Traditional Catholic Calendar 2019
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019
: Sts. Philip & James, Ap
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

SAINTS PHILIP and JAMES
Apostles
(First century)

Philip was one of the first chosen disciples of Christ. On the way from Judea to Galilee Our Lord found Philip, and said, "Follow Me." Philip straightway obeyed; and then in his zeal and charity sought to win Nathaniel also, saying, "We have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth." And when Nathaniel in wonder asked, "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" Philip simply answered, "Come and see," and brought him to Jesus.

Another saying of this Apostle is preserved for us by Saint John. Christ in His last discourse had spoken of His Father; and Philip exclaimed, in the fervor of his thirst for God, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough!" The tradition of the ancients has established that he died a martyr at Hierapolis in Phyrgia. There the remains of a church known to be dedicated to him have been identified, north of the entrance to the great necropolis. His relics were later transported to Rome, to the church of the Holy Apostles.

Saint James the Less (the Younger), author of the canonical Epistle, was the son of Alpheus, the brother of Saint Jude and a cousin of Our Lord, whom he is said to have resembled. Saint Paul tells us that he was favored by a special apparition of Christ after the Resurrection. (I Corinthians 15:7) On the dispersion of the Apostles among the nations, Saint James remained as Bishop of Jerusalem, where the Jews held in such high veneration his purity, mortification, and prayer, that they named him the Just. He governed that church for 30 years before his martyrdom.

Hegesippus, the earliest of the Church's historians, has handed down many traditions of Saint James's sanctity. Saint James was a celibate Nazarite consecrated to God; he drank no wine and wore no sandals. He prostrated himself so long and so often in prayer that the skin of his knees was hardened like a camel's hoof. It is said that the Jews, out of respect, used to touch the hem of his garment. He was indeed a living proof of his own words, "The wisdom that is from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, modest, ready to listen, full of mercy and good fruits." (James 3:17) He sat beside Saint Peter and Saint Paul at the Council of Jerusalem. When Saint Paul at a later time escaped the fury of the Jews by appealing to Caesar, the people took vengeance on James, and crying out, "The just one has erred!" stoned him to death. During his martyrdom he prayed for his persecutors in the same words pronounced by Jesus: "Heavenly Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."


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Thursday, May 2, 2019
: St. Athanasius, ECD
Thursday, May 2, 2019

SAINT ATHANASIUS
Bishop, Doctor of the Church
(296-373)

Saint Athanasius was born in Alexandria, Egypt, towards the end of the third century, and from his youth was pious, learned, and deeply versed in the sacred writings. He left the paternal home to be raised by the bishop of Alexandria like a new Samuel in the Lord's temple, as befitted one whom God had chosen to be the champion and defender of His Church against the Arian heresy, which denied the Divinity of Christ.

While still a deacon, he was chosen by Saint Alexander, his bishop, to go with him to the Council of Nicea, A.D. 325. There he attracted the attention of all the prelates by the learning and ability with which he defended the Faith. Five months later, as Saint Alexander was dying, he recommended Athanasius for his successor as Patriarch of Alexandria, and in that office for forty-six years the new Patriarch bore the whole brunt of the Arian assault, often virtually alone and undefended.

When the invincible Athanasius refused to restore Arius to Catholic communion, he was exiled to Treves in France, and the Emperor ordered the Catholic Patriarch of Constantinople to receive the heresiarch. The end of that man of error is very instructive. He took an oath that he had always believed as the Church believes, though he taught that there was a time when the Word of God WAS NOT. Thereupon the Catholic Patriarch of Constantinople, with Saint James of Nisibe, who was in Constantinople at that time, Saint Athanasius in France and the Catholics everywhere, had recourse to fasting and prayer, that God would avert from the Church the frightful sacrilege. The day came for the solemn entrance of Arius into the great church of Saint Sophia. The heresiarch and his party set out, elated, in triumph. But before he reached the church, death smote him in an exemplary, swift and terrible way, and the dreaded sacrilege was averted.

Saint Athanasius stood unmoved against four Roman emperors, was banished five times, was the butt of every insult, calumny and wrong the Arians could devise, and lived in constant peril of death. Though strong as diamond in defense of the Faith, he was meek and humble, pleasant and winning in conversation, beloved by his flock, unwearied in labors, prayer and mortifications, eloquent in speech, and unsurpassed in zeal for souls. From his places of exile he wrote many great works for the instruction and strengthening of his flock, writings rich in thought and learning, clear, keen and stately in expression. He is honored as one of the greatest of the Doctors of the Church.

His admirers told the story of his response to a search party pursuing him downstream, as he retreated by boat. Knowing of their approach, he ordered the captain to change direction and return. When he crossed the search party on the river, they hailed him and asked whether he had seen the bishop of Alexandria pass by. He replied, "Continue; he is not far from here." Restored to his see by the emperor Valens for fear of a popular uprising, the stormy life of the Saint closed in peace on May 2nd of the year 373.

Reflection. The Catholic Faith, says Saint Augustine, is far more precious than all the riches and treasures of earth; more glorious and greater than all its honors, all its possessions. This it is which saves sinners, gives light to the blind, restores penitents, perfects the just, and is the crown of martyrs.


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Friday, May 3, 2019
: Finding of the Holy Cross
Friday, May 3, 2019

THE FINDING of the HOLY CROSS
(326)

When God restored peace to His Church by exalting Constantine the Great to the imperial throne, that pious prince, who had triumphed over his enemies by the miraculous power of the Cross of Christ, was very desirous of expressing his veneration for the holy places which had been honored and sanctified by the presence and sufferings of our blessed Redeemer on earth. He accordingly resolved to build a magnificent church in the city of Jerusalem.

Saint Helen, the Emperor's mother, desiring to visit the holy places there, made a journey into Palestine in 326, though she was at that time near eighty years of age. On her arrival at Jerusalem she was inspired with a great desire to find the identical cross on which Christ had suffered for our sins, in order to build the proposed church on the site of Calvary. But there was no mark or tradition, even among the Christians, to show where it might lie. Saint Helen consulted everyone in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, whom she thought likely to assist her in discovering the cross. She was credibly informed that, if she could find the holy sepulchre, she would also find the instruments of the punishment, since it was the custom among the Jews to dig a pit near the place where the body of a criminal was buried, and to throw into it whatever had contributed to his execution.

The Roman pagans who were dominated by an aversion to Christianity had done what they could to conceal the place where our Saviour was buried by heaping on it a great quantity of stone and rubbish, and building there a temple to Venus. They had also erected a statue of Jupiter in the place where Our Lord rose from the dead. The pious Empress therefore ordered the profane buildings to be pulled down, the statue broken in pieces, and the rubbish removed. And then, upon digging to a great depth, the holy sepulchre was uncovered.

Near it were found three crosses and the nails which had pierced Our Saviour's body, with the title which had been fixed to His cross. By this discovery they knew that one of those three crosses was the one they sought, and that the others belonged to the two criminals between whom Our Saviour had been crucified. But because the title was found separate from the cross, it was difficult to distinguish which of the three crosses was the one on which our Redeemer consummated His sacrifice for the salvation of the world. In this perplexity the holy Bishop of Jerusalem Macarius, knowing that one of the principal ladies of the city lay ill and at the point of death, suggested to the Empress to have the three crosses carried to the sick person, not doubting that God would reveal which one was the cross they sought. Saint Macarius prayed that God would have regard to their faith, and then he applied the crosses, one after another, to the patient. She was immediately and perfectly cured by the touch of the True Cross, after the others had been tried without effect.

Saint Helen, full of joy at having found the treasure which she had so earnestly sought and so highly esteemed, built a church on the site and placed the cross there with great veneration, after providing for it an extraordinarily rich silver reliquary. She afterwards carried part of it to her son Constantine at Constantinople, who received it with great veneration; and another part she took to Rome, to be placed in the church which she built there, called Church of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, where it remains to this day.

The title was sent by Saint Helen to that church in Rome, and placed on the top of an arch, where it was found in a case of lead in 1492. The inscription in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin is in red letters, and the wood was whitened. So it was in 1492; but these colors have since faded, and the words Jesus and Judaeorum are eaten away. The board is nine inches long, but is considered to have measured about twelve originally.

The reliquary of Jerusalem was committed to the care of Saint Macarius and kept with singular care and respect in the magnificent church which Saint Helen and her son built there. Saint Paulinus relates that, though chips were almost daily cut off from it and given to devout persons, yet the sacred wood suffered thereby no diminution. It is affirmed by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, twenty-five years after the discovery, that pieces of the cross were spread all over the earth; he compares this wonder to the miraculous feeding of five thousand men, as recorded in the Gospel. The discovery of the cross would have happened in the spring, after navigation began on the Mediterranean Sea, for Saint Helen went the same year to Constantinople and from there to Rome, where she died in the arms of her son on the 18th of August of the same year, 326.

Reflection. In all pious undertakings, above all in the sanctification of the soul, the mere beginning does not suffice. "Whoever perseveres to the end, he shall be saved." (Matt. 24:13)


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: Abstinence
Friday, May 3, 2019

Saturday, May 4, 2019
: St. Monica, Vid
Saturday, May 4, 2019

SAINT MONICA
Widow
(332-388)

Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine, was born in 332 of a Christian family of the ancient city of Tagasta in northern Africa. After a girlhood of singular innocence and piety, she was given in marriage to Patricius, a pagan. She at once devoted herself to his conversion, praying for him always and winning his reverence and love by the holiness of her life and her affectionate forbearance. She was rewarded by seeing him baptized a year before his death.

When her son Augustine went astray in faith and habits, her prayers and tears were incessant. She once begged a learned bishop that he would talk to her son, in order to bring him to a better disposition, but he declined, despairing of success with a young man at once so gifted and so headstrong. At the sight of her prayers and tears, he nonetheless bade her be of good courage, for it could not happen that the child of those tears should perish.

Augustine, by going to Italy, was able for a time to free himself from his mother's importunities, but he could not escape from her prayers, which encompassed him like the providence of God. She followed him to Italy; and there, by his marvelous conversion, her sorrow was turned into joy.

At Ostia, shortly before they were to re-embark for Africa, Augustine and his mother sat at a window conversing on the life of the blessed. She turned to him and said, "My son, there is nothing now I care for in this life. What I shall now do, or why I remain on this earth, I know not. The one reason I had for wishing to linger in this life a little longer was that I might see you a Catholic Christian before I died. This grace God has granted me superabundantly, seeing you reject earthly happiness to become His servant." A few days afterwards she had an attack of fever and died at the age of fifty-six, in the year 388.

Reflection. It is impossible to set any bounds to what persevering prayer may do. It gives man a share in the Divine Omnipotence. Saint Augustine's soul lay bound in the chains of heresy and an illegitimate union, both of which had by long habit grown inveterate. They were broken by his mother's prayers.


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Sunday, May 5, 2019
Sunday, May 5, 2019

: St. Pius V, PC
Sunday, May 5, 2019

SAINT PIUS V
Pope
(1504-1572)

Michael Ghislieri, a Dominican friar from his fifteenth year, a teacher of religion at twenty, as a simple religious, as inquisitor, bishop, and cardinal, was famous both for the spotless purity of his own life and for his intrepid defense of the Church's faith and discipline. Surrounded in his time by great men and great Saints, in apostolic virtue he was surpassed by none.

As Pope, his first concern was to reform the Roman court and the capital city by the strict example of his own household and the punishment of offenders. He next endeavored to obtain from the Catholic powers recognition of the decrees of the Council of Trent, two of which he strictly enforced: the obligatory residence of bishops in their sees, and the establishment of diocesan seminaries. He revised the Missal and Breviary, and reformed ecclesiastical music.

He was not less active in protecting the Church outside Italy. We see him at the same time supporting the Catholic King of France against the Huguenot rebels, and encouraging Mary, Queen of Scots in the bitterness of her captivity. It is he who excommunicated her rival, the usurper Elizabeth, when the best blood of England flowed upon the scaffold and the measure of her crimes was full. The intrepidity of this Vicar of Christ found enemies. The holy Pope was accustomed to kiss the feet of the crucifix on leaving or entering his room. One day the feet moved away from his lips. Sorrow filled his heart, and he made acts of contrition, fearing that he must have committed some secret offense, yet he still could not kiss the feet. It was afterwards discovered that they had been poisoned by an enemy.

It was in the Lepanto victory that the Saint's power was most plainly manifest. There, in October of 1571, by the holy league which he had formed but still more by the prayers of the aging Pontiff to the great Mother of God, the defeat of the advancing Ottoman forces was obtained and Christendom was saved from the Turk. Six months later Saint Pius V died, having reigned only six years.

Reflection. "Thy cross, O Lord, is the source of all blessings, the cause of all graces; by it the faithful find strength in weakness, glory in humiliation, life in death." (Saint Leo)


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Monday, May 6, 2019
: St. John before the Latin Gate, Ap Ev
Monday, May 6, 2019

SAINT JOHN before the LATIN GATE
(95 A.D.)

In the year 95, Saint John the Evangelist, the only surviving Apostle, who was governing all the churches of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey), was apprehended at Ephesus and sent in chains to Rome. The Emperor Domitian did not relent at the sight of the venerable old man, but condemned him to be cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. The martyr doubtless heard, with great joy, this barbarous sentence; the most cruel torments seemed to him light and agreeable because he hoped they would unite him forever to his divine Master and Saviour. But God accepted his will and crowned his desire; He conferred on him the honor and merit of martyrdom while suspending the operation of the fire, just as He had formerly preserved the three children from injury in the Babylonian furnace. The seething oil was changed for him into an invigorating bath, and the Saint came out more refreshed than when he had entered the cauldron.

The glorious triumph of Saint John happened just beyond the gate of Rome called the Latina. A church which ever since has borne this title was consecrated there, in memory of the miracle. Domitian saw this miracle without deriving the least advantage from it, remaining hardened in his iniquity. Nonetheless, he contented himself afterwards with banishing the holy Apostle to the little island of Patmos. Saint John returned to Ephesus during the mild reign of Nerva (96-98), who during his short imperial government lasting one year and four months, merely labored to restore the faded luster of the Roman Empire.

Reflection. Saint John suffered above the other Saints a martyrdom of love, being a martyr and more than a martyr, at the foot of the cross of his divine Master. All Our Lord's sufferings were by love and compassion imprinted in his soul, and thus shared by him. O singular happiness, to have stood under the cross of Christ! O extraordinary privilege, to have suffered martyrdom beside Jesus, and been eye-witness of all He did or endured! If nature revolts within us against suffering, let us call to mind those words of the divine Master to Saint Peter: "Now thou knowest not why, but thou shalt know hereafter." (John 13:7)


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Tuesday, May 7, 2019
: St. Stanislaus, EM
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

SAINT STANISLAUS
Bishop of Cracow, Martyr
(1030-1079)

Saint Stanislaus was born in answer to prayer, when his parents were advanced in age. Out of gratitude they educated him for the Church. When his parents died, he sold their vast properties and gave the price to the poor. He was ordained, and being a holy priest, soon afterwards became a Canon of the Cracow cathedral.

It was necessary to have recourse to the Pope to have him accept the see of Cracow when it became vacant. But the bishop of Cracow's virtues increased with his dignity and obligations; Saint Stanislaus donned a hair shirt, which he wore until he died. He had a list drawn up of every poor person of the city, and gave orders to his servants never to refuse anything to anyone.

Boleslaus II was at that time King of Poland; he was a prince of good disposition, but spoilt by a long series of victories and successes. After many acts of lust and cruelty, he outraged the whole kingdom by carrying off the wife of one of his nobles. Against this public scandal the chaste and gentle bishop alone raised his voice. Having commended the matter to God, he went to the palace and openly rebuked the king for his crime against God and his subjects, and threatened to excommunicate him if he persisted in his sin. Boleslaus, with the intention of irrevocably ruining the bishop's good reputation, suborned the nephews of a man named Paul who had recently died, to swear that their uncle had never been paid for land which the bishop had bought for the Church. Saint Stanislaus stood fearlessly before the king's tribunal, though all his frightened witnesses forsook him, and guaranteed to bring the dead man to witness in his favor within three days.

On the third day, after many prayers and tears, he raised the dead man to life and led him in his grave-clothes before the king, where Paul testified that the bishop had reimbursed him fully for the terrain he had sold. He was then taken back to the grave, where he lay down and again relapsed into his former state, before a large number of witnesses.

Boleslaus for a while made a show of a better life. Soon, however, he returned to the most scandalous excesses, and the bishop, finding all remonstrance useless, pronounced the sentence of excommunication. In defiance of the censure, on May 8, 1079, the king went to a chapel where Saint Stanislaus was saying Mass and commanded three groups of soldiers in succession to slay him at the altar. Each in turn came out, saying he had been alarmed by a light from heaven. At this the king himself rushed in and slew with his own hand the Saint at the altar during the Holy Sacrifice.

The Pope placed the kingdom of Poland under interdict, excommunicated the king and declared his royalty null and void. Boleslaus repented, took refuge in another country for a time, then set out dressed as a pilgrim for Rome. On the way he knocked on a monastery door to ask for an alms, then decided to enter there anonymously, and was received. He spent seven years there as a Benedictine lay brother, rendering every humble service to the monks, patiently bearing rude treatment. Only on his deathbed did he identify himself, taking out his royal ring which he had concealed until then. He had spent hours praying before a statue of Our Lady in the chapel, by which we may conclude that the Mother of God had obtained for him the grace of conversion and a happy death. His body remains in the church of the same monastery of Ossiach.

Saint Stanislaus was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1253.

Reflection. The safest correction of vice is the Christian's blameless life. Yet there are times when silence would make us answerable for the sins of others. At such times let us, in the name of God, rebuke the offender without fear.


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Wednesday, May 8, 2019
: Apparition of St. Michel the Archangel
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

APPARITION of
SAINT MICHAEL the ARCHANGEL
Monte Gargano, Italy
(492)

It is evident from Holy Scripture that God is pleased to make frequent use of the ministry of the heavenly spirits in the dispensations of His providence in this world. The Angels are all pure spirits; by a property of their nature they are immortal, as is every spirit. They have the power of moving or conveying themselves at will from place to place, and such is their activity that it is not easy for us to conceive of it. Among the holy Archangels, Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are particularly distinguished in the Scriptures. Saint Michael, whose name means Who is like unto God?, is the prince of the faithful Angels who opposed Lucifer and his followers in their revolt against God. Since the devil is the sworn enemy of God's holy Church, Saint Michael is given to it by God as its special protector against the demon's assaults and stratagems.

Various apparitions of this powerful Angel have proved the protection of Saint Michael over the Church. We may mention his apparition in Rome, where Saint Gregory the Great saw him in the air sheathing his sword, to signal the cessation of a pestilence and the appeasement of God's wrath. Another apparition to Saint Ausbert, bishop of Avranches in France, led to the construction of Mont-Saint-Michel in the sea, a famous pilgrimage site. May 8th, however, is destined to recall another no less marvelous apparition, occurring near Monte Gargano in the Kingdom of Naples.

In the year 492 a man named Gargan was pasturing his large herds in the countryside. One day a bull fled to the mountain, where at first it could not be found. When its refuge in a cave was discovered, an arrow was shot into the cave, but the arrow returned to wound the one who had sent it. Faced with so mysterious an occurrence, the persons concerned decided to consult the bishop of the region. He ordered three days of fasting and prayers. After three days, the Archangel Saint Michael appeared to the bishop and declared that the cavern where the bull had taken refuge was under his protection, and that God wanted it to be consecrated under his name and in honor of all the Holy Angels.

Accompanied by his clergy and people, the pontiff went to that cavern, which he found already disposed in the form of a church. The divine mysteries were celebrated there, and there arose in this same place a magnificent temple where the divine Power has wrought great miracles. To thank God's adorable goodness for the protection of the holy Archangel, the effect of His merciful Providence, this feast day was instituted by the Church in his honor.

It is said of this special guardian and protector of the Church that, during the final persecution of Antichrist, he will powerfully defend it: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince who protects the children of thy people." (Dan. 12:1) Compare this text with Chapter 10 of the Apocalypse of Saint John.

Reflection. Saint Michael is not only the protector of the Church, but of every faithful soul. By humility he defeated the devil; we who are enlisted in the same warfare must adopt his weapons - humility and ardent love of God. Regarding this Archangel as our leader under God, let us courageously resist the devil in all his assaults with our protector's famous exclamation: "Who is like unto God?"


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Thursday, May 9, 2019
: St. Gregory Nazianzen, ECD
Thursday, May 9, 2019

SAINT GREGORY NAZIANZEN
Archbishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church
(312-390)

Saint Gregory was born in 312 near Caesarea of Cappadocia, of parents who are both honored as Saints, and the infant was immediately consecrated to God. After learning all that he could in his native land, he journeyed to Caesarea in Palestine to study at the famous school founded by Origen, then went to Alexandria in Egypt to rejoin his brother there. After some time he embarked for Athens, the metropolis of the sciences and the humanities. During the voyage, a storm of twenty days' duration nearly caused the loss of the ship and all passengers; their safe arrival in Athens was attributed to Saint Gregory's prayers, and all aboard adopted Christianity.

In Athens he met and became the close friend of Saint Basil, and these noble souls turned away together from the most attractive worldly prospects. For some years they lived in seclusion, self-discipline, and studious labor, knowing only two roads, Gregory wrote, "one to church, the other to school." Only after thirty years of studies and good works in Athens did they leave that city and separate. They would meet again in the year 358, to live in solitude for a time in the Province of Pont.

Saint Gregory was raised to the priesthood almost by force, preaching his first sermon, after a ten-weeks' retreat, on the dangers and responsibilities of the priesthood. In 372, when he was sixty years old, he was consecrated a bishop by his dear friend Saint Basil, who had become Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. All their lives they would correspond; many of Saint Gregory's noble and eloquent letters to Saint Basil can still be read among the 212 pieces of his correspondence which are still conserved.

Saint Gregory's rare gifts and conciliatory disposition had become well known. In the year 379, when he was sixty-seven years old, he was chosen to be Patriarch of Constantinople. That city was distracted and laid waste in those times by Arian and other heretics. After a reception which was at best lukewarm, the new Patriarch labored there successfully, from his base in a small church named the Anastasia (Resurrection), where he gave instructions and saw the number of his listeners increase daily.

The Arians were so irritated at the decay of their heresy that they pursued the Saint with outrage, calumny and violence, and at length resolved to take his life. For this purpose they chose an intrepid youth who was willing to undertake the sacrilegious commission. But God did not allow him to carry it out; he was touched with remorse and cast himself at the Saint's feet, avowing his sinful intent. Saint Gregory forgave him at once, treated him with all kindness and received him among his friends, to the wonder and edification of the whole city and to the confusion of the heretics, whose crime had served only as a mirror to the virtue of the Saint.

Saint Jerome states that he himself learned at the feet of this master, who was his catechist in Holy Scripture. But Saint Gregory's humility, his austerities, the humble appearance of his aging and worn person, and above all his very success in Constantinople, did not cease to draw down upon him the hatred of every enemy of the Faith. He was persecuted by the magistrates, stoned by the rabble, and thwarted and deserted even by his brother bishops. During the second General Council, hoping to restore peace to his tormented city, the eloquent bishop, whom the Church calls Saint Gregory the Theologian, resigned his see and retired to his native town, where he died in the year 390.

Reflection. "We must overcome our enemies," said Saint Gregory, "by gentleness, and win them over by forbearance. Let them be punished by their own conscience, not by our wrath. Let us not at once fell the fig tree, from which a more skillful gardener may yet entice fruit."


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Friday, May 10, 2019
: St. Antoninus, EC
Friday, May 10, 2019
SAINT ANTONINUS
Archbishop of Florence
(1389-1459)

Saint Antoninus, or Little Antony, as he was called from his small stature, was born at Florence in 1389. After a childhood of singular holiness, he begged to be admitted very young into the Dominican house at Fiesole; but the Superior, to test his sincerity and perseverance, told him he must first learn by heart the book of the Decretals, or Canon Law, containing several hundred pages. This apparently impossible task was accomplished within twelve months; and Antoninus received the coveted habit in his sixteenth year.

While still young, he filled several important posts of his Order and was consulted on questions of difficulty by the most learned men of his day, being known because of his wonderful prudence, as "the Counselor." He wrote several works on theology and history and served as Papal Theologian at the Council of Florence. In 1446 he was compelled to accept the archbishopric of that city. In this dignity he earned for himself the title of "the Father of the Poor," for all he had was at their disposal. Saint Antoninus never refused an alms which was asked in the name of God. When he had no money, he gave his clothes, shoes, or furniture.

One day, being sent by the Florentines to the Pope, as he approached Rome a beggar came up to him almost naked, and asked him for an alms for Christ's sake. Outdoing Saint Martin, Antoninus gave him his whole cloak. When he entered the city, another one was given him; by whom, he knew not. His household consisted of only six persons; his palace contained no plate or costly furniture, and was often nearly destitute of the necessities of life. His one mule was frequently sold for the relief of the poor, but was ordinarily bought back for him again by some wealthy citizen.

Saint Antoninus died on May 2, 1459, kissing the crucifix, and repeating the words, "To serve God is to reign."

Reflection. "Alms-deeds include every kind of service rendered to our neighbor in need. He who supports a lame man bestows an alms on him with his feet; he who guides a blind man does him a charity with his eyes; he who carries an invalid or an old man upon his shoulders imparts to him an alms from his strength. Hence none are so poor but they may bestow an alms on the wealthiest man in the world." (St. Augustine)


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: Abstinence
Friday, May 10, 2019

Saturday, May 11, 2019
: Feria
Saturday, May 11, 2019

Sunday, May 12, 2019
Sunday, May 12, 2019

: Sts. Nereus, Achilleus & Pancras, MM
Sunday, May 12, 2019


Monday, May 13, 2019
: St. Robert Bellarmine, ECD
Monday, May 13, 2019

SAINT ROBERT BELLARMINE
Doctor of the Church, Cardinal
(1542-1621)

Saint Robert Bellarmine was born at Montepulciano, Italy in 1542, the third of ten children. After being educated by the Jesuits, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1560, and as a young man taught Greek, Hebrew and theology. While at Louvain University he became famous as a controversialist, and never afterwards did he cease to defend Catholic doctrine against its adversaries. He has enriched the Church with a large number of learned and valuable writings, among which are his Course of Controversy, his famous Commentary on the Psalms, and a treatise on The Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ.

In 1598 Saint Robert was made a Cardinal and in 1602 was raised to the archbishopric of Capua. In 1605 he was recalled to Rome and appointed head of the Vatican Library. He served as theologian and counselor to five Popes: Sixtus V, Innocent IX, Clement VIII, Paul V, and Gregory XV. He died in October of 1621, greatly mourned by the people of Rome as well as by the hierarchy, and was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930. The following year the same Vicar of Christ declared him a Doctor of the Church. His tomb is in the Jesuit Church, the Gesù, in Rome.


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Tuesday, May 14, 2019
: St. Boniface, M
Tuesday, May 14, 2019


Wednesday, May 15, 2019
: St. John Baptist de LaSalle, C
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

SAINT JOHN BAPTIST DE LASALLE
Founder
(1651-1719)

Complete dedication to what he saw as God's will for him, dominates the life of John Baptist de LaSalle. Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or Christian Brothers, he was canonized in 1900. In 1950 Pope Pius XII named him patron of schoolteachers.

Saint John Baptist was born of the nobility of Rheims in 1651, and after a very pious youth was ordained a priest at the age of 27, becoming at once a Canon of the Cathedral there. It was said that to see him at the altar was sufficient to give an unbeliever faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord. The people would wait for him to come from the church to consult him. His life was marked by a rule he set for himself, to maintain perfect regularity in all his duties.

He became interested in the creation of gratuitous schools for poor and abandoned children. He himself was invited to help in their education; and after directing the teachers for four years, decided to join them. In this he was opposed by most of the city, for whom such a life was very humiliating for a Canon of the Cathedral. His spiritual director, a virtuous Franciscan Minim priest, encouraged him, saying that for teachers, whose vocation is to aid the poor to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the only suitable inheritance is the poverty of the Saviour.

Saint John Baptist divested himself of the patrimonial wealth he still controlled, then took religious vows with his co-workers. His tender and paternal charity soon sanctified the house and the labors; peace reigned, and the members of the new society loved one another sincerely. The Institute developed and spread amid a thousand difficulties and persecutions; these, by humiliating its members, brought down graces on them and made the Providence of the Lord more evident.

The blessed Founder died in 1719; a religious superior said of him that "his humility was universal; he never acted without taking counsel, and the opinion of others always seemed better to him than his own. He listened to others in conversation, and was never heard to say any word tending to his own advantage..." Indeed it is God who elevates those who take the last place for themselves, to place them among the first.


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Thursday, May 16, 2019
: St. Ubaldus, EC
Thursday, May 16, 2019


Friday, May 17, 2019
: St. Paschal Baylon, C
Friday, May 17, 2019

SAINT PASCHAL BAYLON
Franciscan Lay Brother
(1540-1592)

From his childhood Saint Paschal seems to have been marked out for the service of God. Amid his daily labors as a shepherd, he found time to instruct and evangelize the rude herdsmen who kept their flocks on the hills of Aragon. At the age of twenty-four he entered the reformed Franciscan Order near the town of Monfort, Spain, where he remained, out of humility, a simple lay brother, occupying himself by preference with the roughest and most servile tasks.

He was distinguished by his ardent devotion and love for the Blessed Sacrament. He would spend hours on his knees before the tabernacle, often being raised from the ground in the fervor of his prayer. And there, from the authentic and eternal Truth, he drew such stores of wisdom that, unlettered as he was, he was considered by all a master in theology and spiritual science.

Shortly after his profession he was sent to Paris on business connected with his Order. The journey was full of perils, owing to the hostility of the Huguenots, who were numerous at the time in the south of France; and on four separate occasions Paschal was in imminent danger of death at their hands. Twice he was taken for a spy; but it was not God's will that His servant should obtain the crown of martyrdom which he so earnestly desired, though he regarded himself as unworthy of it. He returned in safety to his convent, where he would later die in the odor of sanctity in 1592.

Multitudes witnessed the miracles which took place during the three days his body was exposed for veneration. He was canonized in 1690, and in 1897 declared patron of all Eucharistic congresses and confraternities.

Reflection. One day, as young Paschal was watching his sheep on the mountainside, he heard the consecration bell ring out from a church in the valley below, where the villagers were assembled for Mass. The Saint fell on his knees, when suddenly there stood before him an Angel of God, bearing in his hands the Sacred Host, offering it for his adoration. How pleasing to Jesus Christ are those who honor Him in this great mystery of His love; to them especially this promise is fulfilled: "I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you." (John 14:18)


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: Abstinence
Friday, May 17, 2019

Saturday, May 18, 2019
: St. Venantius, M
Saturday, May 18, 2019

SAINT VENANTIUS of CAMERINO
Martyr
(250)

Saint Venantius, born at Camerino in Italy, during the persecution of Decius was taken into custody at the age of fifteen years as a Christian who was preaching Christ to others. His history is one of the most miraculous in the annals of the early martyrs.

Having learned that he was about to be arrested, he presented himself to the governor of Camerino, Antiochus, at the city gates, and said to him that the lives of the gods were filled with every kind of crime, that there was only one God, whose unique Son had become a man to deliver his fellow humans from the tyranny of sin. When it was found impossible to shake his constancy either by threats or promises, he was condemned to be scourged, but was miraculously saved by an Angel. He was then burnt with torches and suspended over a low fire that he might be suffocated by the smoke. The judge's secretary, while admiring the steadfastness of the Saint, saw an Angel robed in white, who stamped out the fire and again set free the youthful martyr. This man proclaimed his faith in Christ and was baptized with his whole family. Shortly afterwards he won the martyr's crown.

Venantius was summoned to appear before Antiochus. Unable to make him renounce his faith, the governor cast him into prison with an apostate soldier, who strove in vain to tempt him. Antiochus, furious, then ordered his teeth and jaws to be broken and had him thrown into a furnace, from which the Angel once more delivered him. The Saint was sent to a city magistrate to be condemned, but this judge after hearing his defense of Christianity, fell headlong from his seat and expired, saying, "The God of Venantius is the true God; let us destroy our idols."

When this circumstance was told to Antiochus, he ordered Venantius to be thrown to the lions. These brutes, however, forgetting their natural ferocity, crouched at the feet of the Saint. Then, by order of the tyrant, the young martyr was dragged through a heap of brambles and thorns and retired half-dead, but the next day he was cured; God had manifested the glory of His servant once more. On behalf of soldiers who had dragged him outside the city over stones and rocks, and were suffering from thirst, the Saint knelt on a rock and signed it with a cross; immediately a jet of clear, cool water welled up from the spot. This miracle converted many of those who beheld it. The rock remained imprinted by his knees and was placed in a church in Camerino, where it still remains.

The governor finally had Venantius and his converts beheaded on the same day, in the year 250. The bodies of these martyrs are kept in the same church at Camerino. The Acts of Saint Venantius' martyrdom have been carefully studied and declared authentic by the Church.

Reflection. Love of suffering marks the most perfect degree in the love of God. Our Lord Himself was consumed with the desire to suffer, because He burnt with the love of God. We must begin with patience and detachment, and eventually we shall learn to love the sufferings which conform us to the Passion of our Redeemer.


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Sunday, May 19, 2019
Sunday, May 19, 2019

: St. Peter Celestine, PC
Sunday, May 19, 2019

SAINT PETER CELESTINE
Pope
(1221-1296)

Saint Peter Celestine was the eleventh of the twelve children of a poor Italian farmer. As a child, Peter had visions of our Blessed Lady, Angels and Saints. His heavenly visitors encouraged him in his prayers and chided him when he fell into any fault. His mother, though only a poor widow, sent him to school, feeling sure that he would one day be a Saint.

At the age of twenty, he left his home in Apulia to live in a mountain solitude. Here he passed three years, assaulted by the evil spirits and beset with temptations of the flesh, but consoled by the visits of Angels. After this his seclusion was invaded by disciples who refused to be sent away; and the rule of life which he gave them formed the foundation of the Celestines, a branch of the Order of Saint Benedict. Angels assisted in the church which Peter built; unseen bells rang peals of surpassing sweetness, and heavenly music filled the sanctuary when he offered the Holy Sacrifice; he had consented to be ordained, to find in the Holy Eucharist assistance against temptation.

Suddenly the poor anchorite found himself torn from his loved solitude, having been named by acclamation to the Papal throne, which had remained vacant for twenty-seven months. Resistance was of no avail. He took the name of Celestine, to remind him of the heaven he was leaving and for which he sighed. He was seventy-two years old. After a reign of five months, Peter judged himself unfit for the office, and summoning the cardinals to his presence, he solemnly resigned his trust.

During the remaining three years of his life he worked many and great miracles. On the day after his abdication, his blessing after Mass healed a lame man. Saint Peter left the palace, desiring seclusion, but was brought back by the papal guards, for his successor feared a schism; crowds had followed Saint Peter. Lest he be prevailed upon to take back his office, he was put under surveillance at Anagni. Content, he remarked: "I desired nothing but a cell, and a cell they have given me." And there he enjoyed his former loving intimacy with the Saints and Angels, and sang the Divine praises almost continually.

At length, on Pentecost Sunday he told his guards he would die within the week, and immediately fell ill. He received the Last Sacraments, and the following Saturday, as he finished the concluding verse of Lauds, "Let every spirit bless the Lord!" he closed his eyes to this world and opened them to the vision of God.

Reflection. "To the one who withdraws himself from acquaintances and friends," says the Imitation of Christ, "God will draw near with His holy Angels."


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Monday, May 20, 2019
: St. Bernardine of Siena, C
Monday, May 20, 2019

SAINT BERNARDINE of SIENA
Franciscan Missionary Preacher
(1380-1444)

One day in the year 1408 the great apostle Saint Vincent Ferrer suddenly interrupted his sermon, to declare that there was among his hearers a young Franciscan who would be one day a greater preacher than himself, and who would be placed in honor by the Church before himself. This unknown friar, who would be canonized only six years after his death, was Bernardine, then 28 years old. Of noble birth, he had spent his youth in works of mercy, caring for the sick before he entered religion at the age of 24.

Owing to a speech defect, Bernardine's success as a preacher at first seemed doubtful, but by the prayers of Our Lady, this obstacle was miraculously removed in 1417, and the Franciscan friar began an apostolate which lasted until he died. One day, preaching in praise of the Blessed Virgin, he applied to Her the verse of the Apocalypse: "A great sign appeared in heaven, a Woman clothed with the sun..." At once a brilliant star appeared over his head. He was understood, when he spoke in Italian, by listeners of the Greek language who knew only their maternal tongue. He obtained miraculous conversions and reformed the greater part of Italy by his burning words and by the power of the Holy Name of Jesus. He preached that devotion, displaying at the end of his sermons, the Holy Name written on a tablet. He was also a zealous apostle of the cult of Saint Joseph. It is said that during sixteen years, and some say eighteen, he did not pass a single day without preaching.

But his success had to be purified by the cross. The Saint was denounced as a heretic, and his devotion as idolatrous. After many trials he lived to see his innocence proved. In 1427 he refused the bishopric of Siena, and a few years later two others, in order to continue his preaching. He miraculously cured lepers and other sick persons, and raised to life several deceased persons. The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, established in 1530, was extended to the entire Church in 1721 by Pope Innocent XIII.

Saint Bernardine was appointed Vicar General of his Order in 1438, which office he held for five years, then preached again for a time until his last illness forced his retreat in 1444. He died on Ascension Eve of that year, while his brethren were chanting the antiphon, "Father, I have manifested Thy Name to men." Already in 1450, a Jubilee year, he was canonized.

Reflection. Let us learn from the life of Saint Bernardine the power of the Holy Name in life and death.


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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
: Feria
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019
: Feria
Thursday, May 23, 2019

Friday, May 24, 2019
: Feria
Friday, May 24, 2019

: Abstinence
Friday, May 24, 2019

Saturday, May 25, 2019
: St. Gregory VII, PC
Saturday, May 25, 2019

SAINT GREGORY VII
Pope
(1029-1085)

Gregory VII, one of the greatest of the Roman Pontiffs and one of the most remarkable men of all times, was known as Hildebrand before he became Pope. Born in Tuscany in 1020, he was sent to Rome to be educated under his uncle, who was Abbot of Saint Mary's monastery on the Aventine Hill. It was a time of great danger for the Church, when the Emperors of Germany were claiming it was their role to elect the successors of Saint Peter, the Vicars of Jesus Christ. They sold ecclesiastic dignities at auction or gave them to unworthy favorites, and many sees were occupied by persons who had obtained them with gold. It was this humble monk who had embraced the Benedictine Rule at the famous monastery of Cluny in France, who was chosen to bring a remedy to the current evils. The three great abuses, simony, concubinage, and the custom of receiving investiture from lay hands, seemed to threaten the very foundations of the Church. This great servant of God would never cease to oppose those corruptions of the reign of Christ.

Hildebrand was admired by the bishops of France when for a time he was at the Court of the Emperor Henry III. He returned to Rome with the bishop of Toul, who had been chosen Pope by the Emperor Henry III, and who invited him to accompany him. The young monk reproached him for having received from his relative a favor which should be granted only by the clergy and people of Rome; but when the bishop ceded to his arguments, he said he would accompany him if he would have his election ratified there. This was carried out, and Hildebrand became the right arm of the good Pope Leo IX. He was made a cardinal and named Superior of the Roman monastery of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls, which lay almost in ruins because the major part of its revenues had been usurped by powerful laymen. Hildebrand succeeded in recovering its lands and restored the monastery to its ancient splendor.

When Leo IX died, the clergy and people of Rome sent Hildebrand at the head of a delegation to the Emperor, with full power to elect a Sovereign Pontiff. It was he who chose Pope Victor II, against the Emperor's wishes, and again he became the right arm of the Pope in the combat against abuses. Pope Victor II sent him as legate to France, to stop the practice of simony in the collation of ecclesiastical benefices. He served as Archdeacon under three more Popes, Stephen II, Nicholas II and Alexander II. Upon the death of the last-named in 1073, he was compelled to fill the vacancy.

Pope Gregory VII immediately called upon the clergy throughout the world to lay down their lives rather than betray the laws of God to the will of princes. Rome was in rebellion due to the ambition of the Cenci, a family of Rome whose history is a series of acts of violence and crimes. Pope Gregory excommunicated them. As a consequence they laid hands on him during the Christmas midnight Mass, wounded him and cast him into prison; the following day the people rescued him. He then was forced to face Henry IV, Emperor of Germany, who openly relapsed into simony and claimed to depose the Pope. The Emperor too was excommunicated. The people turned against Henry and he sought absolution of Gregory at Canossa, but he regrettably did not persevere; he set up an antipope and besieged Gregory in the castle of Saint Angelo in Rome. The aged Pontiff was obliged to flee.

Opinion is unanimous that no Pontiff since the time of the Apostles undertook more labors for the Church or fought more courageously for her independence. While he was saying Mass, a dove was seen to come down on him; the Holy Spirit thus bore witness to the supernatural views which guided him in the government of the Church. Forced to leave Rome, he withdrew to Monte Cassino, and later to the castle of Salerno, where he died in 1085.


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Sunday, May 26, 2019
Sunday, May 26, 2019

: St. Philip Neri, C
Sunday, May 26, 2019

SAINT PHILIP NERI
Founder
(1515-1595)

Saint Philip, one of the glories of Florence, was born of an illustrious Christian family in that city of Tuscany, in 1515. His parents lived in the fear of God and the observance of His commandments, and raised their son to be obedient and respectful. Already when he was five years old, he was called good little Philip. He lost his mother while still very young, and it seemed he should have died himself when he was about eight or nine years old. He fell, along with a horse, onto a pavement from a certain height. Though the horse landed on top of him, he was entirely uninjured. He attributed his preservation to a special intervention of God, destined to permit him to dedicate his life to the service of God.

He fled from a prospective inheritance to Rome, where he desired to study, and there undertook to tutor the two sons of a nobleman who offered him refuge. He led so edifying a life that word of it reached Florence, and his sister commented that she had never doubted he would become a great Saint. He studied philosophy and theology, and after a short time seemed to need to study no longer, so clear were the truths of God in his mind. He always kept the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas near him for consultation; this and the Holy Bible were his only books.

Saint Philip seemed surrounded by a celestial splendor, the effect of his angelic purity, which he never lost in spite of the many dangers that surrounded him; he came victorious from every combat, through prayer, tears and confidence in God. He often visited the hospitals to serve the sick and assist the poor. At night he would go to the cemetery of Saint Callixtus, where he prayed near the tombs of the martyrs.

He attracted a number of companions who desired to perform these devotions with him. He loved young boys most of all; he wanted to warn them against the world's seductions and conserve their virtue in all its freshness. He would wait for them and talk to them after their classes; and many whom his examples impressed consecrated themselves to God. Assisted by his excellent confessor, he founded a Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity for the relief of the poor, convalescents, and pilgrims who had no place of refuge. He gave lodging to many in the great jubilee year of 1550, even receiving several complete families in the houses he had obtained.

At the age of 36 he was not yet a priest, and his confessor commanded him under obedience to receive Holy Orders, which he did in the same year of 1551. He joined a society of priests and heard many confessions. Saint Ignatius of Loyola called him Philip the Bell, saying he was like a parish church bell, calling everyone to church, but remaining in his tower - this because he determined so many souls to enter into religion, without doing so himself. He himself was about to follow Saint Francis Xavier's renowned examples, by going to India with twenty young companions, but was advised by an interior voice to consult a saintly priest. He was then told that the will of God was that he live in the city of Rome as in a desert.

The famous Society of Saint Philip, called The Oratory, began when a group of good priests joined him in giving instructions and conferences and presiding prayers; for them he drew up some rules which were soon approved. He became renowned all over Italy for the instances of bilocation which were duly verified during his lifetime. Many holy servants of God were formed in the Oratory, a society of studious priests, made ready by ten years of preparation in the common life for a service founded on sacerdotal perfection. Saint Philip died peacefully in 1595 on the Feast of Corpus Christi at the age of 80, having been ill for only one day. He bears the noble titles of Patron of Works of Youth, and Apostle of Rome.

Reflection. Philip wished his spiritual children to serve God, like the first Christians, in gladness of heart. He said such was the true filial spirit, expanding the soul, giving it liberty and perfection in action, power over temptations, and aid towards its final perseverance.


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Monday, May 27, 2019
: St. Bede the Venerable, CD
Monday, May 27, 2019

SAINT BEDE the VENERABLE
Father of the Church
(673-735)

Saint Bede, the illustrious ornament of the Anglo-Saxon Church and its first English historian, was consecrated to God in 680 at the age of seven, and entrusted to the care of Saint Benedict Biscop at Weremouth. He became a monk in the sister-house of Jarrow, which he would never leave, and there he trained no fewer than six hundred scholars, whom his piety, learning, and sweet disposition had gathered around him.

He was ordained a priest in 702. To the toils of teaching and the exact observance of his Rule he added long hours of private prayer, with the study of every branch of science and literature then known. He was familiar with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. In a treatise which he compiled for his scholars, still extant, he assembled all that the world had then conserved of history, chronology, physics, music, philosophy, poetry, arithmetic, and medicine. In his Ecclesiastical History he has left us beautiful lives of Anglo-Saxon Saints and holy Fathers, while his commentaries on the Sacred Scriptures are still in use by the Church.

It was to the study of the Divine Word that he devoted the whole energy of his soul, and at times his compunction was so overpowering that his voice would break with weeping, while the tears of his scholars mingled with his own. Once he was accused of heresy by certain jealous ones, but this scholar who had always made a great effort not to depart from tradition, wrote a letter which vindicated him and stopped the bad reports. He had little aid from others, and during his later years suffered from constant illness; yet he worked and prayed up to his last hour. It has been said of him that it is easier to admire him in thought than to do him justice in expression.

The Saint was employed in translating the Gospel of Saint John from the Greek, even to the hour of his death, which took place on the eve of the Ascension in the year 735. "He spent that day joyfully," writes one of his scholars. In the middle of the afternoon he said: "It is time that I return to the One who gave me being, creating me out of nothing... The moment of my liberty is approaching; I desire to be freed from the bonds of the body and to join Jesus Christ. Yes, my soul longs to see Jesus Christ its king, in the splendor of His glory." In the evening a scribe attending him said, "Dear master, there is yet one chapter unwritten; would you be disturbed if we asked you additional questions?" He answered, "No; take your pen, and write quickly," which the disciple did. He prayed then until his last breath.

Reflection. The Imitation of Christ says: "The more a man is at peace within himself and interiorly simple, the more and deeper things does he understand without labor; for he receives the light of understanding from on high."


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Tuesday, May 28, 2019
: St. Augustine of Canterbury, EC
Tuesday, May 28, 2019

SAINT AUGUSTINE of CANTERBURY
Apostle of England
(605)

Saint Augustine was prior of the monastery of Saint Andrew on Mount Coelius in Rome, when he was appointed by Saint Gregory the Great as Superior of the forty missionaries he was sending to England. The Christian faith of England, more than that of any other nation of Europe, was the fruit of the labors and spiritual conquests of the ministry of monks. Its deepest Christian roots are more ancient than Saint Augustine and his companions, and date from the era of the Apostles. England, in the first century, furnished its contingent of martyrs during the persecution of Diocletian. England sent its bishops to the first Councils held after the religion of Christ became that of the Empire in 313. But in the time of Saint Augustine, the Anglo-Saxon conquest had cut down almost all the branches of the tree.

When Saint Augustine arrived, ruined churches, scarcely a Christian to be found to narrate a tradition, attested to the sacrilegious and incendiary hand of paganism, despite the labors of Saint Palladius and Saint Germain d'Auxerre in the fifth century. The last Christian Britons had taken refuge in the mountains of Wales. And England, the land of the Angles, had become a land of infamous slave-traders for the continent, including Rome; its merchants did not spare their own people when profit was at stake. In this way did Saint Gregory the Great come to purchase the English boys he saw marketed at the Roman Forum, and raise them in his house, which he had transformed into a monastery. Thus the definitive conversion of England began, in his compassionate heart, when in the sixth year of his pontificate he chose the prior of his own monastery for the mission to England.

Saint Augustine and his companions during their journey heard many reports of the barbarism and ferocity of the pagan English. They were alarmed and wished to turn back. But Saint Gregory sent word to them saying, "Go on, in God's name! The greater your hardships, the greater your crown. May the grace of Almighty God protect you, and permit me to see the fruit of your labor in the heavenly country! If I cannot share your toil, I shall yet share the harvest, for God knows that it is not good-will which is wanting." The band of missionaries went on in obedience, after halting briefly to deliver letters of Saint Gregory at the Abbey of Lerins, and to the bishops of Aix, Tours, Marseille, Vienna, Autun, and Arles, as well as to obtain translators for the mission of the monks.

Landing at Ebbsfleet, they sent ahead of them their translator-emissaries, to say to the king of those lands that they had come from Rome, to announce to him not merely good news, but the Good News of all ages, with its promises of heavenly joy and an eternal reign in the company of the living and true God. They met with the Saxon King Ethelbert who had been reigning for thirty-six years, and with his barons under a great oak tree at Minster in the present county of Kent, and announced to him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was predisposed to listen to the missionaries; his Christian wife, Bertha, was a great-granddaughter of Saint Clothilda and Clovis. He wished to deliberate for a few days nonetheless, and when they returned in procession, chanting and preceded by the Cross, he promised only to give them liberty to practice their faith unmolested. He gave them a residence in Canterbury and provided for their needs. Their good example brought many to them for instruction and then Baptism, and at Pentecost 597, the Anglo-Saxon king, too, entered into the unity of the Church of Christ. His example was followed by the greater number of his nobles and people.

By degrees the Faith spread far and wide, and Augustine, as papal legate, set out on a visitation of Britain. He failed in his attempt to enlist the Christian Britons of the west in the work of his apostolate, but his success was otherwise triumphant from south to north. He died after eight years of evangelical labors, but his monks continued them and perpetuated them. The Anglo-Saxon Church which Saint Augustine founded is still famous for its learning, zeal, and devotion to the Holy See, while its calendar commemorates no fewer than 300 Saints, half of whom were of royal birth.

Reflection. The work of an apostle is the work of the right hand of God. He often chooses weak instruments for His mightiest purposes. The most sure augury of lasting success in missionary labor is obedience to superiors and mistrust of self.


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Wednesday, May 29, 2019
: St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi, V
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

SAINT MARY MAGDALENE of PAZZI
Virgin, Carmelite
(1566-1607)

Saint Mary Magdalene of Pazzi was the only daughter of the illustrious Camille de Pazzi, related to the Medicis of Florence. She was born in the year 1566, and was baptized with the name of Catherine. As a child she loved to go into solitary places to enter into prayer with God, who revealed Himself to her from her tender years without the aid of teachers, as her Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. She made a crown of thorns one day, and wore it for an entire night, enduring great pain. She received her First Communion at ten years of age; at twelve years, she made a vow of virginity and took great pleasure in teaching Christian doctrine to poor children.

Her father, not knowing of her vow, wished to give her in marriage, but she persuaded him to allow her to become a religious, and chose the Carmelites, because there the nuns received Communion frequently. She entered in the year of the death of Saint Teresa of Avila, 1582, at the age of sixteen. It had been more difficult to obtain her mother's consent; while she was a novice, her mother sent a portrait artist to the convent, with instructions that her daughter be portrayed in lay clothing. The Sisters complied with her request, and the portrait can still be seen in the Convent. She became professed at eighteen years of age in the Carmelite monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence, May 17, 1584, Feast of the Holy Trinity. She changed her name of Catherine to that of Mary Magdalene on becoming a nun, and took as her motto, "Either suffer or die."

Her life thereafter was one of penance for sins not her own, and of love for Our Lord, who tried her in ways fearful and strange. She was obedient, observant of the Rule, humble and mortified, and had great reverence for the religious life. One day, when she seemed to be at the last hour of her life, she rose from her sickbed and hastened everywhere throughout the convent, saying during her ecstasy, "O Love! O Love! No one knows You, no one knows You, no one loves You!" For five years she was tormented by demons with fearful temptations of pride, sensuality, gluttony, despair, blasphemy; they became so violent that she said, "I do not know whether I am a reasonable creature or one without reason; I see nothing in myself but a little good will never to offend the divine Majesty."

God raised her to elevated states of prayer and gave her rare gifts, enabling her to read the thoughts of her novices, and filling her with wisdom to direct them. She was twice chosen mistress of novices, and then made Superior. On her deathbed she asked her Sisters to love only Our Lord Jesus Christ, to place all hope in Him, and be perpetually ardent with desire to suffer for love of Him. God took her to Himself on May 15, 1607. Her body remains incorrupt.


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Thursday, May 30, 2019
Thursday, May 30, 2019


: Holyday of Obligation
Thursday, May 30, 2019

: St. Felix I, PM
Thursday, May 30, 2019

SAINT FELIX I
Pope and Martyr
(274)

Saint Felix was a Roman by birth and the son of the emperor Constance. He was elected Pope after the martyrdom of his predecessor, Saint Dionysius or Denis, on the last day of the year 269.

Four of his letters are still extant, though one is only a fragment; in the first two he regulates the procedures of justice in the case of accused ecclesiastics and warns against detractors and calumniators. In the third he refutes those who maintain errors still rampant in our day - that Jesus did not behold His Father by the beatific vision and was less than His Father. In the fragmentary fourth letter, the Pope foresees and rejects in advance the heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches, teaching that the Eternal Word is not another Person than Jesus Christ, who is both perfect God and perfect Man.

Saint Felix also wrote against the errors of Sabellius, Paul of Samosate and Manes, head of the Manicheans. He issued many ordinances of great advantage to the Church, such as that the relics of Saints should be enclosed in the altars where the Holy Sacrifice is offered. His life ended in the year 274 under the emperor Aurelian. Although that prince had shown a certain benevolence toward Christians at the beginning of his reign, in that year he ordered a furious persecution which enveloped Saint Felix and was the occasion for his winning a glorious crown of martyrdom. His body was interred in his own cemetery on the Aurelian Way, where he had also built a church. Saint Felix reigned for five years, ten months and 25 days.

Reflection. The example of our Saviour and of all His Saints ought to encourage us under all trials to suffer with patience and even with joy. We shall soon begin to feel that it is sweet to tread in the steps of the God-Man, and shall find that if we courageously take up our crosses, He will make them light by sharing the burden with us.


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Friday, May 31, 2019
: Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Friday, May 31, 2019

THE QUEENSHIP of MARY

From the earliest centuries of the Catholic Church, Christians have addressed suppliant prayers and hymns of praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the hope they have placed in the Mother of the Saviour has never been disappointed. They have looked upon Her as Queen of Angels, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Virgins. Because of Her eminence, She is indeed entitled to the highest honors that can be bestowed upon any creature. Saint Gregory Nazianzen called Her Mother of the King of the entire universe, and the Virgin Mother who brought forth the King of the entire world.

His Holiness Pope Pius XII, in his Encyclical Letter of October 11, 1954, "On the Royal Dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Institution of Her Feast", ordaining its celebration throughout the world every year on May 31st, reminds us of what Pope Pius IX had said of Mary: "Constituted by the Lord as Queen of Heaven and earth, and exalted above all the choirs of Angels and the ranks of the Saints in heaven, standing at the right hand of Her only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, She petitions most powerfully with Her maternal prayers, and obtains what She seeks."

Pope Pius XII adds another ordinance: "We ask that on the feast day be renewed the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Upon this is founded a great hope that there may arise an era of happiness which will rejoice in the triumph of religion and Christian peace. Therefore let all approach, with greater confidence than ever before, to the throne of mercy and grace of our Queen and Mother, to beg help in difficulty, light in darkness and solace in trouble and sorrow." In asking this, the Holy Father was responding to the request of the Virgin Herself at Fatima in 1917, that the world and each soul individually be consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart. She promised that it will be then that "a time of peace will be given to the world." Do not Mary's rights as Queen require respect? And will we deny to Her maternal Heart the love it merits, for twenty centuries of uninterrupted intercession on behalf of Her children?


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Friday, May 31, 2019


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