Traditional Catholic Calendar 2019
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Monday, July 1, 2019
: Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Monday, July 1, 2019

MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

The month of July is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of the Redeemer. Supreme homage is given to the Sacred Blood. As we adore the Sacred Heart, because it is the Heart of Jesus, who is God, so we adore the Most Precious Blood.

The Blood of Jesus is the fountain of salvation. Each drop that flowed from the wounds of the Saviour is a pledge of man's eternal salvation. All races of the earth have been ransomed, and all individuals, who will allow the saving power of the Sacred Blood to be applied to their soul, are heirs of heaven. St. John Chrysostom calls the Precious Blood "the saviour of souls"; St. Thomas Aquinas, "the key to heaven's treasures"; St. Ambrose, "pure gold of ineffable worth"; St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, "a magnet of souls and pledge of eternal life". The sins of mankind, in their number, in their offense to the Supreme Being, in the effects on transgressors, are immense; yet, the Precious Blood of Jesus is not frightened by numbers, it has in Itself the power to appease an angered God and to heal wounded creatures.

The Precious Blood is a cleansing bath. Unlike all other blood, which stains, the Blood of Jesus washes clean and white. According to the words of St. John, in the Apocalypse, the Angels wonder, and the question is asked: "These that are clothed in white robes, who are they?" The Lord answers: "These are they that have washed their robes, and have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb." For no other reason did the Precious Blood flow but to regain for the souls of men the beautiful dress of innocence, and , once regained, to preserve it throughout life and into eternity.

The Blood of the Saviour is a well of consolation for troubled hearts. Can anyone, confidingly, look at the Sacred Blood trickling down from the Cross without taking courage to carry on, in spite of the difficulties which are the common lot of all? One glance at the Cross must be able to drive away fear. And, another, must be able to instill trust in Him who did not rest until the last drop, mingled with water, flowed out of an opened Heart. He, who was willing to do so much for men, must be willing to overlook and forget the frailties which they deeply regret; He must be willing to come to their assistance when harassed, to defend them when tempted, to comfort them when afflicted. The Blood of Jesus must be for Christians what the north-star is to sailors.

Would that men on earth honored the Precious Blood in the manner in which they who are in heaven give honor and praise and thanksgiving! They proclaim that It purchased the glory which they enjoy. Without It, they would have remained slaves of Satan and outcasts from the eternal mansions of God. Let us profess that we owe to the Sacred Blood of Jesus all that we have in this life, and that to It we shall owe all that we shall enjoy in a better and eternal life!


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Tuesday, July 2, 2019
: Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The VISITATION
of the
BLESSED VIRGIN

The Archangel Gabriel, at the time of the Annunciation, informed the Mother of God that Her cousin Elizabeth had miraculously conceived and was soon to be the mother of a son, the destined precursor of the Messiah. The Blessed Virgin in Her humility concealed the wonderful dignity to which She Herself was raised, through the Incarnation of the Son of God in Her womb, but in the transport of Her holy joy and gratitude, determined to go to congratulate and assist the mother of the Baptist. "Mary therefore arose" Saint Luke says, "and with haste went into the hill country into a city of Judea, and entering into the house of Zachary, greeted Elizabeth."

What a blessing did the presence of the God-Man bring to this house, the first which He in His humanity honored with His visit! But it is Mary who is the instrument and means by which He imparts His divine blessing. He intends to show us that She is the channel through which He delights to communicate to us His graces, and encourages us to ask them of Him through Her intercession.

At the voice of the Mother of God, by the power and grace of Her divine Son in Her womb, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit; and the infant in her womb, sanctified at that moment, conceived so great a joy as to leap and exult. By the infused light of the Spirit of God Elizabeth understood the great mystery of the Incarnation which God had wrought in Mary, whose humility prevented Her from disclosing it, even to a Saint and an intimate friend. In raptures of astonishment Elizabeth pronounced Mary blessed above all other women, and cried out, "How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" The Virgin, hearing Her own praise, sank yet lower in the abyss of Her nothingness, and melting in an ecstasy of love and gratitude to God, She burst into Her admirable canticle, the Magnificat: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and My spirit rejoices in God, My Saviour." What marvels of grace and light God reveals to us in the souls of His Saints! Mary stayed with Her cousin almost three months, after which She returned to Nazareth.

Reflection: While with the Church we praise God for the mercies and wonders which He wrought in this mystery, we must apply ourselves to imitating the virtues of which Mary sets us a perfect example. Let us pay particular attention to our visits and conversation, acts which are to many Christians the sources of innumerable dangers and sins. Let us meditate on the holy conversations of the cousins, and the services Mary rendered to Elizabeth, and think how we may imitate Her prudent charity.


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Wednesday, July 3, 2019
: St. Leo II, PC
Wednesday, July 3, 2019

SAINT LEO II
Pope
(683)

The pontificate of this great Pope was very brief but very fruitful, since in the ten months of his reign he accomplished good works which have caused his name to be blessed by all succeeding generations. Born in the seventh century in Sicily, he had been a Canon Regular, that is, an ecclesiastical dignitary who resided in his bishop's palace, was charged with recitation of the Office in the cathedral, and was relied upon to serve as the auxiliary of the Ordinary. Saint Leo was a devout student of Holy Scripture, and was well versed in the Greek as well as the Latin language.

In his day grave difficulties frequently arose between the Holy See and the emperors of Constantinople, whose representatives at Ravenna tried to control the bishops of that see; the latter had been striving to become autonomous. Saint Leo published a decree ordering that in the future no bishop of Ravenna could enter into function before being consecrated for that office at Rome, by the Roman Pontiff.

He built three churches in Rome, to honor Saint Paul the Apostle, Saint Sebastian, and Saint George. Saint Leo was highly gifted in the domain of music, and he renovated the Gregorian literature or library, then in a state of confusion; he also composed new hymns, still conserved by the Church. He took special care of widows and orphans and the poor in general, relieving their sufferings with a truly apostolic charity.

Saint Leo confirmed the Acts of the Sixth Ecumenical Council which his predecessor had convoked at Constantinople against the Monothelite heresy, and translated its acts into Latin for the benefit of the Occidentals. When he died in July of 683, his death was deeply regretted by all the faithful. He was interred according to established custom in the church of Saint Peter. He is ordinarily pictured embracing a beggar or holding a book of music.


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Thursday, July 4, 2019
: Feria
Thursday, July 4, 2019

Friday, July 5, 2019
: St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, C
Friday, July 5, 2019

SAINT ANTHONY-MARIA ZACCARIA
Founder
(1502-1539)

Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria was born at Cremona, Italy, in 1502, of noble parents. His father died when very young, and his eighteen-year-old mother was left to bring up her only son in the love of God and tenderness for the poor. As a child he gave his coat to a poor beggar who was shivering with cold. He studied philosophy and medicine at the Universities of Pavia and Padua and became a licensed physician in 1524, but was striving more earnestly to care for souls than to heal their material envelope. Sometimes when he was traveling as a doctor and found abandoned children, he assembled them to teach them their Christian duties. He desired a more perfect life and wider possibilities for the apostolate of a Christian. He therefore studied theology, and was twenty-six years old when ordained in 1528.

Those present at the first Mass of Saint Anthony Maria saw him surrounded with an extraordinary light and a crown of Angels. He himself seemed to be an Angel on earth. By his preaching and example, Cremona was renewed, and then the young apostle went to Milan. To remedy disorders of every kind resulting from the war, he founded there the Order of Regular Clerics of Saint Paul, since called Barnabites because they were entrusted with the church of Saint Barnabas. He had a great devotion to Saint Paul and desired that his religious imitate the glorious Apostle. He also established a community of Sisters, called the Angelicals, and a confraternity for fathers of families. He animated all of his followers with his great love for God.

Despite opposition of various kinds, in 1532 the Constitutions of his two communities were approved by Pope Clement VII. Their founder defended his religious with persevering gentleness in all the difficulties they encountered, and recommended to them to spend their free moments in conversation with Jesus crucified. God favored him with exceptional gifts; he read in hearts and saw the future. He died when only 36 years old, in 1539, and was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1897.


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: Abstinence
Friday, July 5, 2019

Saturday, July 6, 2019
: Octave of Sts. Peter & Paul, App
Saturday, July 6, 2019

: Mary on Saturday
Saturday, July 6, 2019


Sunday, July 7, 2019
Sunday, July 7, 2019

: Sts. Cyril & Methodius, EECC
Sunday, July 7, 2019

SAINTS CYRIL
(ca. 867)
and METHODIUS
(ca. 887)
Apostles to the Slavic Nations

These two brothers were born in Thessalonica of a senatorial family. Saint Cyril was sent to Constantinople to study, where he became known as the Philosopher; but it was the Holy Church that he desired to serve, and he was ordained a priest. While Cyril was still young, the Patriarch of Constantinople recommended in the year 848 to the reigning Emperor to place him at the head of a mission which was to be sent to the Khazars of the eastern Danube region. Their king desired to learn of Christianity and had requested missionaries. Cyril asked for the time to learn the Turkish language which this people spoke, and after only a short while was ready to preach. The prince of the Khazars received Baptism and the entire nation soon followed his example. Cyril founded churches and furnished them with excellent ministers, then returned to Constantinople, refusing all presents offered him by his converts.

He was next missioned to Bulgaria with his younger brother Methodius, who was a monk of eminent sanctity. This nation, which had migrated like the Khazars from the east, had settled in the Moldavian region and a part of Hungary; they had been exposed to Christianity by some Greek prisoners, and the sister of their king had become a Christian by the good offices of the empress Theodora. When Saint Methodius, an excellent artist, was delegated to paint in the palace for the king, as he requested, a scene which could frighten the beholders, he chose for subject the Last Judgment. The king was so impressed that after being instructed he was baptized, in 865, with forty-eight of his followers. The nation followed their leaders after a brief revolt had been promptly quieted.

The two brothers preached also in Moravia, invited there by the pious king of that nation, whom they baptized with most of his subjects. It was there that Saint Cyril invented a Slavonic alphabet, translating the Bible and other writings from Greek and Latin into the language of the Slavic peoples. In 867 the missionaries went to Rome, where Saint Cyril, who was ill, died soon afterwards.

Saint Methodius was named bishop of Moravia and Pannonia or Hungary. Difficulties were not lacking, but he remained there until 880, when he returned to Rome to justify his conduct, which certain enemies had accused to the Pope. The Pope cleared him before the adversaries, and settled some questions regarding the language to be used in worship. He permitted the Mass to be said in the Slavic language, not to the exclusion, however, of Latin. Saint Methodius also baptized the king of the Bohemians, and again many of the king's subjects followed his example. The Saint lived for about 20 years after his brother's decease; the exact date of his death is unknown.


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Monday, July 8, 2019
: St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal, Vid
Monday, July 8, 2019

SAINT ELIZABETH
Queen of Portugal
(1271-1336)

Saint Elizabeth was born in 1271. She was the daughter of Pedro III of Aragon, and named for her aunt, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. As a child she was holy, and when she was given in marriage to Dennis, King of Portugal, she became a saintly wife. She heard Mass and recited the Divine Office daily, but her devotions were arranged with such prudence that they interfered with none of her duties of state. She prepared for her frequent Communions by works of charity, austerities and fasts, and by her Communions for these heroic works of charity. Elizabeth herself cared for the sick whom she visited, and never did a poor beggar leave her palace without having received what he needed.

Several times Saint Elizabeth was called on to make peace between her husband and her son Alphonso, who had taken up arms against him. Her royal spouse, by his infidelities and his unfounded jealousy, was an occasion for her to practice increasing patience and virtue. A famous incident resulting from his credulity in the face of calumny, illustrates once again the lesson that the sinner will fall into the traps created by his own aberrations. A slander affecting Elizabeth and one of her pages made the king determine to slay the youth. He told a worker who burnt lime to cast into his kiln the first page who would arrive with a royal message. On the appointed day the suspected page was sent; but the young man, who was in the habit of hearing Mass daily, stopped on his way to do so. The king, impatient for news of the affair, sent a second page, the very originator of the calumny; and he, arriving first at the kiln, was at once cast into the furnace and burned. Soon afterwards the first page arrived from church, and took back to the king the lime-burner's reply that his orders had been fulfilled. This incident, by which the innocent life was saved and the guilty one paid for a grave sin, also caused the king to open his eyes to the queen's innocence.

The patience of Saint Elizabeth and the wonderful sweetness with which she cherished the children even of her rivals, eventually won over the king, and he became a devoted husband and a Christian king. She founded many charitable institutions and religious houses, among others a convent of Poor Clares. After her husband's death, she wished to enter their Order; but her people, who could not do without her, dissuaded her, and she took instead the habit of the Third Order of Saint Francis. She spent the rest of her days in redoubled austerities and almsgiving. She died in 1336 at the age of sixty-five, amid endeavors to make peace between her children. The Blessed Virgin appeared to her, accompanied by Saint Clare of Assisi and several other holy women.


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Tuesday, July 9, 2019
: Feria
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
: Seven Holy Brothers & Sts. Rufina & Secunda, V V MM
Wednesday, July 10, 2019

SEVEN HOLY BROTHERS and
SAINTS RUFINA & SECUNDA, Virgins & Martyrs
(150)

Saint Felicity was a noble Roman matron, distinguished above all for her virtue. This mother of seven children raised her sons in the fear of the Lord, and after the death of her husband, served God in continence, concerning herself only with good works. Her good examples and those of her children brought a number of pagans to renounce their superstitions, and also encouraged the Christians to show themselves worthy of their vocation. The pagan priests, furious at seeing their gods abandoned, denounced her. She appeared with her pious sons before the prefect of Rome, who exhorted her to sacrifice to idols, but in reply heard a generous confession of faith.

"Wretched woman," he said to her, "how can you be so barbarous as to expose your children to torments and death? Have pity on these tender creatures, who are in the flower of their age and can aspire to the highest positions in the Empire!" Felicity replied, "My children will live eternally with Jesus Christ, if they are faithful; they will have only eternal torments to await, if they sacrifice to idols. Your apparent pity is but a cruel impiety." Then, turning to her children, she said: "Look towards heaven, where Jesus Christ is waiting for you with His Saints! Be faithful in His love, and fight courageously for your souls."

The Judge, taking the children one by one, tried to overcome their constancy. He began with Januarius, but received for his answer: "What you advise me to do is contrary to reason; Jesus, the Saviour, will preserve me, I hope, from such impiety." Felix, the second, was then brought in. When they urged him to sacrifice, he answered: "There is only one God, and it is to Him that we must offer the sacrifice of our hearts. Use all artifices, every refinement of cruelty, you will not make us betray our faith!" The other brothers, when questioned, answered with the same firmness. Martial, the youngest, who spoke last, said: "All those who do not confess that Jesus Christ is the true God, will be cast into a fire which will never be extinguished."

When the interrogation was finished, the Saints underwent the penalty of the lash and then were taken to prison. Soon they completed their sacrifice in various ways: Januarius was beaten until he died by leather straps capped with lead; Felix and Philip were killed with bludgeons; Sylvanus was thrown headfirst from a cliff; Alexander, Vitalis and Martial were beheaded. Felicity, the mother of these new Maccabees, was the last to suffer martyrdom.


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Thursday, July 11, 2019
: St. Pius I, PM
Thursday, July 11, 2019

SAINT PIUS I
Pope and Martyr
(157)

Saint Pius I, born in the State of Venice, succeeded Saint Hygin in the year 142 as the ninth successor to Saint Peter, during the reign of the emperor Antoninus the Pious. Throughout his pontificate he took great care to make the religion of Christ flourish, and published many beautiful ordinances for the utility of the universal Church. In his decrees he was severe towards blasphemers and with the clergy who showed negligence for the divine Mysteries of the altar. Saint Pius ordained that Easter be celebrated on a Sunday; in this way the custom which the Apostles had already observed became an inviolable law of the Church.

His pontificate was marked by the efforts of various heretics in Rome, among them the gnostics Valentinian, Cerdon, and Marcion, to sow their errors in the Church's center. The last-named, when excluded from communion by Saint Pius, founded the heretical group which bears his name. Saint Justin and other Catholic teachers assisted the Pontiff in defending Christian doctrine and preserving it from corruption. After having governed the Church for fifteen years Saint Pius I obtained the crown of martyrdom by the sword, in the year of Our Lord 150.


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Friday, July 12, 2019
: St. John Gualbert, Ab
Friday, July 12, 2019

SAINT JOHN GUALBERT
Founder
(999-1073)

Saint John Gualbert was born in Florence in the year 999. He was raised with care in piety and the study of the humanities, but no sooner had he entered adult life than he acquired a taste for pleasures. God, desiring to save and sanctify him, found a means to open his eyes. He was following the profession of arms at that troubled period, when on Good Friday, as he was riding into Florence accompanied by armed men, he encountered his brother's murderer in a place where neither could avoid the other. John would have slain him, according to the customary vengeance of those times; but his adversary, who was totally unprepared to fight, fell upon his knees with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross, and implored him, for the sake of Our Lord's holy Passion, to spare his life. Saint John said to his enemy, "I cannot refuse what you ask in Christ's name. I grant you not only your life, but my friendship. Pray that God may forgive me my sin!" They embraced and parted; grace had triumphed.

A humble and changed man, he went to a nearby abbatial church, and while he prayed with fervor for forgiveness, the figure of our crucified Lord, before which he was kneeling, bowed its head toward him, as if to confirm His pardon and manifest His gratitude for the generous pardon John himself had granted. Abandoning the world then, Saint John devoted himself to prayer and penance in the Benedictine Order. His virtue and austerity were so great that when his abbot died, he was unanimously chosen to replace him; but he could not be prevailed upon to accept that honor. He retired to Vallombrosa, which became the cradle of a new Order which followed the Rule of Saint Benedict in all its austerity. It was from this shady valley, a few miles from Florence, that the Order spread over Italy.

Once during a time of famine, he went to the nearly empty storeroom, and at his prayer the provisions multiplied to the point that he could distribute grain to all his houses and to all the poor who presented themselves. On an occasion when he found one of the monasteries too rich, he prayed a stream flowing past it to take on the violence of a torrent and overturn the building. This was done without delay. Another time, the enemies of the Saint came to his convent of Saint Salvi, plundered it and set fire to it and, after treating the monks with ignominy, beat them and injured them. Saint John rejoiced. "Now," he said, "you are true monks. Oh, how I envy your lot!"

Saint John Gualbert fought vigorously against simony, and in many ways promoted the interests of the Faith in Italy. After a life of great austerity, he died while Angels were singing near his bed, on July 12, 1073.

Reflection: The heroic act which merited for Saint John Gualbert his conversion was the forgiveness of his enemy. Let us imitate him in this virtue, resolving never to revenge ourselves in thought, in word, or in deed.


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: Abstinence
Friday, July 12, 2019

Saturday, July 13, 2019
: St. Anacletus, PM
Saturday, July 13, 2019

SAINT ANACLETUS
Pope and Martyr
(96)

Saint Anacletus was the second successor to Saint Peter, by whom he was converted to the faith. He was also ordained a deacon and consecrated priest by Christ's own first Vicar, as Saint Ignatius of Antioch affirms. He was Greek by origin, born in Athens; in the year 83 he was chosen to succeed Saint Cletus, who had been martyred. The emperor Domitian had begun a violent persecution which increased in fury as time passed; but the faith of the Christians did not diminish, only receiving new force from the blood of the martyrs.

This holy Pontiff omitted no solicitude which could animate the faithful to expose their lives generously for the glory of Jesus Christ. During his nine years of reign, he consecrated six bishops. The last of these bishops was Saint Evaristus, who would succeed him; Saint Anacletus consecrated him the year before his death, foreseeing he could not long escape the fate of all the first Vicars of Christ.

One of his enduring ordinances was the law that for the consecration of a bishop, three bishops must participate; that practice had been established by Saint Paul. He also required that all ordinations be accomplished in public. He built a church in honor of Saint Peter, to whom he owed his conversion, at the site of Saint Peter's burial; the original structure was conserved by Providence amid many tempests. He reserved burial sites for future martyrs in the Christian cemeteries, because multitudes were being condemned under Domitian. He also designated and adorned sites for the interment of future Pontiffs in the Vatican. Saint Anacletus was highly praised by Saint Ignatius of Antioch in a well-known letter. He died on July 13th in the year 96, and was buried in the Vatican.

Certain authors would confound Saint Cletus and Anacletus and make of them one person. Their father's names are known, however, as well as their place of birth - the one in Italy, the other in Greece; moreover, Saint Cletus was consecrated bishop by Saint Peter, saint Anacletus was ordained a priest by him.


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Sunday, July 14, 2019
Sunday, July 14, 2019

: St. Bonaventure, ECD
Sunday, July 14, 2019

SAINT BONAVENTURE
Cardinal-Bishop, Doctor of the Church
(1274)

Born in Tuscany in 1225, this frail child was given the name of John at his baptism. He soon fell so ill that his cure was despaired of, and his sorrowing mother had recourse to Saint Francis, recognized everywhere in Italy as a Saint. She promised God she would endeavor to have the child take the habit of the Franciscan Order, if he were cured. Her prayer was granted, the child was cured, and Saint Francis himself gave him his new name. In reference to the miraculous cure, he prophetically exclaimed of the infant, "O buona ventura!- O good fortune!" Saint Francis died a few months later, not without foreseeing the future of this little one, destined to be a seraph of love like himself. Saint Bonaventure is titled "the Seraphic Doctor," from the fervor of divine love which breathes in his writings.

Sanctity and learning raised Bonaventure to the Church's highest honors, yet at heart he was ever the poor Franciscan friar, who practiced and taught humility and mortification. He was the friend of Saint Thomas Aquinas; they received the Doctor's cap together in Paris. Saint Thomas asked him one day from what source he drew his great learning; he replied by pointing to his crucifix. Another time Saint Thomas found him in ecstasy while writing the life of Saint Francis. The Angelic Doctor said, while retiring quietly, "Let us leave a Saint in peace, to write of a Saint!"

At the age of thirty-six Saint Bonaventure was made General of his Order. In 1265 he only escaped another dignity, the Archbishopric of York, by dint of tears and entreaties to the Holy Father Clement IV. When he learned of Pope Gregory X's resolve to create him a Cardinal, he quietly made his escape from Italy, and in France began to compose a book. But Gregory sent him a summons to return to Rome. On his way, he stopped to rest at a convent of his Order near Florence; and there two Papal messengers, sent to meet him with the Cardinal's hat, found him washing the dishes. The Saint asked them to hang the hat on a nearby bush, and take a walk in the garden until he had finished what he had begun. Then taking up the hat with unfeigned sorrow, he joined the messengers, and paid them the respect due to their character.

He was the guest and adviser of Saint Louis, and the director of Saint Isabella, the king's sister. He sat at the right hand of Pope Gregory X and presided all sessions at the Council of Lyons, assembled to provide for the reform of morals and the needs of the Holy Land, and to cement the union of the Greeks with the Roman Church. The piety and eloquence of Saint Bonaventure won over the Greeks to Catholic union, but his strength failed suddenly, the day after its closure. He died on the 15th of July, 1274, and was buried by the assembly of the Council members, still in Lyons; he was mourned by the entire Christian world.

Reflection: Saint Bonaventure prescribed humility to his brothers in these terms: "Let Ministers always receive the religious with gentleness and charity, so that each one can approach them and express his sentiments... The Ministers must be the servants of all the Brothers." This is the mandate of Christ: "Let the one who would be first among you be your slave."


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Monday, July 15, 2019
: St. Henry, Emperor, C
Monday, July 15, 2019

SAINT HENRY
King of Germany and
Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
(972-1024)

Henry the Pious or the Lame, Duke of Bavaria, was born in 972, and bore his father's name. Saint Wolfgang, bishop of Ratisbonne, baptized him and afterward raised him in the practices of virtue fitting for a great sovereign. His father died when his son was 23 years old, and Saint Henry assumed the paternal title of Duke of Bavaria. It was at this time that he married Cunegundes, the holy spouse whom God gave him, and who like himself is today a canonized Saint. They observed perfect chastity all their lives, and rivaled one another in their zeal and love for their subjects.

One night Saint Henry had a dream and saw his very dear deceased master, Saint Wolfgang, who told him to read the words written on a wall: "After six." He supposed this meant he would die in six months, and then, after that did not occur, in six years, and he prepared himself for that eventuality by giving generous alms and initiating other good works. At the end of the sixth year, he found the prediction verified in an unexpected way, by his election as emperor and king of Germany on the first day of the year 1002. It was an archbishop who consecrated him emperor on July 8th of that same year. Trained in the fear of God, he ascended the throne with only one thought - that of reigning for God's greater glory. By his happy combination of Christian, royal and military virtues, he proved that a good king is a true gift of heaven. He prayed often, meditated the law of God constantly, and to be armed against pride practiced humility in all circumstances, and never let himself be fascinated by human glory.

The pagan Slavs were then despoiling the empire. He provided for the reparation of the episcopal churches of six dioceses, which had been almost entirely destroyed by the invaders. Menaced by an army of one of these, he prayed to the patron of the ruined church of Merseburg, saying, "Great Saint Lawrence, illustrious martyr of Jesus Christ, if by your assistance I can submit these barbaric nations to the Christian religion, I will with the help of God re-establish in its original dignity, this church consecrated to your honor." He prayed again before the battle, invoking three martyrs, and then attacked the invaders with a small force; but an Angel and the three holy martyrs were seen leading his troops, and the heathen simply fled in despair. Poland and Bohemia, Moravia and Burgundy, were in turn annexed to his kingdom, and Pannonia and Hungary won for the Church.

When the Faith was secure in Germany, Henry passed into Italy, drove out an antipope and brought Benedict VIII back to Rome. He was crowned in Saint Peter's Basilica by that Pontiff, in 1014. It was Henry's custom, on arriving in any town, to spend his first night in prayer, in some church dedicated to our Blessed Lady. As he was praying in Saint Mary Major's, during the first night of his arrival in Rome, he saw "the Sovereign and Eternal Priest-Child Jesus" enter to say Mass. Saints Lawrence and Vincent assisted, as deacon and sub-deacon. Countless Saints filled the church, and Angels sang in the choir. After the Gospel, an Angel was sent by Our Lady to give Henry the sacred book to kiss. Touching him lightly on the thigh, he said, "Accept this sign of God's love for your chastity and your justice," and from that time on, the emperor always limped.

Saint Henry employed the fruits of his conquests in the service of the temple, imitating in this the royal prophet-king. The forests and mines of the empire, all the best resources which his treasury could provide, were consecrated to the sanctuary. Stately cathedrals, noble monasteries, innumerable churches enlightened and sanctified the once heathen lands. In 1024 Henry lay on his deathbed; he then gave back to her parents his wife, Saint Cunegundes, "a virgin still, as a virgin he had received her from Christ," and at the age of 52 years surrendered his own pure soul to God.


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Tuesday, July 16, 2019
: Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

OUR LADY of MOUNT CARMEL
(1251)

According to the most ancient Carmelite chronicles, the Order has its origins with the disciples of the prophets Elias and Eliseus. They lived in caves on Mount Carmel. They honored the Queen of Heaven as the Virgin who is to give birth to the Saviour. When the reality replaced the symbol, the pious ascetics of Carmel were converted to the Christian Faith. In the 12th century, many pilgrims from Europe who had followed the Crusaders came to join the solitaries. A rule was established and the Order began to spread to Europe.

Amid the many persecutions raised against the Order of Mount Carmel, newly arrived in Europe, Saint Simon Stock, General of the Order, turned with filial confidence to the Blessed Mother of God. As he knelt in prayer on July 16, 1251, in the White Friars' convent at Cambridge, She appeared before him and presented him with the well-known brown scapular, a loose sleeveless garment destined for the Order of Carmel, reaching from the shoulders to the knees. It was given as an assurance, for all who died wearing it, of Her heavenly protection from eternal death. An extraordinary promise indeed, but one requiring a life of prayer and sacrifice.

Devotion to the blessed habit spread quickly throughout the Christian world. Pope after Pope enriched it with indulgences, and innumerable miracles put their seal upon its efficacy. The first of them was worked at Winchester on a man dying in despair, who when the scapular was laid upon him by Saint Simon Stock at once asked for the Sacraments.

In the year 1636, a certain gentleman, member of a cavalry regiment, was mortally wounded at the battle of Tehin, a bullet having lodged near his heart. He was then in a state of grievous sin, but he had time to make his confession. Afterwards a surgeon probed his wound, and the bullet was found to have driven his scapular into his heart. When it had been withdrawn he soon expired, making profound acts of gratitude to the Blessed Virgin who had prolonged his life miraculously, thereby preserving him from the irremediable death of his soul.

At Lourdes in 1858, the Virgin chose to make Her last apparition on July 16th, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the day the Church commemorates Her apparition to Saint Simon Stock. And at Fatima on October 13, 1917, it is as Our Lady of Mount Carmel that Mary appeared when She said farewell to the three children. Throughout the ages, the Queen of Carmel has always kept a faithful watch over the destinies of Her cherished children on earth.


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Wednesday, July 17, 2019
: St. Alexius of Rome, C
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

SAINT ALEXIUS of ROME
Confessor
(404)

Saint Alexius, born in Rome in the fourth century, was the only son of parents pre-eminent among the Roman nobles for both their virtue and their great wealth. They were particularly noted for their almsgiving; three tables were prepared every day for all who came for assistance - pilgrims, the poor and the sick. Their son, fruit of their prayers, was married with splendid feasting to a noble young lady of the imperial family, but on his wedding night, by God's special inspiration, he secretly left Rome, longing for a solitude where he could serve God alone. He went to Edessa in the far East, gave away all that he had brought with him, content thereafter to live by alms at the gate of Our Lady's church in that city. His family, in the deepest grief, could not fathom the mystery of his disappearance, and would have been consoled if God had taken him instead through death.

It came to pass that the servants of Saint Alexius, whom his father had sent in search of him, arrived in Edessa, and seeing him among the poor at the gate of Our Lady's church, gave him an alms, not recognizing him. Whereupon the man of God, rejoicing, said, "I thank You, Lord, who have called me and granted that I should receive for Your Name's name's sake an alms from my own slaves. Deign to fulfill in me the work You have begun."

After seventeen years spent at the portico of the church, when his sanctity was miraculously confirmed by the Blessed Virgin, speaking through Her image to an officer of the church, Saint Alexius once more sought obscurity by flight. On his way to Tarsus contrary winds drove his ship to Rome. There no one recognized, in this pale and tattered mendicant, the heir of Rome's noblest house, not even his sorrowing parents, who had vainly sent throughout the world in search of him. From his own father's charity Saint Alexius begged a miserable shelter in his palace, under a staircase, with the leavings of his table as food. There he spent another seventeen years, bearing patiently the mockery and ill usage of his own servants, and witnessing daily the still inconsolable grief of his spouse and parents.

At last, when death had ended this cruel martyrdom, they learned too late, in the year 404, who it was that they had unknowingly sheltered. A voice was heard by all in attendance at the Pope's Mass, saying: "Seek the man of God, he will pray for Rome, and the Lord will be favorable to it; he will die Friday." All the city undertook in vain to find this unknown Saint. But God had commanded Alexius himself to write down his life story and sign it, in this way He Himself confirmed His servant's sanctity, when he was found lifeless in his retreat, holding that document in his hand. The Pope read aloud what was written on the parchment of the Saint, and everywhere in Rome there was a single cry of admiration, impossible to describe. The house of Alexius' father Euphemian was later transformed into a church dedicated to Saint Alexius.

Reflection: We must always be ready to sacrifice our dearest and best natural affections in obedience to the call of our heavenly Father. "Call none your father upon earth, for one is your Father in heaven." (Matt. 23:9) Our Lord has taught us this not by words only, but by His own example and that of His Saints.


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Thursday, July 18, 2019
: St. Camillus de Lellis, C
Thursday, July 18, 2019

SAINT CAMILLUS of LELLIS
Founder of the Servants of the Sick
(1549-1614)

Saint Camillus was born in the kingdom of Naples in the year 1549. His early years gave no indication of his future sanctity. At the age of nineteen he entered into military service with his father, an Italian noble, against the Turks. After four years of hard campaigning he found himself, through his violent temper, reckless habits, and inveterate passion for gambling, a discharged soldier in bad health, and in such straitened circumstances that he was obliged to beg in the streets. Finally he found work as a laborer for a Capuchin convent which was being built. A few words from a Capuchin Friar brought about his conversion; the following day he cast himself on his knees, seeing himself clearly by a divine illumination. He prayed, "Forgive, Lord, this wretched sinner! and give him time to do penance!" And he resolved to become a religious.

He served the Capuchin Fathers, working in the garden, sweeping the convent, washing the dishes, until he could be received as an aspirant. Thrice he begin his novitiate with them, but each time an obstinate ulcer on his leg forced him to leave. God had other designs for him. He went to Rome for medical treatment, and there took Saint Philip Neri as his confessor. He entered, as a servant, the hospital of San Giacomo. The carelessness of the paid personnel and nurses towards the suffering patients inspired him with the thought of founding a Congregation of voluntary servants of the sick, to minister to their wants without thought of remuneration. He recalled the Cross of Our Lord, thinking, "If they wore it on their breast, the sight of it would sustain them, encourage them, reward them." He spoke of this intention to the most pious ones among his companions, who joined him with enthusiasm. They set up an oratory in a little room where they retired to read and pray. They met great obstacles; their oratory was closed when they were suspected of wanting to control the hospital. But eventually Saint Camillus was ordained priest in 1584 and founded his Congregation with only two co-workers, at the chapel of Our Lady of Miracles. They continued to serve in the large Holy Spirit Hospital, and in 1586 his community, the Servants of the Sick, was confirmed by the Pope.

Its usefulness was soon felt, not only in hospitals, but in private houses. Summoned at every hour of the day and night, the devotion of Camillus never grew cold. With an inexhaustible tenderness he attended to the needs of his patients. He wept with them, consoled them, and prayed with them. During a famine in 1590, the poor were reduced to eating dead animals and often raw herbs; about sixty thousand died during that winter, which was exceptionally cold. Saint Camillus procured bread and clothing and went out to distribute them in Rome to all who needed them. Never did he refuse what was asked, giving away his cloak more than once, and the last sack of flour in the storeroom. But God always provided for the Brothers when they had nothing more to give.

Saint Camillus knew miraculously the state of the souls of his patients; and Saint Philip saw Angels whispering to two Servants of the Sick who were consoling a dying person. One day a sick man said to the Saint, "Father, may I beg you to make up my bed? it is very hard." Camillus replied, "God forgive you, brother! You beg me? Don't you know yet that you should command me, for I am your servant and slave!" The Saint founded houses of what had become his Order in several cities - Milan, Bologna, Genoa, Florence, Ferrare and others, and sent out his religious when a pestilence afflicted Hungary and surrounding regions. Several of his religious died on that occasion.

In his hospital he was heard to say, "Would to God that in the hour of my death one sigh or one blessing of these poor sick creatures might fall upon me!" His prayer was answered. He was granted the same consolations in his last hour, which he had so often procured for others. It was in the year 1614, and on the feast of Saint Bonaventure, to whom he had a great devotion, that he died as he had foretold, having the full use of his faculties, as the priest was reciting the words of the ritual, "May Jesus Christ appear to thee with a mild and joyful countenance!"

Reflection: Saint Camillus venerated the sick as living images of Christ, and by ministering to them in this spirit did penance for the sins of his youth. He led a life precious in merit, and from a violent and quarrelsome soldier became a gentle and tender Saint.


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Friday, July 19, 2019
: St. Vincent de Paul, C
Friday, July 19, 2019

SAINT VINCENT de PAUL
Founder of the Lazarist Fathers
and the Daughters of Charity
(1576-1660)

Saint Vincent was born in 1576 near Dax, south of Bordeaux, of a poor family which survived by means of their labor. It seemed that "mercy was born with him." When sent by his father to the mill to procure flour, if he met a poor man coming home, he would open the sack and give him handfuls of flour when he had nothing else. His Christian father was not angry; seeing his good dispositions, he was sure his son should become a priest, and placed him as a boarding student with a group of religious priests in Dax. Vincent made rapid progress, and after seven years of studying theology at Toulouse and in Saragossa, Spain, was ordained a priest in 1600. He always concealed his learning and followed the counsel of Saint Paul who said, "I have wanted to know nothing in your midst but Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ crucified."

Soon after his ordination, he was captured by corsairs and sold as a slave in Tunisia. He converted his renegade master, and escaped with him to France. Then, after a time of study in Rome, he returned to Paris and took for his spiritual director Abbé de Berulle, a famous director of souls. This servant of God saw in him a priest called to render outstanding service to the Church, and to found a community of priests who would labor for its benefit. He told Saint Vincent this, that he might prepare himself insofar as was humanly possible. When Saint Vincent was appointed chaplain-general of the galleys of France, his tender charity brought hope into those prisons where hitherto despair had reigned. When a mother mourned her imprisoned son, Vincent put on his chains and took his place at the oar, and gave him to his mother.

His charity embraced the poor, the young and the aged, the provinces desolated by civil war, Christians enslaved by the infidels. The poor man, ignorant and degraded, was to him the image of Him who became as "a leper and no man." "Turn the medal," he said, "and you will see Jesus Christ." He went through the streets of Paris at night, seeking the infants and children left there to die - three or four hundred every year. Once robbers rushed upon him, thinking he carried a treasure, but when he opened his cloak, they recognized him and his burden, an abandoned infant, and fell at his feet. Not only was Saint Vincent the providence of the poor, but also of the rich, for he taught them to undertake works of mercy. When in 1648 the work of the foundlings was in danger of failure for want of funds, he assembled the ladies of the Association of Charity, and said, "Compassion and charity have made you adopt these little creatures as your children. You have been their mothers according to grace, when their own mothers abandoned them. Will you now cease to be their mothers? Their life and death are in your hands. I shall take your votes; it is time to pronounce sentence." The tears of the assembly were his only answer, and the work was continued.

The Priests of the Mission or Lazarists, as they are called, and thousands of the Daughters of Charity still comfort the afflicted with the charity of their holy Founder. It has been said of him that no one has ever verified more perfectly than Saint Vincent, the words of Our Lord: "He who humbles himself shall be exalted..." The more he strove to abase himself in the eyes of all, the more God took pleasure in elevating him and bestowing His blessings on him and on all his works. He died in 1660, in an old age made truly golden by his unceasing good works.

Reflection: Most people who profess piety ask advice of directors about their prayers and spiritual exercises. Few inquire whether they are not in danger of damnation from neglect of works of charity. Let us never forget the terrible foretold words of the Final Judge: "Depart from me, workers of iniquity; I was hungry, and you did not feed Me; I was without shelter, you did not take Me in...; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me, etc." (Cf. Matt. 26:31-46)


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: Abstinence
Friday, July 19, 2019

Saturday, July 20, 2019
: St. Jerome Emilian, C
Saturday, July 20, 2019

SAINT JEROME EMILIAN
Founder of the Somascans
(1481-1537)

Saint Jerome Emiliani, born in 1481, was a member of one of the Christian patrician families of Venice, and in early life a soldier. Showing in his youth much inclination to virtue, he studied the humanities with success until the age of fifteen, when the clash of arms interrupted his peaceful pursuits and his practice of virtue. And then, only his ambition for honors placed limits to his disorders; it was necessary to live honorably in order to receive promotions. He was appointed governor of a fortress in the mountains of Treviso, and while defending his post with outstanding bravery, was made prisoner by the enemy. In the misery of his dungeon he invoked amid tears the great Mother of God, recognizing that his chastisement was just. He promised, nonetheless, if She would set him free, to lead a new and better life, more worthy of his Christian heritage, and to make known Her benefits in every possible way. Our Lady appeared to him at once, gave him the keys he needed, and commanded him to fulfill faithfully what he had promised. She led him out through the ranks of his enemies to the gate of the city. He went to Her church at Treviso and dedicated himself to the service of the One who had delivered him, proclaiming Her mercies to all listeners. He consigned to writing, and had notarized, an account of his deliverance.

On reaching his home in Venice he undertook a life of active charity, causing admiration in all who had known him as a worldling. His special love was for the deserted orphan children whom he found wandering in the streets during a famine and an epidemic in 1528. Already he had converted his house into a hospital, selling even its furnishings to clothe and feed the poor folk who came in great numbers to him, when they heard he had procured wheat from other regions. He acquired a house for the children, and after recovering miraculously from the illness which he had contracted during the epidemic, he himself taught them the Christian truths. Soon the accounts of his pious orphanage brought visitors, and financial aid sufficient to sustain the enterprise. He was then entrusted with the Venitian Hospital for the Incurables. When he needed some particular grace, he had four orphans under eight years of age pray with him, and the grace never failed to arrive. In Venice he was aided in his Hospital by his friends, Saint Cajetan of Thienna and Saint Peter Caraffa of Naples.

He founded a hospital in Verona and an orphanage in Padua. At Bergamo, which had been struck by a pestilence and famine, he went out with the reapers he could assemble, and cut wheat in the hottest season of the Italian summer. At their head, he sang Christian hymns in his rich voice, engaging the others to follow his example. There he founded two orphanages and succeeded in closing a number of houses of ill repute; he gave their inhabitants whom he converted a rule of life and procured a residence for them. The bishop was aiding him constantly; and he sent him out to other villages and hamlets to teach the children Christian doctrine. Multiple conversions resulted in all directions. Two holy priests joined him in Bergamo, soon followed by other noble gentlemen. This was the origin of the Congregation of Regular Clerics, called the Somascans because of their residence at Somasca, situated between Milan and Bergamo. The Congregation was approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III, and the Order spread in Italy. Saint Jerome died in 1537 at the age of 56, from the illness he contracted while caring for the sick during an epidemic in the region of Bergamo.

Reflection: Let us learn from Saint Jerome to exert ourselves in behalf of the many hundreds of children whose souls are perishing around us, for want of someone to show them the way to heaven.


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Sunday, July 21, 2019
Sunday, July 21, 2019

: St. Praxedis, V
Sunday, July 21, 2019


Monday, July 22, 2019
: St. Mary Magdalen, Penit
Monday, July 22, 2019

SAINT MARY MAGDALEN
Penitent
(First century)

Of the earlier life of Saint Mary Magdalen we know only that she was "a woman who was a sinner." From the depth of her degradation she raised her eyes to Jesus with sorrow, hope, and love. Covered with shame, she came to where Jesus was at table, and knelt behind Him. She said not a word, but bathed His feet with her tears, wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed them with humility. Then she poured on them costly ointment. The divine lips of her Saviour removed her reproach, spoke her absolution, and bade her go in peace. From that time on, she ministered to Jesus, sat at His feet, and listened to His words. She was one of the family of Bethany "whom Jesus so loved" that He raised her brother Lazarus from the dead.

It happened that once again, on the eve of His Passion, she brought precious ointment, and this time, as His purified and beloved follower, poured it on His head; and we may say that the entire House of God is still filled with the fragrance of her anointing. Mary Magdalen stood with Our Lady and Saint John at the foot of the cross, representative of the many who have loved much because much has been forgiven them.

To her, the first after His blessed Mother, and through her to His Apostles, Our Lord gave the certainty of His resurrection. When the faithful were scattered by persecution, the family of Bethany found refuge in the south of France. The cave in which Saint Mary Magdalen lived for thirty years is still seen, with a chapel on the mountaintop, in which she was caught up daily, like Saint Paul, to "visions and revelations of the Lord." When her end drew near she was borne to a place still marked by a monument, where the holy Bishop Maximin awaited her; and when she had received her Lord, she peacefully fell asleep in death.

Reflection: "Compunction of heart," says Saint Bernard, "is a treasure infinitely to be desired, and an unspeakable gladness to the heart. It is healing to the soul; it is remission of sins; it brings back the Holy Spirit into the humble and loving heart."


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Tuesday, July 23, 2019
: St. Apollinaris, EM
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

SAINT APOLLINARIS of RAVENNA
First Bishop of Ravenna and Martyr
(79)

When Saint Peter, setting out for Rome, left Antioch after seven years as its spiritual Head, he took with him several of the faithful of that city, among them Apollinaris, a disciple of Jesus Christ. He consecrated him bishop a few years later and sent him to Ravenna as its first bishop.

His first miracle was on behalf of the blind son of a soldier who gave him hospitality when he first arrived in the city of Ravenna. When the apostle told him of the God he had come to preach and invited him to abandon the cult of idols, the soldier replied: "Stranger, if the God you preach is as powerful as you say, beg Him to give sight to my son, and I will believe in Him." The Saint had the child brought and made the sign of the cross on his eyes as he prayed. The miracle was instantaneous, to the great amazement of all, and news of it spread rapidly. A day or so later, a military tribune sent for him to cure his wife from a long illness, which again he did. The house of the tribune became a center of apostolic action, and several persons sent their children to the Saint to instruct them there. Little by little a flourishing Christian assembly was formed, and priests and deacons were ordained. The Saint lived in community with the two priests and two deacons.

The idolatrous priests aroused the people against him, as we see the enemies of Saint Paul do in the Acts of the Apostles. He was left half-dead on the seashore, after being severely beaten, but was cared for by the Christians and recovered rapidly. A young girl whom he cured after having her father promise to allow her full liberty to follow Christ, consecrated her virginity to God. It was after this that, in the time of Vespasian, he was arrested and interrogated and again flogged, stretched on the rack and plunged into boiling oil. Alive still, he was exiled to Illyria, east of the Adriatic Sea.

He remained three years in that country, having survived a shipwreck with only a few persons whom he converted. Then he evangelized the various districts, with the aid of his converts. When an idol ceased to speak during his sojourn in one of these regions, the pagans again beat him and threw him and his companions on a ship which took them back to Italy. Soon imprisoned, he escaped but was seized again and for the last time subjected to a flogging. He died on July 23rd of the year 79. His body lay first at Classis, four miles from Ravenna, and a church was built over his tomb; later the relics were returned to Ravenna. Pope Honorius had a church built to honor the name of Apollinaris in Rome, about the year 630. From the beginning the Church has held his memory in high veneration.


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Wednesday, July 24, 2019
: Vigil of St. James, Ap
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Thursday, July 25, 2019
: St. James, Ap
Thursday, July 25, 2019

SAINT JAMES the GREATER
Apostle
Patron of Spain
(44)

Among the twelve Apostles, three were chosen to be the close companions of our Blessed Lord, and of these James was one. He, with Peter and John, was admitted to the house of Jairus when his dead child was raised to life (Luke 8:40 ff.); only these three were taken up to the high mountain of Thabor and beheld the face of Jesus shining as the sun, and His garments white as snow (Mark 9:2-7). These three alone witnessed the fearful agony in Gethsemane. (Luke 22:39-45)

What was it that won James a place among the favorite three? Faith, burning, impetuous and outspoken, the straightforwardness of the true Israelite, were visible in him; but these qualities needed purifying before the "Son of Thunder" could proclaim the Gospel of peace. It was James who suggested fire from heaven to consume the inhospitable Samaritans, and who sought a place of honor beside Christ in His kingdom. Yet Our Lord, in rebuking his presumption, prophesied his faithfulness unto death. (Mark 10:38-40) He went to Spain after the death of Our Lord, and remained there for nine years, according to tradition. The famous Basilica of Saint James of Compostello, one of the most frequented pilgrimage sites of Europe, the site also of countless miracles, commemorates the memory of the nation's beloved Apostle.

In the year 44 Saint James, who was at that time in Jerusalem, was brought before King Herod Agrippa. The Apostle had been preaching fearlessly there, curing the sick and the blind, and delivering possessed persons. Two magicians were sent by the authorities to stop his doings by their charms, but both were converted. His enemies were not defeated by that, however, and paid two Roman captains to incite a sedition during the Apostle's preaching, then seize him as its author. A certain Josias, a scribe among the Pharisees, put a cord around his neck and took him before the third Herod, grandson of the first, murderer of the Innocents, and nephew of the second, who had the Baptist decapitated. This new sycophant of the Roman Emperors, desiring to conciliate the Jews and make them forget his non-Jewish origins, decided to do so by persecuting the Christians. Without delay he condemned Saint James to die by the sword. The Apostle's fearless confession of Jesus crucified so moved the scribe Josias, that he too confessed Christ and begged pardon of the Saint. He was taken with the Apostle to the place of execution, where Saint James and his convert died together.

The Apostle won the three crowns of heroism: he is a Doctor par excellence of the Faith, he was the first Apostle to be martyred, and according to Saint Epiphanus and other historians, he always conserved his virginity. He is the patron of Spain. A Spanish author by the name of Tamayo reports fifteen different apparitions of Saint James to the kings and princes of Spain, followed each time by some specific assistance for the benefit of the land.

Reflection: We must all desire a place in the kingdom of our Father; but can we drink the chalice which He holds out to each one of us? Possumus, we must say with Saint James - "We can!" - but only in the strength of Him who drank it first for us.


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Friday, July 26, 2019
: St. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Friday, July 26, 2019

SAINT ANNE
Mother of the Blessed Virgin
(ca. 3 B.C.)

Saint Anne, chosen by God to be the mother of Mary, His own Blessed Mother on earth, was the spouse of Saint Joachim. Ancestor of the Eternal King and High Priest, Joachim was of the royal house of David, while Anne was of Levitical descent. Their lives were wholly occupied with prayer and good works. One thing only was wanting to their union - they were childless, and this was held as a bitter misfortune among the Jews. At length, when Anne was well advanced in age, Mary was born, the fruit rather of grace than of nature, and the child more of God than of man.

With the birth of Mary the holy matron began a new life; she watched Her every movement with reverent tenderness, and, aware of the little one's destiny, felt herself hourly sanctified by the presence of her Immaculate Child. But she had vowed her daughter to God; to God the child Mary had already consecrated Herself, and to Him Anne gave Her back. Mary was three years old when Anne and Joachim led Her to the Temple steps, saw Her pass by Herself into the inner sanctuary, and then saw Her no more. Thus was Anne left childless in her old age, and deprived of her purest earthly joy. The holiest parents on earth could not, in the plan of God, raise this Child as was needed: Mary had to suffer from Her earliest years. Saint Anne and Saint Joachim humbly adored the Divine Will, and continued to watch and pray, until God called them to unending rest.

France and Canada possess the principal sanctuaries of Saint Anne: in France, at Apt in Provence, and at Auray in Britanny; in Canada at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in the Province of Quebec. At Apt the discovery in 792 of Saint Anne's relics, brought by Lazarus and his two sisters to France, was wholly miraculous, authenticated by the presence of Charlemagne during the discovery, and the signature of Pope Adrian I on the written account of the facts.

Reflection: Saint Anne is glorious among the Saints, not only as the mother of Mary, but because she gave Mary to God. Learn from her to reverence a religious vocation as the highest privilege, and to sacrifice every natural bond, however holy, at the call of God.


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: Abstinence
Friday, July 26, 2019

Saturday, July 27, 2019
: St. Pantaleon, M
Saturday, July 27, 2019

SAINT PANTALEON of NICOMEDIA
Physician and Martyr
(303)

Saint Pantaleon was born in Nicomedia of a pagan father and a Christian mother, who died while her son was still a child. He was among the court physicians of the Emperor Galerius Maximianus. Deceived by hearing the false maxims of the world applauded, he was without religion when God decided to rescue his soul from its unhappy darkness. A zealous and prudent Christian named Hermolaus took special notice of him and awakened his conscience, telling him that although the famous physicians of ancient times had possessed the science which cures bodies, Jesus Christ was a far more excellent Physician, able to cure not only bodies, but souls, by His divine doctrine. Hermolaus succeeded in bringing him into the fold of the Church.

The young Christian strove to procure for his father the same grace he himself had received, and his words had already begun to separate his father from his idols, when one day a blind man, led by friends, came to the door and begged Pantaleon to cure him. His father was present and heard the promise his son made to this man to do so, if he would give to the poor the money he was offering him. The father was amazed and feared that the promise could not be fulfilled. But the young Saint prayed and touched the eyes of the blind man, invoking the name of Jesus Christ, and his eyes were opened. Pantaleon's father and the blind man were both baptized as a result of this miracle. When Eustorgus, his father, died, Saint Pantaleon liberated all his slaves and, having sold most of his possessions, gave to the liberated ones and others the assistance their poverty required. He cured other illnesses and soon became renowned in Nicomedia.

Saint Pantaleon, being a very sincere penitent, ardently wished to expiate his former idolatry by the martyrdom he could foresee. When a bloody persecution broke out at Nicomedia in 303, the blind man he had cured was beheaded upon refusing to admit that it was the gods who had cured him. Saint Pantaleon, to prepare himself for the imminent combat, distributed all he had left among the poor. Not long after this act of charity he was arrested and subjected to various tortures, during which he was preserved from death. Three other Christians, of whom one was Hermolaus, were apprehended. After suffering many torments, the four confessors were all sentenced to be beheaded.

The relics of Saint Pantaleon were translated to Constantinople, and there received great honor. His blood, conserved in a small vial, is said to liquefy on his feast day and become oxygenated. Charlemagne brought a part of his relics into France, where they are presently divided again, a portion being in the abbey of Saint Denys near Paris, and the head at Lyons. Saint Pantaleon, whose name means the "all-compassionate one," is the patron of physicians.


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Sunday, July 28, 2019
Sunday, July 28, 2019

: Sts. Nazarius & Celsus, MM, Victor I, PM, Innocent I, PC
Sunday, July 28, 2019

SAINTS NAZARIUS
and CELSUS
Martyrs
(First century)

Saint Nazarius, born in Rome, was the son of a pagan military man who held an important post in the Roman army. His mother, honored by the Church as Saint Perpetua, was a zealous Christian, instructed by Saint Peter or his disciples in the most perfect maxims of Christianity. Nazarius at the age of nine embraced the Faith with so much ardor that he copied in his own young life all the great virtues he saw in his teachers. He was baptized by Saint Linus, who would later become Pope. His pagan father was touched by his son's virtue and seconded his project to go elsewhere to preach the Gospel. Out of zeal for the salvation of others, Nazarius therefore left Rome, his native city, and preached the Faith in many places with a fervor and disinterestedness fitting for a disciple of the Apostles.

Ten years later he is known to have been in Milan. He was driven from the city by the prefect after being whipped, and he left Italy to go to eastern Gaul or France. There a young boy by the name of Celsus was brought to him; his mother asked him to teach and baptize her son, and to take him for his disciple. The child was docile, and Nazarius did so; and they were never separated. When conversions multiplied, the local governor was alarmed and the apostle was again arrested, beaten and tortured. The wife of this governor was a Christian, however, and succeeded in obtaining liberty for the two young innocents. They were freed on condition they would not preach at this place any longer.

The two fervent Christians went to the Alpine villages where only a few solitary settlers braved the rigors of the climate and the altitude. They were not rebuffed and went as far as Embrun. There they built a chapel to the true God, and then continued on to Geneva, and to Treves where Saint Nazarius was arrested and imprisoned. Celsus followed him in tears, longing to share his captivity. When after a few days the prefect ordered them brought before him, they were treated cruelly but appeared before the magistrate, their faces shining with glory. The prodigies which followed caused fear in the pagans, and they were released and told to leave the region.

They returned to Milan, but were soon arrested there also. When they would not sacrifice to the gods of the empire, after several tortures in which God again preserved them, they were sentenced to be beheaded. They embraced one another in transports of joy and praise to God for this grace. It was during the reign of Nero, in about the year 56, that these generous Martyrs added their blood to the treasure of the Christians.

Their bodies were buried separately in a garden outside the city, where they were discovered and taken up by Saint Ambrose in 395. In the tomb of Saint Nazarius, whose decapitated body and head were perfectly conserved, a vial of the Saint's blood was found as fresh and red as if it had been spilt that same day. Saint Ambrose conveyed the bodies of the two martyrs into the new church of the Apostles which he had just built. A woman was delivered of an evil spirit in their presence. Saint Ambrose sent some of these relics to Saint Paulinus of Nola, who received them with great respect as a most valuable gift, as he himself testifies, and placed them in honor at Nola.

Reflection: The martyrs died as the outcasts of the world, but are crowned by God with immortal honor. The glory of the world is false and transitory, an empty bubble or shadow, but that of virtue is true, solid, and permanent, even in the eyes of men.


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Monday, July 29, 2019
: St. Martha, V
Monday, July 29, 2019

SAINT MARTHA
Virgin
(84)

Saint John tells us that Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus (John 11:5), but only a few glimpses are vouchsafed us of them in the Gospels. First, the sisters are set before us: Martha received Jesus into her house, and was busy in outward, loving, lavish service, while Mary sat in silence at the feet she had bathed with her tears. Then we learn that their brother is ill when they send word to Jesus concerning their brother Lazarus, "Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick." (John 11:3) In His own time the Lord came, and they went out to meet Him; then follows that scene of unutterable tenderness and of sublimity unsurpassed: the silent mourning of Mary; Martha strong in faith, but realizing so vividly, with her practical turn of mind, the fact of death, and hesitating: "Lord, by this time he is already decayed! He has been dead four days."

And then once again, on the eve of His Passion, we see Jesus at Bethany, with His resurrected disciple. Martha, true to her character, is serving; Mary, as at first, pours the precious ointment, in adoration and love, on His divine head, as a preliminary to His burial. (John 12:1-4) We do not hear of the beloved family again in the Scriptures, but tradition tells us that when the storm of persecution came, the family of Bethany, with a few companions, were put into a boat without oars or sail, and borne miraculously to the coast of France. Martha assembled a holy company of women, with whom she lived in great austerity of life and admirable sanctity at Tarascon where her tomb is venerated. Saint Mary's tomb is at La Sainte-Baume; Saint Lazarus is venerated as the founder of the Church of Marseilles. It is this family which brought to France the relics of Saint Anne.


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Tuesday, July 30, 2019
: Sts. Abdon & Sennen, MM
Tuesday, July 30, 2019

SAINTS ABDON and SENNEN
Persian Martyrs at Rome
(254)

The emperor Decius, enemy of Christians, had defeated the king of Persia and become master of several countries over which he reigned. He had already condemned to torture and death Saint Polychrome, with five members of his clergy. Saint Abdon and Saint Sennen, illustrious Persian dignitaries of the third century whom the king of Persia had highly honored, were secretly Christian; it was they who had taken up the body of the martyred bishop, which had been cast contemptuously before a temple of Saturn, to bury it at night, with honor. The two royal officials, now fallen under the domination of Rome, were grieved to witness the emperor's cruelty towards the faithful, and believed it their duty to make known their love for Jesus Christ; thus, without fear of their new sovereign, they undertook by all possible means to spread and fortify the faith, to encourage the confessors and bury the martyrs.

Decius, learning of their dedication, was extremely irritated. He sent for the two brothers to appear before his tribunal, and attempted to win them over to sacrifice to the gods, by appealing to his recent victory as a sign of their favor. The Saints replied, however, that this victory was not at all a proof of such power, since the unique true God, Creator of heaven and earth with His Son, Jesus Christ, gives victory to some and defeat to others, for reasons hidden in the designs of His providence. They said they could never adore any but Him, and Decius imprisoned them. Soon afterwards, when he learned of the death of the viceroy he had left to govern in his place at Rome, he returned to Rome and took his two captives with him to serve as splendid trophies of his Persian victory. In effect, these magistrates were wearing jewels and rich fabrics under their chains.

He arraigned them before the Senate, in whose presence they again testified to the divinity of Christ, saying they could adore no other. The next day they were flogged in the amphitheater; then two lions and four bears were released to devour them. But the beasts lay down at their feet and became their guardians, and no one dared approach for a time. Finally the prefect sent out gladiators to slay them with the sword, which with the permission of God was done. Their bodies remained three days without burial, but a subdeacon, who afterwards wrote their history, took them up and buried them on his own terrain.

Under Constantine the Great, their tombs were discovered by divine revelation and their relics reburied in the Pontian cemetery, which afterwards was called by their names. We see them in a picture of the catacombs, crowned by Our Lord Himself. Their glorious martyrdom occurred in the year 254.


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Wednesday, July 31, 2019
: St. Ignatius of Loyola, C
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

SAINT IGNATIUS of LOYOLA
Founder of the Society of Jesus
(1491-1556)

Saint Ignatius was born at Loyola in Spain, in the year 1491. He served his king as a courtier and a soldier until his thirtieth year. At that time a cannon ball broke the right leg of the young officer, who in a few days had reached the brink of death and received the Last Sacraments. It was the eve of the feast day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul; he fell asleep afterwards and believed he saw Saint Peter in a dream, restoring him to health by touching his wound. When he woke, his high fever was gone and he was out of danger, although lame. To pass the time of his convalescence after three operations, he asked for books; the Life of Christ and lives of the Saints were brought to him. He read them distractedly at first, then with profound emotion. He underwent a violent combat, but finally grace won out.

He began to treat his body with the utmost rigor and rose every night to weep over his sins. One night, he consecrated himself to the Saviour through the intercession of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners, swearing inviolable fidelity to the Son and His Mother. Not long afterwards, to fortify him in his good resolutions, Mary appeared to him surrounded by light, holding in Her arms the Child Jesus. His heart purified by this vision, Ignatius made a general confession and a pilgrimage to Montserrat, to venerate a miraculous image of the Mother of God and implore Her protection, then bought a rude long habit for the pilgrimage he was planning to make to Jerusalem. He set out on foot, wearing only one sandal for his lame leg.

He spent some time at Manreza caring for the sick and undertaking a life of austerity equaled only by the most celebrated anchorites. Living by alms, fasting on bread and water, wearing a hair shirt, he remained kneeling every day for six or seven hours in prayer. The devil made vain efforts to discourage him. He fell ill, however, and was carried to the hospital from the cavern where he was staying. It was only out of obedience to his director at Montserrat that he ceased his extreme penance, and found again, through his obedience, the peace of soul he had lost. At Manreza he composed his famous Spiritual Exercises for retreatants, which ever since have brought to grace and fervor great numbers of souls.

After a journey to Rome and other points of pilgrimage in Italy, he embarked for the Holy Land. He wished to remain there to work for the conversion of souls, but was commanded by the enlightened Provincial of the Franciscans, under obedience, to return to Europe. He was then thirty-three years old.

Ignatius had already won certain Spanish compatriots to join him in the service of God; it was for them that he had composed the Exercises. With them he undertook studies for several years, and at the end of that time had four companions. He taught catechism while at Alcala, and virtually reformed the entire youth of that city.

In 1528, when he was already 37 years old, he went to Paris to study in the greatest poverty, eating his meals at a hospital with the poor. He was persecuted when he converted a number of young persons. It was in Paris, with six young companions, that at Montmartre the Society of Jesus was founded. They made a vow to go to Jerusalem in absolute poverty, or if this proved impossible, which it did, to go to Rome to the Vicar of Christ, and place themselves at his disposition for the service of the Church and the salvation of souls. Our Lord promised Saint Ignatius that the precious heritage of His Passion would never be lacking to his Society. By this term, heritage, the Saviour referred to the contradictions and persecutions the just must always face. Founded to combat error, the Company of Jesus has always had to bear the fury of those who favor it.

When Saint Ignatius was cast into prison at Salamanca on suspicion of heresy, he said to a friend who expressed his sympathy, "It is a sign that you have little love of Christ in your heart, or you would not deem it so hard a fate to be in chains for His sake. All Salamanca does not contain as many fetters, manacles, and chains as I would gladly wear for love of Jesus Christ." Saint Ignatius went to receive his crown on July 31, 1556.

Reflection: Ask Saint Ignatius to obtain for you the grace to desire ardently the greater glory of God, even though it may cost you much suffering and humiliation.


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