Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pope St. Pius X, "Pope of the Eucharist"



Today, August 21st, is the memorial of Pope St. Pius X (1835-1914).

Giuseppe Sarto was born June 2, 1835, the second of ten children born to a poor family in the village of Riese, Province of Treviso, near Venice. His mother, Margherita Sanson, was a seamstress. His father, Giovanni Sarto, who was a cobbler by trade, as well as the caretaker of the city hall and the town's postmaster, passed away when Giuseppe was 16.

Giuseppe entered the seminary at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 23. For nine years, he served as chaplain at Tombolo, having to assume most of the functions of parish priest, as the pastor was old and in poor health. He sought to prefect his knowledge of theology by studying Saint Thomas and canon law. He established a night school for adults, and devoted himself to pastoral ministry for 17 years. He became the bishop of Mantua, cardinal patriarch of Venice, and Pope in 1903. As Pope, he took as the motto of his reign "to renew all things in Christ."

Referred to as the "Pope of the Eucharist", he advocated frequent Communion for adults, sacramental preparation for children, and instruction in catechism for everyone. It was by his desire that the Eucharistic Congress of 1905 be held in Rome.

Pius X reformed the liturgy, promoted clear and simple homilies, and brought Gregorian chant back. He reorganized the Roman curia, worked against the modern antagonism of the state against the Church. He helped to draft the New Code of Cannon law, issues in 1917. He encouraged Scripture reading by all the faithful.

Pope Pius X died on August 20, 1914 at Vatican City from natural causes aggravated by worries over the beginning of World War I and was buried under the altar of the Chapel of the Presentation, Saint Peter's basilica.

Patron: Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia; diocese of Des Moines, Iowa: first communicants; diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana; pilgrims; diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Quotes

"Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven."

"I was born poor, I have lived poor, I wish to die poor."

"My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.”

Let the storm rage and the sky darken - not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful "who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent."

"Truly we are passing through disastrous times, when we may well make our own the lamentation of the Prophet: "There is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land" (Hosea 4:1). Yet in the midst of this tide of evil, the Virgin Most Merciful rises before our eyes like a rainbow, as the arbiter of peace between God and man. "

Prayer to Saint Pius X

Glorious Pope of the Eucharist, Saint Pius X, you sought "to resore all things in Christ." Obtain for me a true love of Jesus so that I may live only for Him. Help me to acquire a lively fervor and a sincere will to strive for sanctity of life, and that I may avail myself of the riches of the Holy Eucharist in sacrifice and sacrament. By your love for Mary, mother and queen of all, inflame my heart with tender devotion to her.

Blessed model of the priesthood, obtain for us holy, dedicated priests, and increase vocations to the religious life. Dispel confusion and hatred and anxiety, and incline our hearts to peace and concord. so that all nations will place themselves under the sweet reign of Christ. Amen.

Saint Pius X, pray for me.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Novena to St. Augustine begins today



Begin this prayer today and recite for nine days.

Saint Augustine, great Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church, may your life of conversion to the Catholic Faith be an example to both those who have never been apart of the Church, and to those who have fallen away from Christ's Church. Through your closeness with Our Lord in Heaven, intercede for us and bring to the One True Faith the following people (mention names).

May your conversion centuries ago continue to inspire those who are lost today and with the help of your prayers, may God bring them to a full understanding of the Faith. Most importantly, may your struggle to find Truth, through many sins and failings be an example of the Lord Jesus' forgiveness and eternal saving Grace. Amen.

Oh God, hear the prayer of your servant, St Augustine, and bring the message of salvation to all who seek you in sincerity. Amen.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux: A model of peace for these troubled times


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9

How do we deal with the violence, war, and conflicts that we face in our world today?  How can we serve as true peacemakers in our 21st century culture?

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian abbot, a contemplative, theologian, and mystic of the twelfth century is an excellent example for us to follow. Due to the numerous schisms which had arisen in the Church during his age, he traveled throughout Europe, restoring peace and unity. Not only did he deal with divisions in the Church, but he also mediated in secular disputes and was sought out as an adviser and an arbitrator by the ruling powers of his era. What was his secret for restoring peace and unity to a troubled world? He was merely a modest monk with no worldly power or possessions. What made him so influential and valuable to others was the fact that he was a man of heroic virtue. Which virtues made him effective as a peacemaker in his environment and which should we strive to imitate today? Let us listen to the voice of St. Bernard Clairvaux, who instructs us in his own words.

Love

St. Bernard had a burning flame of love in His heart for God. He was on fire with love for the Lord! As a contemplative, he practiced a strong prayer life, which led him into a deep and intimate union with his Creator. In his treatise On Loving God, he reveals that the manner of loving God is to love Him without measure and describes the ascent up the spiritual ladder through four degrees of love. In his Sermon on the Song of Songs, St. Bernard interprets the Song of Songs in terms of the love between God and the soul. He emphasizes that God is profoundly in love with each one of us, and desires our love in return. This love between the soul and God, which is the most intimate love imaginable, is expressed in the analogy of bride and bridegroom.

How does he describe love the love between God and the soul? "Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it.

Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.

The Bridegroom’s love, or rather the love which is the Bridegroom, asks in return nothing but faithful love. Let the beloved, then, love in return. Should not a bride love, and above all, Love’s bride? Could it be that Love not be loved?

Rightly then does she give up all other feelings and give herself wholly to love alone; in giving love back, all she can do is to respond to love. And when she has poured out her whole being in love, what is that in comparison with the unceasing torrent of that original source? Clearly, lover and Love, soul and Word, bride and Bridegroom, creature and Creator do not flow with the same volume; one might as well equate a thirsty man with the fountain.

What then of the bride’s hope, her aching desire, her passionate love, her confident assurance? Is all this to wilt just because she cannot match stride for stride with her giant, any more than she can vie with honey for sweetness, rival the lamb for gentleness, show herself as white as the lily, burn as bright as the sun, be equal in love with him who is Love? No. It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and total marriage consists. Or are we to doubt that the soul is loved by the Word first and with a greater love?"

--  Excerpted from Sermon on the Song of Songs

He tells us that loving our neighbor involves self-sacrifice: “A temperate and righteous love practices self—denial in order to give one’s brother what he needs.”

He stresses the importance of serving others: “There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.”

He divulges how deep intimacy with God brings inner peace: "O place of true rest. . . For we do not here behold God either, as it were, excited with anger, or as though distracted with care; but His will is proved to be 'good and acceptable and perfect.' This vision soothes. It does not frighten. It lulls to rest, instead of awakening our unquiet curiosity. It calms the mind instead of tiring it. Here is found perfect rest. God's quiet quietens all about Him. To think of His rest is to give rest to the soul."

Hope

St. Bernard was filled with hope, never despairing, despite the difficulty of his duties. How can we, too, remain hopeful in the midst of our trials?

He encourages us to place our hope in the ‘Safe Haven’:  "Place all your hope in the Heart of Jesus; it is a safe asylum; for he who trusts in God is sheltered and protected by His mercy. To this firm hope, join the practice of virtue, and even in this life you will begin to taste the ineffable joys of Paradise.”

He reassures us that the Blessed Virgin Mary will be our protection: "In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips; never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer; neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.”

"If the hurricanes of temptation rise against you, or you are running upon the rocks of trouble, look to the star- call on Mary!"

Humility

A member of the nobility, the brilliant St. Bernard gave up wealth, ambition, and notoriety to become a humble monk.  In The Steps of Humility and Pride, he takes the reader down the steps of pride to teach us what true humility is.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, when asked what the four cardinal virtues were replied: "Humility, humility, humility, and humility."

“As patience leads to peace, and study to science, so are humiliations the path that leads to humility.”

“It is no great thing to be brought humble when you are brought low, but to be brought humble when you are praised is a great and rare achievement.”

“You will never have real mercy for the failings of another until you know and realize that you have the same failings in your soul.”

“Great graces cannot be obtained without humility. When you yourself experience humiliation, you should take it as a sure sign that some great grace is in store.”

~ copyright Jean M. Heimann August 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pope's relatives die in car crash. Pope calls for prayers




Three relatives of Pope Francis died on Tuesday in a car crash in Argentina. The accident happened in a highway that divides the cities of Cordoba and Rosario.

The Pope's nephew was involved in the accident. His wife died along with their two children: A two year old and 8month old baby. The Pope's 35 year old nephew survived, but is in serious condition.

Through a statement the Vatican' spokesperson, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said that the Pope is aware of the tragedy. He asked those who share his suffering to join him in prayer.

Monday, August 18, 2014

St. John Eudes: "Father, Doctor, and Apostle" of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary



August 18 is the optional memorial of St. John Eudes, a French priest who founded of the Society of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists) and the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity.  Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him to be the “father, doctor and apostle of the liturgical cult of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.”

John Eudes was born at Ri, Normandy, France, on November 14, 1601, the son of a farmer.  Prior to John's birth, his parents who had been praying for a child and when he was born, they offered him to God through Mary.

He attended the Jesuit college at Caen, joined the religious order of the Oratorians, and was ordained a priest at the age of 24. John worked as a volunteer, caring for the victims of the plagues that struck Normandy in 1625 and 1631. In order to avoid infecting his fellow religious, he lived in a huge cask in the middle of a field during the plague.

At age 32, John became a parish missionary, building a reputation as an extraordinary preacher and confessor. During his long life, he preached more than one hundred missions in various parts of France. He strongly opposed the heresy of Jansenism, which taught that human nature was immoral, original sin was flourishing, and perfection was both necessary for salvation and virtually unattainable. In contrast, John promoted the tender love of Jesus and his Mother and devotion to their Sacred Hearts.

He became interested in helping prostitutes, and in 1641, with Madeleine Lamy, founded a haven for them in Caen under the direction of the Visitandines. John resigned from the Oratorians in 1643 and founded the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists) at Caen, composed of secular priests not bound by vows but dedicated to upgrading the clergy by establishing effective seminaries and to preaching missions.

In 1650, the Bishop of Coutances invited him to establish a seminary in that diocese. The same year the sisters at his refuge in Caen left the Visitandines and were recognized by the Bishop of Bayeux as a new congregation under the name of Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge.  He also established the Society of the Heart of the Mother Most Admirable -- a third order group.

St. John Eudes is known for his writings, especially The Ideal Confessor, The Wondrous Childhood of the Holy Mother of God, The Admirable Heart of Mary, and The Apostolic Preacher. Above all, St. John Eudes taught that Jesus was the source of all holiness and Mary was the example of a Christian life.

He died at Caen on August 19, 1680 at the age of 79. He was beatified in 1909 by Saint Pius X, and canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925.

Quotes

"He belongs to you, but more than that, He longs to be in you, living and ruling in you, as the head lives and rules in the body. He wants His breath to be in your breath, His heart in your heart, and His soul in your soul."

“Our wish, our object, our chief preoccupation must be to form Jesus in ourselves, to make his spirit, his devotion, his affections, his desires and his disposition live and reign there. All our religious exercises should be directed to this end. It is the work which God has given us to do unceasingly.”

"I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is our true head, and that you are one of his members. He belongs to you as the head belongs to its members; all that is his is yours. . . . You must make use of all these as of your own, to serve, praise, love, and glorify God."

Prayer by St. John Eudes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O Heart all lovable and all loving of my Savior, be the Heart of my heart, the soul of my soul, the spirit of my spirit, the life of my life and the sole principle of all my thoughts, words and actions, of all the faculties of my soul, and of all my senses, both interior and exterior. Amen.

Prayer by St. John Eudes to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Hail Mary! Mother of God the Son.
Hail Mary! Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary! Temple of the Most Blessed Trinity.
Hail Mary! Pure Lily of the Effulgent Trinity.
Hail Mary! Celestial Rose of the Ineffable Love of God.
Hail Mary! Virgin pure  and humble,of whom the King of heaven willed to be born and with thy milk to be nourished.
Hail Mary! Virgin of Virgins,
Hail Mary! Queen of Martyrs, whose soul a sword transfixed.
Hail Mary! Lady most blessed! unto whom all power in heaven and earth is given.
Hail Mary! My Queen and my Mother! my Life, my Sweetness and my Hope,
Hail Mary! Mother Most Amiable,
Hail Mary! Mother of Divine Love,
Hail Mary! Immaculate! Conceived Without Sin!
Hail Mary! Full of Grace! The Lord is with Thee!
Blessed art thou among women! And blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus!
Blessed be thy spouse, Saint Joseph,
Blessed be thy father, Saint Joachim,
Blessed be thy mother, Saint Anne,
Blessed be thy guardian, Saint John,
Blessed be thy holy angel, Saint Gabriel,
Glory be to God the Father, Who chose thee,
Glory be to God the Son, Who loved thee,
Glory be to God the Holy Spirit, Who espoused thee.

O Glorious Virgin Mary, may all people love and praise thee.

Best images of Pope Francis' trip to South Korea


From the moment he got off his popemobile to greet the families who lost a loved one in the ferry accident, to his silent prayer for the unity of Korea, the Pope's visit to South Korea was full of moving moments.

Saint Helena of Constantinople: Finder of the True Cross of Jesus Christ



Today, August 18, is the feast day of Saint Helena of Constantinople (246-330), mother of Constantine the Great, and finder of the True Cross of Jesus Christ.

St. Helena was the daughter of an innkeeper in Bithynia, Asia Minor. She was married to an ambitious Roman general and they had one son, Constantine.  When her husband was named Caesar, he promptly divorced Helena to marry another woman for political gain. Following the death of his father, Constantine became emperor of Rome, and one of his first acts as ruler was to declare his mother empress. Constantine had converted to Christianity, and with his encouragement, Helena also became a Christian.

 As empress, Helena spent her days in acts of charity, and built magnificent churches on the holy sites of the faith, frequently tearing down pagan temples that had been built on those sites. She worked tirelessly for the poor, released prisoners, and humbly mingled with ordinary worshipers in modest attire. Throughout her life, she spread the Gospel of Christ, bringing many to the faith through her witness.

At the age of 80, she led a group to the Holy Land to search for the True Cross. On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she discovered the True Cross. She built a church on the spot where the True Cross was found. The Feast of the Holy Cross on September 14 celebrates the event. Thus in art, she is usually depicted holding a wooden cross.

Patronage:  archaeologists, converts, difficult marriages, divorced people, empresses, Helena, the capital of Montana

Prayer
Holy and blessed Saint Helena, with the anguish and devotion with which you sought the Cross of Christ, I plead that you give me God's grace to suffer in patience the labors of this life, so that through them and through your intercession and protection, I will be able to seek and carry the Cross, which God has placed upon me, so that I can serve Him in this life and enjoy His Glory ever after. Amen.

Novena to St. Monica Begins Today




The novena to St. Monica starts today, August 18, and ends on August 26.

Monica is the patron of:

  • alcoholics
  • difficult marriages
  • disappointing children
  • married women
  • mothers
  • victims of abuse
  • victims of adultery
  • widows
  • wives


Novena Prayers

Dear Saint Monica, you were once the mournful mother of a prodigal son. Your faithfulness to prayer brought you and your son so close to God that you are now with him in eternity. By your intercession and God’s grace, your son St. Augustine became a great and venerable Saint of the Church. Please take my request to God with the same fervor and persistence with which you prayed for your own son.

(Mention your intentions here)

With your needs, worries and anxieties, you threw yourself on the mercy and providence of God. Through sorrow and pain, you constantly devoted yourself to God. Pray for me that I might join you in such a deep faith in God’s goodness and mercy.

Above all, dear Saint Monica, pray for me that I may, like your son, turn from my sin and become a great saint for the glory of God.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival


Welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival! We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other and answer a question. Be sure to visit RAnn at This, That and the Other Thing to check out the great posts from other bloggers participating in Sunday Snippets this week.

Question of the week: What did you do during summer vacation?  Actually, I am hoping to have a vacation sometime in the future, as I spent my summer writing, blogging, and promoting my new book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, which will be released on October 24, 2014. In the meantime, you can pre-order it online at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

One fantastic activity that I participated in this summer was the annual Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, Kansas. I highly recommend this conference for everyone. It just gets better and better each year!

My best posts on Catholic Fire this week include:

Book Review and Giveaway: Trusting God with St. Therese 

St. Clare of Assisi: Contemplative, Lover of the Eucharist, Miracle Worker

Prayer for Our Family in Iraq

Living Out Heaven on Earth

St. Maximilian Kolbe and Me

Jim Caviezel Calls Abortion 'Great Sin' in America

St. Stephen of Hungary

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saturday, August 16, 2014

St. Stephen of Hungary



Today's saint of the day is St. Stephen of Hungary, the first Christian king of Hungary.

Born a pagan, Stephen was baptized at age 10, along with his father, and was raised as a Christian. In 996, at age 20, he married Gisela, the daughter of Duke Henry II of Bavaria and devoted much of his reign to the promotion of the Christian faith. He gave his patronage to Church leaders, helped build churches, and was a proponent of the rights of the Holy See.

Stephen also crushed the pagan counter-reaction to Christianity, and converted the so-called Black Hungarians after their failed rebellion. In recognition of his efforts, Stephen was crowned king of Hungary in 1000, receiving the cross and the crown from Pope Sylvester II. His crown and regalia became beloved symbols of the Hungarian nation, and Stephen was venerated as the ideal Christian king.

The secret of St. Stephen's amazing success in leading his people to the Christian faith was his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He placed his entire kingdom under her protection and built a magnificent church in her honor.

Stephen served as King of Hungary for 42 years and died at Szekesfehervar on August 15, 1038. Soon after Stephen's death, miracles of healing occurred at his tomb. Stephen was canonized by Pope Gregory XVII in 1083.

He is the patron saint of: bricklayers, death of children, Hungary, kings, masons, stone masons, and stone cutters

Saint Quote: "Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next. Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately. Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice. Be honorable so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone. Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: A Giveaway, Saints, A Book, and Mother Mary



1.  Today, Friday, is the last day for my book giveaway Trusting God with St. Therese, the new book by popular spirituality writer Connie Rossini. Read my review and enter the drawing HERE before midnight tonight.


2. Speaking of books, this writer and author has a new fan page on FaceBook. Please "like" me HERE.


3.  The official release date for my new book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, is October 24, 2014. In the meantime, you can pre-order it online at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

4. This week I wrote about one of my favorite female Franciscan saints, St. Clare of Assisi: Contemplative, Lover of the Eucharist, Miracle Worker.

5. St. Maximilian Kolbe is on the list of my favorite saints and I wrote about why he is so special to me.

6.  St. Jane Frances de Chantal was a charming, animated, energetic member of the aristocracy. Why would she leave that luxurious lifestyle and agree to found an order that served the poor? Learn more HERE.



7. Happy Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!