among the valuable resources you have, there is the essential gift of prayer".

"The prayer of the elderly can protect the world, helping it perhaps in a more incisive way than is achieved by the efforts of many. I would like, today, to entrust to your prayer the good of the Church and peace in the world. The Pope loves you and counts on you all! Know that you are loved by God, and bring to our society, often so individualistic and intent upon efficiency, a ray of God's love".

Monday, November 12, 2012

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Novena Nov 12-20

Gracious and lovable art thou in thy splendor, O holy Mother of God!
Show me thy countenance. Let thy words sound in my ears, for thy voice is sweet and thy countenance is beautiful.
Turn to us in thy beauty and loveliness!
Come forth in majesty and reign!

Hail Mary…

O Blessed Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, Temple of the Lord, sanctuary of the Holy Ghost,
thou alone, without an equal, hast pleased our Lord Jesus Christ!
Hail Mary…

Blessed indeed art thou, O holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise, for from thee arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our Lord.
Draw us, O Immaculate Virgin; we shall come after thee, breathing the sweet fragrance of thy virtues!

Hail Mary

(Here state your petitions.)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother!
To thee to do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

St. Josaphat


Josaphat Kuncewitcz was born about the year 1580 at Vladimir, Volhynia, [part of the Polish province of Lithuania at the time] and given the name John at baptism. While being instructed as a child on the sufferings of our Savior, his heart is said to have been wounded by an arrow from the sacred side of the Crucified.

In 1604 he joined the Ukrainian Order of Saint Basil (Basilians), lived as a monk in a very mortified life, went barefoot even in winter, refrained from the use of wine and flesh-meat, and always wore a penitential garb. In 1614 he was appointed archimandrite of Vilna, Russia and four years later archbishop of Polotzk; in this position he worked untiringly for Church reunion.

He was a great friend of the poor, once even pledged his archepiscopal omophorion (pallium) to support a poor widow. The foes of union decided to assassinate him. In a sermon, he himself spoke of his death as imminent. When he visited Vitebsk (now in Russia), his enemies attacked his lodging and murdered a number of his companions. Meekly the man of God hastened toward the mob and, full of love, cried, "My children, what are you doing? If you have something against me, see, here I am." With furious cries of "Kill the papist!", they rushed upon him with gun and sword. Josaphat's body was thrown into the river but emerged, surrounded by rays of light, and was recovered. His murderers, when sentenced to death, repented their crime and became Catholics.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Daily Strength - Total Health Care

We are called to prayer, to talk to our God about what is happening in our lives. Placing our health concerns before our loving God must be a part of our total health care—right up there with doctor’s visits and our medicines. Prayer is just what the doctor should order.





Friday, November 9, 2012

Pope to join celebs, presidents with Twitter feed


He already has a billion followers.

Now, Pope Benedict XVI will join the Twitter-sphere, tweeting from a personal account along with the world's celebrities, leaders and ordinary folk.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi made the announcement Thursday, saying details about Benedict's handle and other information will come when the Vatican officially launches the account, perhaps before the end of the year.

The 85-year-old Benedict sent his first tweet from a Vatican account last year when he launched the Vatican's news information portal, aimed at the world's 1.1 billion Catholics. The new Twitter account will be his own, though it's doubtful Benedict himself will wrestle down his encyclicals, apostolic exhortations and other papal pronouncements into 140-character bites.

Benedict, who writes longhand and doesn't normally use a computer, will more likely sign off on tweets written in his name.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pope send letter to Obama



Pope Benedict XVI congratulated Barack Obama for being re-elected as president of the United States of America. The Pope expresses his best wishes to him on his new mandate, and gives assurances of his prayers to God to help him carry out his serious responsibilities, both in his own country and within the international community. 

The Pope also mention his hope that the ideals of freedom and justice, which guided the founding fathers of the Unites States of America, may continue to shine out as the nation progresses.

Bl. John Duns Scotus

John Duns Scotus was probably born in the winter of 1266 in the South of Scotland. Around 1279 he was accepted in a Franciscan friary in South Scotland. After eight years of preliminary studies in philosophy, or rather in the artes, at Oxford, he started to study theology there in 1288. Having attained the age of 25 he was ordained a priest in Northampton on March 17th 1291.

In the academic year 1297-98 John Duns prepared his first theological course which would change his life. During the next year he gave this course, on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, the most important textbook of systematic theology at the time. During these years (1297-99) Duns wrote Lectura I-II, his lecture notes on the two first books of the Sentences. Scotus' course based on these notes not only impressed his audience very much, but also the Franciscan leadership, and established his name as an exceptionally penetrating and original thinker.

In the summer of 1301 Scotus had fulfilled all the requirements for being a master (magister). However, he was sent to Paris by the Franciscan leadership in order to continue a Parisian career, at the most prestigious university of Europe.

After having again taught on the Sentences for a year, he and some of his colleagues were banished in June 1303 from Paris because of a conflict between the French king Philip IV and Pope Boniface VIII. He returned to his studium at Oxford and probably spent the first half of 1304 in Cambridge.

At the end of the summer of 1304 he was already back in Paris where he became professor of theology in 1306. Duns Scotus and his socius continued to work very hard on hisOrdinatio together with a staff of assistants. The Ordinatio was meant to be the definitive edition of his Commentary on the Sentences. For this edition he used his Lectura I-III andReportatio Parisiensis IV and piles of other materials he had prepared in the meantime.

In 1307 Duns leaves Paris again, but this time he left for Cologne in order to become the professor of theology at the Franciscan House of Studies (Studium). On November 8, 1308 he suddenly died in Cologne, leaving behind quite a number of unfinished works, including his Ordinatio.

Excerpted from Research Group John Duns Scotus

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Daily Strength

“He has not made us for nought; 
He has brought us thus far, in order to bring us further, in order to bring us on to the end. 
He will never leave us nor forsake us; so that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.’ 
We ‘may cast all our care upon Him who careth for us.’ 
What is it to us how our future path lies, if it be but His path? 
What is it to us whither it leads us, so that in the end it leads to Him? 
What is it to us what He puts upon us, so that He enables us to undergo it with a pure conscience, a true heart, not desiring anything of this world in comparison of Him? 
What is it to us what terror befalls us, if He be but a hand to protect and strengthen us?” 

– John Henry Newman

Choose to give your son (s) words of life

I just had to post this as a mother of two wonderful boys.

By Nathan Clarkson “those” boys
As I walked to the grocery store, I suddenly realized a bad habit of mine . . .

I walk with my head down watching every step I take.

 
#mobsociety
I discovered as I did this that my entire trip to the market was filled with every piece of trash, crack in the sidewalk, and discarded rotting food product, leaving me a bit frustrated at peoples’ carelessness, agitated at having to walk around pot holes, and grossed out by the unpleasant sight of week old litter.

So on the trip back to my house I decided to lift my head, and see the world above the dirty ground as I walked home.

As I did I started noticing what a nice day it was, I would have random people look and smile at me, I saw interesting things in windows and soon found my attitude and composure was no longer one of disgust and agitation, but of happiness and joy for a nice walk.

My peripheral vision warned me whenever there was a bigger crack in the sidewalk or food item to avoid, but for the most part my vision was filled with interesting, fun, beautiful things contrasting my previous walk filled with each imperfection.

Just a tilting of my head . . . a change in the angle angle of my eyes changed my whole demeanor.

There’s a misconception that girls are only the ones who need to be told they’re pretty, and have doting positive remarks said about them.

While girls may be more vocal and honest about their need, I believe with all my heart that boys and men need them just as much.

I find my self constantly asking and seeking for those close to me to express my worth to them. I need to hear that I am strong and good, that I have hero qualities.

That I am a man of God and even that I am handsome!

When I hear these things, it builds me up, and puts a desire in me to live up to the things being said about me. It gives me confidence to live my best life, and to be the best man I can be.

Growing up I was lucky, I had a mom who chose at every turn to remind of my positive attributes. I say I was lucky because, to be honest, I had plenty of less than flattering qualities, whether it be my constant mouthiness, or my inability to focus on anything longer than 30 seconds, or my consistent need to be the center of attention.

But instead of focusing on those she decided to instead remind me I was “strong,” and “a brave man of God,” and, my personal favorite, a “Superman”.

To this day, I still hear those words of life ringing in my heart encouraging me to be the best man I can be.

When I was about three years old, my family and I were doing a reenactment of David and Goliath for Bible learning time. I had nabbed the coveted role of David and was dressed in my best Israelite garb or plastic armor. Armed with a shoe string sling, and imaginary stone, I was ready to take on the giants played by my dad.

As my big scene approached, Goliath (my dad) thunders up to me and says:

“David! I have come here to fight you! Are you a coward?”

And with all the might I could muster I replied in my high pitched warrior voice of a three year old:

“YES I AM!”

To this day this is a warm family story told at almost every get-together, but in that moment there were no giggles or laughs, there were no correcting adults interrupting to explain my incorrect understanding of the word “coward”.

Instead there was only support and a recognition of the man I was trying to be as I swung my string and killed the Giant.

You have the ability to look down and see all of your son’s mistakes, short comings and disappointments. You also have the ability to look up and see the positives and strengths that they hold.

One provides destruction and points out all they can’t and haven’t been. The other brings life and encourages them to chase and become the best man they can.

So I urge you, when looking at and talking to your boys, look up and bring words of life. It will make all the difference in showing them not what they aren't, but of what they can become.


Will you look down or up?

The election is over but our prayer continues



The election is over but our prayer continues.

We pray for the United States of America, especially for healing of the many divisions that threaten to overcome the nation.

We pray for the elected officials and for the future with this prayer from the U.S. Bishops entitled “Prayer After an Election.”
God of all nations, Father of the human family, we give you thanks for the freedom we exercise and the many blessings of democracy that is enjoyed in the United States of America.
We ask for your protection and guidance for all who devote themselves to the common good, working for justice and peace at home and around the world. We lift up all the duly elected leaders and public servants, those who will serve the nation as president, as legislators and judges, those in the military and law enforcement. Heal all from the differences and unite all, O Lord, with a common purpose, dedication, and commitment to achieve liberty and justice in the years ahead for all people, and especially those who are most vulnerable in our midst. Amen

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

St. Leonard of Limoges

Leonard of Noblac or of Limoges (also known as Lienard, Linhart, Leonhard) (died in 559), was a Frankish noble in the court of Clovis I. He was converted to Christianity along with the king by Saint Remigius ("Saint Rémy"), Bishop of Reims. Leonard secured the release of a number of prisoners, for whom he has become a patron saint, then, declining the offer of a bishopric, he entered a monastery at Micy near Orléans, under the direction of Saint Mesmin and Saint Lie. Then, according to his legend, Leonard became a recluse in the forest of Limousin, where he gathered a number of followers. Through his prayers the queen of the Franks was safely delivered of a male child, and in recompense Leonard was given royal lands at Noblac, 21 km from Limoges, where he founded the abbey of Noblac, around which a village grew, named in his honour Saint-Leonard de Noblat.

In the eleventh century his cult rapidly spread, at first through Frankish lands, following the release of Bohemond I of Antiochin 1103 from a Danishmend prison. Bohemond, a charismatic leader of the First Crusade, subsequently visited the Abbey of Noblac, where he made an offering in gratitude for his release. Bohemund's example inspired many similar gifts, enabling the Romanesque church and its visible landmark belltower to be constructed. About the same time Noblac was becoming a stage in the pilgrimage route that led towards Santiago de Compostela. Leonard's cult spread through all of Western Europe: in England with its cultural connections to the region, no fewer than 177 churches are dedicated to him. Leonard was venerated in the Low Countries, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, particularly in Bavaria, and also in Bohemia, Poland, and elsewhere. Pilgrims and patronage flowed to Saint-Leonard de Noblac. Leonard or Lienard became one of the most venerated saints of the late Middle Ages. His intercession was credited with miracles for the release of prisoners, women in labour and the diseases of cattle. His feast day is 6th November, when he is honoured with a festival at Bad Tölz, Bavaria.

Excerpted from thisismiddleton.co.uk

Friday, November 2, 2012

All Soul's Day

Death does not separate us from one another—neither from the saints, nor from loved ones who have died but had not become perfectly holy on earth. We are helped by the prayers of the saints and we pray for those who have died in need of further healing and purification. This is our great Communion of Saints. 

Let us  pray for all deceased members of our families. Our reflection is from Pope Benedict’s Angelus Message for November 1, 2011. 

November 2 is dedicated to the Commemoration of the faithful departed; it helps us to remember our dear ones who have left us and all the souls on the journey to the fullness of life, on the heavenly horizon of the Church, to which [yesterday’s] Solemnity has elevated us. Since the early days of the Christian faith, the earthly Church, recognizing the communion of the whole mystical body of Jesus Christ, has honored with deep respect the memory of the dead, she offers suffrage for them. Our prayer for the dead is therefore not only useful but necessary, as it can not only help them, but also make their intercession for us effective. Also visiting cemeteries, while preserving the ties of affection with those who loved us in this life, reminds us that we are all going towards another life, beyond death. 

May the tears, due to earthly departure, not prevail over the certainty of the resurrection, over the hope of reaching eternal beatitude, “the supreme moment of satisfaction, in which totality embraces us and we embrace totality” (Spe Salvi #12). 

The object of our hope is to rejoice in the presence of God in eternity. Jesus promised this to his disciples, saying: “I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (Jn 16:22). Let us entrust to the Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints, our pilgrimage towards the heavenly homeland, as we invoke her maternal intercession for our departed brothers and sisters.

Prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let the perpetual light shine upon them.
And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

All Souls’ Day Indulgence -- November 2 Plenary Indulgence

From the Handbook of Indulgences

Visiting a Church or an Oratory on All Souls Day

A plenary (“full”) indulgence, which is applicable only to the souls in Purgatory is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on (November 2nd,) All Souls Day.

Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on All Souls Day (Nov. 2nd)

1. Visit a church and pray for souls in Purgatory
2. Say one “Our Father” and the “Creed” in the visit to the church
3. Say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the Holy Father’s intentions
4. Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day if you can get to Mass)
5. Make a sacramental confession within a week of All Souls Day
6. For a plenary indulgence be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin (otherwise, the indulgence is partial, not plenary, “full”).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Card. Sean O'Malley uses twitter to highlight opposition of assisted suicide

Cardinal O’Malley to tweet every day to reach out to Catholics on topical issues, including assisted suicide ballot question. Follow his twitter account.

Solemnity of All Saints

As we honor the saints of all times today, we ask them to intercede with us. This reflection is from Pope Benedict’s Angelus Message for this feast last year.

The Solemnity of All Saints is a favourable occasion to raise our gaze from earthly realities, marked by time, to God’s dimension, the dimension of eternity and holiness. Today’s Liturgy reminds us that holiness is the original vocation of every baptized person. In fact, Christ, who with the Father and with the Spirit alone is all holy (cf. Rev 15:4), loved the Church as his Bride and gave himself up for her, in order to sanctify her (cf. Eph 5:25-26). For this reason all members of the People of God are called to become holy, according to the Apostle Paul’s affirmation: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess 4:3). 

We are therefore invited to see the Church not only in her temporal and human aspect, marked by fragility, but as Christ wanted her to be, that is, in “the communion of saints” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church #946). 

In the Creed we profess that the Church is “holy”, holy since she is the Body of Christ, an instrument of sharing in the sacred Mysteries — primarily in the Eucharist — and the family of Saints, to whose protection we are entrusted on the day of our Baptism. 

Today we venerate this innumerable community of All Saints, who, through their different paths of life, show us the various ways to holiness, united by a common denominator: to follow Christ and conform ourselves to him, the ultimate goal of our alternating human events. All the stages of life, in fact, can become ways of sanctification with the action of grace and with the commitment and perseverance of each one.