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Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Feast of Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love
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Today, May 31st, is a deeply Marian today.  Today is not only the Feast of the Queenship of Mary but also the Feast of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces and the Feast of Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love.

The Feast of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces is a "Mass in Some Places" as is the Feast of  Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love.   Propers for the Mass of Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love follow.

Mass Propers for the Our Lady, Queen of All Saints and Mother of Fair Love

Introit:

Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see thy Queen, whom the morning stars praise: at whose beauty the sun and moon wonder, and all the sons of God make a joyful melody. (P.T. Alleluia, alleluia). Ps. How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. V. Glory be to the Father

Collect:

O God, Who hast given us to honour the most blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of all Saints, and Mother of fair love: graciously grant that, by her safeguarding, we may love Thee in all things and above all things on earth, and enjoy the happy fellowship of Thy Saints in heaven. Through our Lord.

Epistle:

I have stretched out my branches as the turpentine tree: and my branches are of honour and grace. As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odour: and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth: in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me: and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey: and mine inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me shall yet hunger: and they that drink me shall yet thirst. He that hearkeneth to me shall not be confounded: and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting

Gradual:

The Lord made her regent over all his kingdom, and he gave her the crown, that she should bring up her son for the kingdom. V. A crown of gold upon her head wherein is engraved holiness, an ornament of honour, a work of strength

Alleluia:

Come thou, our Queen, come, O Lady, into thy garden. The smell of thy garments is above all aromatical spices. Alleluia

Gospel:

At that time: There stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother and His mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own

Offertory:

Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me. And to the unwise she said: Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you, alleluia.

Secret:

We offer thee, O Lord, the sacrifice of praise, rejoicing in the glory of the Mother of Thy Son: trusting that, supported by her patronage, we may be relieved both of ills at hand, and of those to come. Through the same our Lord.

Communion:

Most worthy Queen of the world, Mary ever a Virgin, intercede for our peace and salvation, thou who barest Christ the Lord, the Saviour of all (P.T. Alleluia).

Post Communion:

Having fed on heavenly delicacies, we humbly beseech Thee, Lord our God: that as Thou hast established a protection and patronage for us in the most blessed Mother of Thy Son, Thou mayest also bestow a crown of everlasting glory on those who celebrate her solemnities. Through the same our Lord
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017
St. Francis of Assisi before the Sultan
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In 1219, the sultan Malik al-Kamil received St. Francis of Assisi in Damietta and posed to him a question: “Your Lord teaches in the Gospels that you should not return evil for evil nor refuse your mantle to someone who wants to take your tunic. Therefore, you Christians should not invade our lands.”

To which the Blessed Francis replied: “I think you have not read the whole Gospel. Elsewhere, indeed, it is said: ‘If you eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.’ With that Jesus wanted to teach us that when a man has a relative, however beloved he must be, even if he was as dear as the apple of our eyes, if he tempted us to turn away from the faith and love of our God we should be resolved to separate, alienate and eradicate him from us. For all this, Christians act according to justice when they invade your lands and fight you, for you blaspheme the name of Christ and fight to take away from His religion as many as you can. However, if you want to know, confess and worship the Creator and Redeemer of the world, I will love you as myself.’ All those present were taken with admiration by his response

(Fonti Francescane, 3rd Section, Altre Testimonianze Francescane, N° 2691, as quoted in Crusade Magazine, May/June 2015, p. 9).
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St. Felix I
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Double (1954 Calendar): May 30

Pope Felix I, a Roman by birth, was pope from 269 to 274 A.D. In his love of the true doctrine of the Church, he courageously condemned the heretical bishop of Antioch and is said to have died a martyr under Aurelian. "The sacred Liturgy puts all these gems [the virtues of the saints] before us . . . that guided by them we may follow the saints into glory" (Pope Pius XII).

Quoting from the Church, Dom Gueranger includes this life of Pope Felix in his Liturgical Year:
Felix, a Roman by birth, and son of Constantius, governed the Church during the reign of the emperor Aurelian. He decreed that the Mass should be celebrated upon the shrines and tombs of the Martyrs. He held two ordinations in the month of December, and made nine Priests, five Deacons, and five Bishops for divers places. He was crowned with Martyrdom, and was buried on the Aurelian Way, in a Basilica which he himself had built and dedicated. He reigned two years, four months, and twenty-nine days.
And Dom Guernager continues in his own words:
Thou, O holy Pontiff, didst imitate thy Divine Master in his Death, for thou gavest thy life for thy sheep. Like him, too, thou art to rise from thy tomb, and thy happy soul shall be reunited to its body, which suffered death in testimony of the truth thou proclaimedst at Rome. Jesus is the first-born of the dead; thou followedst him in his Passion, thou shalt follow him in his Resurrection. Thy body was laid in those venerable vaults, which the piety of early Christians honored with the appellation of Cemeteries—a word which signifies a place wherein to sleep. Thou, O Felix, wilt awaken on that great day, whereon the Pasch is to receive its last and perfect fulfillment:—pray that we also may then share with thee in that happy Resurrection. Obtain for us that we may be faithful to the graces received in this year’s Easter; and prepare us for the visit of the Holy Ghost, who is soon to descend upon us, that he may give stability to the work that has been achieved in our souls by our merciful Savior.

Prayer:

O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Felix shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this Martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

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Friday, May 26, 2017
St. Philip Neri
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Double (1954 Calendar): May 26

Philip Neri (1515-95), a native of Florence, settled in Rome. He thought of offering himself for the foreign missions, but a Benedictine friend told him that his apostolate was in Rome. Philip gathered some companions into a group that later became the renowned Congregation of the Oratory. In 1551 he was ordained to the priesthood. Philip's Oratory soon constituted the center of religious life in the Eternal City, and its founder fully deserved the title by which he was called: "Second Apostle of Rome." This lovable saint attracted the trust and affection of people in every walk of life by his abounding joy in the Lord.

The following is Adapted from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:

Joy is the leading feature of the Paschal Season—a supernatural joy which springs from our delight at seeing the glorious triumph of our Emmanuel, and from the happiness we feel at our own deliverance from the bonds of death. This interior joy was the characteristic of the Saint whom we honor today. His heart was ever full of a jubilant enthusiasm for what regards God; so that we could truly apply to him those words of Scripture: A secure mind is like a continual feast (Prov. 15: 15). One of his later disciples, the illustrious Father Faber, tells us in his beautiful treatise, Growth in Holiness, that cheerfulness is one of the chief means for advancing in Christian perfection. We will therefore welcome with gladness and veneration the benevolent and light-hearted St. Philip Neri, the Apostle of Rome, and one of the greatest Saints produced by the Church in the 16th century.

Love of God—but a love of the most ardent kind, and one that communicated itself to all that came near him—was our Saint's characteristic virtue. All the Saints loved God; for the love of God is the first and greatest of the commandments: but St. Philip's whole life was, in an especial manner, the fulfillment of this divine precept. His entire existence seemed to be but one long transport of love for his Creator; and had it not been for a miracle of God's power and goodness, this burning love would have soon put an end to his mortal career. He was in his 29th year, when one day—it was within the Octave of Pentecost—he was seized with such a vehemence of divine charity that two of his ribs broke, thus making room for the action of the heart to respond freely to the intensity of the love of the soul. The fracture was never healed; it caused a protrusion which was distinctly observable; and owing to this miraculous enlargement of the region of the heart, St. Philip was enabled to live fifty years more, during which time he loved his God with a fervor and strength which would do honor to one already in Heaven.

This seraph in human flesh was a living answer to the insults heaped upon the Catholic Church by the so-called Reformation. Luther and Calvin had called Holy Church the harlot of Babylon; and yet She had, at that very time, such children as St. Teresa of Avila and St. Philip Neri of Rome, to offer to the admiration of mankind. But Protestantism cared little or nothing for piety or charity; its great object was throwing off the yoke of restraint. Under pretense of religious liberty, it persecuted them that adhered to the true Faith; it forced itself by violence where it could not enter by seduction; but it never aimed at or thought of leading men to love their God. The result was that wheresoever it imposed its errors, devotedness was at an end—we mean that devotedness which leads man to make sacrifices for God or for his neighbor. A very long period of time elapsed after the Reformation before Protestantism ever gave a thought to the infidels who abounded in various parts of the globe... but anything like the devotedness of Catholic institutions is an impossibility for Protestantism, were it only for this reason, that its principles are opposed to the Evangelical Counsels, which are the great sources of the spirit of sacrifice, and are prompted by a motive of the love of God.

Glory, then, to St. Philip Neri, one of the worthiest representatives of charity in the 16th century! It was owing to his zeal that Rome and Christendom at large were replenished with a new life by the frequentation of the Sacraments and by the exercises of Catholic piety. His word, his very look, used to excite people to devotion. His memory is still held in deep veneration, especially in Rome, where his Feast was kept with the greatest solemnity. He shares with Ss. Peter and Paul the honor of being Patron of the Holy City. Formerly, on his Feast, the Pope went, with great solemnity, to the Church of St. Mary in Vallicella, and paid the debt of gratitude which the Holy See owes to the Saint who accomplished such great things for the glory of our Holy Mother the Church.

St. Philip NeriSt. Philip had the gift of miracles; and though seeking to be forgotten and despised, he was continually surrounded by people who besought him to pray for them, either in their temporal or spiritual concerns. Death itself was obedient to his command, as in the case of the young prince Paul Massimo. The young prince, when breathing his last, desired that St. Philip should be sent for, in order that he might assist him to die well. The Saint was offering Mass at the time. As soon as the Holy Sacrifice was over, he repaired to the palace; but he was too late—he found the father, sister and the whole family in tears. The young prince had died after an illness of 65 days, which he had borne with most edifying patience. St. Philip fell upon his knees; and, after a fervent prayer, he put his hand on the head of the corpse, and called the prince by his name.

Thus awakened from the sleep of death, Paul opened his eyes, and looking at St. Philip, said to him, "My Father!" He then added these words: "I only wished to go to confession." The assistants left the room, and St. Philip remained alone with the prince. After a few moments the family were called back; and in their presence, Paul began to speak to St. Philip regarding his mother and sister who had been taken from him by death, and whom he loved with the most tender affection. During the conversation, the prince's face regained all it had lost by sickness. His animation was that of one in perfect health. The Saint then asked him if he would wish to die again. "Oh yes," answered the prince, "most willingly; for I should then see my mother and sister in Heaven." "Take then,” said St. Philip, "take thy departure for Heaven, and pray to the Lord for me." At these words, the young prince expired once more, and entered into the joys of eternal life, leaving his family to mourn his departure, and venerate a Saint such as Philip.

He was almost continually visited by Our Lord with raptures and ecstasies; he was gifted with the spirit of prophecy, and could read the secrets of the conscience. His virtues were such as to draw souls to him by an irresistible charm. The youth of Rome, rich and poor, used to flock to him. Some he warned against danger; others he saved, after they had fallen. The poor and sick were the object of his unceasing care. He seemed to be everywhere in the city by his works of zeal, which gave an impulse to piety that has never been forgotten.


St. Philip was convinced that one of the principal means for maintaining the Christian spirit is preaching the word of God: hence he was most anxious to provide the faithful with apostolic men, who would draw them to God by good and solid preaching. He established, under the name of The Oratory, an institute, the object of which is to encourage Christian piety among the people. By founding it, St. Philip aimed at securing the services, zeal, and talent of priests who are not called to the Religious life, but who, by uniting their labors together, would produce great good to the souls of men.

Thus did he afford to priests, whose vocation did not lead them to the Religious state, the great advantages of a common rule and mutual good example, which are such powerful aids both in the service of God and in the exercise of pastoral duties. But the holy Apostle was a man of too much faith not to have an esteem of the Religious life as a state of perfection. He never lost an opportunity of encouraging a vocation to that holy state. The Religious Orders were indebted to him for so many members, that his intimate friend and admirer, St. Ignatius of Loyola, used playfully to compare him to a bell, which calls others to the chapel (of the Religious life), yet never goes in itself!

The awful crisis of the 16th century, through which the Christian world had to pass, and which robbed the Catholic Church of so many provinces, was a source of keenest grief to St. Philip during the whole of his life. His heart bled at seeing so many thousands of souls fall into the abyss of error and heresy. He took the deepest interest in the efforts that were made to reclaim those that had been led astray by the pretended Reformation. He kept a watchful eye on the tactics wherewith Protestantism sought to maintain its ground. The Centuries of Magdeburg, for example, suggested to his zeal a counterbalance of truth. The Centuries was a series of historical essays, whereby the Reformers sought to prove that the Catholic Church had changed the ancient faith, and introduced superstitious practices in the place of those that were used in the early ages of Christianity. A work like this, with its falsified quotations, its misrepresentation and its frequent invention of facts, was destined to do great injury; and St. Philip resolved to meet it by a work of profound erudition—a true history, compiled from authentic sources.

One of the fathers of his Oratory, Caesar Baronius, was just the man for such an undertaking; and St. Philip ordered him to take the field against the enemy. The Ecclesiastical Annals were the fruit of this happy thought; and Baronius himself, at the beginning of Book VIII, acknowledges that St. Philip was the originator of the work. Centuries have passed away since then. It is easy for us, with the means which we now have, to detect certain imperfections in the Annals; at the same time, it is acknowledged on all sides that they form by far the truest and finest History of the Church of the first 1200 years—which is as far as the learned Cardinal went. Heresy felt the injury it must needs sustain by such a History. The sickly and untrustworthy erudition of the Centuriators could not stand before an honest statement of facts; and we may safely assert that the progress of Protestantism was checked by the Annals of Baronius, which showed that the Church was then as She had ever been—the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3: 15).

St. Philip's sanctity and Baronius' learning secured the victory. Numerous conversions soon followed, consoling the Church for the losses She had sustained. And if in more recent times many have returned to the ancient Faith, it is but fair to attribute the movement (especially the Oxford movement), in part at least, to the success of the historical method begun by the Annals.

Prayer:

O God, who didst exalt blessed Philip, Thy Confessor, with Thy Saints in glory, mercifully grant, that we who rejoice in his festival may profit by the example of his virtues. Through our Lord . . .
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Monday, May 22, 2017
Minor Rogation 2017
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While no longer required after Vatican II, the observation of Rogation Days is still encouraged. This year the Minor Rogation, the days leading up to Ascension Thursday, are May 22-24 inclusive. Today is the first day of the Minor Rogation, a day which should be a day of fasting.

These were traditionally days of penance, fasting, and praying litanies. If you are in good health, please remember to observe these days. Again, while not required until penalty of sin by the Holy Church, these days can still be observed. I am greatly encouraging them. For more information on Rogation days, see the links in my post entitled Rogation Day: Fasting and Penance.

I greatly encourage people to observe these days and spend time praying the Litany of Saints not only for a bountiful harvest but also for mercy and repentance.

Commemoration of the MASS OF ROGATION (1962 Missal)
Mercifully grant us our requests, O Lord, that the consolation we receive in our grievous troubles may increase our love for You.
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Thursday, May 18, 2017
St. Venantius of Camerino
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Double (1954 Calendar): May 18

Today is the Feast of Venantius of Camerino, who suffered martyrdom at a young age for the truths of the Catholic Religion. St. Venantius was born at Camerino in Italy. In the year 250, when he was 15 years of age, he was arrested because of his Christian faith and was condemned by a Roman judge to suffer cruel torments. The steadfastness of the young saint touched even hardened hearts, and many pagans were converted. On hearing of this the governor had Venantius beheaded.

The following is taken from Dom Gueranger, 1870:
 Today's Martyr carries us back to the persecutions under the Roman Emperors. It was at Camerino, in Italy, that he bore his testimony to the true Faith; and the devotion wherewith he is honoured by the people of those parts, (which are under the temporal Sovereignty of the Roman Pontiff,) has occasioned his Feast being kept throughout the Church. Let us, therefore, joyfully welcome this new champion, who fought so bravely for our Emmanuel. Let us congratulate him upon his having the privilege of suffering Martyrdom during the Paschal Season, all radiant as it is with the grand victory won by Life over Death.

The account given by the Liturgy, upon St. Venantius, is a tissue of miracles. The omnipotence of God seemed, on this and many other like occasions, to be resisting the cruelty of the executioners, in order to glorify the Martyr. It served also as a means for converting the bystanders, who, on witnessing these almost lavish miracles, were frequently heard to exclaim, that they too wished to be Christians, and embrace a Religion which was not only honoured by the superhuman patience of its Martyrs, but was so visibly protected and favored by heaven.

Venantius, who was born at Camerino, was but fifteen years of age when he was accused of being a Christian, and arraigned before Antiochus, the Governor of the City, under the reign of the Emperor Decius. He presented himself to the Governor at the City Gate, where, after being long and uselessly coaxed and threatened, he was scourged, and condemned to be chained. But he was miraculously unfettered by an Angel, and was then burned with torches, and was hung, with his head downwards, over a fire, that he might be suffocated by the smoke. One of the officials, by name Anastasius, having noticed the courage wherewith he suffered his torments, and having also seen an Angel walking, in a white robe, above the smoke, and again liberating Venantius,--he believed in Christ, and, together with his family, was baptized by the priest Porphyrius, with whom he afterwards merited to receive the palm of martyrdom.

Venantius was again brought before the Governor; and being solicited, though to no purpose, to give up his Faith, he was thrown into prison. A herald, named Attalus, was sent thither, to tell him that he also had once been a Christian, but had renounced the profession on discovering that it was false, and that Christians were duped into giving up the good things of the present by the vain hope of what was to follow in the next life. But the high-minded soldier of Christ, knowing well the snares of our crafty enemy the devil, utterly spurned his minister from his presence. Whereupon, he was again led before the Governor, and all his teeth were beaten out, and his jaws broken; after which, he was thrown into a dung pit. But, being delivered by an Angel, thence also, he again stood before the judge, who, whilst Venantius was addressing him, fell from the judgment-seat, and died exclaiming: "The God of Venantius is the true One! destroy our gods!"

When this was made known to the Governor, he immediately ordered Venantius to be exposed to the lions: but those animals, forgetting their own savage nature, threw themselves at his feet. The Saint, meanwhile, instructed the people in the Christian Faith, and was therefore removed and again thrown into prison. On the following day, Porphyrius told the Governor, that he had had a vision during the night, and that he saw that those who were bathed with water, by Venantius, were brilliant with a splendid light, but that the Governor was covered with a thick darkness. This so irritated the Governor, that he immediately ordered Porphyrius to be beheaded, and Venantius to be dragged, until evening, along places covered with thorns and thistles.

He was left there half dead; but he again presented himself, in the morning, to the Governor, who at once condemned him to be cast headlong from a rock. Again, however, he was miraculously preserved in his fall, and was once more dragged, for a mile, over rough places. Seeing that the soldiers were tormented with thirst, Venantius made the sign of the Cross, and water flowed from a rock, which was in a neighboring dell; on which rock, Venantius left the impress of his knees, as may be still seen in the Church which is dedicated to him. Many were moved, by that miracle, to believe in Christ, and were all beheaded, together with Venantius, on that very spot, by the Governor's orders. So awful were the lightnings and earthquakes which followed the execution, that the Governor took to flight. But he was not able to escape divine justice; and, a few days after, met with a most humiliating death. Meanwhile, the Christians gave honorable burial to the bodies of all these Martyrs, and they are now reposing in the Church, which is dedicated to Venantius in the town of Camerino.
Prayer to St. Venantius:

Dear youthful Martyr, loved of the Angels, and aided by them in thy combat! pray for us. Like thyself, we too are soldiers of the Risen Jesus, and must give testimony, before the world, to the Divinity and the Rights of our King. The world has not always in its hands those material instruments of torture, such as it made thee feel; but it is always fearful in its power of seducing souls. It would rob us, also, of that New Life, which Jesus has imparted to us and to all them that are His members; holy Martyr, protect us under these attacks! Thou hadst partaken, during the days of thy last Easter, of the divine Flesh of the Paschal Lamb, and thy courage in Martyrdom redounded to the glory of this heavenly nourishment. We, also, have been guests at the same holy Table; we, also, have partaken of the Paschal Banquet. Like thee, we have known our Lord in the breaking of BREAD (St. Luke, xxiv. 35): obtain for us the appreciation of the divine mystery, of which we received the first-fruits at Bethlehem, and which has been gradually developed, within our souls, as well as before our eyes, by the merits of the Passion and Resurrection of our Emmanuel. We are now, at this very time, preparing to receive the plenitude of the divine gift of the Incarnation. Pray for us, O Holy Martyr, that our hearts may more than ever fervently welcome, and faithfully preserve, the rich treasures, which are about to be offered us, by the sublime mysteries of the Ascension and Pentecost. Amen

Collect:

O God, You sanctified this day by the triumph of Your blessed martyr Venantius. May we imitate the fortitude of his faith as we venerate his merits. Through Our Lord . . .
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Mass in Some Places: St. John Nepomucene
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 Martyrdom of St. John Nepomuk by Szymon Czechowicz, National Museum in Warsaw.

Today in the pre-1955 Traditional Catholic Missal is the Mass in Some Places (pro aliquibus locis) of St. John Nepomucen (St. John of Nepomuk).  He is not to be confused with St. John Nepomucene Neumann.

The history of this special feast is related by the great liturgist of the modern era, Dom Prosper Gueranger in his Liturgical Year. He begins by quoting from what the Church recounts of his life:
John was born at Nepomuk a town in Bohemia (from which he took the name of Nepomucen), and of parents who were advanced in years. His future sanctity was foretold by the appearance of bright rays miraculously shining over the house wherein he was born. When an infant, he was seized with a dangerous illness; but was delivered from death by the protection of the Blessed Virgin, to whom his parents considered themselves indebted for his birth. He was blessed with an excellent disposition, and received a pious training, in keeping with the indications given from heaven. He spent his boyhood in the practice of religious exercises; among which it was his delight to be frequently at the Church, and serve the Priests when saying Mass. He went through his humanities at Zatek, and the higher studies at Prague, where he took his degrees in Philosophy, Theology, and Canon law. He was ordained Priest; and being, by his proficiency in the science of the Saints, well fitted for gaining souls, he devoted himself entirely to preaching the word of God. In consideration of the great fruits produced by his eloquence and piety, which extirpated vice and brought sinners back to the way of salvation, he was made a Canon of the Metropolitan Church of Prague. Being afterwards chosen as Preacher to King Wenceslaus the Fourth, he so far succeeded, that the King did many things through his advice, and had a great regard for his virtue. He offered him several high dignities; but the Saint peremptorily refused to accept them, fearing that they would interfere with his preaching the divine word.

He was entrusted with the distribution of the royal alms to the poor, and Queen Jane chose him as her own spiritual director. Wenceslaus having given himself up to vices, which disgraced both his kingly and christian character, and being displeased at the entreaties and counsels of his wife, he even dared to insist on John’s revealing to him the secrets, told to him as Priest, by the queen in the sacrament of Penance. The minister of God courageously resisted the King’s impious request, and neither bribes, nor tortures, nor imprisonment, could make him yield. Seeing that the King had got to such a pitch of rage that the laws of neither man nor God made him relent, the soldier of Christ plainly foretold in one of his sermons, his own approaching death, and the calamities that were to befall the kingdom. He then set out for Buntzel, where is kept the image of the Blessed Virgin that has been venerated for centuries: he there, in fervent prayer, implored heaven to grant him the assistance he needed, in order to fight the good fight. As he was returning home, on the evening before the Vigil of the Ascension, the King, who was standing at the palace window, saw him, and sent him word that he was to repair to the King. The King was more than ever urgent in his demand, and threatened John with immediate drowning, if he continued to refuse compliance. The Saint was not to be conquered, and showed the King that he was not afraid of his threats. Wherefore, by the King’s orders, he was thrown that same night, in to the river Moldaw, which flows through Prague; and John obtained the glorious crown of Martyrdom.

The sacrilegious crime, thus privately committed, was miraculously revealed, as was also the Martyr’s great glory. For as soon as life was extinct, and the corpse began to float down the stream, flaming torches were seen following on the surface of the water. The next morning, the Canons went and took the body from the sand on which it lay, and heedless of the King’s displeasure, they had it carried, with much solemnity, to the metropolitan Church, and gave it burial. The memory of this courageous Priest became gradually most venerable, both by the miracles that were wrought, and by the devotion of the Faithful—of those especially whose good name is injured by evil report. After upwards of three hundred years, a juridical examination was made of his body (which, during all that time, had lain under the ground) and his tongue was found to be incorrupt and as though it were that of a living man. Six hears later on, the tongue was shown to judges delegated by the Apostolic See; when, by a fresh miracle, it immediately resumed the fullness of life, and, from being of a brownish color, it became perfectly red. These and other miracles having been authentically approved, he was canonized by Pope Benedict the Thirteenth, on the nineteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord 1729, as the defender of the Sacramental Seal, and the first Martyr that had shed his blood for the maintenance of its holy secrecy.

Dom Gueranger in "The Liturgical Year" writes thus of St. John Nepomucen:
How great, O glorious Martyr, was the honor reserved for thee by the Son of God, when he chose thee to be the one who was to attest, by laying down his life, the sacredness of the secret which protects the Sacrament of Penance! Other Priests, as well as thyself, have bravely suffered persecution for the sake of the secrecy of the mystery of Reconciliation; but thou wast the one chosen by heaven to give a solemn testimony of priestly discretion. Thy sufferings were known to more than to Angels: thy Martyrdom was a public one, and the Faithful honor thy courage as an eloquent proof of how truly our good Shepherd, Jesus, removes every difficulty that could deter the strayed sheep from returning to the fold.

We address ourselves to thee, O holy Martyr, on this the day of thy triumph, and we beg of thee to intercede for sinners. Admirable minister of the Sacrament of Penance! thou seest how many Christians there are who neglect to avail themselves of the means of salvation prepared for them by our Risen Savior. Instead of laying hold of this “second plank after shipwreck,” they let themselves be carried on to the deep abyss by the tide of their sinful habits. There are thousands who have turned a deaf ear, even this Easter, to the call of holy Church, who invited them, as an affectionate Mother, to approach the Tribunal of mercy and Reconciliation. We beseech thee, intercede for these blind, these unwary, these ungrateful men. Get them that grace which will lead them to the feet of the God of Mercy, who is ever ready to grant pardon.

There are others, again, who go to Confession, but who have not the dispositions requisite for receiving the grace of the Sacrament—the justification of their souls. Pray also for these, that they may see the danger they thus incur of profaning the Blood of Christ. Obtain for all them who approach the holy Tribunal, an honest avowal of their sins, and contrition of heart; that thus the life of our Risen Jesus may be imparted to them, and that they may never again lose it. By thy powerful intercession, raise up zealous and faithful ministers of this great Sacrament, of which thou wast the Martyr. Draw down on their arduous labor the blessing of heaven: then will the number of the children of God be increased, and the grace of the Holy Ghost triumph in souls that have long been dead in sin.

Cast, too, an eye of compassion on thy fatherland of Bohemia, where there are so many Faithful hearts that love and honor thee. Alas! there are tares which disfigure that portion of the Church. The enemy came, not many years after thy glorious martyrdom, and sowed the baneful weeds of heresy in thy native land. The good seed claims thy protection; but take pity also on the cockle, for even it may be turned, by the True Faith, into wheat, and be garnered into the House of our Heavenly Father. Secure to thy Bohemia the peace of which an ambitious diplomacy is now seeking to deprive her, and save her from the snares that are being laid for her.
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Saturday, May 13, 2017
100th Anniversary of Fatima
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Today is the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady appearing to the 3 shepherd children in Fatima.  Today is a cause of great concern for us.  You may click here to read about the history of these apparitions in detail.  But I would like to draw your attention to my post concerning The 17th Year of the Century: A Year of Disaster, Disorder, and Error

The Blessed Virgin Mary warned us that unless we be converted and Russia be consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart, there would be future disaster.  An unfortunately, the consecration was never done as Our Lady instructed it to be done.  If you are not familiar with the story of Fatima, now is the time to read again an overview of Fatima.  We must prepare for what may be a year of great disaster.

"The Present Moment is the most tragic the Church has seen since the Catacombs; this portentous scenario is dominated by Our Lady's appearance to the little shepherds.  Everything else that happens in the world is in function of her: Everything is unleashed because Our Lady was not heeded and her request was not obeyed" (Plinio Correa de Oliveira) 

While still Vatican Secretary of State, the future Pope Pius XII predicted: “A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted.  She will be tempted to believe that man has become God.  In our churches, Catholics will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them.  Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, “Where have they taken Him?”  
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Thursday, May 11, 2017
Virtual Tour: Saint Sophia Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles
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From a trip I did a few years ago to Los Angeles, here are pictures of Saint Sophia (Holy Wisdom) Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles, CA.  This Cathedral far outshines in beauty the Catholic Cathedral in Los Angeles.  Copyright information may be found on my Flickr Page.


















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Wednesday, May 10, 2017
St. Antoninus
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Double (1954 Calendar): May 10

Today is the Feast of St. Antoninus, a heroic model for us to imitate.

The following is taken from Dom Gueranger, 1870:
 The Order of St. Dominic, which has already presented to our Triumphant Jesus Peter the Martyr and Catharine the seraph of Sienna, sends him, today, one of the many Bishops trained and formed in its admirable school. It was in the 15th Century, a period when sanctity was rare on the earth, that Antoninus realized, in his own person, the virtues of the greatest Bishops of ancient times. His apostolic zeal, his deeds of charity, his mortified life, are the glory of the Church of Florence, which was confided to his care. Heaven blessed that illustrious City with temporal prosperity on account of its saintly Archbishop. Cosmas of Medici was frequently heard to say, that Florence owed more to Antoninus than to any other man. The holy prelate was also celebrated for his great learning. He defended the Papacy against the calumnies of certain seditious Bishops in the Council of Basel: and, at the General Council of Florence, he eloquently asserted the truth of the Catholic Faith, which was assailed by the abettors of the Greek Schism. How beautiful is our holy Mother the Church, that produces such children as Antoninus, and has them in readiness to uphold what is true, and withstand what is false!

She thus speaks the praises of today's Saint:

Antoninus was born at Florence, of respectable parents. He gave great promise, even when quite a child, of his after sanctity. Having at the age of sixteen, entered the Religious Order of Friars Preachers, he at once became an object of admiration, by the practice of the highest virtues. He declared ceaseless war against idleness. After taking a short sleep at night, he was the first at the Office of Matins; which over, he spent the remainder of the night in prayer, or reading, or writing. If at times, he felt himself oppressed with unwelcome sleep, owing to fatigue, he would lean his head, for a while, against the wall, and then, shaking off the drowsiness, he resumed his holy vigils with renewed earnestness.

Being a most rigid observer of Religious discipline, he never ate flesh-meat, save in the case of severe illness. His bed was the ground, or a naked board. He always wore a hair shirt, and sometimes an iron girdle next to his skin. He observed the strictest chastity during his whole life. Such was his prudence in giving counsel, that he went under the name of Antoninus the Counsellor. He so excelled in humility, that, even when Prior and Provincial, he used to fulfill, with the utmost self-abjection, the lowest duties of the Monastery. He was made Archbishop of Florence by Pope Eugenius the Fourth. Great was his reluctance to accept such a dignity: nor would he have consented, had it not been out of fear of incurring the spiritual penalties wherewith he was threatened by the Pope.

It would be difficult to describe the prudence, piety, charity, meekness and apostolic zeal, wherewith he discharged his episcopal office. He learned almost all the sciences to perfection, and, what is surprising, he accomplished this by his own extraordinary talent, without having any master to teach him. Finally, after many labours, and after having published several learned books, he fell sick. Having received the Holy Eucharist and Extreme Unction, embracing the Crucifix, he joyfully welcomed death, on the sixth of the Nones of May (May 10th), in the year 1459. He was illustrious for the miracles which he wrought during his life, as also for those which followed after his death. He was canonized by Adrian the Sixth, in the year of our Lord 1523.
Prayer to St. Antoninus:

We give thanks to our Risen Jesus for the sublime gifts bestowed by Him on thee, O Antoninus! When He confided a portion of his Flock to thy care, He enriched thee with the qualities of a Shepherd according to His own heart. He knew that He could trust to thy love; He therefore gave thee charge over His Lambs. The age in which thou livedst, was one of great disorder, and one that prepared the way for the scandals of the following Century; and yet thou wast one of the brightest lights the Church has ever had. Florence still cherishes thy memory, as the man of God and the father of thy country; aid her by thy prayers. The preachers of heresy have entered within her walls; watch over the field whereon thine own hands sowed the good seed; let not the cockle take root there. Thou wast the defender of the Holy See; raise up in unhappy Italy, imitators of thy zeal and learning. Thou hadst the happiness of witnessing, under the grand cupola of thy Cathedral, the reunion of the Greek Church with Rome; thou hadst a share in bringing about this solemn reconciliation, which, alas! was to be of short duration. Pray, O holy Pontiff, for the descendants of them that were faithless to the promise sealed on the very Altar, whereon thy hands so often offered up the Sacrifice of unity and peace.

Disciple of the great Dominic, inheritor of his burning zeal, protect the holy order which he founded, and of which thou art so bright an ornament. Show that thou still lovest it. Give it increase, and procure for its children the holiness that once worked such loveliness and fruit in the Church. Holy Pontiff, be mindful of the Faithful, who implore thine intercession at this period of the Year.

Thy eloquent lips announced the Pasch, so many years, to the people of Florence, and urged them to share in the Resurrection of our Divine Head. The same Pasch, the immortal Pasch, has shone once more upon us. We are still celebrating it; oh! pray that its fruits may be lasting in us, and that our Risen Jesus, Who has given us Life, may, by His grace, preserve it in our souls for all eternity.
Collect:

O God, the glorious bishop Stanislaus fell beneath the swords of evil men in defending Your name. May all of us who seek his help be brought closer to our salvation through his intercession. Through Our Lord . . .
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Monday, May 8, 2017
What is the earliest and latest date that Lent or Easter can start?
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For those looking to plan ahead, here is a list of all of the upcoming dates for movable major Catholic feastdays and seasons until the year 2050.



Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter. Since Sundays are not fast days, there are 40 days of traditional fasting and penance in Lent that leads up to Easter.

The earliest Easter can be is March 22 as it was last in 1818 and will be next in 2285. Ash Wednesday would be on February 4 in that case.

The latest Easter can be is April 25 as it was last in 1943 and will be next in 2038. Ash Wednesday would be on March 10. 



Therefore, the earliest Lent can start is February 4 and the latest it can start is March 10.
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Sunday, May 7, 2017
Feast of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr
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Double (1954 Calendar): May7

Today is the Feast of St. Stanislaus, bishop and martyr - not to be confused with St. Stanislaus Kostka. 

The following is taken from Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877:
Cracow, in Poland, was the native place of St. Stanislaus. His parents, who were as virtuous as they were rich, had been married thirty years without having offspring, until at last God heard their prayers and bestowed a son upon them, who in the first years of childhood gave promises of his future holiness. Innocence spoke in every feature, he loved prayer above all earthly pleasure, and seemed to have inherited from his mother the deepest compassion for the poor. He began his studies at home, but finished them at Paris with great renown. When he returned home, his parents were dead and as he had determined to go into a monastery to serve God, he divided his fortune among the poor. Lambert however, bishop of Cracow, on becoming acquainted with his talents and knowledge, saw how great would be his influence among the clergy, and persuaded him to receive, a canonicate. After being invested with this dignity, Stanislaus led so blameless and holy a life that, on the death of Lambert, he was unanimously chosen his successor. The humble man was very unwilling to accept the honor, but he was equally zealous in fulfilling his duties when, being obliged to comply, he had been duly consecrated. He personally visited every parish in his bishopric and was unwearied in assisting his flock in all their temporal as well as spiritual wants. It was said by every one that the bishop's revenues belonged to the poor. To visit the sick and give aid and comfort to them was his daily occupation, and the leisure moments, which were left him by the duties" of his sacred office, he gave not to idle amusement but to devout exercises. He was extremely rigorous towards his own person and seldom divested himself of his penitential robe. He kept an almost continued fast and in short lived in such a manner that he was called throughout the land the holy Bishop.

At that period, the king of Poland was Boleslaus II, who was hated and despised by every one on account of his cruelty and great immorality. As no one else dared to censure his vicious conduct, Stanislaus fearlessly exposed to him the scandal which he gave to others, and exhorted him, with tears in his eyes and upon bended knees, to reform. The King promised to follow the bishop's admonition, but instead of so doing, his conduct became worse than ever. Among other vicious deeds, he abducted the wife of a nobleman and kept her to the great indignation of the whole nobility. Stanislaus went to the King a second time, and like John the Baptist, conjured him most solemnly to change his scandalous life, remonstrating with him on the enormity of his crime in living with another man's wife. Boleslaus, enraged at this, turned away from him, resolved to put the severe lecturer out of the way. This he determined to do by means of a false accusation. The Saint had bought, of a nobleman by the name of Peter, an estate for his church, for which he had paid in money. The purchase had taken place with the consent of the King, and the estate had been in the possession of the Church three years, when Boleslaus caused the heirs of Peter (who had meanwhile died), to be informed, that if they wished to obtain the estate for themselves, they should bring an action against the bishop, and that he would assist them. The heirs followed the advice, alleging that Stanislaus had purchased the estate from their father, but had not yet paid for it. The bishop declared the accusation false, and summoned witnesses. The latter appeared but gave no evidence, as they had been forbidden so to do. Trusting in God, the Saint said to the king and the assembled counsellors; "Well, as these witnesses do not dare to speak, I shall, in three days, place, before you one whom you will be forced to believe, namely the former proprietor of the estate, himself." The King laughed derisively, as the latter had been dead more than two years: he, however, received the bishop's word.

The Saint fasted and prayed during three days and nights. On the fourth day, clad in his priestly robes, after Mass he went to the grave of Peter, and having caused the earth to be removed, he prayed, and then called on the dead and commanded him, in the name of the Holy Trinity to arise and go with him to testify to the truth. And behold a miracle! The dead arose in the presence of all the assembled people and followed the bishop to the King and the councillors. Mute with amazement, they gazed at the unexpected witness; but Stanislaus said: " Here is he whom I promised to summon; he will reveal the truth." Upon this Peter distinctly said; "Yes I have of my own free will sold my estate to the bishop and received the price of it in money. My heirs wrong him." Having given this evidence, Peter was led back to his grave. Stanislaus, against the wish of the King, was discharged and lived for some time unmolested.

When, however, the conduct of the King became more and more scandalous, the nobles of the country requested the bishop once more to remonstrate with him. The fearless Saint gave several days to fasting and prayer, and also offered to God other penances that his exhortation might be more successful than the former. After this, he went to the King and represented to him the danger of eternal damnation, which became more imminent, with the increased years that God gave him to repent and do penance. When he, however, saw that neither remonstrances nor entreaties were of any avail, he threatened him with excommunication. This threat the Saint at last put into execution as the King instead of reforming, became daily worse. At length the King, unwilling to be longer censured by the Saint, sent some men of his guard to the Chapel of St. Michael, to which he had been informed that the Saint had gone to say holy Mass, with orders to put him immediately to death. The soldiers went to the Chapel to obey the royal command, but seized with sudden fear, they fled and frankly confessed to the King, that it was impossible for them to lay hands on so venerable a man. He then twice more sent other soldiers with the same order, but all returned saying that a heavenly light, which surrounded the Saint, prevented them from touching him.

Wild with rage, the King rushed into the chapel and running towards the bishop who stood officiating before the holy Altar, he clove his head with one stroke of his sword, and the Saint sank dead upon the ground. Having had the body dragged out of the Chapel, the King caused it to be cut in pieces, and gave orders that it should be left a prey to the birds. But Divine Providence decreed otherwise. Four large eagles guarded the mangled members of the holy body until some persons, taking courage, laid them together with the intention of burying them. A new miracle, however, took place. By the power of the Most High, the members were joined in such a manner that the entire body of the Saint was lying before the eyes of those who had come to take it away. All present thanked God and praised the Saint's fearlessness and constancy. They laid the body in a grave before the door of the Chapel where he had received the Crown of Martyrdom. Ten years later, the sacred remains were transferred to the Cathedral of Cracow. During the ten years that the body lay before the Chapel-door, bright, heavenly, lights were seen upon it, with which God glorified his faithful servant upon earth.

Practical Considerations

St. Stanislaus endeavored to move the king to repentance and reformation. He knew of no better means to effect this than to represent to him the danger of eternal damnation. And, in fact, whoever is not moved by the fear of eternal damnation, will be moved by nothing else. The truth of this is shown by the wicked king Boleslaus. He heeded not the fatherly exhortations of the holy bishop, disregarded the danger to which he exposed himself, not only continued his crimes, but committed new ones, and went to eternal destruction because he repented not. So far do they go who neglect to root out of their hearts the passion of lust, but indulge it without shame, until it becomes, as it were, a second nature. "The wicked man when he is come into the depth of sins, contemneth;" says Holy Writ (Prov. xviii.). He overlooks sin and does not care for it, however enormous and despicable it may be. He slights the admonitions of the clergy, the inspired words of God, the danger of eternal damnation, yes, even damnation itself. "His heart," according to the words of Job, "shall be as hard as a stone, and as firm as a smith's anvil" (Job, xli.). And what can follow such hardening, but an unhappy end and eternal destruction. "A hard heart shall fare badly at the last," says the Holy Ghost (Eccl. iii.). If you do not wish to become so miserable, hasten to do penance, if you have committed sins. Make no habit of evil deeds. Commence to reform in time. Picture to yourself the danger of eternal damnation, in which you are so long as you remain in mortal sin. Pray God to give you a true knowledge of this danger, and sufficient grace to enable you to tear yourself away from it.

St. Stanislaus informed the king that, if he did not repent, the danger of his damnation would increase with the time God grants him to repent and do penance. An important truth: God punishes some, sinners, like the revolting angels, directly after they have committed sin. Others He punishes not immediately, but looks on a long time during which they commit sin after sin. This leads some to take greater liberties and to sin still more according to the words of Holy writ; "because sentence is not speedily pronounced against the evil, the children of men commit evil without fear" (Ecc. viii.). "They imagine that they are secure of punishment," says St. Leo, "because they are not immediately punished." Such people ought to know that because they are not immediately punished, they have to fear so much more. For, it is an ineffable grace of God, a grace which He confers upon them and thousands of others, that He does not punish them directly, but leaves them time to repent. If they do not make use of this grace, but even spend the time bestowed upon them, in offending the majesty of God still more, they will most certainly have to render a strict account of it, and must one day expect so much severer punishment. "The greater the benefits man receives from God, the greater the punishment that awaits him if he commits sin and continues in it," writes St. Chrysostom. And St. Augustine says: "The longer God looks on, so much the more painfully and terribly will He punish." If you wish not to experience this to your own eternal sorrow, follow the admonition of St. Augustine: "If God puts off the punishment, do not you put off repentance." And Origen says: "The mercy which God manifests towards you when He gives you time to repent, has a limit, and it is unknown to you how great it is, or how long it will last."
Prayer to St. Stanislaus:

Thou wast powerful in word and work, O Stanislaus! and our Lord rewarded thee with a Martyr's crown. From thy throne of glory, cast a look of pity upon us; obtain for us from God that gift of fortitude, which was so prominent in thee, and which we so much need in order to surmount the obstacles which impede our progress. Our Risen Lord must have no cowards among His soldiers. The Kingdom, into which He is about to enter, He took it by assault; and He tells us plainly, that if we would follow Him thither, we must prepare to use violence (St. Matth. xi. 12). Brave soldier of the living God! get us brave hearts.

We need them for our combat, whether that be one of open violence for the Faith or Unity of the Church, or one which is to be fought with the invisible enemies of our salvation. Thou wast indeed a good shepherd, for the presence of the world neither made thee flee nor fear; ask our Heavenly Father to send us Shepherds like thee. Succor Holy Church, for she has to contend with enemies in every part of the world. Convert her persecutors, as thou convertedst Boleslaus; he was thy murderer, but thy Martyrdom won mercy for him. Remember thy dear Poland, which honours thee with such fervent devotion. Break the iron yoke that has so long crushed her. Yes, it is time for her to regain her rank among nations. During the severe trials, which her sins have drawn down upon her, she has maintained the sacred link of Catholic Faith and Unity; she has been patient and faithful; ask our Risen Jesus to have pity on her, and reward her patience and fidelity. May He mercifully grant her a share in His Resurrection; that day will be one of joy for the whole Christian world, and a new Canticle will be sung throughout the earth, to the Lord our God. Amen

Collect:

O God, the glorious bishop Stanislaus fell beneath the swords of evil men in defending Your name. May all of us who seek his help be brought closer to our salvation through his intercession. Through Our Lord . . .
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Friday, May 5, 2017
Novena to Our Lady of Fatima Begins Today
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Most Holy Virgin, who has deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three little shepherds the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary, inspire our hearts with sincere love of this devotion. 

By meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in your Rosary, may we gather the fruits contained therein and obtain the conversion of sinners, the conversion of Russia, the Peace of Christ for the world, and this favor that I so earnestly seek of you in this novena....

(here mention your request)

I ask this of you, for the greater glory of God, for your own honor and for the good of all people. Amen

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be (three times each)
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Thursday, May 4, 2017
Feast of St. Monica
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Double (1954 Calendar): May 4

Today is the Feast of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, who arguably became one of the greatest Doctors of the Church in history.

The following is taken from Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877:
 St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, the great teacher of sacred wisdom, was a native of Africa. She was doubly a mother to the Saint; for, she not only gave him earthly life, but also spiritual life, by regenerating him for Heaven. Her parents, who were Christians and in comfortable circumstances, brought her up in modesty and virtue. She was devoted to pious exercises from early childhood. Having heard from her mother how pleasing in the sight of God it is to overcome sleep at night, and spend the time in prayer, she forthwith began to rise during the night and pray. Nor was she less devoted to the poor. She often deprived herself of food in order to supply the wants of the indigent. She never evinced any pleasure in vainly adorning her person, but always attired herself according to her station in life. In all her words as well as actions, she endeavored to be decorous and retiring. When grown up, it was her desire to live in virginal purity, but was obedient to her parents who wished her to marry. As a wife her conduct was so exemplary that she might be held up as a model for all married people. Patricius, her husband, tormented his pious wife in a thousand different ways, as he was of a violent temper, immoral, and addicted to many vices. Monica always treated him with love and gentleness, never reproaching him for his vices. She never contradicted him when, giving way to passion, he burst out into manifold curses: but waited until his anger had passed away, and then represented his faults to him with Christian calmness. Praying to God unceasingly for his conversion, she gradually changed him so completely, that he at last led a very edifying life. The women who lived in her neighborhood, and who were acquainted with the passionate temper of Patricius, often wondered that he never struck or otherwise brutally treated her, as their husbands did to them. But Monica told them the reason of it, and taught them to be submissive to their husbands, to meet them with love and gentleness, and above all things, never to contradict them when they were angry, but to bear their faults in patience and silence. But just as anxious as Monica was to live in love and peace with her husband, so was she determined not to permit strife and contention among her household, still less other vices. She had three children, two sons and one daughter, and her greatest care was to give them a Christian education. Augustine, her first born, however, was not obedient, especially after the death of his father, but led a wild, licentious life, regarding neither the admonitions, supplications, nor menaces of his pious mother, until at last, he fell into the heresy of the Manichees. 
Meanwhile Monica regulated her widowhood entirely after the precepts which St. Paul gives in his first Epistle to his disciple Timothy. She was liberal towards the poor, assisted daily at Holy Mass, listened eagerly to the word of God, spent no time in idle gossiping, or in walking about; but read devotional books, prayed and worked. She would hear nothing of worldly pleasures, and still less of fine garments or other vanities. She loved solitude and lived a retired and peaceful life, her only trouble being the vicious conduct of her son. Shedding many tears, she prayed almost day and night to God for his conversion, and requested others, both of the Clergy and the laity, to pray for the same object. As she one day asked a bishop for his prayers, he said to her: "Go in peace, a son for whom his mother sheds so many tears cannot perish." These words gave her some comfort, but she derived still more consolation from a vision in which God distinctly announced to her the conversion of her son. 
In the meantime, Augustine was desirous to leave Carthage, where he had studied rhetoric, and go to Rome. Monica endeavored to prevent his going; but Augustine secretly departed while she was at church. Scarcely, however, had he arrived in Rome, when he became dangerously ill: and he ascribed it to his mother's prayers that he did not die in his sins and go to eternal destruction. As soon as Monica was informed where her son was, she determined to go to him so as to be able to watch over him. When she, after a most dangerous sea-voyage, arrived at Milan, she found him there, as he had been called from Rome to teach rhetoric. It was then that she perceived with joy that there was a change in him, through his conversations with St. Ambrose, who, at that period, was Bishop of Milan. Monica entreated the bishop not to relax in his interest for her son, until he should be entirely converted. 
At length, God in his mercy complied with the holy widow's desire. Augustine renounced the Manichean heresy and was baptized in his 3Oth year by St. Ambrose. It may be said with truth that this conversion was the fruit of the prayers and tears of Saint Monica. The consolation that she received from her son's conversion, may be more easily imagined than described. Soon after this event, she determined to return with her son to Africa, but having reached Ostia, where they were obliged to wait for an opportunity to continue their voyage, a slight fever overtook her. At first it was not supposed dangerous, and Augustine himself relates how edifying a conversation he had held with his holy mother on the glories of heaven. She ended it with the following words: "My son, as far as I am concerned, I expect nothing further from this world. I had only one wish, which was to see you a Catholic before I died. God has granted me more than I asked; because I see that you not only serve Him, but that you despise all earthly happiness. What, therefore, remains for me to do upon earth?" Meanwhile, her malady increased so rapidly, that nine days later, St. Monica, who so long had sighed for heaven, gave her soul, adorned with so many virtues, into the hands of her Creator, in her fifty-sixth year. What she requested before her death of her two sons who were present, St. Augustine relates as follows: "Lay my body," said she: "where you like, and allow no thought of it to trouble you. Only one thing I request of you: remember me before the Altar of the Most High wherever you may be." St. Augustine describes also how they placed the body of his holy mother by her open grave, and there offered the sacrifice of our Redemption, the Holy Mass, for the dead before they interred her. A clear evidence that, at that remote period, they also believed in purgatory, and prayed for the dead as we Catholics still do in our days.  
Practical Considerations 
The life of St. Monica may serve as a lesson and example to every one. As a virgin, she was modest and retiring, was devoted to prayer, was kind to the poor, took no pleasure in luxuries or elegant garments, married not without the knowledge and consent of her parents but more in obedience to them than because it was her own wish. These are all points which deserve to be especially considered and imitated by all unmarried persons. As wife, she showed almost wonderful reserve and patience. She suffered the wrong done to her in silence, but endeavored to reform her husband by kind persuasions and prayers. She evinced, however, the greatest solicitude to give her children a Christian education. Married people may learn from this how they ought to conduct themselves, especially if one has to suffer from the other. As widow, she passed her time in the exercise of those works I have mentioned above. She loved solitude, fled even from lawful pleasures, and avoided the slightest shadow of vanity in her attire and behavior. Oh! that all widows would consider this example well, and conform their lives to it. For, to live, after the death of the husband, the same life of vanity and dissipation, to dress just as luxuriously and proudly, to find the same delight in the pleasures of the world and seek them as frequently as in the past, to be just as indolent in the exercise of charitable deeds, to spend even more time in gossiping than in prayers or in hearing the word of God, to lead a life regulated only by a love of comfort and sensuality, perhaps, even to seek greater dangers--is not living as a widow who earnestly desires to gain her eternal salvation. St. Paul says: "If any widow have children or grandchildren; let her learn first to govern her own house, and to make a return of duty to her parents: for this is acceptable before God. But she that is a widow indeed and desolate, let her trust in God, and continue in supplications and prayers night and day. For she that lives in pleasures is dead while she is living." (I. Timothy v.). 
St. Monica had a vicious husband and a wicked son. She, however, converted both. But how and by what means? Not by strife and contention, not by abuse and injuries, not by swearing and cursing; but by patience, by tender exhortations, by constant prayers. Oh! that all women, all parents used such means when they have bad husbands or wicked children. These are not to be changed by curses and abuse. If a husband is angry, or intoxicated or otherwise unfit to listen to reason, the wife should be silent and yield, but await a suitable time to show him his faults and exhort him to better his conduct. Contradictions or curses only pour oil into the fire and increase the evil. As far as parents are concerned, they must know that they are never allowed to curse their children or to wish them evil, let the children be ever so godless and bad. The parents sin by cursing and often very heavily. 
They cause many sins which their children, in the course of time commit by cursing in the same manner: for one sees every day that children learn cursing from their parents, and become themselves as accustomed to it as their parents are. And who is responsible to God for all the curses of the children but the parents, who have set them the example? I am aware of the many excuses which the parents give, and I will answer them at another time. Today, I say only this: To curse is never permitted. God forbids it. As often as parents curse their children, so often do they act in contradiction to the law of God: they sin and cause their children to sin. To curse is not a proper, neither is it an allowed means to educate children or make them better. St. Monica used quite different means and obtained what she desired. Where has there ever been a father or a mother who made a child pious by cursing? But even if it were possible to bring up a child well and make it pious by cursing, yet would it be sinful to do it with this intention. God has forbidden it: this must suffice. "Bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord," writes St. Paul. (Eph. vi.). The correction of the Lord does not permit cursing, but on the contrary prohibits it.


Collect:

O God, You are the comfort of those who mourn and the Saviour of all who trust in You. Blessed Monica's loving tears moved You to convert her son Augustine. may we also grieve for our sins and win the grace of Your pardon through the intercession of these two saints. Through Our Lord . . .

Click here for a Prayer to St. Monica
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