Friday, August 28, 2015

7QT: Beauty, Books,and Saints



1. This has been a super-busy week as I continue to blog daily and to work on my second book. Here is also what I have been doing.



2. Enjoying nature and nature walks. Last week it was in the upper 70's, so we took a walk on my favorite trail. 


3. Making friends with the wildlife on the trail:



4. Enjoying the beauty of God's work in my own yard:





5. Reading about some of my favorite saints:



Read my brief review at Goodreads. And, while you are there, be sure to friend and follow me.




6. Happy Feast of St. Augustine! His mother, St. Monica is a wonderful model of evangelization, while St. Augustine is an illustrious theologian, bishop, and Doctor of the Church.



7. Mark your calendars! The Fast4Francis novena for the pope's visit to the USA starts September 18th. 

Have a wonderful weekend and a great week! :)

Jean

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain't the Lyceum.   



Photos copyright Jean M. Heimann 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

St. Augustine of Hippo: Illustrious Theologian, Bishop, and Doctor of the Church




By Jean M. Heimann

August 28th is the feast of St. Augustine, a Western Father of the Church whose conversion to Christianity is well-known as one of the most important events in the history of the Church. He was an illustrious theologian, a bishop, and a great Doctor of the Church. St. Augustine is the patron of theologians, brewers, printers, and sore eyes.

Augustine was born in Tagaste, Africa in 354 to Patricius, a pagan Roman official, and to Monica, a devout Christian. Monica raised Augustine in the Christian faith, but when he went to college to study law in Carthage, he turned away from his Christian beliefs and led a life of immorality and hedonism.

At age 15, he took a took a mistress who bore him a son, Adeodatus, which means “the gift of God,” and at age 18, he and his friend, Honoratus became members of the Manichaean heretical sect, which accepted the dual principle of good and evil.

The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen explained his attraction to the heresy: “The conflict between flesh and spirit in him was resolved by the heresy of Manichæanism because it enabled him to pursue a voluptuous life without ever being held accountable for it. He could say that the evil principle within him was so strong, so deep, and intense that the good principle could not operate.”

Augustine turned away from his pursuit of law to literary endeavors and won poetic tournaments and made a name for himself in the world of philosophy. Augustine made plans to teach in Rome, but instead went to Milan.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen describes St. Augustine’s conversion so beautifully:

“Monica prayed that her son would never go to Italy because she feared that there would be more evil companionship there than in Northern Africa. Her prayers seemed to go unanswered, but at the same time, they were answered in a mysterious way.

In the year 384, Augustine told his mother to go to visit the Church of St. Cyprian the Martyr while he went to visit friends. He slipped away from Africa that night and went to Rome, against his mother's wishes. His reputation as an orator and rhetorician preceded him and he was recognized as one of the most learned men of his time.

When Augustine went to Milan, to plead for the restoration of paganism to the City, he heard of the scholarship and the oratorical powers of Ambrose, the Bishop. Many days he would sit under the pulpit in veneration of Ambrose. Later, he spent many hours in his company, discussing philosophy and he took manuscripts from Ambrose's library to read.

All the while, the chains of habit were strong in Augustine and his carnal nature was resisting his spiritual birth. In August, 386, he met Pontitianus who told Augustine the story of St. Anthony of the Desert. St. Anthony spent more than seventy years in the desert.

After hearing the story, Augustine said: "Manes is an impostor. The Almighty calls me. Christ is the only way and Paul is my guide.

"If Anthony has conquered the libido and sex, why could not he, Augustine asked himself.

Augustine eager to be alone went into the garden. There he underwent a conflict between the old ego and the new one that was being born.

Casting himself at the foot of a spreading fig tree, he cried hot and bitter tears, which overflowed and bathed his spirit. He cried aloud:

"When shall I achieve salvation, when shall I cast off my fetters? Tomorrow perhaps, or the day after? Why not this very hour?"

Suddenly he became aware of the voice of a child, a boy or girl, he knew not, speaking in a neighboring house.

"Take up and read," said the sweet voice.

He hurried back into the room. He found a copy of the epistles of St. Paul, which Pontitianus had been fingering. Seizing it, and opening it at random, his eyes fell upon the words of St. Paul to the Romans 13:13:

"Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh."

In that one moment, the carnal passions, which had for sixteen years appeared invincible, were annihilated.

Augustine cries out in deep regret:

"Too late, O Ancient Beauty, have I loved Thee."

On Holy Thursday, which fell on April 22, 387 AD, he recited the Credo aloud in the presence of an assembled congregation. He fasted until Holy Saturday and in the evening he went to the Basilica, where Bishop Ambrose pronounced the last exorcisms over him, made the sign of the Cross upon his forehead and breast, and poured the baptismal waters.

Then, in accordance with the custom used only in the church in Milan, Ambrose got on his knees and washed the feet of Augustine. The two saints were united for perhaps the last time on earth. The elder humbled himself before the younger, the more famous before the more obscure.

Adeodatus, the carnal son of his sinning, received Baptism at the same time.

The nameless woman whom Augustine lived with, and mother of Adeodatus, returned to Carthage and spent her remaining days in penance.

One of the effects of Augustine's conversion was a return to joviality, and a deep sense of inner peace. There was also a great increase of literary productiveness. Between the years 380 and 386, before his conversion, he had not written a single page. Now, in a short space of time, he composed four brief books in succession.

In 397, or twelve years after his conversion, Augustine wrote his Confessions, the greatest spiritual autobiography ever written. It is the work of a teacher who explains, a philosopher who thinks, and a theologian who instructs. It is the work of a poet who achieves chaste beauty in the writing, and a mystic who pours out thanks for having found himself in peace.

"Too late have I loved You, O Beauty so ancient and so new, too late have I loved You. You have called to me, and have cried out, and have shattered my deafness. You have blazed forth with light and have put my blindness to flight! You have sent forth fragrance, and I have drawn in my breath, and I pant after You. I have tasted You, and I hunger and thirst after You. You have touched me, and I have burned for Your peace" (Confessions 10,27).

None of the Freuds or Jungs or Adlers of our 20th century has ever pierced the conscious and the unconscious mind with a rapier as keen as Augustine's. No man can say he has ever understood himself if he has not read the 'Confessions' of Augustine.”

-- St. Augustine of Hippo, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

St. Monica died in Ostia (modern Italy) and St. Augustine remained in Italy, for a time, praying, studying and writing, before returning to Tagaste, Africa, where he sold all his possessions and distributed the money to the poor. He was ordained as a priest in 391. He was later made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became one of the four great founders of religious orders and a Doctor of the universal Church. He died on August 30, 430.

 St. Augustine Quotes

“Love God, and do what you will.” - Sermon on 1 John 7:8.

“Nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love.” - Sermons 358, 1. “Victoria veritatis est caritas.”

“Love is the beauty of the soul.” - Sermon on 1 John 4:19-21

"Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord". - Confessions

“You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.” - Confessions

 “I was looking for you outside myself and I did not find the God of my own heart.” - Confessions

“The mind commands the body and is instantly obeyed. The mind commands itself and meets resistance.” - Confessions

“God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.” - City of God

~ copyright 2015 Jean M. Heimann

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

St. Monica, Model of Evangelization



August 27 is the feast of St. Monica, patron saint of mothers and married women. She is a saint I admire so much for her tenacity, patience, and perseverance in prayer for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine. A persistent prayer warrior, Monica never gave up on her son, Augustine, a great sinner, who later became so strongly drawn to the faith that he was eventually canonized, as one of the Church's greatest teachers and philosophers, and was designated a Doctor of the Church.

St. Monica is a wonderful model for us to follow today. How many of us have family members who have left the Church? I would guess that most of us have at least one or more relatives who are no longer practicing their faith. A Pew Research Study reports that 10% of all Americans are ex-Catholics. How can we encourage these fallen-away Catholics to return to the faith of their childhood?

The most effective ways to positively influence our family members to return to their faith are to pray for them and to live out our Catholic faith in our lives. Monica did both. She prayed for nearly twenty years for Augustine to return to his faith. He had been baptized, but once he went off to college, he began to live a corrupt and immoral lifestyle. He later lived with a concubine and had an illegitimate son. Monica wept and prayed for years on end. Does this sound familiar? Do you find yourself praying day after day and feel like perhaps God isn't really hearing your prayer? You are not alone in your frustration. Monica felt the same way. She cried out in her misery and a bishop named Ambrose consoled her with the words: "Don't worry; it is impossible that a son of so many tears should be lost."

As a revert to the Catholic faith, I can tell you that your prayers for your children or your relatives are never wasted. They are precious to God and He hears every one of them. Every tear that falls from your eyes is like a precious jewel to Him. God may be preparing their hearts to be receptive to Him. We need to remember that God gave each of us a free will, which He will not violate. It is up to the individual to make the decision as to whether or not he will accept the Truth. However, prior to accepting the Truth, he must be receptive to it.  What motivated me to being receptive to the Truth was seeing the light and love of God in action in my life. I witnessed God in my life through the actions of both my parents as well as other faithful Catholics who drew me into the faith. It was then that the floodgates of grace opened for me.

My mother prayed for my return to my Catholic faith for fifteen years. It was her prayers, as well as those of my father, that brought me back Home to Catholicism. It was also the way they lived out their faith in their lives that made me realize that they had something special that I was missing. They evidenced their faith in the way they handled trials and suffering. There was no anger, but a sense of peace and joy in the midst of suffering. They lived simple lives, which was centered on their love for God. The love between them was an unselfish, self-sacrificing love, focused on serving the needs of the other. Their relationships with others were similar. They put the needs of others before their own in their family, in their work outside the home, and in their service to the Church. Witnessing their deep love for God and devotion to the Blessed Mother and the saints made me focus on what was really important in life. It wasn't my “high status” job, my brand new red Honda Prelude, my education, or anything else. God had been absent from my life and I wanted Him back. The first time I saw Jesus in the Eucharist I could not stop crying – I craved Him so much and yet knew that I needed to go to confession first to restore my soul to a state of grace. The first time I received Him was on Christmas – and what a glorious Christmas gift He was!

In order to effectively evangelize family members, there are three things we need to do. Like Monica, we need to be persistent and patient in prayer. Next, we need to live out our faith in our lives, by manifesting Christ’s love to others. Lastly, we need to remember that everything works out according to God’s timetable, not our own. Trust in God, for “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the one that seeks Him" (Lamentations 3:25).

~ copyright Jean M. Heimann August 2014, Updated 2015.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars



August 26 is the feast day of St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars (also known as Saint Teresa de Gesu, Jornet y Ibars), the Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Poor. She is the patron saint of senior citizens and retired people.

Born in 1843 at Catalonia, Spain, she was raised on a farm and later became a teacher at Lérida. She had been preparing to take her final vows as a Poor Clare nun, when the government suppressed all convents and she was sent home. She struggled to understand why God would permit this to happen and for several years asked Him what she was to do with her life. Then, she met a priest/spiritual director who provided the answer. Along with Father Saturnino Lopez Novoa, she opened a shelter for the poor and the elderly. At the age 29, in Barbastro, Spain, Teresa founded the community known today as the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Poor. By the time of her death, at age 54, she had established more than 100 shelters in Spain and 58 congregation houses. Today the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Poor have more than 200 houses in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. She was beatified in 1958 and canonized in 1974 by Pope Paul VI.

"The Little Sisters have been and are the witnesses of the emptiness that often afflicts the old. They have been chosen to fill that emptiness with warmth and human affection. They have been chosen by God to reaffirm the sacredness of human life and to underline the truth that man is a child of God and can never be regarded only as a tool of cold utilitarianism."

~ Pope Paul VI

St. Louis IX, King of France



Today, August 25, is the optional memorial of St. Louis IX (1215-1270).

Louis IX, King of France, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, was born at Poissy, April 25, 1215. Louis was twelve years old when his father's death made him king.At that time, his mother Queen Blanche of Castile, was declared regent and remained an important influence throughout his life.

Louis had tutors who made him a master of Latin, taught him to speak easily in public and write with dignity and grace. But Blanche's primary concern was to implant in him a deep regard and awe for everything related to religion. She used often to say to him as he was growing up, "I love you my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should commit a mortal sin."

At nineteen, he married Marguerite of Provence and the couple had eleven children. Louis was a model father and his children received careful instruction from him in the Christian life.

Louis brought justice to France. When, for example, a baron hanged three students for poaching rabbits, the King's response was firm. He forced the Baron to surrender his forest, imprisoned him for a time, fined him heavily, made him build a chapel in memory of each student, and ordered him to crusade for three years in Palestine.

On one occasion, Louis learned of a count who had hanged three children for hunting rabbits in his woods. Louis had the count put in prison and when the count insisted that other nobles act as his judges, Louis refused. So the count stood before conventional judges who condemned him to death. However, Louis wasn't finished. He changed the death sentence to a fine so large that it took most of the count's possessions. Then he ordered the fine to be used for charity.

Louis was a loving and generous king. The poorest of the poor were recipients of his charity and alms everyday. Beggars were fed from his table, he ate their leavings, washed their feet, and ministered to the needs of the lepers. Daily, he fed 120 poor people. He founded many hospitals and houses: the House of the Felles-Dieu for reformed prostitutes; the Quinze-Vingt for 300 blind men (1254), and hospitals at Pontoise, Vernon, Compiégne.

Louis was a faithful Christian sovereign. One of his first acts as King was to build the famous monastery of Royaumont, with funds left for the purpose by his father. Louis gave encouragement to the religious orders, placing the Carthusians in the palace of Vauvert in Paris, and assisting his mother in founding the convent of Maubuisson.

Louis led an exemplary life, secretly spending long hours in prayer, fasting, and penance. He attended Holy Mass twice daily, and was surrounded, even while traveling, with priests chanting the hours.

Louis died near Tunis, August 25, 1270 and was canonized in Orvieto in 1297, by Boniface VIII.

Patronage: barbers; builders; button makers; construction workers; Crusaders; death of children; difficult marriages; distillers; embroiderers; French monarchs; grooms; haberdashers; hairdressers; hair stylists; kings; masons; needle workers; parenthood; parents of large families; prisoners; sculptors; sick people; soldiers; stone masons; stonecutters; tertiaries; Archdiocese of Saint Louis, Missouri.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School Prayers for College Students




A Student's Prayer (by St. Thomas Aquinas)

Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator, true source of light and fountain of wisdom! Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect, dissipate the darkness which covers me, that of sin and of ignorance. Grant me a penetrating mind to understand, a retentive memory, method and ease in learning, the lucidity to comprehend, and abundant grace in expressing myself. Guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to successful completion. This I ask through Jesus Christ, true God and true man, living and reigning with You and the Father, forever and ever.
Amen.

Prayer to Our Lady (by St. Thomas Aquinas)

O Mary, Seat of Wisdom, so many persons of common intellect have made through thy intercession admirable progress in their studies. I hereby choose thee as guardian and patron of my studies. I humbly ask thee to obtain for me the grace of the Holy Spirit, so that from now on I could

understand more quickly,
retain more readily, and
express myself more fluently.

May the example of my life serve to honor thee and thy Son, Jesus.

Amen.

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!

Fast4Francis Novena Begins September 18 in preparation for Pope's visit to USA



Pope Francis is coming to the USA in September and Live the Fast will lead a prayer and fasting novena in preparation for his upcoming visit. The Fast4Francis novena will take place September 18-26, the nine days leading up to the pope’s arrival in Philadelphia. Fast4Francis is a wonderful opportunity for participants to embrace the Pope’s visit as an invitation to a deeper faith life and to pray for his safe travel leading up to and throughout his visit to the USA.

Anyone from any faith can take part in the nine day fast. There are various tracks of fasting that participants can take part in. All tracks of fasting involve giving up certain foods, praying the prayers of the novena and taking part in a sacrament (like Holy Mass or Reconciliation). For example, Track 1 involves giving up coffee, Track 2, fasting from snacks and dessert, Track 3 involves skipping one meal, Tracks 4 and 5 bread and water fasts. Since prayer, fasting and almsgiving are inseparable, participants are invited to choose one of the Works of Mercy as well. Participants may also begin in one track and move to another or combine tracks during the nine day novena. For those who cannot fast, spending more time in prayer and/or going to adoration for the nine days is an ideal alternative. As well, fasting can also entail giving up social media or television.

Pope Francis has said, “Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else, if it helps us cultivate the style of the good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him.”

In May 2013, Pope Francis consecrated the Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel “to defend us from the evil one.” So taking the Holy Father’s lead, this novena also calls upon the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel.

To sign up for Fast4Francis reminder emails and for more information, resources and prayers, check out the event’s website at www.fast4francis.org. Here you can read the prayers for the novena and learn about the different kinds of fasts.

For those interested in bread and water fasts (for Fast4Francis and for fasting throughout the year), fasting breads provided by Live the Fast are made with unbleached and untreated flour, with no additives and preservatives and with a variety of flavorful, nourishing ingredients that will help one maintain and finish a bread and water fast. Fasting kits also include prayer and fasting guides to aid a healthy fast.

NOTE: Live the Fast strongly urges you to consult your physician before beginning the practice of fasting.

For more information Contact: Darcie Nielsen, Assistant Director, (781) 647-0034, Darcie@livethefast.com


Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr



Today, August 24, is the feast of St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles who is mentioned only a few times in the Synoptic Gospels. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include Bartholomew as an apostle, John's gospel does not mention him, but refers to a Nathaniel, whom ancient writers and Catholic tradition have identified as Bartholomew. The name (Bartholomaios) means "son of Talmai" which was an ancient Hebrew name.

He carried the Gospel through the most barbarous countries of the East (India and greater Armenia), baptizing neophytes and casting out demons. Saint Pantænus testified that Bartholomew brought a copy of the Gospel of Saint Matthew to this vast region in the third century. Saint John Chrysostom said that Bartholomew also preached in Asia Minor and, with Saint Philip, suffered there for the faith. Saint Bartholomew’s last mission was in Armenia, where tradition has it that he was flayed alive and crucified for having won converts to the faith.

Bartholomew is the patron of: bookbinders, butchers, furriers, leather-workers, plasterers, shoemakers, tailors, tanners, vine-growers, and Florentine salt and cheese merchants. He is also invoked against nervous disorders and tics.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary



On August 22, we celebrate a beautiful Marian Feast -- the Queenship of Mary. This special Liturgical Feast was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter Ad Caeli Reginam. The Catholic Church made this proclamation based upon the fact that whether in time of peace or in time of war, the faithful have incessantly offered prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven.

Following the tremendous destruction that occurred during World War II and considering the reality that the threat of a similar catastrophe filled the faithful with a great anguish, the Church turned its eyes towards Mary, the Heavenly Queen, in the hope of her protection. Mary has never failed those who have sought her intercession in prayer, placing their total trust in her.

Mary’s queenship has its roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. (Luke 1:32 -33) At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “Mother of my Lord.” (Luke 1:43) As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

In the fourth century, St. Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen” and Church Fathers and Doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.

The Saints on Mary's Queenship:

“When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature.”
~ St. John Damascene

"No one has access to the Almighty as His mother has; none has merit such as hers. Her Son will deny her nothing that she asks; and herein lies her power. While she defends the Church, neither height nor depth, neither men nor evil spirits, neither great monarchs, nor craft of man, nor popular violence, can avail to harm us; for human life is short, but Mary reigns above, a Queen forever."

~  John Henry Cardinal Newman

"Just as Mary surpassed in grace all others on earth, so also in heaven is her glory unique. If eye has not seen or ear heard or the human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9), who can express what He has prepared for the woman who gave Him birth and who loved Him, as everyone knows, more than anyone else?"

~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"She has surpassed the riches of the virgins, the confessors, the martyrs, the apostles, the prophets, the patriarchs, and the angels, for she herself is the first-fruit of the virgins, the mirror of confessors, the rose of martyrs, the ruler of apostles, the oracle of prophets, the daughter of patriarchs, the queen of angels."

~St. Bonaventure

"[Mary] has a right to be loved as Queen of all hearts so that through her, hearts would be cleansed and themselves become immaculate, similar and like unto her own heart, and so worthy of union with God.”

~ St. Maximillian Kolbe

Pope St. Pius X: Pope of the Eucharist



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

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.

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.

Our Lady of Knock



Historically August 21 is the feast of Our Lady of Knock, where Our Lady is said to have appeared in Ireland with St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist at the church's south gable on a wet and windswept evening in August and was witnessed by 15 people.

On August 21, 1879, Margaret Beirne, a resident of Cnoc Mhuire, was sent by her brother to lock up the church for the evening. When she was ready to leave, she noticed a strange brightness hovering over the church. Margaret had other things on her mind, and didn't tell anyone what she saw. Around the same time, another member of the Beirne family, Mary, was leaving from a visit to the church's housekeeper, and stopped with the housekeeper at the gables, where they could see the church. Mary replied:

"Oh look at the statues! Why didn't you tell me the priest got new statues for the chapel?"

The housekeeper responded that she knew nothing of the priest getting new statues. So, they both went for a closer look, and Mary Beirne said:

"But they are not statues, they're moving. It's the Blessed Virgin!"

Thirteen others also came and saw the beautiful woman, clothed in white garments, wearing a brilliant crown. Her hands were raised as if in prayer. All knew that it was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Queen of Angels. On the right of Our Lady stood St. Joseph, his head inclined toward her. On her left stood St. John the Evangelist, dressed as a bishop. To the left of St. John stood an altar which had a lamb and a cross surrounded by angels on it. The vision lasted about two hours. People who were not at the apparition site reported that they saw a bright light illuminating the area where the church was. Many of the sick were healed upon visiting the church at Knock.

Excerpted from Christus Rex

Learn more about Our Lady of Knock.

Read The Story Behind Our Lady of Knock.

Lessons from Our Lady of Knock

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

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.