Saturday, July 23, 2016

St. Bridget of Sweden



July 23 is the feast of St. Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden (1303 – 1373), a widow and a Third Order Franciscan. For twenty-eight years, she was a devoted wife and mother of eight. Following her husband's death, she pursued a life of contemplation and charity, caring for the sick and the poor.  She is one of the most prominent women of the Christian Middle Ages.

St. Bridget is renowned for her astonishing revelations documented carefully by her confessors, filling several volumes. Their accounts of her visions of biblical scenes, especially the nativity and the crucifixion, have greatly inspired imagery in Christian art and her devotions have inspired popular piety. It was, however, for her practical works of charity, that she was canonized, and not for her private revelations.

Bridget was born in Finista in Sweden. From childhood, the Lord granted her special graces, visions and an extraordinary understanding of divine mysteries. At age seven, she had a vision of the Crucified Jesus in all the suffering and sorrow of his Passion, which enkindled within her a deep devotion for our Savior.

The daughter of a wealthy governor and judge, at age 13, Bridget married Ulf Gudmarsson, a prince, who was then eighteen; they lived happily together for twenty-eight years and had eight children, among them St. Catherine of Sweden. Bridget convinced her husband, by her own example, to live a virtuous life and to strive for holiness.

At age 32, Bridget became the lady in waiting to Queen Blanche of Namur and King Magnus II of Sweden. She modelled the virtue of charity by being kind and compassionate to all, but the royalty appeared more content to admire her sanctity rather than to follow her example.

After her youngest son died in 1340, she and her husband went on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. On the return trip, Ulf became quite ill, and they returned home soon afterwards. Upon their return, Ulf' entered the Cistercian monastery and died there at the age of 46. Bridget was a widow at age 41. She continued to live in the world, but became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis, spending much of her time in prayer and penance.

At this time, Bridget’s visions became more frequent and intense and she began to wonder if they were from the devil; however, God assured her that they were not, but that she was to become His bride and his mouthpiece.

It was His voice in her visions that dictated to her to found a new religious order, even specifying the details of the Rule for that order. She then founded The Order of the Most Holy Savior, or Bridgettines, which consisted of a double monastery for both men and women at Vadstena. King Magnus and his queen generously supported the monastery. Any surplus of money they received was given to the poor and used to provide books for study.

Through Bridget, Christ reprimanded the popes for not returning to Rome from Avignon; but even calling Clement VI (1342-52) “a destroyer of souls, worse than Lucifer, more unjust than Pilate, and more merciless than Judas” failed to change his mind. She also delivered several messages to Pope Innocent VI, Urban V, and Gregory XI.

Directed by God to go the Holy Land in 1371, Bridget set out on pilgrimage with her daughter, Catherine, two of her sons, and other pilgrims. Her son Charles died in Naples on the way there (after an affair with the notorious Queen Joanna), and they were nearly shipwrecked, but once they made it there, Bridget was blessed with extraordinary graces. In the Holy Land, she received detailed visions of episodes in the life of Jesus in the places where they were said to have occurred. She also admonished the people of Cyprus and Naples for their immoral ways, with little effect. She arrived back in Rome early already ill and died on July 23, 1373, at the age of seventy – one. Her remains were taken back to the monastery at Sweden. She was canonized in 1391 Pope Boniface IX.

Bridget is the patron saint of Sweden and widows. She is the co-patroness of Europe, along with St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein).

Prayer to St. Bridget

With hearts full of confidence, we turn to you, O Saint Bridget, in these times of darkness and unbelief, to invoke your powerful intercession on behalf of those who are separated from the true Church of Jesus Christ. Conscious of your deep knowledge of the cruel sufferings of our crucified Savior, we beseech you to obtain the gift of Faith for all those who are outside the one fold, so that all the scattered sheep may be return to the one true Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

St. Bridget, fearless in the service of God, pray for us.

St. Bridget, patient in suffering and humiliation, pray for us.

St. Bridget, marvelous in thy love towards Jesus and Mary, pray for us.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be)



Thursday, July 21, 2016

St. Mary Magdalene: "Apostle to the Apostles"



On July 22, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the patron of penitent sinners and contemplatives.  Her name is derived from her native town of Magdala in Galilee. She plays a vital role in the New Testament, as she was the first to announce Christ's resurrection from the dead.

Scriptures tell us that she was a follower of Christ, who was exorcised of seven demons, ministered to Christ and His disciples, stood at the foot of the Cross during Jesus’ Crucifixion, went to anoint the body of Jesus before daybreak on Easter morning, and witnessed the Risen Lord.

The Gospels all describe Mary Magdalene going to the tomb on Easter morning. When she saw that the tomb was empty, she stood outside, weeping. Jesus appeared to her and asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” (Jn. 20:15)

She did not recognize him, however, and thought he was the gardener, until he said her name, “Mary!” (Jn. 20:16) Upon hearing this, Mary recognized him. She returned to the grieving disciples to announce to them the message of the Resurrection.

The Greek tradition holds that Mary Magdalen retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin, and died there, her relics being transferred to Constantinople. The French tradition holds that she migrated to Marseilles with Lazarus and Martha, and retired to a hill, La Sainte-Baume, near the city, where she lived in seclusion for 30 years.

St. Mary Magdalene is called the "Apostle to the Apostles". "Just as a woman had announced the words of death to the first man, so also a woman was the first to announce to the Apostles the words of life (St. Thomas Aquinas).

On June 10, 2016, the liturgical celebration honoring St. Mary Magdalene was elevated from a memorial to a feast, putting her on par with the apostles.

Quotes

“Saint Mary Magdalene is an example of true and authentic evangelization; she is an evangelist who announces the joyful central message of Easter.”

-- Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, on June 10, 2016


"The story of Mary of Magdala reminds us all of a fundamental truth. A disciple of Christ is one who, in the experience of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been healed by him and has set out following closely after him, becoming a witness of the power of his merciful love that is stronger than sin and death.”

- Pope Benedict XVI, in his address before the Angelus on July 23, 2006.

Prayer to St. Mary Magdalene

Saint Mary Magdalene,
woman of many sins, who by conversion
became the beloved of Jesus,
thank you for your witness
that Jesus forgives
through the miracle of love
You, who already possess eternal happiness
in His glorious presence,
please intercede for me, so that someday
I may share in the same everlasting joy.

Traditional Recipe 

Magdalenas for the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church



On July 21, we commemorate St. Lawrence of Brindisi, the first Capuchin Franciscan to be honored as a Doctor of the Church. One of the most famous theologians of the sixteenth century, Saint Lawrence is renowned for his comprehensive refutation of the doctrines of Martin Luther.

St. Lawrence was born at Brindisi, in the kingdom of Naples, Italy, on July 22, 1559 and named Caesar de Rossi. He took the name Lawrence when he became a Capuchin Franciscan at the age of sixteen.

While still a deacon, St. Lawrence of Brindisi became known for his powerful preaching and after his ordination startled the whole of northern Italy with his amazing sermons. Because he could speak Hebrew, he worked for the conversion of the Jews living in Rome.

In 1596, he became a high-ranking superior in the order, and five years later was sent to Germany with Blessed Benedict of Urbino. They founded several priories throughout Europe. Lawrence also helped to raise an army to combat the Turks in Hungary, where he won a battle against them by leading the troops into battle with only a crucifix to protect himself.

In 1602, St. Lawrence became the master general of his order. He worked, preached and wrote to spread the Good News. He went on important peace missions to Munich, Germany, and Madrid, Spain. The rulers of those places listened to him and the missions were successful. But St. Lawrence became very ill. He had been tired out by the hard traveling and the strain of his tasks. He died on his birthday, July 22, in 1619. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Leo XIII in 1881. He was honored as "Apostolic Doctor" by Pope John XXIII in 1959.

St. Lawrence, like his spiritual father St. Francis of Assisi, had an ardent devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God. He was the first to write on all aspects of theology that concern the Blessed Virgin Mary. He explains that Mary is the Mother of God and the Mother of all Christians. He proves that as the Mother of God, she is immaculate, and free from all sin, including original sin, that she is full of grace, she is a virgin, and that she has been assumed into heaven, body and soul. Lawrence also introduces and supports the fact that Mary is the Mother of Christ and the spiritual Mother of His Mystical Body. He teaches that she is Mediatrix of all grace and Queen of the Universe.

In the practice of the religious virtues St. Lawrence equals the greatest saints. He had the gift of contemplation and often fell into ecstasy when he celebrated Holy Mass. He had a great devotion to the Rosary and the Office of the Blessed Virgin.

His written works include a commentary on Genesis, several treatises against Luther, and nine volumes of sermons.

Quotes

 "God called me to be a Franciscan for the conversion of sinners and heretics."

"God is love, and all his operations proceed from love. Once he wills to manifest that goodness by sharing his love outside himself, then the Incarnation becomes the supreme manifestation of his goodness and love and glory. So, Christ was intended before all other creatures and for his own sake. For him all things were created and to him all things must be subject, and God loves all creatures in and because of Christ. Christ is the first-born of every creature, and the whole of humanity as well as the created world finds its foundation and meaning in him. Moreover, this would have been the case even if Adam had not sinned.

~ St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Litany of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

St. Apollinaris, Miracle-Worker and Martyr



The saint of the day for July 20 is St. Apollinaris, an illustrious second century bishop and a great apologist for his time. Born in Antioch, Turkey, he became the first bishop of Ravenna, in Italy, where he shepherded his flock for twenty-six years.

He addressed a defense of the Christian religion to the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who, shortly before, had obtained a signal victory over the Quadi, a people inhabiting the country now called Moravia. One of his legions, the twelfth, was composed chiefly of Christians. When the army was perishing for want of water, the soldiers of this legion fell upon their knees and invoked the assistance of God. The result was sudden, for a copious rain fell, and, aided by the storm, they conquered the Germans. The emperor gave this legion the name "Thundering Legion" and mitigated his persecution.

It was to protect his flock against persecution that St. Apollinaris, who was bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, addressed his apology to the Emperor to implore his protection and to remind him of the favor he had received from God through the prayers of the Christians. A prolific writer, Apollinaris continued defending the faith against the heresies of his time. Unfortunately, most of his work has been lost over the centuries.

Apollinaris was known for his great preaching, conversion of pagans (for which he was severely beaten and exiled numerous times), and his miracles. On one occasion, he was cut with knives, had scalding water poured over his wounds, was beaten in the mouth with stones and then put on board a ship and sent to Greece. In Greece, the same course of preachings, and miracles, and beatings continued. In fact, after a cruel beating by Greek pagans, he was sent back to Italy.

When Emperor Vespasian issued a decree of banishment against the Christians, Apollinaris was kept concealed for some time, but as he was leaving, passing through the gates of the city, he was attacked and savagely beaten. He lived for seven days, foretelling that the persecutions would increase, but that the Church would ultimately triumph.

The date of St. Apollinaris' death is unknown; the Roman Martyrology mentions him on the 8th of January. His shrine, located in the Benedictine Abbey of Classe in Ravenna, once a popular pilgrimage destination, was credited with many miracles.

Monday, July 18, 2016

St. Macrina the Younger



The saint of the day for July 19 is St. Macrina the Younger.

St. Macrina (330-380) was the eldest child in a family of saints. Her grandparents were martyrs. Her grandmother was Macrina the Elder. Her parents, Basil the Elder and Emmelia, are also recognized as saints. She was well educated by her mother and was able to read at an early age. Macrina, in turn, became the teacher of her younger brothers Basil, later bishop of Neocaesarea, and Gregory, later bishop of Nyssa, who themselves became two of the greatest teachers in the Universal Church.

At age 12, Macrina was engaged to be married, but when her fiancé died quite suddenly, she decided she would not marry despite subsequent offers. Instead, she dedicated her life to raising her brothers and assisting her mother with housework, cooking, and directing the servants. She also devoted a good part of her time to prayer. After her siblings had grown up, they called her Macrina the Great, as they had in their childhood, a sign of the high respect they had for her.

On the death of their father, Basil took her, with their mother, to a family estate in Pontus. Here, with their servants and other companions, they consecrated themselves to God and led a contemplative life. Macrena succeeded her mother in becoming the head of the double monastery of women and men founded by Basil.

Kissing an iron crucifix that held the relics of the Cross of the Savior, which she always had close to her, St. Macrina died peacefully in the year 379. She was buried beside her parents.

An English translation of the Life of Macrina by her younger brother St. Gregory of Nyssa, in the form of a letter to a mutual friend, is available online. St. Gregory tells us that Macrina "reached the highest summit of human virtue by true wisdom."

St. Camillus of Lellis, patron of the sick



The saint of the day for July 18 is St. Camillus of Lellis, founder of an order dedicated to the care of the sick. He is the patron of the sick, hospitals, and nurses.

St. Camilus was born in Bacchianico, Italy in 1550 and died in Rome, Italy in 1614. His mother died while he was still a child and his father was an officer in both the Neapolitan and French royal armies, leaving him neglected. While still a youth, he became a soldier in the service of Venice and later of Naples, remaining there until 1574.

While Camillus referred to himself as a great sinner, his only vice seemed to be gambling. He gambled away everything he had and, to atone for actions, he went to work as a laborer on the new Capuchin buildings in Manfredonia. Here, after a moving appeal from the Friar, he completed his conversion and begged God for mercy, at the age of twenty-five.

Camillus entered the Capuchin novitiate three times, but a nagging leg injury, received while fighting the Turks, each time forced him to give it up. He went to Rome for medical treatment where Saint Philip Neri became his priest and confessor. He moved into San Giacomo Hospital for the incurable, and eventually became its administrator.

He decided to become a priest at the encouragement of St. Philip Neri, and was ordained at the age of 34. He established his Order, the Fathers of a Good Death, for the care of the sick. Camillus chose a red cross as the distinguishing badge for the members of his Order to wear upon their black cassocks, and he taught his volunteers that the hospital was a house of God, a garden where the voices of the sick were music from heaven. Once when he was discouraged, he heard the consoling words from the crucifix, “This is my work, not yours”.

Camillus was a strong and powerful man, about 6'6" tall, but suffered throughout his life from abscesses on his feet. In spite of this infirmity, he was active in organizing his Order.

After leading the movement throughout Italy, Camillus died on July 14, 1614. In 1742, Pope Benedict XIV proclaimed Camillus de Lellis blessed; in 1746 he canonized him, calling him the “Founder of a new school of charity”.

Quote: “Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to Heaven.”

- Saint Camillus de Lellis

Prayer to Saint Camillus of Lellis

Most wonderful Saint, your compassion for the sick and the dying led you to found the Servants of the Sick. As the Patron of nurses and hospital workers, infuse in them your compassionate spirit. Make hospitals resemble the inn in Christ's Parable to which the Good Samaritan brought the wounded man saying: "Take care of him and I will repay you for it." Amen.

Novena to St. Anne begins



Saint Anne’s feast day is on July 26th, so the St. Anne Novena is traditionally started on July 17th; however, you can pray it anytime. St. Anne (Hebrew, Hannah, grace; also spelled Ann, Anne, Anna) is the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the grandmother of Jesus, and the wife of Joachim. She is mentioned in the Apocrypha, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back to the second century. Devotion to St. Anne dates back to the sixth century in the Church of Constantinople and the eighth century in Rome.

St. Anne is the patron saint of the province of Quebec, where the well-known shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre, (the site of many miracles) is located. She is patroness: against poverty;  of broom makers; cabinetmakers; carpenters; childless couples; equestrians; grandmothers; grandparents; homemakers; housewives; lace makers; lace workers; lost articles; miners; mothers; old-clothes dealers; pregnancy; pregnant women; horse riders; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; turners; women in labor and those who have difficulty conceiving.

Novena Prayers to St. Anne

Recite the prayer for the proper day.

St. Anne Novena, Day One

Great Saint Anne, engrave indelibly on my heart and in my mind the words that have reclaimed and sanctified so many sinners:

“What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul?” May this be the principle fruit of these prayers by which I will strive to honor you during this novena.

At your feet renew my resolution to invoke you daily, not only for the success of my temporal affairs and to be preserved from sickness and suffering, but above all, that I may be preserved from all sin, that I may gain eternal salvation and that I will receive the special grace of…

(State your intention here.)

O most powerful Saint Anne, do not let me lose my soul, but obtain for me the grace of heaven, there with you, your blessed spouse, and your glorious daughter, to sing the praise of the Most Holy and Adorable Trinity forever and ever.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Anne Novena, Day Two

Glorious Saint Anne, how can you be otherwise than overflowing with tenderness toward sinners like myself, since you are the grandmother of Him who shed His blood for us, and the mother of her whom the saints call advocate of sinners? To you, therefore, I address my prayers with confidence.

Vouchsafe to commend me to Jesus and Mary so that, at your request, I may be granted remission of my sins, perseverance, the love of God, charity for all mankind, and the special grace of…

(State your intention here.)

…for which I stand in need at the present time. O most powerful protectress, let me not lose my soul, but pray for me that through the merits of Jesus Christ and the intercession of Mary, I may have the great happiness of seeing them, of loving and praising them with you through all eternity.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Anne Novena, Day Three

Beloved of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, mother of the Queen of Heaven, take us and all who are dear to us under your special care. Obtain for us the virtues you instilled in the heart of her who was destined to become Mother of God, and the graces with which you were endowed. O model of Christian womanhood, pray that we may imitate your example in our homes and families, listen to our petitions,

(State your intention here.)

Guardian of the infancy and childhood of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, obtain the graces necessary for all who enter the marriage state, that imitating your virtues they may sanctify their homes and lead the souls entrusted to their care to eternal glory. Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Anne Novena, Day Four

Glorious Saint Anne, I kneel in confidence at your feet, for you also have tasted the bitterness and sorrow of life. My need, the cause of my request, is…

(State your intention here.)

Good Saint Anne, you who did suffer much during the twenty years that preceded your glorious maternity, I beseech you, by all your sufferings and humiliations, to grant my prayer.

I pray to you, through your love for your glorious spouse Saint Joachim, through your love for your immaculate child, through the joy you did feel at the moment of her happy birth, not to refuse me. Bless me, bless my family and all who are dear to me, so that some day we may all be with you in the glory of heaven, for all eternity.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Anne Novena, Day Five

Great Saint Anne, how far I am from resembling you. I so easily give way to impatience and discouragement; and so easily give up praying when God does not at once answer my request. Prayer is the key to all heavenly treasures and I cannot pray, because my weak faith and lack of confidence fail me at the slightest delay. O my powerful protectress, come to my aid, listen to my petition…

(State your intention here.)

Make my confidence and fervor, supported by the promise of Jesus Christ, increase as the trial to which God in His goodness subjects me is prolonged, that I may obtain like you more than I can venture to ask for. In the future I will remember that I am made for heaven and not for earth; for eternity and not for time; that consequently I must ask, above all, the salvation of my soul which is assured to all who pray properly and who persevere in prayer.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Anne Novena, Day Six

Glorious Saint Anne, mother of the Mother of God, I beg your powerful intercession for the freedom from my sins and the assistance I need in my troubles…

(State your intention here.)

What can I not hope for if you deign to take me under your protection? The Most High has been pleased to grant the prayers of sinners, whenever you have been charitable enough to be their advocate.

Therefore, I beg you to help me in all spiritual and temporal dangers; to guide me in the true path of Christian perfection, and finally to obtain for me the grace of a happy death, so that I may contemplate your beloved Jesus and daughter Mary in your loving companionship throughout all eternity.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Anne Novena, Day Seven

O Good Saint Anne, so justly called the mother of the infirm, the cure for those who suffer from disease, look kindly upon the sick for whom I pray.

Alleviate their sufferings; cause them to sanctify their sufferings by patience and complete submission to the Divine Will; finally deign to obtain health for them and with it the firm resolution to honor Jesus, Mary, and yourself by the faithful performance of duties.

But, merciful Saint Anne, I ask you above all for the salvation of my soul, rather than bodily health, for I am convinced that this fleeting life is given us solely to assure us a better one. I cannot obtain that better life without the help of God’s graces. I earnestly beg them of you for the sick and for myself, especially the petition for which I am making in this novena…

(State your intention here.)

…through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, through the intercession of His Immaculate Mother, and through your efficacious and powerful mediation, I pray.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Anne Novena, Day Eight

Remember, O Saint Anne, you whose name signifies grace and mercy, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, and sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto you, good, and kind mother; I take refuge at your feet, burdened with the weight of my sins. O holy mother of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, despise not my petition…

(State your intention here.)

…but hear me and grant my prayer.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Anne Novena, Day Nine

Most holy mother of the Virgin Mary, glorious Saint Anne, I, a miserable sinner, confiding in your kindness, choose you today as my special advocate. I offer all my interests to your care and maternal solicitude. O my very good mother and advocate, deign to accept me and to adopt me as your child.

O glorious Saint Anne, I beg you, by the passion of my most loving Jesus, the Son of Mary, your most holy daughter, to assist me in all the necessities both of my body and my soul. Venerable Mother, I beg you to obtain for me the favor I seek in this novena…

(State your intention here.)

…and the grace of leading a life perfectly conformable in all things to the Divine Will. I place my soul in your hands and in those of your kind daughter. I ask for your favor in order that, appearing under your patronage before the Supreme Judge, He may find me worthy of enjoying His Divine Presence in your holy companionship in Heaven.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel



July 16 is the patronal feast of the Carmelites. The Order of Carmelites takes its name from Mount Carmel in Israel, which was the first place dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and where a chapel was erected in her honor before her Assumption into heaven.

In the Old Testament, Mount Carmel was a holy place sanctified by the memory of Elijah and his followers - who fought for the rights of the true God 900 years before Christ.

Christians would interpret Elijah's vision of the cloud rising from the Mediterranean sea as a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Son would be the Messiah and Savior (1 Kings 18, 42-45). After the days of Elijah and Elisha other holy hermits lived on Mt. Carmel and led solitary, contemplative lives, praying and fasting. Along with the austere figure of Elijah, they looked for inspiration to the Mother of God. Her Latin title was "Virgo Dei Genitrix", which means "Virgin Mother of God".



July 16th is also the feast of the "Scapular of Mount Carmel." On this day in 1251, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Simon Stock, General of the Carmelites at Cambridge, England, showed him the scapular and promised supernatural favors and her special protection to his Order and to all persons who would wear her scapular. When she presented the scapular to him, she told him, "This is your privilege: whoever dies wearing this shall not suffer eternal fire."

To obtain the indulgences and other benefits promised to those who wear the Carmelite scapular, a person must be invested by a priest and must lead a consistent Christian life.

Practices: Wear the Brown scapular after enrollment. Observe chastity according to your state in life. Recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or recite the Rosary daily (usual requirements).

Promises/benefits:"...whoever dies wearing this [the brown scapular] shall not suffer eternal fire." [Blessed Mother's promise to St. Simon]

Sabbatine Privilege: Release from purgatory on the first Saturday after death [revealed by the Blessed Mother to Pope John XXII in 1322].

Partial indulgence granted by Pope Benedict XV to those who devoutly kiss the scapular.

Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel composed by Saint Simon Stock 

O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother! Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!

Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for Peace



Queen of the Rosary, sweet Virgin of Fatima, who hast deigned to appear in the land of Portugal and hast brought peace, both interior and exterior, to that once so troubled country, we beg of thee to watch over our dear homeland and to assure its moral and spiritual revival.

Bring back peace to all nations of the world, so that all, and our own nation in particular, may be happy to call thee their Queen and the Queen of Peace.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for our country. Our Lady of Fatima, obtain for all humanity a durable peace. Amen.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

St. Bonaventure: Seraphic Doctor





By Jean M. Heimann

July 15 is the memorial of St. Bonaventure, O.F.M., who is known as "Seraphic Doctor" because of his burning love for God and his great zeal to do God's work. Born Giovanni di Fidanza, he was an Italian medieval Franciscan, a scholastic theologian, and a philosopher. He was appointed as Cardinal and Bishop of Albano by Pope Gregory X.

St. Bonaventure was born in the small town of Bagnoregio, Tuscany, Italy in 1221 and received the baptismal name of John. An event that occurred when he was a boy profoundly influenced his life. He had a serious illness and not even his father, who was a physician, believed that he would survive. His mother prayed for the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, who had been canonized a short time earlier. And John was cured.

He went to the University of Paris when he was 14, where he studied theology under the English Franciscan, Alexander of Hales. After he had received the diploma of Master of Arts, John asked himself an important question: "What must I do with my life?" Captivated by the witness of the zeal of the Friars Minor in Paris, John asked to be received into the family of the followers of St. Francis.

At the age of twenty-two, John entered the Franciscan Order and was named Bonaventure. After he made his vows, he was sent to Paris to continue his studies in theology and philosophy. In Paris he became a close friend of St. Thomas Aquinas and received his Doctor of theology degree, together with St. Thomas Aquinas. Like St. Thomas Aquinas, he enjoyed the friendship of the holy King, St. Louis IX.

Bonaventure taught at the University of Paris for several years and was known as both a brilliant teacher and a powerful preacher. At the age of thirty-five he was chosen Minister General of his Order and became known as its “second founder.” He restored a perfect calm to the Order where peace had been disturbed by internal disagreements. He did much for his Order. He wrote 500 sermons, created a commentary on the Rule, and composed The Life of St. Francis.

He was nominated Archbishop of York by Pope Clement IV, but refused the honor. Pope Gregory X appointed him as Cardinal and Bishop of Albano and, in that position, he was asked to draw up the agenda for the 14th General Council of Lyons in 1274. However, he died while the Council was still in session on July 15, 1274, and was buried at the Franciscan church in Lyons, France. Bonaventure was canonized in 1482 by the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor (the "Seraphic Doctor") of the Church in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V.

St. Bonaventure's theology is always written with holy fervor and consistently focused on increasing the depth and intensity of the spiritual life.  Some of his written works include: The Mind's Road to God, Psalter of the blessed Virgin Mary, Journey of the Mind to God, Perfection of Life, Soliloquy, and The Threefold Way.

Patron: Bowel disorders.

Symbols: Cardinal's hat; ciborium; Communion. Often portrayed as: Cardinal in Franciscan robes, usually reading or writing.

Quotes

"When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than that proceeding from the mouth. "

 “Mary seeks for those who approach her devoutly and with reverence, for such she loves, nourishes, and adopts as her children.”

"Suffering is like a kiss that Jesus hanging from the cross bestows on persons whom He loves in a special way. Because of this love He wants to associate them in the work of the redemption."

"Meditation on Christ in His humanity is corporeal in deed, in fact, but spiritual in mind. . . . By adopting this habit, you will steady your mind, be trained to virtues, and receive strength of soul....Let meditation of Christ's life be your one and only aim, your rest, your food, your desire, your study."

~ St. Bonaventure


Prayer of St. Bonaventure to the Holy Spirit

Lord Jesus, as God's Spirit came down and rested upon you,
May the same Spirit rest on us,
Bestowing his seven-fold gifts.
First, grant us the gift of understanding,
By which your precepts may enlighten our minds.
Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow
in your footsteps on the path of righteousness.
Third, grant us courage,
by which we may ward off the enemy's attacks.
Fourth, grant us knowledge,
by which we can distinguish good from evil.
Fifth, grant us piety,
by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.
Sixth, grant us fear,
by which we may draw back from evil
and submit to what is good.
Seventh, grant us wisdom,
that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.