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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.  Photos (c) A Catholic Life Blog, 2013.


















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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 Lord, may the merits of Your holy confessor bishop Antoninus help us, so that while we sing Your praise for having manifested Your power through him we may also rejoice in the mercy You show to us. Through Our Lord . . .

Commemoration of Ss. Gordian and Epimachus on May 10th:

St. Gordian, a Roman judge, was converted by a Christian whom he had been ordered to condemn. St. Gordian was martyred about the year 360, and he was buried in the tomb where already lay the relics of the martyr St. Epimachus.

O Almighty God, may the intercessory power of Your blessed Martyrs Gordian and Epimachus aid us who celebrate their feast today. 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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Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Sts. Cletus and Marcellinus
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Semi Double (1954 Calendar): April 26th

The following is taken from Dom Guéranger's entry in The Liturgical Year for April 26, in Volume VIII of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.
"Two bright stars appear this day on the ecclesiastical cycle, proclaiming the glory of our Jesus, the Conqueror of death. Again they are two pontiffs, and martyr pontiffs [a reference to the feast day of Sts. Soter and Caius on April 22]. Cletus leads us to the very commencement of the Church, for he was a disciple of Peter, and his second successor in the See of Rome. Marcellinus was a witness of the great persecution under Diocletian; he governed the Church on the eve of her triumph. Let us honour these two fathers of Christendom, who laid down their lives in its defence; and let us offer their merits to Jesus, who supported them by His grace, and cheered them with the hope that one day they would share in His Resurrection."
[Dom Guéranger then reproduces the accounts of the two saints found in the Breviary.]

"Pray for us, O holy Pontiffs, and look with fatherly love upon the Church on earth, which was so violently persecuted in your times, and at the present day is far from enjoying peace. The worship of idols is revived; and though they be not of stone or medal, yet they that adore them are as determined to propagate their worship as were the pagans of former days to make all mean idolaters. The gods and goddesses now in favour are called Liberty, Progress, and Modern Civilization. Every measure is resorted to, in order to impose these new divinities upon the world; they that refuse to adore them are persecuted; governments are secularized, that is, unchristianized; the education of youth is made independent of all moral teaching; the religious element is rejected from life as an intrusion: and all this is done with such a show of reasonableness that thousands of well-minded Christians are led to be its advocates, timid perhaps and partial, but still its advocates."
"Preserve us, O holy martyrs! from being the dupes of this artful impiety. It was not in vain that our Jesus suffered death, and rose again from the grave. Surely after this He deserves to be what He is - King of the whole earth, under whose power are all creatures. It is in order to obey Him that we wish no other liberty save that which He has based upon the Gospel; no other progress save that which follows the path He has marked out; no other civilization save that which results from the fulfillment of the duties to our fellow men, which He has established. It is He that created human nature and gave it its laws; it is He that redeemed it, and restored to it is lost rights. Him alone, then, do we adore. O holy martyrs! pray that we may never become the dupes or slaves of the theories of human pride, even if they that frame or uphold them should have power to make us suffer or die for our resistance."
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Prophetic Words of Blessed Jacinta
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Note: Blessed Jacinta is set to be canonized this year.  She died at a very young age. But even as a young child, she was a seer of Our Lady of Fatima and her words have much wisdom and truth in them far beyond the age of a young girl:
 
"Tell everybody that God grants us His graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that they should ask her for them, that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be honored along with Him, that they should ask the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace because God has placed it in her keeping."

"Wars are nothing but punishments for the sins of the world."

"Our Lady can no longer hold back the arm of her beloved Son from the world.  It is necessary to do penance.  If people change their ways, Our Lord will still avail the world; but if they do not, the chastisement will come."

"If men do not change their ways, Our Lady will send the world a punishment like of which has never been seen.  It will fall first...upon Spain."


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Thursday, April 20, 2017
What Does Easter Mean? The Truth of Easter Using Historical Evidence.
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This is taken from Dr. John Pepino's article in Memento put out in April 2017 by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter:
Easter is the "most blessed day of ours!" North African Bishop Commodian exclaimed in the 240s AD.  What light do the Fathers of the Church shed on the meaning of this feast?

St. Bede, writing in eight-century England, reports that "Easter" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon name for April, Eostur-monath, named after their goddess Eostre, the patroness of the dawn or the spring.  The Latin term Pascha (From which comes the term paschal candle), taken over unchanged from the Greek derives from the Hebrew word for the Passover, Pasah.  The meaning of these words is worth pondering in our preparation for Easter. 

First, Easter: Bede indicates that the retention of the pagan name brought with it no connotation of the old religion; now Christians, Englishmen "call the joy of a new solemnity (Easter) by the word they used to in the old religion" (On the Reckoning of Time 15).  There is no more paganism left here than in the names of weekdays or months (Thursday for Thor, January for Janus, etc.).  For Bede, the predominant meaning of Easter is joy.

Pascha conveys a number of meanings, all connected to Easter.  The early Christian writers of Alexandria, Egypt focused on the Resurrection of Our Lord as a fulfillment of the Passover of the Jewish people through the Red Sea and ultimately into the Holy Land.  Our joy is in passing from death to life through Baptism as well as in partaking of the feast of the slain Passover Lamb in Holy Communion, as we "pass over from the things of this life to God" (as third-century writer Origen wrote in Against Celsus 22).  The dominant note here is of movement: from slavery to freedom, from darkness to light, and from the world as it is now to paradise restored after the Resurrection of the Dead.  The Old Testament readings of the Vigil Mass, particularly the twelve lessons in the traditional Easter Vigil, recall and develop this theme.
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Saturday, April 15, 2017
Round 17: Collectible Catholic Books for Sale
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Here is the next installment in the books that I am selling.  Please contact me at acatholiclife[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in any of these titles.

All are hardcovers in good condition and sell for $18/each.  All prices include shipping.

     "Mother Angelica," by Raymond Arroyo, 229 pp., 2005

     "The Apostles' Creed, Rev. Clement Crock, 1939, 278 pp.

     "Mind and the Mystery: The Catholic Explanation," C. J. Eustace, 307 pp., 1937

     "The Sacrifice of the Mass," Rev. Alex McDonald, 184 pp., 1924

     "Conference for Married Women," Rev. Reynold Keuhnel, 216 pp., 1919

     "Early Christian Prayers," A. Hamman, OFM, 280 pp., 1961

     "The Catholic Church Through the Ages," Martin Harney, SJ, 586 pp., 1980

     "A Convert's Reason Why," A. J. Hayes, 175 pp., 1911

     "Apologetics for the Pulpit," Aloysius Roche, 259 pp., 1935

     "Questions and Answers: Catholic Evidence," Cecily Hastings, 237 pp., 1956

     "The Month of the Sacred Heart," Sister Mary Emmanuel, OSB, 289 pp., 1930

     "The Creed Explained," Rev. Arthur Devine, 433 pp., 1897
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Thursday, April 13, 2017
St. Hermenegild
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Double (1954 Calendar): April 13th

In the sixth century St. Hermenegild, the elder son of King Leovigild, the heretical Visigothic ruler of Spain, married a French princess and was converted to the true religion by her holy example.

King Leovigild regarded the converted prince as a traitor and had him put to death. But remorse worked on the royal father's heart, and he died advising his remaining son to become a Catholic and thus to bring the whole nation of the Visigoths in Spain into the Catholic Church.

Saint Hermenegild, Martyr from the Liturgical Year, 1870
It is through a Martyr's palm-branch that we must today see the Paschal Mystery. Hermenegild, a young Visigoth Prince, is put to death by his heretical father, because he courageously refused to receive his Easter Communion from an Arian Bishop. The Martyr knew that the Eucharist is the sacred symbol of Catholic unity; and that we are not allowed to approach the Holy Table in company with them that are not in the true Church. A sacrilegious consecration gives heretics the real possession of the Divine Mystery, if the priestly character be in him who dares to offer Sacrifice to the God whom he blasphemes; but the Catholic, who knows that he may not so much as pray with heretics, shudders at the sight of the profanation, and would rather die than share, by his presence, in insulting our Redeemer in that very Sacrifice and Sacrament, which were instituted that we might all be made one in God. 
The blood of the Martyr produced its fruit: Spain threw off the chains of heresy that had enslaved her, and a Council, held at Toledo, completed the work of conversion begun by Hermenegild's sacrifice. There are very few instances recorded in history of a whole Nation rising up in a mass to abjure heresy; but Spain did it, for she seems to be a country on which heaven lavishes exceptional blessings. Shortly after this she was put through the ordeal of the Saracen invasion; she triumphed here again by the bravery of her children; and ever since then, her Faith has been so staunch and so pure, as to merit for her the proud title of The Catholic Kingdom. 
St. Gregory the Great, a contemporary of St. Hermenegild, has transmitted to us the following account of the martyrdom. The Church has inserted it in her Second Lessons of today's Matins.
Collect:

O God, who didst teach blessed Hermenegild, Thy Martyr, to choose the heavenly kingdom rather than an earthly throne: grant us, we beseech Thee, that, following his example, we may despise the fleeting things of time and seek what is eternal. Through our Lord . . .
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Thursday, April 6, 2017
First Friday Devotion for April
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I want to remind you that tomorrow is the First Friday of the month. Because tomorrow is the first Friday of the Month, many Catholic parishes will have special Masses for the First Friday Devotion.
"With foresight, the divine heart of Christ merited and ordered all the favors which we have received, disposing them for each of us in particular. How our hearts would be inflamed with love for so many favors! Consider that they were destined for us by the will of the Father, to be borne in the heart of the Savior, Who earned them for us by His sufferings, above all by His passion." - St. Francis de Sales
Beginning on December 27, 1673, through 1675, Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque asking her to receive Him in Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month and to meditate on His passion from 11:00 PM to 12:00 midnight each Thursday. He also revealed to her twelve promises for all who are devoted to His Sacred Heart; he asked for a Feast of the Sacred Heart to be instituted in the liturgical calendar of the Church. Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque with twelve promises for those devoted to His Most Sacred Heart.

Promises for those devoted to the Sacred Heart:

1. "I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life."
2. "I will establish peace in their homes."
3. "I will comfort them in their afflictions."
4. "I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death."
5. "I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings."
6. "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy."
7. "Tepid souls shall grow fervent."
8. "Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection."
9. "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored."
10. "I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts."
11. "Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out."
12. "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."

Prayer of Reparation:


O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of thee the conversion of poor sinners.
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017
RIP John Venarri
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John Venarri Editor of Catholic Family News passed away this morning.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And let the perpetual light shine upon them.
And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

V. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
R. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.
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Sunday, April 2, 2017
St. Francis of Paola
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Double (1954 Calendar): April 2nd

St. Francis was born to parents who were childless for many years.  Yet the parents pleaded through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi that they should be given children by God.  And so their prayers were heard.  They had three children, of which St. Francis of Paola (Paula) was one of them.

As a young boy, St. Francis journeyed to Rome on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi and decided to followed the will of God and become a hermit.  Before he was even 20 years old he began to attract followers and thus founded the Hermits of Saint Francis of Assisi, who were approved by the Holy See in 1474. In 1492 they were renamed the Franciscan Order of Minim Friars, with the use of "Minim," it meant that they counted themselves as the least worthy of those in the household of God.

St. Francis was regarded as a miracle worker, prophet, and defender of the poor.  In 1464 St. Francis wanted to cross the Straits of Messina to reach Sicily, but a boatman refused to take him. St. Francis responded by laying his cloak on the water, tying one end to his staff to make a sail, and then he proceeded to sail across with his companions. Franz Liszt wrote a piece of music inspired by the incident.

At the request of Pope Sixtus IV, he journeyed to Paris and helped Louis XI prepare for death.  He also used his position to help restore peace between France and Brittany by advising a marriage between the ruling families and between France and Spain by persuading Louis XI to return some disputed land.

St. Francis of Paola died on Good Friday, April 2, 1507, in Pelssis France.  He was canonized in 1519 by Pope Leo X.

Tragically, in 1562 Huguenots (Protestant heretics) broke open his tomb, found his body incorrupt, and burned it; the bones were salvaged by Catholics, and distributed as relics to various churches.

Collect:

O God, the exaltation of the lowly, who hast raised Thy blessed Confessor Francis to the glory of the Saints; grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and example we may happily obtain the rewards promised to the lowly. Through Our Lord . . .
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Friday, March 31, 2017
Catholic Virtual Tour of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna
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Last week I was privileged to travel to the cities of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna as part of a 7-day long trip to Bavaria and Austria. I returned on the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation. Now, after taking a few days to settle back in, I would like to share some of the scenes from my trip. I am happy to present this Catholic Virtual Tour of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna.

Note: All photos are copyright (c) 2017 by A Catholic Life Blog and may not be used without prior permission and without attribution.

Munich:

My trip started in the city of Munich and included walking tours of the city, visits to historical Nazi/WWII locations, and time in the famous churches of Munich.  Here are some of those pictures:



The above images of the famous "Asam" Church in Munich



These images are of St. Anna, where the FSSP offers the Traditional Mass daily for those in Munich




These images are from the beautiful church of St. Michael in the heart of Munich.  Just steps away from St. Anna and several other churches, I found this to be one of the most beautiful churches I encountered on my trip.





And no trip to Munich would be complete with a visit to St. Peter's Church.  The Church preserves the body of St. Munditia on a side altar (pictured above).  Also, above is a stunning image of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Church.

Castles:

Leaving Munich after spending a few days there, I ventured out to tour some of the castles of King Ludwig II including his famous Neuweinstein Castle.  It was breathtaking and the throne room of the castle looked like an altar sanctuary.  No photos were permitted but I must say that it was the most amazing room I have ever seen in my life.  Here are some photos of what I could capture on this leg of the trip:








Vienna, Austria:

After returning back to Munich from the castles, I rested for one night and then took a train out several hours eastward to Vienna (Wien). The city was a true gem of history, culture, and architecture.  And aside from Rome, this was the most beautiful city I have ever seen in my life.  Some of the highlights included:


The Austrian Parliament Building



The town hall in Vienna near Rathausplatz




The above three images are of the impressive and historic St. Stephen's Cathedral in the heart of Vienna

Salzburg, Austria:

After a day and one night in Vienna, I traveled back westward toward Munich but stopped for a few hours in Salzburg.  There I visited the home of Mozart (both his birthplace home as well as the place where he lived). I also spent time in the Salzburg Cathedral, its museums, and the beautiful Church of St. Peter, which includes outside its famous cemetery.


St. Peter's Church in Salzburg


The Cathedral in Salzburg

Summary:

All in all, it was an awe-inspiring trip and one that I will remember.  I prayed for all of my benefactors intentions.  So thank you to everyone who was kind enough to donate to help me in the sidebar of this blog.  You can still donate and I will remember your intentions in prayer as I travel to Spain this June.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more!
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