Traditional Catholic Calendar 2019
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Tuesday, January 1, 2019
: Circumcision of Our Lord
Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The CIRCUMCISION of OUR LORD

Circumcision was a sacrament of the Old Law, and the first legal observance required of the descendants of Abraham by Almighty God. It was a sacrament of initiation in the service of God, and a promise, an engagement, to believe and act as He had revealed and directed. The law of circumcision continued in force until the death of Christ. Our Saviour having thus been born under the law, it became Him who came to teach mankind obedience to the law of God,to fulfill all justice, and to submit to it. He was circumcised that He might redeem those who were under the law, by freeing them from the servitude of it, and that those who were formerly in the condition of servants might be set at liberty and receive the adoption of sons in Baptism, which, by Christ's institution, succeeded to circumcision. (Cf. Gal. 4:5)

On the day when the divine Infant was circumcised, He received the name of JESUS, which was assigned to Him by the Angel before He was conceived, and which signifies SAVIOUR. That name, so beautiful, so glorious, the divine Child does not wish to bear for one moment without fulfilling its meaning. Even at the moment of His circumcision He showed Himself a SAVIOUR by shedding for us that blood of which a single drop is more than sufficient for the ransom and salvation of the whole world.

Reflection. Let us profit by the circumstance of the New Year, and of the wonderful renewal wrought in the world by the great mystery of this day, to renew in our hearts an increase of fervor and of generosity in the service of God. May this year be one of fervor and of progress! It will go by rapidly, like the one which has just ended. If God permits us to see its end, how happy we shall be to have passed it in a holy manner!


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: Holy Day of Obligation
Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Wednesday, January 2, 2019
: Holy Name of Jesus
Wednesday, January 2, 2019

In the Name of Jesus let every knee bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2, 10-11)

Thursday, January 3, 2019
: Feria
Thursday, January 3, 2019

Friday, January 4, 2019
: Feria
Friday, January 4, 2019

: Abstinence
Friday, January 4, 2019

: Octave of St. John the Apostle
Friday, January 4, 2019

Saturday, January 5, 2019
: Vigil of the Ephphany
Saturday, January 5, 2019

: Octave of the Holy Innocents
Saturday, January 5, 2019

Sunday, January 6, 2019
: Epiphany of Our Lord
Sunday, January 6, 2019

The EPIPHANY of OUR LORD

The word Epiphany means "manifestation," and it has passed into general acceptance throughout the universal Church, from the fact that Jesus Christ manifested to the eyes of men His divine mission on this day first of all, when a miraculous star revealed His birth to the kings of the East. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy that "a star would arise from Jacob". (Numbers 24:17) It was understood by these Wise Men that this star was announcing the Saviour-King, destined to be born of the Jews. And they, in spite of the difficulties and dangers of a long and tedious journey through deserts and mountains almost impassable, hastened at once to Bethlehem to adore Him. And there they offered Him mystical presents, as to the King of kings, to the God of heaven and earth, and to a Man whose human nature made Him mortal and subject to sufferings.

The second manifestation commemorated by this feast day occurred when He came forth from the waters of the Jordan after having received Baptism from the hands of Saint John, and the Holy Ghost descended on Him in the visible form of a dove. A voice from heaven was heard, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The third manifestation which the Church's liturgy recalls to us is that of the divine power of Jesus when, at the marriage-feast of Cana, by the first of His miracles He changed water into wine. And at the sight of this prodigy His disciples believed in His Divinity. These three great events, concurring to the same end, the Church has wished to celebrate in one and the same festival.

Reflection. Admire the almighty power of this little Child, who from His cradle makes known His coming to the shepherds and magi - to the shepherds by means of His Angel, to the magi by a star in the East. Admire the docility of these kings. Jesus is born: behold them at His feet! Let us be little, let us efface ourselves, and the divine strength will be granted to us. Let us be docile and quick in following divine inspirations, and we shall then become wise by the wisdom of God, powerful by His almighty power.


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Monday, January 7, 2019
: Feria
Monday, January 7, 2019

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
: Feria
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019
: Feria
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Friday, January 11, 2019
: Feria
Friday, January 11, 2019

: Abstinence
Friday, January 11, 2019

Saturday, January 12, 2019
: Mary on Saturday
Saturday, January 12, 2019


: Feria
Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sunday, January 13, 2019
Sunday, January 13, 2019

: Holy Family, Jesus, Mary & Joseph
Sunday, January 13, 2019


: Octave of the Epiphany
Sunday, January 13, 2019

Monday, January 14, 2019
: St. Hilary, ED
Monday, January 14, 2019

SAINT HILARY of POITIERS
Doctor of the Church
(301-368)

Saint Hilary was a native of Poitiers in Aquitaine. Born and educated a pagan, it was not until near middle age that he embraced Christianity, moved to that step primarily by the idea of God presented to him in the Holy Scriptures. He soon converted his wife and daughter, and separated himself rigidly from all non-Catholic company, fearing the influence of error, rampant in a number of false philosophies and heresies, for himself and his family.

He entered Holy Orders with the consent of his very virtuous wife, and separated from his family as was required of the clergy. He later wrote a very famous letter to his dearly-loved daughter, encouraging her to adopt a consecrated life. She followed this counsel and died, still young, a holy death.

In 353 Saint Hilary was chosen bishop of his native city. Arianism, under the protection of the Emperor Constantius, was then at the heights of its exaltation, and Saint Hilary found himself called upon to support the orthodox cause in several Gallic councils, in which Arian bishops formed an overwhelming majority. He was in consequence accused to the emperor, who banished him to Phrygia. He spent his more than three years of exile in composing his great works on the Trinity.

In 359 he attended the Council of Seleucia, in which Arians, semi-Arians, and Catholics contended for the mastery. He never ceased his combat against the errors of the enemies of the Divinity of Christ. With the deputies of the council he went to Constantinople, and there so dismayed the heads of the Arian party that they prevailed upon the emperor to let him return to Gaul. He traversed Gaul, Italy and Illyria, preaching wherever he went, disconcerting the heretics and procuring the triumph of orthodoxy. He wrote a famous treatise on the Synods. After some eight years of missionary travel he returned to Poitiers, where he died in peace in 368.

Reflection. Like Saint Hilary, nearly every Christian has always lived amid unbelievers and heretics. We are called to a lifelong contest, and shall succeed in the measure we combine abhorrence of error with compassion for its victims.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2019
: St. Paul, HC
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

SAINT PAUL
the First Hermit
(229-342)

Saint Paul was born in Upper Egypt in about the year 229, and became an orphan at the age of fifteen. He was very rich and highly educated. Fearing lest the tortures of a terrible persecution might endanger his Christian perseverance, he retired into a remote village. But his pagan brother-in-law denounced him, and Saint Paul, rather than remain where his faith was in danger, entered the barren desert, trusting that God would supply his wants. And his confidence was rewarded; for on the spot to which Providence led him he found the fruit of a palm-tree for food, its leaves for clothing, and the water of a spring for drink.

His first plan was to return to the world when the persecution was over; but tasting great delights in prayer and penance, he remained for the rest of his life, ninety years, in penance, prayer and contemplation.

God revealed his existence to Saint Anthony, who sought him for three days. Seeing a thirsty she-wolf run through an opening in the rocks, Anthony followed her to look for water and found Paul. They knew each other at once, and praised God together. While Saint Anthony was visiting him, a raven brought them a loaf of bread, and Saint Paul said, "See how good God is! For sixty years this bird has brought me half a loaf each day; now at your coming, Christ has doubled the provision for His servants."

The two religious passed the night in prayer, then at dawn Paul told Anthony that he was about to die, and asked to be buried in the cloak given to Anthony by Saint Athanasius. He asked him this to show that he was dying in communion with Saint Athanasius, the invincible defender of the Faith against the Arian heresy. Anthony hastened back to fetch it, and when he was returning to Paul he saw his co-hermit rising to heaven in glory. He found his dead body kneeling as in prayer, and saw two lions come and dig his grave. Saint Paul, The Patriarch of Hermits, died in his one hundred and thirteenth year.

Reflection. Never shall we trust in ourselves without being deceived, but we shall never repent of having trusted in God, for He cannot fail those who depend upon Him.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2019
: St. Marcellus I, PM
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

SAINT MARCELLUS
Pope and martyr
(310)

During the third century paganism and Christianity vied for supremacy in the Roman Empire. Hoping to stifle the Church completely, the emperor Diocletian in 303 began the last and fiercest of the persecutions. In time, Christian charity conquered pagan brutality, and as the Church attracted more and more members, the Roman government would be compelled to recognize its existence, but it was only after almost three hundred years, during which persecutions had forced Christian worship underground, that the Church would finally come out into the open after the Edict of Nantes in 313. It was still young and disorganized, vulnerable to heresy and apostasy, and needed a strong leader to settle questions of doctrine and discipline.

Such a leader came to the Chair of Peter in 304, when Saint Marcellus was elected pope. Saint Marcellinus, his predecessor, while being taken to torture, had exhorted him not to cede to the decrees of Diocletian, and it became evident that Marcellus did not intend to temporize. He established new catacombs and saw to it that the divine mysteries were continually celebrated there. Then three years of relative peace were given the church when Maxentius became emperor in 307, for he was too occupied with other difficulties to persecute the Christians.

After assessing the problems facing the Church, Saint Marcellus planned a strong program of reorganization. Rome then as now was the seat of Catholicism, and his program was initiated there. He divided the territorial administration of the Church into twenty-five districts or parishes, placing a priest over each one, thus restoring an earlier division which the turmoil of the persecutions had disrupted. This arrangement permitted more efficient care in instructing the faithful, in preparing candidates for baptism and penitents for reconciliation. With these measures in force, Church government took on a definite form.

Marcellus' biggest problem was dealing with the Christians who had apostatized during the persecution. Many of these were determined to be reconciled to the Church without performing the necessary penances. The Christians who had remained faithful demanded that the customary penitential discipline be maintained and enforced. Marcellus approached this problem with uncompromising justice; the apostates were in the wrong, and regardless of the consequences, were obliged to do penance. It was not long before the discord between the faithful and the apostates led to violence in the very streets of Rome.

An account of Marcellus' death, dating from the fifth century, relates that Maxentius, judging the pope responsible for the trouble between the Christian factions, condemned him to work as a slave on the public highway. After nine months of this hard labor, he was rescued by the clergy and taken to the home of a widow named Lucina; this woman welcomed him with every sign of respect and offered him her home for a church. When the emperor learned that Christian rites were being celebrated there, he profaned the church by turning it into a stable and forced the Holy Father to care for the animals quartered there. In these sad surroundings, Marcellus died on January 16, 310. He was buried in the catacombs of Priscilla, but later his remains were placed beneath the altar of the church in Rome which still bears his name.


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Thursday, January 17, 2019
: St. Anthony, Ab
Thursday, January 17, 2019

SAINT ANTHONY, Abbot
Patriarch of Monastic Life
(251-356)

Saint Anthony was born in the year 251, in Upper Egypt. Hearing at Mass the words, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor," he gave away all his vast possessions - staying only to see that his sister's education was completed - and retired into the desert. He then begged an aged hermit to teach him the spiritual life, and he also visited various solitaries, undertaking to copy the principal virtue of each.

To serve God more perfectly, Anthony immured himself in a ruin, building up the door so that none could enter. Here the devils assaulted him furiously, appearing as various monsters, and even wounding him severely; but his courage never failed, and he overcame them all by confidence in God and by the sign of the cross. One night, while Anthony was in his solitude, many devils scourged him so terribly that he lay as if dead. A friend found him in this condition, and believing him dead carried him home. But when Anthony came to himself he persuaded his friend to take him back, in spite of his wounds, to his solitude. Here, prostrate from weakness, he defied the devils, saying, "I fear you not; you cannot separate me from the love of Christ." After more vain assaults the devils fled, and Christ appeared to Anthony in His glory.

Saint Anthony's only food was bread and water, which he never tasted before sunset, and sometimes only once in two, three, or four days. He wore sackcloth and sheepskin, and he often knelt in prayer from sunset to sunrise.

His admirers became so many and so insistent that he was eventually persuaded to found two monasteries for them and to give them a rule of life. These were the first monasteries ever to be founded, and Saint Anthony is, therefore, the father of cenobites of monks. In 311 he went to Alexandria to take part in the Arian controversy and to comfort those who were being persecuted by Maximinus. This visit lasted for a few days only, after which he retired into a solitude even more remote so that he might cut himself off completely from his admirers. When he was over ninety, he was commanded by God in a vision to search the desert for Saint Paul the Hermit. He is said to have survived until the age of a hundred and five, when he died peacefully in a cave on Mount Kolzim near the Red Sea. Saint Athanasius, his biographer, says that the mere knowledge of how Saint Anthony lived is a good guide to virtue.

Reflection. The more violent the assaults of temptation suffered by Saint Anthony, the more firmly did he grasp his weapons, namely, mortification and prayer. Let us imitate him in this, if we wish to obtain victories like his.


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Friday, January 18, 2019
: St. Peter's Chair at Rome
Friday, January 18, 2019

SAINT PETER'S CHAIR AT ROME
(43 A.D.)

Saint Peter having triumphed over the devil in the East, the latter pursued him to Rome. But he who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor servant girl now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world and the center of impiety called for the zeal of the Prince of the Apostles. God had established the Roman Empire and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, to facilitate the propagation of His Gospel; and its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. Saint Peter took that province upon himself and, repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his ecclesiastical chair.

That Saint Peter preached in Rome, founded the Church there, and died there by martyrdom under Nero, are incontestable facts, by the testimony of all writers of different countries who lived around that time - persons of unquestionable veracity, who could not but be informed of the truth in a matter so important, and of its own nature so public and notorious. This fact is verified by monuments of every kind, attesting the prerogatives, rights and privileges which that church enjoyed from these early times, in consequence of its title as seat of the Vicar of Christ.

It was an ancient custom observed by churches to keep an annual festival commemorating the consecration of their bishops, and the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter is found in ancient martyrologies. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the center of Catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for His mercies to His Church, and to implore His future blessings for it.

Reflection. As one of God's greatest mercies to His Church, let us earnestly beg Him to raise up in it zealous pastors, directed by His Spirit, with which He animated His Apostles.


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: Abstinence
Friday, January 18, 2019

Saturday, January 19, 2019
: St. Marius & Companions, MM
Saturday, January 19, 2019


Sunday, January 20, 2019
Sunday, January 20, 2019

: Sts. Fabian & Sebastian, MM
Sunday, January 20, 2019

SAINT SEBASTIAN
Martyr
(288)

Saint Sebastian was an officer in the Roman army, esteemed even by the pagans as a good soldier, and honored by the Church ever since as a champion of Jesus Christ. Born at Narbonne, Sebastian came to Rome about the year 284 and entered the lists against the powers of evil. He found the twin brothers Marcus and Marcellinus in prison for the faith, and when they were close to yielding to the entreaties of their relatives, encouraged them to despise flesh and blood, and to die for Christ. God confirmed his words by miracles: light shone around him while he spoke; he cured the sick by his prayers; and in this divine strength he led multitudes to the faith, among them the Prefect of Rome, with his son Tiburtius.

He saw his disciples die before him, and one of them came back from heaven to tell him that his own end was near. It was in a contest of fervor and charity that Saint Sebastian found the occasion of martyrdom. The Governor-Prefect of Rome was converted to the faith and afterwards retired to his estates in Campania, taking with him a great number of his fellow-converts to this place of safety. It was a question whether Polycarp the priest or Saint Sebastian should accompany the neophytes. Each was eager to stay and face the danger at Rome; finally the Pope decided that the Roman church could not spare the services of Sebastian, who therefore remained amid the perils in the city.

He continued to labor at his post of danger until he was betrayed by a false disciple. He was led before Diocletian and, at the emperor's command, pierced with arrows and left for dead. God raised him up again, cured, and of his own accord he went before the emperor and conjured him to halt the persecution of the Church. Again sentenced, he was beaten to death by clubs, and crowned his labors by the merit of a double martyrdom.

Reflection. Your ordinary occupations will give you opportunities of laboring for the faith. Ask help from Saint Sebastian, both wise and prudent.


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Monday, January 21, 2019
: St. Agnes, VM
Monday, January 21, 2019

SAINT AGNES
Virgin and Martyr
(304)

Saint Agnes was twelve years old when she was led to the altar of Minerva at Rome and commanded to obey the persecuting laws of Diocletian by offering incense. In the midst of the idolatrous rites she raised her hands to Christ, her Spouse, and made the sign of the life-giving cross. She did not shrink when she was bound hand and foot, though the manacles slipped from her young hands, and the heathens who stood around were moved to tears. Bonds were not needed for her; she hastened gladly to the place of her torture.

When the judge saw that pain had no terrors for her, he inflicted a sentence comporting an insult worse than death: she was condemned to be taken to a house of infamy and her clothes stripped off. "I have an Angel with me," she said, "and he will guard me. Christ, whom you do not know, surrounds me like a wall which cannot be forced." And so it occurred. The Spouse of Virgins revealed, by a miracle, His custody of the pure in heart: her hair grew miraculously to such a length that she was entirely covered by it. The place to which she was taken was illuminated by a brilliant, inexplicable light; and there she knelt down to pray. At that site a Church has been built in honor of this young maiden's victory over impurity. Only an impudent suitor, the cause of her arraignment as a Christian, dared approach her, and her Angel struck him dead at her feet. His father prayed Agnes to raise him up again by her magic arts; she answered that magic was not responsible for his death, but only the young pagan's lack of respect for God. She said she would pray to Him that her Lord's glory might be manifested by the miracle his father requested, and it was granted to her prayer.

At length the sentence of death by the sword was passed upon her by a subordinate judge. For a moment she stood erect in prayer, then bowed her neck to the sword, rejoicing that the time of her liberation had arrived. The Angels bore her pure soul to Paradise. A week after her death, Saint Agnes appeared to her parents as they were praying at her tomb; she was amid a choir of virgins clothed in golden robes and crowned with garlands. She begged them not to weep for her as for one dead, telling them rather to rejoice with her in her happiness.

Reflection. Her innocence endeared Saint Agnes to Christ, as it has endeared her to His Church ever since. Even as penitents we may imitate her innocence in our own sphere. Let us strictly guard our eyes, and Christ, when He sees that we desire to keep our hearts pure for love of Him, will fortify our resolution and bless it.


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Tuesday, January 22, 2019
: Sts. Vincent & Anastasius, MM
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

SAINT VINCENT of SARAGOSSA
Deacon and Martyr
(304)

Saint Vincent was archdeacon of the church at Saragossa, Spain. Valerian, the bishop, was prevented from preaching by a speech impediment, and named Vincent to preach in his stead. He answered in the bishop's name when, during the persecution of Diocletian, both were brought before Dacian, the presiding officer. When the bishop was sent into banishment, Vincent was retained, to suffer and to die.

First he was stretched on the rack; and when he was almost torn asunder, Dacian asked him in mockery "how he fared now." Vincent answered, with joy on his countenance, that he had always prayed to be as he was then. It was in vain that Dacian struck the executioners and goaded them on in their savage work. The martyr's flesh was torn with hooks; he was bound to a chair of red-hot iron; lard and salt were rubbed into his wounds; and amid all this he kept his eyes raised to heaven, and remained unmoved.

The holy martyr was cast into a solitary dungeon, his feet placed in the stocks; but the Angels of Christ illuminated the darkness, and assured Vincent that he was near his triumph. His wounds were now ordered to be tended, to prepare him for fresh torments, and the faithful were permitted to gaze on his mangled body. They came in troops, kissed his wounds and carried away as relics, cloths colored with his blood. Before the tortures could resume, Saint Vincent's hour came, and he breathed forth his soul in peace.

Even the dead bodies of the Saints are precious in the sight of God, and the hand of iniquity cannot touch them. A raven guarded the body of Vincent where it lay flung upon the earth. When it was sunk out at sea, the waves cast it ashore; and his relics are preserved to this day in the Augustinian monastery at Lisbon, for the consolation of the Church of Christ.

Reflection. Do you wish to be at peace amid suffering and temptation? Then make it your principal endeavor to grow in habits of prayer and in union with Christ. Have confidence in Him. He will make you victorious over your spiritual enemies and over yourself. He will enlighten your darkness and sweeten your sufferings, and in your solitude and desolation He will draw near to you with His holy Angels.


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Wednesday, January 23, 2019
: St. Raymond of Pennafort, C
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

SAINT RAYMOND of PENNAFORT
Dominican, Archbishop
(1175-1275)

Born in 1175 of a noble Spanish family, Raymond, at the age of twenty, taught philosophy in Barcelona with marvelous success. Ten years later his rare abilities won for him the degree of Doctor in the University of Bologna, accompanied by many high dignities. A tender devotion to our Blessed Lady, which had increased within him from childhood, determined him in his mature years to renounce all his honors and to enter Her Order of Saint Dominic.

There a vision of the Mother of Mercy instructed him to cooperate with his penitent Saint Peter Nolasco, and with James, King of Aragon, in founding the Order of Our Lady of Ransom for the redemption of captives. He began this great work by preaching a crusade against the Moors, and by rousing to penance the Christians enslaved in both soul and body by the infidels. The king of Aragon, a man of great qualities but governed by a ruling passion, often took Saint Raymond with him on his voyages. On one such occasion, when they were visiting the island of Majorca, he was told by the Saint he must put away at once the cause of his sin. When he delayed, Raymond asked for leave to depart, since he could not live in company with sin. The king refused and under pain of death, forbade his conveyance by any ship. The Saint replied to the sailors, "If a mortal king has given such a command, we will see that the Eternal King has disposed otherwise." Full of faith, he went out on a rock extending into the sea, and spread his cloak upon the waters. Tying one end of it to his staff as a sail, he made the sign of the cross and fearlessly stepped upon it. In six hours he was borne to Barcelona where, gathering up his cloak, which was dry, he made his way to his monastery.

The king, vanquished by this miracle, to which many were witness, became a sincere penitent and the disciple of the Saint until his death. In 1230, Gregory IX summoned Raymond to Rome, made him his confessor and grand penitentiary, and directed him to compile "The Decretals," a collection of the scattered decisions of the Popes and Councils. Having refused the archbishopric of Tarragon, Raymond was in 1238 chosen to be the third General of his Order, which post he again succeeded in resigning, pleading his advanced age. His first act when set free was to resume his labors among the infidels, and in 1256 Raymond, then eighty-one, was able to report that ten thousand Saracens had received Baptism. He died at the age of one hundred years, in 1275.

Reflection. Ask Saint Raymond to protect you from the fearful servitude, worse than any bodily slavery, which even one sinful habit tends to form.


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Thursday, January 24, 2019
: St. Timothy, EM
Thursday, January 24, 2019

SAINT TIMOTHY
Bishop of Ephesus and Martyr
(97)

Saint Timothy was a convert of Saint Paul, born at Lystra in Asia Minor. His mother was a daughter of Israel, but his father was a pagan, and though Timothy had read the Scriptures from his childhood, he had never been circumcised. On the arrival of Saint Paul at Lystra the youthful Timothy, with his mother and grandmother, eagerly embraced the faith. Seven years later, when the Apostle again visited the country, the boy had grown into manhood. His good heart, his austerities and zeal had won the esteem of all around him, and holy men were prophesying great things of the fervent youth. Saint Paul at once saw his fitness for the work of an evangelist, and Timothy was ordained a priest. From that time on he was the constant and much-beloved fellow-worker of the Apostle.

In company with Saint Paul he visited the cities of Asia Minor and Greece, once hastening on ahead as a trusted messenger, at another time lingering behind to confirm in the faith a recently founded church. Eventually he was made the first Bishop of Ephesus; and there he received the two epistles of his master which bear his name, the first written from Macedonia and the second from Rome, where Saint Paul from his prison expresses his longing desire to see his "dearly beloved son," once more, if possible, before his death. It is not certain whether Saint Timothy arrived in Rome in time, but devotion to Saint Timothy has always been strong in Rome, which seems to argue for his presence at the martyrdom of his spiritual father.

Saint Timothy was of a tender and affectionate disposition, and certainly found his role in the idolatrous city of Ephesus difficult to sustain. Saint Paul, when he writes to Timothy, then a tested servant of God and a bishop advancing in years, addresses him as he would his own child, and seems most anxious about his forcefulness in his demanding role. His disciple's health was fragile, and Saint Paul counsels him to "take a little wine for his digestion." Saint Timothy is the "Angel of the Church of Ephesus" of the Apocalypse, its bishop whom Our Lord, too, exhorted to remember his original faith and piety.

Not many years after the death of Saint Paul, Timothy, who had surely profited from these counsels, won a martyr's crown at Ephesus, when on a feast day of the goddess Diana, whose temple stood in that city, he entered into the ungovernable crowd to calm it, exhorting these souls, deprived of the light of truth, to renounce vain worship and embrace Christianity. Wild with idolatrous passion, a pagan struck down the bishop of the Christians, thus freeing him to join his beloved spiritual father in the realm of the Blessed.

Reflection. All Christians can profit, like Saint Paul's disciple, from Our Lord's admonition and the great Apostle's letters. It is remarkable what great stress Saint Paul lays on the avoidance of idle talk, and on application to holy reading. These are his chief topics. He exhorts his son Timothy to "avoid tattlers and busybodies; to give no heed to novelties; to shun profane and vain chatter, but hold to sound teaching; to be an example in words and conversation; to attend to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine." Let us faithfully follow these excellent counsels.


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Friday, January 25, 2019
: Conversion of St. Paul, Ap
Friday, January 25, 2019

The CONVERSION of SAINT PAUL
Apostle to the Gentiles
(36 A.D.)

The great Apostle Paul, named Saul at his circumcision, was born in Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia, and was by that privilege a Roman citizen, to which quality a great distinction and several exemptions were granted by the laws of the Empire. He was early instructed in the strict observance of the Mosaic law, and lived up to it in the most scrupulous manner. In his zeal for the Jewish law, which he believed to be the divine Cause of God, he became a violent persecutor of the Christians. He was one of those who combined to murder Saint Stephen, and then he presided in the violent persecution of the faithful which followed the holy deacon's martyrdom. By virtue of the power he had received from the high priest, he dragged the Christians out of their houses, loaded them with chains, and thrust them into prison. In the fury of his zeal he applied for a commission to seize in Damascus all Jews who confessed Jesus Christ, and to bring them in bonds to Jerusalem, that they might serve as examples for the others.

But God was pleased to manifest in him His patience and mercy. While Saul was journeying to Damascus, he and his party were surrounded by a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, and suddenly the chief was struck to the ground. And then a voice was heard saying, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" And Saul answered, "Who art Thou, Lord?" and the voice replied, "I am Jesus, whom you persecute." This mild admonition of Our Redeemer, accompanied with a powerful interior grace, cured Saul's pride, assuaged his rage, and wrought at once a total change in him. Therefore, trembling and astonished, he cried out, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?" Our Lord ordered him to proceed on his way to the city of Damascus, where he would be informed of what was expected of him. Saul, arising from the ground, found that although his eyes were open, he saw nothing.

He was led into the city, where he was lodged in the house of a Christian named Judas. To this house came by divine appointment a holy man named Ananias, who, laying his hands on Saul, said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your journey, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost." Immediately something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he recovered his sight; then he arose and was baptized. He stayed a few days with the disciples at Damascus, and began immediately to preach in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God. Thus a blasphemer and a persecutor was made an Apostle, and chosen as one of God's principal instruments in the conversion of the world.

Reflection. Listen to the words of The Imitation of Christ, and let them sink into your heart: "He who would keep the grace of God, let him be grateful for grace when it is given, and patient when it is taken away. Let him pray that it may be given back to him, and be careful and humble, lest he lose it."


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: Abstinence
Friday, January 25, 2019

Saturday, January 26, 2019
: St. Polycarp, EM
Saturday, January 26, 2019

SAINT POLYCARP
Bishop, Martyr
(70-167)

Saint Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of Saint John. He wrote to the Philippians, exhorting them to mutual love and to hatred of heresy. When the apostate Marcion met Saint Polycarp at Rome, he asked the aged Saint if he knew him. "Yes," Saint Polycarp answered, "I know you for the first-born of Satan." These were the words of a Saint, most loving and most charitable, and specially noted for his compassion to sinners. He abhorred heresy, because he loved God and man so well.

In 167 persecution broke out in Smyrna. When Polycarp heard that his pursuers were at the door, he said, "The Will of God be done;" and meeting them, he begged to be left alone for a little time, which he spent in prayer for the Catholic Church throughout the world. He was brought to Smyrna early on Holy Saturday; and as he entered, a voice was heard from heaven, "Polycarp, be strong." When the proconsul urged him to curse Christ and go free, Polycarp answered, "Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me wrong; how can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?" When he threatened him with fire, Polycarp told him this fire of his lasted but a short time, while the fire prepared for the wicked lasted forever.

At the stake he thanked God aloud for letting him drink of Christ's chalice. The fire was lighted, but it did him no harm; therefore he was stabbed to the heart, and his dead body was burnt. "Then," say the writers of his acts, "we took up the bones, more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, at which may God grant us to assemble with joy, to celebrate the birthday of the martyr to his life in heaven!"

Reflection. If we love Jesus Christ, we shall love the Church and hate heresy, which divides His Mystical Body and destroys the souls for whom He died. Like Saint Polycarp, we shall maintain our constancy in the faith by love of Jesus Christ, who is the Church's Founder and its last end.


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Sunday, January 27, 2019
Sunday, January 27, 2019

: St. John Chrysostom, ECD
Sunday, January 27, 2019

SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church
(344-407)

Saint John Chrysostom, born in Antioch in 344, was endowed with a superior genius strengthened by a brilliant education. In order to break with a world which admired and courted him, in 374 he retired for six years to a neighboring mountain, having found Christ through his friendship with Saint Basil. After acquiring the art of Christian silence, he returned to Antioch and there labored as a priest under the direction of its bishop. His eloquence was such that the entire city, up to a hundred thousand listeners, came to hear him, a young man not yet thirty years old. He fled this popularity and adopted the monastic life for fourteen years, until he was taken forcibly to Constantinople, to be consecrated Patriarch of the imperial city in 398.

The effect of his sermons was everywhere marvelous. He converted a large number of pagans and heretics by his eloquence, then in its most brilliant luster, and constantly exhorted his Catholic people to frequent the Holy Sacrifice. In order to remove all excuse for absence he abbreviated the long liturgy then in use. Saint Nilus relates that Saint John Chrysostom, when the priest began the Holy Sacrifice, very often saw "many of the Blessed coming down from heaven in shining garments, eyes intent, and bowed heads, in utter stillness and silence, assisting at the consummation of the tremendous mystery."

Beloved as he was in Constantinople, his denunciations of vice made him numerous enemies. In 403 these procured his banishment; and although he was almost immediately recalled, it was not more than a reprieve. In 404 he was banished to Cucusus in the deserts of the Taurus mountains. His reply to the hostile empress was: "Chrysostom fears only one thing - not exile, prison, poverty or death - but sin."

In 407, at sixty-three years old his strength was waning, but his enemies were impatient and transported him to Pytius on the Euxine, a rough journey of nearly 400 miles. He was assiduously exposed to every hardship - cold, wet clothing, and semi-starvation, but nothing could overcome his cheerfulness and his consideration for others. On the journey his sickness increased, and he was warned that his end was near. Thereupon, exchanging his travel-stained clothes for white garments, he received Viaticum, and with his customary words, "Glory be to God for all things. Amen," passed to Christ. He does not have the title of martyrdom, but possesses all its merit and all its glory. He is the author of the famous words characterizing Saint Paul, object of his admiration and love: "The heart of Paul was the Heart of Christ."


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Monday, January 28, 2019
: St. Peter Nolasco, C
Monday, January 28, 2019

SAINT PETER NOLASCO
Founder
(1189-1256)

In the early thirteenth century the Moors still held much of Spain, and in sudden raids from the sea they carried off thousands of Christians, holding them as slaves in Granada and in their citadels along the African coast. A hero of these unfortunates was Saint Peter Nolasco, born about the year 1189 near Carcassonne in France. When he went to Barcelona to escape the heresy then rampant in southern France, he consecrated the fortune he had inherited to the redemption of the captives taken on the seas by the Saracens. He was obsessed with the thought of their suffering, and desired to sell his own person to deliver his brethren and take their chains upon himself. God made it known to him how agreeable that desire was to Him.

Because of these large sums of money he expended, Peter became penniless. He was without resources and powerless, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and said to him: "Find for Me other men like yourself, an army of brave, generous, unselfish men, and send them into the lands where the children of the Faith are suffering." Peter went at once to Saint Raymond of Pennafort, his confessor, who had had a similar revelation and used his influence with King James I of Aragon and with Berengarius, Archbishop of Barcelona, to obtain approbation and support for the new community. On August 10, 1218, Peter and two companions were received as the first members of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom, dedicated to the recovery of Christian captives. To the three traditional vows of religion, its members joined a fourth, that of delivering their own persons to the overlords, if necessary, to ransom Christians.

The Order spread rapidly. Peter and his comrades traveled throughout Christian Spain, recruiting new members and collecting funds to purchase the captives. Then they began negotiations with the slave-owners. They penetrated Andalusia, crossed the sea to Tunis and Morocco, and brought home cargo after cargo of Christians. Although Peter, as General of the Order, was occupied with its organization and administration, he made two trips to Africa where, besides liberating captives, he converted many Moors. He died after a long illness on Christmas night of 1256; he was canonized by Pope Urban VIII in 1628. His Order continues its religious services, now devoted to preaching and hospital service.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2019
: St. Francis de Sales, ECD
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES
Bishop, Doctor of the Church
(1567-1622)

Saint Francis de Sales was born in 1567 near Annecy, of noble and pious parents, and studied with brilliant success at Paris and Padua. On his return from Italy he gave up the grand career which his father had destined for him in the service of the state, and became a priest.

When the duke of Savoy resolved to restore the shattered Church in the Chablais, Francis offered himself for the work and set out on foot with his Bible and breviary, accompanied by one companion, his cousin Louis of Sales. It was a work of toil, privation and danger. Every door and every heart was closed against him. He was rejected with insult and threatened with death, but nothing could daunt him or resist him indefinitely. And before long the Church blossomed into a second spring. It is said that he converted 72,000 Calvinists.

He was compelled by the Pope to become Coadjutor Bishop of Geneva, and succeeded to that see in 1602. Saint Vincent de Paul said of him, in praise of his gentleness, "How good God must be, since the bishop of Geneva, His minister, is so good!" At times the great meekness with which he received heretics and sinners almost scandalized his friends, and they protested when he received insults in silence. One of them said to him, "Francis of Sales will go to Paradise, of course; but I am not so sure about the Bishop of Geneva: I am almost afraid his gentleness will play him a shrewd turn!" "Ah," said the Saint, "you would have me lose in one instant all the meekness I have been able to acquire by twenty years of efforts? I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity. God the Father is the Father of mercy; God the Son is a Lamb; God the Holy Ghost is a Dove; are you wiser than God?" When a hostile visitor said to him one day, "If I were to strike you on the cheek, what would you do?" Saint Francis answered, with his customary humility, "Ah! I know what I should do, but I cannot be sure of what I would do."

With Saint Jane Frances of Chatal, Saint Francis founded at Annecy the Order of the Visitation nuns, which soon spread over Europe. Though poor, he refused provisions and dignities, and even the great see of Paris. He died at Avignon in 1622.

Reflection. "You will catch more flies," Saint Francis used to say, "with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar. If there were anything better or more beautiful on earth than gentleness, Jesus Christ would have taught it to us; and yet He has given us only two lessons to learn of Him - meekness and humility of heart."


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Wednesday, January 30, 2019
: St. Martina, VM
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

SAINT MARTINA
Martyr
(226)

Saint Martina, a Roman virgin, was the child of a noble Christian consul, of whom it was said that he was extremely merciful towards the poor, and very zealous for faith in the Most Holy Trinity. His daughter lost both her parents while she was still very young, and for love of Christ she distributed all she inherited to the poor, that she might be more free to hasten towards martyrdom, during the persecution which had recently begun.

Under the emperor Alexander Severus she was discovered in a church one day by three officers of a search party, and commanded to follow them to a temple of Apollo. She cheerfully agreed, saying she would do so after praying for a short time and taking leave of her bishop. The officers reported their important capture to the emperor, believing she would readily renounce her faith. But when he ordered her to speak, she replied that she would sacrifice to none other than the true God, and never to idols, the handiwork of men. She was tortured by iron hooks, but her executioners were thrown to the ground amid a great light as she prayed, and arose converted, like Saint Paul, to the Christian faith.

She was tormented again the following day before the emperor, cruelly scourged while attached by her hands and feet to posts. When, one day later, she was taken to a temple of Diana, the demon left amid horrible screams. Fire from heaven fell and burnt the idol, which in tumbling crushed many of its priests and pagan worshipers. Saint Martina, after suffering other tortures and being spared by an enraged lion and a fiery furnace, was finally beheaded. Her death occurred on January 1st during the fourth year of Alexander Severus.

Her relics were found in 1634, during the papacy of Urban VIII, near the Mamertine Prison, with those of several other martyrs. All were placed in a beautiful church dedicated to Saint Martina in the Roman Forum. Urban VIII spared no efforts in promoting her veneration; and through his solicitude the Office was enhanced with hymns for Matins and Lauds. In these we read that her soul rose to heaven, where she was seen afterwards upon a royal throne, while the Blessed sang praises to God.

Reflection. God calls His Saints to Him at every age; little children turn to Him with faith and love, strong men in their mature years, white-haired grandparents and servants of God in their golden age. And we find martyrs ready for every torment, at all epochs of life. What is important is to be ready and to desire the most important day of our life - that of our death.


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Thursday, January 31, 2019
: St. John Bosco, C
Thursday, January 31, 2019

SAINT JOHN BOSCO
Founder
(1815-1888)

Saint John Bosco accomplished what many people considered an impossibility; he walked through the streets of Turin, Italy, looking for the dirtiest, roughest urchins he could find, then made good men of them. His extraordinary success can be summed up in the words of his patron Saint, Francis de Sales: "The measure of his love was that he loved without measure."

John's knowledge of poverty was firsthand. He was born in 1815 in the village of Becchi in the Piedmont district of northern Italy, and reared on his parents' small farm. When his father died, Margaret Bosco and her three sons found it harder than ever to support themselves, and while John was still a small boy he had to join his brothers in the farm work. Although his life was hard, he was a happy, imaginative child. Even as a boy, John found innocent fun compatible with religion. To amuse his friends he learned how to juggle and walk a tightrope; but he would entertain them only on condition that each performance begin and end with a prayer.

As he grew older, John began to think of becoming a priest, but poverty and lack of education made this seem impossible. A kindly priest recognized his intelligence, however, and gave him his first encouragement, teaching him to read and write. By taking odd jobs in the village, and through the help of his mother and some charitable neighbors, John managed to get through school and find admittance to the diocesan seminary of nearby Turin. As a seminarian he devoted his spare time to looking after the ragamuffins who roamed the slums of the city. Every Sunday he taught them catechism, supervised their games and entertained them with stories and tricks; before long his kindness had won their confidence, and his "Sunday School" became a ritual with them.

After his ordination in 1841, he became assistant to the chaplain of an orphanage at Valocco, on the outskirts of Turin. This position was short-lived, for when he insisted that his Sunday-school boys be allowed to play on the orphanage grounds, they were turned away, and he resigned. He began looking for a permanent home for them, but no "decent" neighborhood would accept the noisy crowd. At last, in a rather tumbledown section of the city, where no one was likely to protest, the first oratory was established and named for Saint Francis de Sales. At first the boys attended school elsewhere, but as more teachers volunteered their time, classes were held at the house. Enrollment increased so rapidly that by 1849 there were three oratories in various places in the city.

For a long time Don Bosco had considered founding an Order to carry on his work, and this idea was supported by a notoriously anticlerical cabinet minister named Rattazzi. Rattazzi had seen the results of his work, and although an Italian law forbade the founding of religious communities at that time, he promised government support. The founder-priest went to Rome in 1858 and, at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, drew up a Rule for his community, the Society of Saint Francis de Sales (Salesians). Four years later he founded an Order for women, theDaughters of Mary, Help of Christians, to care for abandoned girls. Finally, to supplement the work of both congregations, he organized an association of lay people interested in aiding their work.

Exhausted from touring Europe to raise funds for a new church in Rome, Don Bosco died on January 31, 1888. He was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI. The work of John Bosco continues today in over a thousand Salesian oratories throughout the world. No modern Saint has captured the heart of the world more rapidly than this smiling peasant-priest from Turin, who believed that to give complete trust and love is the most effective way to nourish virtue in others.


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