Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sacrifice's reward...

 Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden,
 and I will give you rest.  - Matthew 11:28

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“Take great care to go to Holy Mass,
even on weekdays;  and for such a cause
be willing to put up with some inconvenience.
Thereby you will obtain
every kind of blessing from the Lord.”

St John Bosco
Priest, Educator, Founder of Salesian Society
 Italy ~ Aug 16, 1815 - Jan 31, 1888
"Father and Teacher of Youth"
FEAST DAY - January 31

“When tempted, invoke your Angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: He trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.”  ~ St. John Bosco
St John Bosco, pray for us!


Venerable Mama Margaret is the beloved and holy mother of St John Bosco. The sanctity and holiness of St John Bosco was first nurtured by a mother's prayer, a mother's example.  From Mama Margaret to her son:

"When you came into the world I consecrated you to the Blessed Virgin Mary. When you began your studies, I inculcated this devotion in you. Now I want you to belong totally to her. Make your companions those who are devoted to Mary; and if you reach ordination, never cease to inculcate and spread this devotion."

"I have nothing to say regarding your vocation, except that you should do what God inspires you to do. Do not be concerned on my behalf. You owe me nothing. Never forget that I was born in poor circumstances, have lived in poverty all my life; and I am happy to die poor; and I say this seriously to you: if you ever become  wealthy, I shall never set foot on your doorstep."

"Dear John, you have taken the priestly habit and I am as happy as any mother could be. But never forget that it is not the habit that matters, but the effort to progress in virtue. If you ever come to have doubts about your vocation, be sure you never dishonor that priestly garb. Put it aside immediately. I would rather a poor peasant son than a priest who neglected his sacred calling".

"John, you are now a priest; you will be saying Mass; so from henceforth you will be closer to Jesus. Remember that to begin to celebrate Mass means also to begin to suffer. You will not realize this immediately, but little by little you will see that what your mother has told you is the truth."

Monday, January 30, 2017

Near, to be found...

And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age. - Matt 28:20
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"How sad it is to see men who move about in vain
to discover the means of finding God,
when they have Him so close to them
in this Divine Sacrament!"

Ven Mother Marie-Therese Dubouche (+1863)
Foundress of the Sisters of Adoration and Reparation

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Opening the door...

  "The Lord is knocking at the door of our hearts.
Have we put a sign on the door saying:
'Do not disturb'?"- Pope Francis
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"The Eucharist is essential for us: 
it is Christ who wishes to enter our lives
and fill us with His grace."
Pope Francis

Image: Light of the World, William Holman Hunt

Saturday, January 28, 2017

It signifies love, It produces love...

 "The Eucharist is the sacrament of love:
it signifies love, it produces love." - St Thomas Aquinas

"Almighty and Eternal God, behold I come to the Sacrament of Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. As one sick, I come to the Physician of life; unclean, to the Fountain of mercy; blind, to the Light of eternal splendor; poor and needy, to the Lord of heaven and earth.

Therefore, I beg of You, through Your infinite mercy and generosity, heal my weakness, wash my uncleanness, give light to my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness.

May I thus receive the Bread of Angels, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, with such reverence and humility, contrition and devotion, purity and faith, purpose and intention, as shall aid my soul's salvation ..."

St Thomas Aquinas
Italy ~ 1225-1274
Dominican monk
Theologian, philosopher, professor
Prolific writer, Hymn composer
Doctor of the Church
FEAST DAY - January 28
(Happy confirmation namesake day, Fr Howe!)

"Material food first changes into the one who eats it, and then, as a consequence, restores to him lost strength and increases his vitality. Spiritual food, on the other hand, changes the person who eats it into itself.  Thus the effect proper to this Sacrament is the conversion of a man into Christ, so that he may no longer live, but Christ lives in him; consequently, it has the double effect of restoring the spiritual strength he had lost by his sins and defects, and of increasing the strength of his virtues." ~ St Thomas Aquinas,  Commentary on Book IV of the Sentences, d.12, q.2, a.11

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"Beware the man of one book." - St Thomas Aquinas

  St Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Purest intentions...

 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions
 and in truth.  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, 
and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence… I John 3:18-19

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"In the fulfillment of your duties, 
let your intentions be so pure 
that you reject from your actions
any other motive than the glory of God 
and the salvation of souls."

St Angela Merici
Italy ~ 1470 -1540
Foundress:  Ursiline Order *
*For the education of girls and for the missions
First teaching Order of Nuns
outside confines of convent enclosure
Feast Day - Jan 27

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When Angela reached the age of 70, the day and hour of her death were revealed to her. While on her deathbed she counseled: "Whatever you would wish at your dying hour to have done in health, that do now while you may."

She received the last sacraments with great fervor, and was rapt in ecstasy. While pronouncing the holy name of Jesus, she departed this life on January 27, 1540, in the very hour that had been foretold to her.

St Angela Merici, pray for us!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Scattering splendors afar...

"Come, Thou, bread of angels and satisfy
the cravings of my soul..." - St Leonard of Port Maurice

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"Mass is the sun of the human race,
scattering its splendors over good and wicked;
nor is there a soul so vile on earth who,
hearing holy Mass, doth not carry from it
some great good, often without asking,
often without even thinking of it."

According to St Leonard of Port Maurice these benefits apply
to the priests who celebrate Mass, to the acolytes who serve the Mass,
and to the faithful who hear Mass with devotion.
So too hardened sinners will benefit from attending Mass.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Going to the end of our being...

...for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power 
and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. - I Thes 1:5a

 "The single greatest need in the world today is the practice of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  How can we say this? Logically! We have seen that the conversion of our country calls for an outpouring of marvelous power from God. Christ promised to move mountains at the words of a person who believes.  We conclude: there is no greater profession of faith than during prayer before the Holy Eucharist.

Why should prayer before Christ in the Eucharist be so potent in obtaining miracles of conversion? Because it is prayer that is animated by extraordinary faith. ... There is no miracle too great, and no miracle is greater than the conversion of sinners—provided we believe.

That is why we can say and say with complete security; the single most powerful means on earth for the conversion of America is for Catholic Americans to mobilize a crusade of prayer before the Eucharist for the conversion of our nation."  

 From The Conversion of America Through the Eucharist -  
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. (1998)
(Undoubtedly applicable to every nation! - Ed.)


January 25

*This feast is at the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an international Christian ecumenical observance that began in 1908, which is an octave (eight day observance) spanning from January 18 (Confession of Peter) to January 25.

"Being converted is simply meeting yourself for the purpose of going to the very end of your being. Conversion means a willingness to see the truth of things and conform one's conduct to it" (A. Serillanges). In the Voice and the Light that Saul encounters on the road, he sees the truth of things and willingly conforms himself to Jesus Christ.  "That dear preacher Paul ... was a wolf, but he became a lamb, a gracious vessel of love - and the fire with which Christ filled his vessel he carried through the whole world" (St Catherine of Siena).  "It is clear that Paul wholly fled from himself and cast out all his own will, and that his will was active only in relation to Christ.  Since with Christ there was nothing undesirable or repugnant to his will, it follows that his was a wondrous pleasure which was always present and with which he always lived" (Nicholas Cabasilas). Excerpt from Magnificat, Vol 17, No 11, January 2017 (pg 347).

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St Paul, pray for our continued conversion!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Heaven's dew...

"Be who you are and be that perfectly well." - St Francis de Sales

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"When the bee has gathered the dew
of heaven and the earth's sweetest nectar from the flowers,
it turns it into honey, then hastens to its hive.

In the same way, the priest, having taken from the altar the Son of God (who is as the dew from heaven,
and true son of Mary, flower of our humanity),
gives Him to you as delicious food."

St Francis de Sales
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
France ~ 1567-1622
Author of Introduction to the Devout Life (a must-read)
and A Treatise on the Love of God
Co-Founder of Sisters of the Visitation
Patron of authors, writers, deaf persons
a.k.a. the "Gentleman Saint"
(due to his patience and gentleness)
FEAST DAY - January 24

"After having conferred Holy Orders on a pious young man, St Francis de Sales noticed that the newly ordained priest hesitated before a door as if to let someone pass before him.  'Why do you pause?' asked the saint.  'God favors me with the sight of my guardian angel, ' replied the priest.  'Before I was ordained to the holy priesthood, my angel always remained at my right and preceded me.  Now he walks  at the left and refuses to go before me.' 

Such is the great veneration which the angelic spirits show even God's ministers because of their reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.'

~ From The Guardian Angels:  Our Heavenly Companions

St Francis de Sales, pray for us!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Kindness and truth shall meet...

Day of Penance* for Violations
to the Dignity of the Human Person

*In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22
(or January 23, when the 22nd falls on a Sunday) shall be
observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the
dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion,
and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the
right to life. 
--- General Instruction of the Roman Missal (U.S.), 2003n. 373

Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven. - Ps 85:10,11

“Devotion to the Eucharist leads one to a devotion to life
and a devotion to life leads one to the Eucharist….

We receive our strength for our labors for life from the 
Good News of Jesus Christ and from the Holy Eucharist.
This is the food that nourishes us for the tasks at hand….

The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith
and respect for life is our faith's first precept.”

Justin Cardinal Rigali

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"If people spent one hour per week in Eucharistic Adoration,
abortion would be ended."~ St Teresa of Calcutta

"In the Bread which came down from heaven, the family will 
be able to find the support that will keep it united in the face 
of today's threats and will preserve it as a bastion of life, 
steadfast against the culture of death." - St John Paul II 

"Our own belief is that the renovation of the world will be
brought about only by the Holy Eucharist." - Pope Leo XIII


        Lord Jesus, I firmly believe that the Blessed Sacrament is Your very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Senses cannot grasp this marvel. Faith, however, reaches beyond what the eyes can see and assures us that You are present.
        Grant, O Lord, that our faith in the Eucharist may also strengthen our ability to recognize the dignity of every human life. We know that the senses can fool us there as well. Some may not be attractive, others may seem too small, some may appear as less than human.  But we, who can see You in the Sacred Host, can certainly see you in our brothers and sisters. We can also see You, O Lordin the children in the womb. In a day when so many have forgotten these children, and dismiss them as less valuable than those who are born, grant that we may grow all the more convinced of their dignity and worth. Then grant, O Lord, that we may act accordingly. Amen. (Priests for Life)

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lost... in divine love...

"Live in the joy and the peace of the divine Majesty.
Live lost in divine love." - St Paul of the Cross

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"It is at the feet of your holy tabernacles that my heart, 
hardened by the harshest trials, has constantly found
the strength necessary to endure their rigor;
it is there that my struggles turned into victories,
my weakness into courage,
my lukewarmness into fervor,
my uncertainties into lights,
 my sadness into joy,
my obstacles into success,
my desires into willpower,
my dislikes, my jealousies,
my resentments of my neighbor into ardent charity.

All that I know, I have learned at your feet, Lord.
Receive, then, the homage of all that I am,
all that I have,
all the good that I could
ever think, say, and do."

Ven. Pauline-Marie Jaricot

Painting: The Prayer of the Children Suffering from Ringworm ~ Isidore Pils (1853)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fruit of friendship...

"The martyrdoms of the saints have taught us 
and do teach us how to conquer the world, 
with all of its fallacies, fervors, and fears."- St Augustine

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In martyrdom, Agnes also seals the other crucial element of her life, virginity for Christ and for the Church. The total gift of martyrdom is prepared, in fact, by the conscious, free and mature choice of virginity, a witness to the will to belong totally to Christ. If martyrdom is a final heroic act, virginity is the result of a long friendship with Jesus that has matured in the constant hearing of His Word, in the dialogue of prayer, in the Eucharistic encounter." 

Pope Benedict XVI
Address at the Almo Collegio Capranica, Roma,
for the Feast of St. Agnes ~ Jan 20, 2012

St Agnes
Virgin, Martyr
291-304 AD
Patron: young girls, chastity, engaged couples
FEAST DAY - January 21

Whenever a man wished to marry Agnes,
she would always say, "Jesus Christ is my only Spouse."

"This is a virgin's birthday; let us follow the example of her chastity. It is a martyr's birthday; let us offer sacrifices; it is the birthday of holy Agnes: let men be filled with wonder, little ones with hope, married woman with awe, and the unmarried with emulation. It seems to me that this child, holy beyond her years and courageous beyond human nature, received the name of Agnes (Greek: pure) not as an earthly designation but as a revelation from God of what she was to be."St. Augustine

A Roman maid of tender years … St Agnes died for Christ … Steadfast in faith, and ever chaste … She could not be enticed … Although the pagans tortured her … Their efforts were in vain … As piously and patiently … She gloried in her pain … Not even all their insults and … Humiliating acts … Could cause her vigil of the soul … To lessen or relax … When she was only thirteen years … She died beneath the sword … True to her vow to be a spouse … And virgin of our Lord … And now her soul is honored as … The little lamb of Christ … This Roman maid who kept the faith … And nobly sacrificed. Excerpt from: Poem Portraits of the Saints, James Metcalfe (pg 28)

The lamb, as a symbol of purity, is one of the symbols of St. Agnes. In Rome on this day, the Holy Father will bless two crowned lambs, brought to the Church of St. Agnes in two baskets, decorated in red (martyrdom) and white (purity), by Trappists of the Tre Fontane Monastery. The lambs are blessed and then taken to the Convent of St. Cecilia, where the Sisters care for them and use their wool to weave the palliums worn by the Pope and his Archbishops. The palliums are conferred on new archbishops -- those appointed as archbishops during the preceding year -- on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul on 29 June. Because of St. Agnes's association with lambs, a lamb-shaped cake would be nice today. Think of using coconut for the wool...
St. Agnes, like St. Valentine, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and St. Anthony of Padua, is invoked by single women in search of a husband -- and today is a good day to pray such a prayer.  In fact, Medieval folklore says that on St. Agnes Eve, girls are often granted visions of their future husbands. Scottish girls would meet in a crop field at midnight, throw grain onto the soil, and pray:

Agnes sweet and Agnes fair, Hither, hither, now repair;
Bonny Agnes, let me see 
the lad who is to marry me.

Source:  www.fisheaters.com
St Agnes, pray for us!