Friday, September 8, 2006
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
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Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901 - 1925) was born on April 6, 1901, into a wealthy family- his mother was the painter Adelaide Ametis and his father was an agnostic, the founder of the liberal newspaper "La Stampa". His father later became Italian ambassador to Germany. Blessed Frassati was an excellent athlete, average student, and a pious youth. He was tutored at home by his sister, Luciana, and he later studied minerology after graduating high school. He worked with Catholic groups like Apostleship of Prayer and the Company of the Most Blessed Sacrament. These groups ministered to the poor and promoted Eucharistic adoration along with Marian devotion and chastity. He also worked with political groups opposed to Facisim that took care of the poor like Young Catholic Workers Congress.

In 1922 he became a Dominican tertiary and took the name Girolamo. Blessed Frassati spent his fortune on the poor and cared for the sick. And in his work, he contracted polio that would kill him on July 4, 1925. His body was found incorruptible in 1981.

On May 20, 1990, Pope John Paul II beatified him.


Here is the prayer for canonization:


"O merciful God, Who through the perils of the world deigned to preserve by Thy grace Thy servant Pier Giorgio Frassati pure of heart and ardent of charity, listen, we ask Thee, to our prayers, and, if it is in Thy designs that he be glorified by the Church, show us Thy will, granting us the graces we ask of Thee through his intercession, by the merits of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

(Imprimatur: Maurillo, Archbishop of Turin, 1932)
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Thursday, September 7, 2006
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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Feast (1969 Calendar): September 8
Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): September 8

From a Sermon of St. Augustine of Hippo:

The hoped-for day of the blessed and venerable Mary ever a Virgin has now come; therefore let our earth rejoice with great gladness, illuminated by the birth of so great a Virgin. For she is the flower of the field from which came forth the priceless lily of the valley; by her child-bearing the nature inherited from our first parents is changed, their fault wiped out. In her that sentence passed on Eve was remitted which said, "In sorrow shall you bring forth children," for Mary brought forth the Lord in joy.

Eve sorrowed, but Mary exulted; Eve carried weeping in her womb, but Mary carried joy, for Eve brought forth a sinner, but Mary innocence itself. The mother of our race brought punishment into the world, but the Mother of our Lord brought salvation into the world. Eve was the source of sin, Mary the source of merit. Eve by killing was a hindrance, Mary by giving life was a help. Eve wounded, Mary healed. Obedience takes the place of disobedience, faith makes up for faithlessness.

Mary may now play on her instruments, the Mother strike the cymbals with swift fingers. The joyful choruses may sound out and songs alternate with sweet harmonies. Hear, then, how she sings, she who leads our chorus. For she say, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid; for, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; because He who is mighty has done great things for me." And so the miraculous new birth takes away the cause of our increasing burden of sin, and Mary's song puts an end to the weeping of Eve.


Prayer by St. Anselm:

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies, and against the enemy of the whole human race. Give me strength humbly to pray to thee. Give me strength to praise thee in prayer with all my powers, through the merits of thy most sacred nativity, which for the entire Christian world was a birth of joy, the hope and solace of its life. When thou wast born, O most holy Virgin, then was the world made light. Happy is thy stock, holy thy root, and blessed thy fruit, for thou alone as a virgin, filled with the Holy Spirit, didst merit to conceive thy God, as a virgin to bear Thy God, as a virgin to bring Him forth, and after His birth to remain a virgin. Have mercy therefore upon me a sinner, and give me aid, O Lady, so that just as thy nativity, glorious from the seed of Abraham, sprung from the tribe of Juda, illustrious from the stock of David, didst announce joy to the entire world, so may it fill me with true joy and cleanse me from every sin. Pray for me, O Virgin most prudent, that the gladsome joys of thy most helpful nativity may put a cloak over all my sins. O holy Mother of God, flowering as the lily, pray to thy sweet Son for me, a wretched sinner. Amen.

Prayer:
Bestow upon Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of Thy heavenly grace: that as the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation, so the solemn feast of her Nativity may bring us an increase of peace. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

A Brief History of the Miraculous Image of Maria Santissima Bambina 

The Miraculous Image of Maria Bambina was made before 1730 by a Franciscan nun, who afterwards entrusted the image to others, so that during the ensuing years she eventually came into the care of the Sisters of Charity at Lovere, Italy. In 1866 these Sisters of Charity were requested to take over the management of the Hospital of Ciceri in Milan. In 1876 the waxen image was carried to their Mother House at Via Santa Sofia 13, where the Bambina has remained ever since. Throughout this period, the statue was exposed for veneration only on the 8th of September, the Feast of Mary's Nativity, but in 1884 Maria Bambina manifested her desire to reward those who honored her by their devotion to her Holy Infancy. 

One of the Sisters, Sr. Josephine Woinovich, due to paralysis in her arms and feet, was bedridden and in unbearable pain. On the 8th of September, Our Lady's Nativity, she begged Mother Superior to bring Maria Bambina and to leave the image near her overnight. The following morning the Mother Superior was inspired to take the image, so old, worn, and grayish colored, to the other sick Sisters in the infirmary so that they could venerate and kiss her. In the infirmary was a fervent Novice, Guila Macario, who was unable to move because of her serious illness, but who, overcome by her ardent faith, took the Maria Bambina into her arms and pleaded with her in tender and loving words for the grace of her recovery, if such was according to God's Holy Will. 

She was instantaneously cured, for such faith and confidence moves mountains! And at the very same time, the miraculous image itself underwent an amazing transformation from its former dull gray color to the warm flesh hues it has today, as can be seen, where she is enshrined in the Sanctuary of the Mother House in Milan. Many graces and miracles are attributed to the beautiful devotion to Maria Bambina, among them the recovery of Sister Josephine Woinovich herself. For this reason, the Sisters of Charity became commonly known as the Suore di Maria Bambina.
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"Catechism on the Prerogatives of the Pure Soul" by St. John Vianney
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Nothing is so beautiful as a pure soul. If we understood this, we could not lose our purity. The pure soul is disengaged from matter, from earthly things, and from itself. . . . That is why the saints ill-treated their body, that is why they did not grant it what it required, not even to rise five minutes later, to warm themselves, to eat anything that gave them pleasure. . . . For what the body loses the soul gains, and what the body gains the soul loses.

Purity comes from Heaven; we must ask for it from God. If we ask for it, we shall obtain it. We must take great care not to lose it. We must shut our heart against pride, against sensuality, and all the other passions, as one shuts the doors and windows that nobody may be able to get in. What joy is it to the guardian angel to conduct a pure soul! My children, when a soul is pure, all Heaven looks upon it with love! Pure souls will form the circle round Our Lord. The more pure we have been on earth, the nearer we shall be to Him in Heaven. When the heart is pure, it cannot help loving, because it has found the source of love, which is God. "Happy, " says Our Lord, "are the pure in heart, because they shall see God!"

My children, we cannot comprehend the power that a pure soul has over the good God. It is not he who does the will of God, it is God who does his will. Look at Moses, that very pure soul. When God would punish the Jewish people, He said to him: Do not pray for them, because My anger must fall upon this people. Nevertheless, Moses prayed, and God spared His people; He let Himself be entreated; He could not resist the prayer of that pure soul. O my children, a soul that has never been stained by that accursed sin obtains from God whatever it wishes!

Three things are wanted to preserve purity-the presence of God, prayer, and the Sacraments. Another means is the reading of holy books, which nourishes the soul. How beautiful is a pure soul! Our Lord showed one to Saint Catherine; she thought it so beautiful that she said, "O Lord, if I did not know that there is only one God, I should think it was one. " The image of God is reflected in a pure soul, like the sun in the water. A pure soul is the admiration of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity. The Father contemplates His work: There is My creature! . . . The Son, the price of His Blood: the beauty of an object is shown by the price it has cost. . . . The Holy Spirit dwells in it, as in a temple.

We also know the value of our soul by the efforts the devil makes to ruin it. Hell is leagued against it--Heaven for it. Oh, how great it must be! In order to have an idea of our dignity, we must often think of Heaven, Calvary, and Hell. If we could understand what it is to be the child of God, we could not do evil--we should be like angels on earth. To be children of God, oh, what a dignity!

It is a beautiful thing to have a heart, and, little as it is, to be able to make use of it in loving God. How shameful it is that man should descend so low, when God has placed him so high! When the angels had revolted against God, this God who is so good, seeing that they could no longer enjoy the happiness for which He had created them, made man, and this little world that we see to nourish his body. But his soul required to be nourished also; and as nothing created can feed the soul, which is a spirit, God willed to give Himself for its Food. But the great misfortune is that we neglect to have recourse to this divine Food, in crossing the desert of this life. Like people who die of hunger within sight of a well-provided table, there are some who remain fifty, sixty years, without feeding their souls.

Oh, if Christians could understand the language of Our Lord, who says to them, "Notwithstanding thy misery, I wish to see near Me that beautiful soul which I created for Myself. I made it so great, that nothing can fill it but Myself. I made it so pure, that nothing but My Body can nourish it. "

Our Lord has always distinguished Pure souls. Look at Saint John, the well-beloved disciple, who reposed upon His breast. Saint Catherine was pure, and she was often transported into Paradise. When she died, angels took up her body, and carried it to Mount Sinai, where Moses had received the Commandments of the law. God has shown by this prodigy that a soul is so agreeable to Him, that it deserves that even the body which has participated in its purity should be buried by angels.

God contemplates a pure soul with love; He grants it all it desires. How could He refuse anything to a soul that lives only for Him, by Him, and in Him? It seeks God, and He shows Himself to it; it calls Him, and God comes; it is one with Him; it captivates His will. A pure soul is all-powerful with the gracious Heart of Our Lord. A pure soul with God is like a child with its mother. It caresses her, it embraces her, and its mother returns its caresses and embraces.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Brother Roger was Catholic?
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According to recent news, Brother Roger was a Catholic. Brother Roger, who was stabbed to death in 2005, formed the Taize movement to help heal the Protestant-Catholic chasm. And, according to sources, speculations are correct - he did become a Catholic. According to a former Catholic bishop of Autun, Brother Roger made a "profession of faith" for the Catholic Church in 1972.

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"On the Love of God" by St. John Vianney
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"If you love Me, keep My Commandments."

Nothing is so common among Christians as to say, "O my God; I love Thee," and nothing more rare, perhaps, than the love of the good God. Satisfied with making outward acts I of love, in which our poor heart often has no share, we think we have fulfilled the whole of the precept. An error, an illusion; for see, my children, Saint John says that we must not love the good God in word, but in deed. Our Lord Jesus Christ also says, "If anyone love Me he will keep My Word:' If we judge by this rule, there are very few Christians who truly love God, since there are so few who keep His Commandments. Yet nothing is more essential than the love of God. It is the first of all virtues, a virtue so necessary, that without it we shall never get to Heaven; and it is in order to love God that we are on the earth. Even if the good God did not command it, this feeling is so natural to us, that our heart should be drawn to it of its own accord.

But the misfortune is that we lavish our love upon objects unworthy of it, and refuse it to Him alone who deserves to be infinitely loved. Thus, my children, one person will love riches, another will love pleasures; and both will offer to the good God nothing but the languishing remains of a heart worn out in the service of the world. From thence comes insufficient love, divided love, which is for that very reason unworthy of the good God; for He alone, being infinitely above all created good, deserves that we should love Him above all things: more than our possessions, because they are earthly; more than our friends, because they are mortal; more than our life, because it is perishable; more than ourselves, because we belong to Him. Our love, my children, if it is true, must be without limit, and must influence our conduct....

If the Saviour of the world, addressing Himself to each one of us separately, were now to ask us the same question that He formerly asked Saint Peter: "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me?" could we answer with as much confidence as that great Apostle, "Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee"? Domine, tu scis quia amo te. We have perhaps pronounced these words without taking in their meaning and extent; for, my children, to love the good God is not merely to say with the mouth, "O my God! I love Thee!" Oh, no! where is the sinner who does not sometimes use this language?

To love the good God is not only to feel from time to time some emotions of tenderness towards God; this sensible devotion is not always in our own power. To love the good God is not to be faithful in fulfilling part of our duties and to neglect the rest. The good God will have no division: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength:' This shows the strength of the Commandment to love God. To love God with our whole heart is to prefer Him to everything, so as to be ready to lose all our possessions, our honour, our life, rather than offend this good Master. To love God with our whole heart is to love nothing that is incompatible with the love of God; it is to love nothing that can share our heart with the good God: it is to renounce all our passions, all our ill-regulated desires. Is it thus, my children, that we love the good God?

To love the good God with our whole mind is to make the sacrifice to Him of our knowledge and our reason, and to believe all that He has taught. To love the good God with our whole mind is to think of Him often, and to make it our principal study to know Him well. To love the good God with our whole strength is to employ our possessions, our health, and our talents, in serving Him and glorifying Him. It is to refer all our actions to Him, as our last end. Once more, is it thus that we love the good God? Judging by this invariable rule, how few Christians truly love God!

Do those bad Christians love the good God, who are the slaves of their passions? Do those worldly persons love the good God, who seek only to gratify their body and to please the world? Is God loved by the miser, who sacrifices Him for a vile gain? Is He loved by that voluptuary, who abandons himself to vices the most opposite to divine love? Is He loved by that man who thinks of nothing but wine and good cheer? Is He loved by that other man, who cherishes an aversion to his neighbour, and will not forgive him? Is He loved by that young girl, who loves nothing but pleasures, and thinks of nothing but indulgence and vanity? No, no, my children, none of these persons love the good God; for we must love Him with a love of preference, with an active love!

If we had rather offend the good God than deprive ourselves of a passing satisfaction, than renounce those guilty meetings, those shameful passions, we do not love the good God with a love of preference, since we love our pleasures, our passions, better than the good God Himself. Let us go down into our own souls; let us question our hearts, my children, and see if we do not love some creature more than the good God. We are permitted to love our relations, our possessions, our health, our reputation; but this love must be subordinate to the love we should have for God, so that we may be ready to make the sacrifice of it if He should require it....

Can you suppose that you are in these dispositions--you who look upon mortal sin as a trifle, who keep it quietly on your conscience for months, for years, though you know that you are in a state most displeasing to the good God? Can you suppose that you love the good God? Can you suppose that you love the good God--you who make no efforts to correct yourselves; you who will deprive yourselves of nothing; you who offend the Creator every time that you find opportunity? Yes, my children, what the miser loves with his whole heart is money; what the drunkard loves with his whole heart is wine; what the libertine loves with his whole heart is the object of his passion. You, young girls, you who had rather offend God than give up your finery and your vanities, you say that you love God; say rather that you love yourselves.

No, no, my children; it is not thus that the good God is to be loved, for we must love Him not only with a love of preference, but also with an active love. "Love," says Saint Augustine, "cannot remain without the constant action of the soul: Non potest vacare amor in anima amantis. Yes," says this great saint, "seek for a love that does not manifest itself in works, and you will find none:' What! could it be, O my God, that Thy love alone should be barren, and that the Divine fire, which ought to enkindle the whole world, should be without activity and without strength?

When you love a person, you show him the more or less affection according as the ardour of your love for him is more or less great. See, my children, what the saints were like, who were all filled with the love of the good God: nothing cost them too much; they joyfully made the greatest sacrifices; they distributed their goods to the poor, rendered services to their enemies, led a hard and penitential life; tore themselves from the pleasures of the world, from the conveniences of life, to bury themselves alive in solitude; they hastened to torments and to death, as people hasten to a feast. Such were the effects which the love of the good God produced in the saints; such ought it to produce in us. But, my children, we are not penetrated with the love of God; we do not love the good God. Can anyone say, indeed, that he loves the good God, who is so easily frightened, and who is repulsed by the least difficulty? Alas! what would have become of us if Jesus Christ had loved us only as we love Him? But, no. Triumphing over the agonies of the Cross, the bitterness of death, the shame of the most ignominious tortures, nothing costs Him too dear when He has to prove that He loves us. That is our only model. If our love is active, it will manifest itself by the works which are the effects of love, because the love of the good God is not only a love of preference, but a pious affection, a love of obedience, which makes us practice His Commandments; an active love, which makes us fulfil all the duties of a good Christian. Such is the love, my children, which God requires from us, to which He has so many titles, which He has purchased by so many benefits heaped upon us by His death for us upon the Cross. What happiness, my children, to love the good God! There is no joy, no happiness, no peace, in the heart of those who do not love the good God on earth. We desire Heaven, we aspire to it; but, that we may be sure to attain to it, let us begin to love the good God here below, in order to be able to love Him, to possess Him eternally in His holy Paradise.

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Monday, September 4, 2006
Sara Salkahazi is to be Beatified
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Blessed Sara Salkahazi is scheduled to be beatified on September 17, 2006, at Budapest's St. Stephen Basilica. Salkahazi was a Hungarian nun that saved the lives of dozens of Jews during World War II. She is an example of the sacrificial love that Jesus calls us to show to the whole world.

On Dec. 27, 1944, Sara Salkahazi was killed by the Arrow Cross - the Hungarian allies of the Nazis, for hiding Jews in the building used by her religious community, Sisters of Social Service.

The coming beatification will be the first held in Hungary since 1083, when Hungary's first king, St. Stephen, was beatified along with his son, St. Imre, and St. Gellert, an Italian bishop who helped convert Hungarians to Christianity. Because Pope Benedict XVI started allowing beatifications in other countries and not just the Vatican, the beatification will be the first in Hungary in centuries. It was the custom for hundreds of years to celebrate beatifications in Rome. Now, canonizations will be held in Rome, but Pope Benedict XVI is allowing beatifications in other parts of the world.

She will be the first Hungarian beatified that was not a member of the aristocracy or royalty.
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St. Giles
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Simple (1955 Calendar): September 1

St. Giles is said to have been born in Athens, Greece, and as a youth, he cured a sick beggar by giving him his own cloak. Following the death of his parents, he was frequently showered with the applause of men, which he dreaded. He hated both applause and temporal prosperity. He took a ship and landed in Marseilles, France. After two years of journeying with St. Caesarius at Arles, he made a hermitage in the woods.

During his time of solitude and prayer, he was, according to tradition, nourished by the milk of a hind. The hind took refuge in the cave of St. Giles. The hounds of Favius, king of the Goths, were hunting the hind. On the third day, Favius and the bishop approached the area, and Favius fired an arrow into the bushes. The arrow wounded St. Giles. When the two men found the wounded St. Giles with the hind with him, they ordered him to account for himself. After St. Giles told his story, Favius and the bishop asked for his forgiveness and offered him medical help and gifts. St. Giles refused all gifts.

King Flavius continued to visit St. Giles, who eventually asked the King to found a monastery. The King agreed but only if St. Giles would serve as the abbot. The monastery was built near the cave where St. Giles lived. Soon Charles, the King of France, heard of St. Giles. They talked on spiritual matters, but the King Charles was too ashamed to admit one particular sin to the saint during their discourse.

"On the following Sunday, when the holy man was celebrating Mass according to custom and praying to God for the king during the canon, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and laid on the altar a scroll on which was written the sin which the king had committed, and which further said that he would be forgiven at Giles's intercession, provided he did penance and desisted from that sin in the future...When Mass was ended Giles gave the scroll to the king to read, who fell at the saint's feet, begging him to intercede with the Lord for him. And so the man of the Lord commended him to God in prayer and gently admonished him to refrain from that sin in the future."

St. Giles returned to his monastery and then, soon afterward, went to Rome to commend his monks to the Holy See. The pope granted them many privileges and gave him a present - two carved doors of cedar. St. Giles threw the doors in the Tiber River trusting in God's guidance, that they would arrive in France before him. And, behold, they did just that.

After being warned in a dream, St. Giles died on Sunday, September 1 in c. 710 AD. He is remembered on September 1st every year.

Source: Butler's Lives of the Saints (457 - 458)

Prayer:

May the intercession of blessed Giles the Abbot commend us unto Thee, we beseech Thee, O Lord: so that what we cannot acquire by any merits of ours, we may obtain by his patronage. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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"Catechism on The Love of God" by St. John Vianney
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Our body is a vessel of corruption; it is meant for death and for the worms, nothing morel And yet we devote ourselves to satisfying it, rather than to enriching our soul, which is so great that we can conceive nothing greater-no, nothing, nothing! For we see that God, urged by the ardour of His charity, would not create us like the animals; He has created us in His own image and likeness, do you see? Oh, how great is man?

Man, being created by love, cannot live without love: either he loves God, or he loves himself and he loves the world. See, my children, it is faith that we want. . . . When we have not faith, we are blind. He who does not see, does not know; he who does not know does not love; he who does not love God loves himself, and at the same time loves his pleasures. He fixes his heart on things which pass away like smoke. He cannot know the truth, nor any good thing; he can know nothing but falsehood, because he has no light; he is in a mist. If he had light, he would see plainly that all that he loves can give him nothing but eternal death; it is a foretaste of Hell.

Do you see, my children, except God, nothing is solid--nothing, nothing! If it is life, it passes away; if it is a fortune, it crumbles away; if it is health, it is destroyed; if it is reputation, it is attacked. We are scattered like the wind. . . . Everything is passing away full speed, everything is going to ruin. O God! O God! how much those are to be pitied, then, who set their hearts on all these things! They set their hearts on them because they love themselves too much; but they do not love themselves with a reasonable love-they love themselves with a love that seeks themselves and the world, that seeks creatures more than God. That is the reason why they are never satisfied, never quiet; they are always uneasy, always tormented, always upset. See, my children, the good Christian runs his course in this world mounted on a fine triumphal chariot; this chariot is borne by angels, and conducted by Our Lord Himself, while the poor sinner is harnessed to the chariot of this life, and the devil who drives it forces him to go on with great strokes of the whip.

My children, the three acts of faith, hope and charity contain all the happiness of man upon the earth. By faith, we believe what God has promised us: we believe that we shall one day see Him, that we shall possess Him, that we shall be eternally happy with Him in Heaven. By hope, we expect the fulfilment of these promises: we hope that we shall be rewarded for all our good actions, for all our good thoughts, for all our good desires; for God takes into account even our good desires. What more do we want to make us happy?

In Heaven, faith and hope will exist no more, for the mist which obscures our reason will be dispelled; our mind will be able to understand the things that are hidden from it here below. We shall no longer hope for anything, because we shall have everything. We do not hope to acquire a treasure which we already possess. . . . But love; oh, we shall be inebriated with it! we shall be drowned, lost in that ocean of divine love, annihilated in that immense charity of the Heart of Jesus! so that charity is a foretaste of Heaven. Oh, how happy should we be if we knew how to understand it, to feel it, to taste it! What makes us unhappy is that we do not love God.

When we say, "My God, I believe, I believe firmly, " that is, without the least doubt, without the least hesitation. . . Oh, if we were penetrated with these words: "I firmly believe that Thou art present everywhere, that Thou seest me, that I am under Thine eyes, that one day I myself shall see Thee clearly, that I shall enjoy all the good things Thou hast promised me! O my God, I hope that Thou wilt reward me for all that I have done to please Thee! O my God, I love Thee; my heart is made to love Thee!" Oh, this act of faith, which is also an act of love, would suffice for everything! If we understood our own happiness in I being able to love God, we should remain motionless in ecstasy. . . .

If a prince, an emperor, were to cause one of his subjects to appear before him, and should say to him, "I wish to make you happy; stay with me, enjoy all my possessions, but be careful not to give me any just cause of displeasure, " with what care, with what ardour, would not that subject endeavour to satisfy his prince! Well, God makes the same proposals to us . . . and we do not care for His friendship, we make no account of His promises. . . . What a pity!

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Labor Day Prayers
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Collect:

God our Creator, it is your will that man accept the duty of work. In your kindness may the work we begin bring us growth in this life and help to extend the kingdom of Christ. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Labor Day Litany:

Reader: Friends, let us offer our prayers to God, who pronounced all creation. God, who sent his Son to live and work as one like us, and who calls us to serve the poor and those oppressed. Lord, give success to the work of our hands.
ALL: Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

Reader: For all those who work:
ALL: Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

Reader: For those who are unemployed or underemployed, or have lost their jobs because of changing economic conditions, let us pray:
ALL: Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

Reader: For those who work in harzardous conditions without sufficient protection, let us pray: ALL: Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

Reader: For migrant workers and all who work the land, let us pray:
ALL: Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

Reader: For all employers that they may seek to provide a just work environment:
ALL: Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

Reader: For those who face discrimination, harassment, or abuse in the work place, let us pray: ALL: Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

Reader: For those who must balance job committments with the needs of their families, let us pray:
ALL: Lord, give success to the work of our hands.

Reader: Loving God, through your Son you gave us an example to love one another as He loved us. Give us the strength to continue working to bring forth your kingdom here on earth - a kingdom of justice and peace, kindness and compassion, grace and mercy. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
ALL: Amen

Image Source: "Angelus" by Jean-Francois Millet
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Sunday, September 3, 2006
"On Avarice" by St. John Vianney
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Avarice is an inordinate love of the goods of this world.

Yes, my children, it is an ill-regulated love, a fatal love, which makes us forget the good God, prayer, the Sacraments, that we may love the goods of this world--gold and silver and lands. The avaricious man is like a pig, which seeks its food in the mud, without caring where it comes from. Stooping towards the earth, he thinks of nothing but the earth; he no longer looks towards Heaven, his happiness is no longer there. The avaricious man does no good till after his death. See, how greedily he gathers up wealth, how anxiously he keeps it, how afflicted he is if he loses it. In the midst of riches, he does not enjoy them; he is, as it were, plunged in a river, and is dying of thirst; lying on a heap of corn, he is dying of hunger; he has everything, my children, and dares not touch anything; his gold is a sacred thing to him, he makes it his divinity, he adores it. . . .

O my children! how many there are in these days who are idolators! how many there are who think more of making a fortune than of serving the good God! They steal, they defraud, they go to law with their neighbour; they do not even respect the laws of God. They work on Sundays and holydays: nothing comes amiss to their greedy and rapacious hands. Good Christians, my children, do not think of their body, which must end in corruption; they think only of their soul, which is immortal. While they are on the earth, they occupy themselves with their soul alone. So you see how assiduous they are at the Offices of the Church, with what fervour they pray before the good God, how they sanctify the Sunday, how recollected they are at holy Mass, how happy they are! The days, the months, the years are nothing to them; they pass them in loving the good God, with their eyes fixed on their eternity. . . .

Seeing us so indifferent to our salvation, and so occupied in gathering up a little mud, would not anyone say that we were never to die? Indeed, my children, we are like people who, during the summer, should make an ample provision of gourds, of melons, for a long journey; after the winter, what would remain of it? Nothing. In the same way, my children, what remains to the avaricious man of all his wealth when death comes upon him unawares? A poor covering, a few planks, and the despair of not being able to carry his gold away with him. Misers generally die in this sort of despair, and pay eternally to the devil for their insatiable thirst for riches. Misers, my children are sometimes punished even in this world.

Once Saint Hilarion, followed by a great number of his disciples, going to visit the monasteries under his rule, came to the abode of an avaricious solitary. On their approach, they found watchers in all parts of the vineyard, who threw stones and clods of earth at them to prevent their touching the grapes. This miser was well punished, for he gathered that year much fewer grapes than usual, and his wine turned into vinegar. Another solitary, named Sabbas, begged him, on the contrary, to come into his vineyard, and eat the fruit. Saint Hilarion blessed it, and sent in to it his religious, to the number of three thousand, who all satisfied their hunger; and twenty days after, the vineyard yielded three hundred measures of wine, instead of the usual quantity of ten. Let us follow the example of Sabbas, and be disinterested; the good God will bless us, and after having blessed us in this world, He will also reward us in the other.

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Saturday, September 2, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI Visits Veronica's Veil
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On Friday, September, 1, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pope in history to visit the sacred shroud of St. Veronica, who wiped the face of Jesus while He was carrying His Cross to Golgatha. In this part of His Most Sacred Passion, St. Veronica, seeing Jesus' face dripping with sweat and blood, took a cloth and wiped His precious face. And, Our Lord left His Sacred imprint impressed upon the cloth.

That cloth supposedly remains to today, and it was venerated by Pope Benedict XVI last Friday. The Sacred Image is known as the "Sacred Visage". Critics claim that the image does not exist, but the fact that this image has lasted since at least the 12th Century, is quite remarkable. It has been in Manoppello since 1506. The cloth measures 17 by 24 cm and bears a great resemblance to the Shroud of Turin, believed to be Christ's burial cloth.

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the village of Manoppello, Italy, and he was greeted by a few thousand pilgrims. The Holy Father prayed before the altar for about five minutes before going behind it to pray before the Sacred Image. Pope Benedict XVI said, “This is the reason for my visit. So that together we can try to better know the face of our Lord, so that from it we can find strength in love and peace that can show us the path.”

Photos:

Source: REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace/Pool (ITALY)

Source: REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace/Pool (ITALY)

Source: AFP/POOL/Max Rossi
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Updated: Check out Te Deum
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"Catechism on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" by St. John Vianney
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All Good Works together are not of equal value with the sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men, and the holy Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison; it is the sacrifice that man makes of his life to God; the Mass is the sacrifice that God makes to man of His Body and of His Blood. Oh, how great is a priest! if he understood himself he would die. . . . God obeys him; he speaks two words, and Our Lord comes down from Heaven at his voice, and shuts Himself up in a little Host. God looks upon the altar. "That is My well-beloved Son, " He says, "in whom I am well-pleased. " He can refuse nothing to the merits of the offering of this Victim. If we had faith, we should see God hidden in the priest like a light behind a glass, like wine mingled with water.

After the Consecration, when I hold in my hands the most holy Body of Our Lord, and when I am in discouragement, seeing myself worthy of nothing but Hell, I say to myself, "Ah, if I could at least take Him with me! Hell would be sweet with Him; I could be content to remain suffering there for all eternity, if we were together. But then there would be no more Hell; the flames of love would extinguish those of justice. " How beautiful it is. After the Consecration, the good God is there as He is in Heaven. If man well understood this mystery, he would die of love. God spares us because of our weakness. A priest once, after the Consecration, had some little doubt whether his few words could have made Our Lord descend upon the Altar; at the same moment he saw the Host all red, and the corporal tinged with blood.

If someone said to us, "At such an hour a dead person is to be raised to life, " we should run very quickly to see it. But is not the Consecration, which changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of God, a much greater miracle than to raise a dead person to life? We ought always to devote at least a quarter of an hour to preparing ourselves to hear Mass well; we ought to annihilate ourselves before God, after the example of His profound annihilation in the Sacrament of the Eucharist; and we should make our examination of conscience, for we must be in a state of grace to be able to assist properly at Mass. If we knew the value of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, or rather if we had faith, we should be much more zealous to assist at it.

My children, you remember the story I have told you already of that holy priest who was praying for his friend; God had, it appears, made known to him that he was in Purgatory; it came into his mind that he could do nothing better than to offer the holy Sacrifice of the Mass for his soul. When he came to the moment of Consecration, he took the Host in his hands and said, "O Holy and Eternal Father, let us make an exchange. Thou hast the soul of my friend who is in Purgatory, and I have the Body of Thy Son, Who is in my hands; well, do Thou deliver my friend, and I offer Thee Thy Son, with all the merits of His Death and Passion. " In fact, at the moment of the elevation, he saw the soul of his friend rising to Heaven, all radiant with glory. Well, my children, when we want to obtain anything from the good God, let us do the same; after Holy Communion, let us offer Him His well-beloved Son, with all the merits of His death and His Passion. He will not be able to refuse us anything.

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"Catechism on the Holy Spirit" by St. John Vianney
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O my Children, how beautiful it is! The Father is our Creator, the Son is our Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost is our Guide. . . . Man by himself is nothing, but with the Holy Spirit he is very great. Man is all earthly and all animal; nothing but the Holy Spirit can elevate his mind, and raise it on high. Why were the saints so detached from the earth? Because they let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit. Those who are led by the Holy Spirit have true ideas; that is the reason why so many ignorant people are wiser than the learned. When we are led by a God of strength and light, we cannot go astray.

The Holy Spirit is light and strength. He teaches us to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and between good and evil. Like glasses that magnify objects, the Holy Spirit shows us good and evil on a large scale. With the Holy Spirit we see everything in its true proportions; we see the greatness of the least actions done for God, and the greatness of the least faults. As a watchmaker with his glasses distinguishes the most minute wheels of a watch, so we, with the light of the Holy Ghost, distinguish all the details of our poor life. Then the smallest imperfections appear very great, the least sins inspire us with horror. That is the reason why the most Holy Virgin never sinned. The Holy Ghost made her understand the hideousness of sin; she shuddered with terror at the least fault.

Those who have the Holy Spirit cannot endure themselves, so well do they know their poor misery. The proud are those who have not the Holy Spirit.

Worldly people have not the Holy Spirit, or if they have, it is only for a moment. He does not remain with them; the noise of the world drives Him away. A Christian who is led by the Holy Spirit has no difficulty in leaving the goods of this world, to run after those of Heaven; he knows the difference between them. The eyes of the world see no further than this life, as mine see no further than this wall when the church door is shut. The eyes of the Christian see deep into eternity. To the man who gives himself up to the guidance of the Holy Ghost, there seems to be no world; to the world there seems to be no God. . . . We must therefore find out by whom we are led. If it is not by the Holy Ghost, we labor in vain; there is no substance nor savour in anything we do. If it is by the Holy Ghost, we taste a delicious sweetness . . . it is enough to make us die of pleasure!

Those who are led by the Holy Spirit experience all sorts of happiness in themselves, while bad Christians roll themselves on thorns and flints. A soul in which the Holy Spirit dwells is never weary in the presence of God; his heart gives forth a breath of love. Without the Holy Ghost we are like the stones on the road. . . . Take in one hand a sponge full of water, and in the other a little pebble; press them equally. Nothing will come out of the pebble, but out of the sponge will come abundance of water. The sponge is the soul filled with the Holy Spirit, and the stone is the cold and hard heart which is not inhabited by the Holy Spirit.

A soul that possesses the Holy Spirit tastes such sweetness in prayer, that it finds the time always too short; it never loses the holy presence of God. Such a heart, before our good Saviour in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, is a bunch of grapes under the wine press. The Holy Spirit forms thoughts and suggests words in the hearts of the just. . . . Those who have the Holy Spirit produce nothing bad; all the fruits of the Holy Spirit are good. Without the Holy Spirit all is cold; therefore, when we feel we are losing our fervour, we must instantly make a novena to the Holy Spirit to ask for faith and love. . . . See, when we have made a retreat or a jubilee, we are full of good desires: these good desires are the breath of the Holy Ghost, which has passed over our souls, and has renewed everything, like the warm wind which melts the ice and brings back the spring. . . . You who are not great saints, you still have many moments when you taste the sweetness of prayer and of the presence of God: these are visits of the Holy Spirit. When we have the Holy Spirit, the heart expands--bathes itself in divine love. A fish never complains of having too much water, neither does a good Christian ever complain of being too long with the good God. There are some people who find religion wearisome, and it is because they have not the Holy Spirit.

If the damned were asked: Why are you in Hell? they would answer: For having resisted the Holy Spirit. And if the saints were asked, Why are you in Heaven? they would answer: For having listened to the Holy Spirit. When good thoughts come into our minds, it is the Holy Spirit who is visiting us. The Holy Spirit is a power. The Holy Spirit supported Saint Simeon on his column; He sustained the martyrs. Without the Holy Spirit, the martyrs would have fallen like the leaves from the trees. When the fires were lighted under them, the Holy Spirit extinguished the heat of the fire by the heat of divine love. The good God, in sending us the Holy Spirit, has treated us like a great king who should send his minister to guide one of his subjects, saying, "You will accompany this man everywhere, and you will bring him back to me safe and sound. " How beautiful it is, my children, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit! He is indeed a good Guide; and to think that there are some who will not follow Him. The Holy Spirit is like a man with a carriage and horse, who should want to take us to Pans. We should only have to say "yes, " and to get into it. It is indeed an easy matter to say "yes"!. . . Well, the Holy Spirit wants to take us to Heaven; we have only to say "yes, " and to let Him take us there.

The Holy Spirit is like a gardener cultivating our souls. . . . The Holy Spirit is our servant. . . . There is a gun; well you load it, but someone must fire it and make it go off. . . . In the same way, we have in ourselves the power of doing good. . . when the Holy Spirit gives the impulse, good works are produced. The Holy Spirit reposes in just souls like the dove in her nest. He brings out good desires in a pure soul, as the dove hatches her young ones. The Holy Spirit leads us as a mother leads by the hand her child of two years old, as a person who can see leads one who is blind.

The Sacraments which Our Lord instituted would not have saved us without the Holy Spirit. Even the death of Our Lord would have been useless to us without Him. Therefore Our Lord said to His Apostles, "It is good for you that I should go away; for if I did not go, the Consoler would not come. " The descent of the Holy Ghost was required, to render fruitful that harvest of graces. It is like a grain of wheat--you cast it into the ground; yes, but it must have sun and rain to make it grow and come into ear. We should say every morning, "O God, send me Thy Spirit to teach me what I am and what Thou art. "

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Friday, September 1, 2006
September Rosary Intentions
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Please pray for the Rosary Intentions for this month that I posted on the Catholic Community Forum. Also pray for Pope Benedict XVI's intentions.

Here are Pope Benedict XVI's intentions for this month. Please include these in your Rosary prayers:

General: That those who use the means of social communication may always do so conscientiously and responsibly.

Missionary: That in the mission territories the entire People of God may recognize that permanent formation is their own priority.


Further information:

Devotion to the Most Holy Rosary
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