Traditional Catholic Calendar 2019
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Friday, November 1, 2019
Friday, November 1, 2019

ALL SAINTS DAY

The Church day by day gives special veneration to one or more of the holy men and women who have helped to establish it by their blood, develop it by their labors, or edify it by their virtues. But, in addition to those whom the Church honors by special designation or has inscribed in her calendar, how many martyrs are there whose names are not recorded! How many humble virgins and holy penitents! How many unknown anchorites and monks, Christian fathers and mothers, young children snatched away in their innocence! How many courageous Christians, whose merits are known only to God and His heavenly court!

Should we forget those who remember us in their intercession? Are not some among them our ancestors? members of our immediate family? our friends and fellow-Christians, with whom we have lived in daily companionship? In fact, all of Heaven is but one family - Our Lord's, as He Himself said: "Who is My mother and who are My brethren? And stretching forth His hand towards His disciples, He said, Behold My mother and My brethren! For whoever does the Will of My Father in heaven, is My brother and sister and mother." Today we have the opportunity to thank God, if at other times we forget, for their aid and their love. And today we adore Him with them, for the grace which raised them to their present joy. The Church requires this homage of us, by making this day a holy day of obligation for all. Our place, too, is awaiting us in this home of eternal light, peace and love, if we persevere to the end in the fulfillment of God's holy Will.

Reflection: Let us be solicitous to render ourselves worthy of that chaste generation, so beautiful amid the glory where it dwells. (Cf. Wisdom 4:1)


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: Holy Day of Obligation
Friday, November 1, 2019

Saturday, November 2, 2019
Saturday, November 2, 2019

ALL SOULS DAY

The Church teaches us that the souls of the just who have left this world with traces of venial sin remain for a time in a place of expiation, where they suffer whatever punishment may be due to their offenses. Even if pardon has been obtained for our sins, satisfaction must be made to God, our Creator, in this world or in the next; for His sanctity has been, as it were, insulted by the self-will of one of His ignoble creatures. The more noble the person offended, the more serious the offense, even according to human laws. It is a dogma of our faith that the suffering souls are relieved by the intercession of the Saints in heaven and by the prayers of the faithful upon earth. To pray for the dead is therefore an act of charity and of piety, certainly obligatory for a Christian who professes to have charity in his heart. We read in Holy Scripture: "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins." (II Maccabees 12:46)

When towards the close of the tenth century, Our Lord inspired Saint Odilon, Abbot of Cluny, to establish in his Benedictine Order a general commemoration of all the faithful departed, the practice was soon afterwards adopted by the entire Western Church and has been continued unceasingly to our day. Let us always bear in mind the departed who have died in the love of God, and offer up our prayers and sacrifices to help expiate for them. By showing this mercy to the suffering souls in purgatory, we gain for ourselves very devoted friends, who will in their turn pray for us. We shall then be entitled to be treated with mercy at our departure from this world, and to share more abundantly in the suffrages of the Church, continually offered for all who have fallen asleep in Christ.

Reflection: When we offer satisfaction to God in this life for our offenses, there is merit attached to our penances. There is no longer any merit in purgatory; others must provide. Let us reflect well that if we do not ourselves repair our sins and faults, we place our burden on others; is that what we want?


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Sunday, November 3, 2019
Sunday, November 3, 2019

Monday, November 4, 2019
: St. Charles Borromeo, EC
Monday, November 4, 2019

SAINT CHARLES BORROMEO
Archbishop of Milan
(1538-1584)

Saint Charles Borromeo was born in 1538 in the castle of Arona on the borders of Lake Major, fourteen miles from Milan. He was the son of Count Gilbert Borromeo, a descendant of one of the most ancient families of Lombardy, very famous for its great men. The Count was known for his almsgiving and his rigorous fasts; it was his custom never to eat a meal without first giving alms. The Countess, Charles' mother, was also exceptionally virtuous. Their family was composed of two sons and four daughters, all of whom manifested in their lives the splendor of their Christian heritage. Their maternal uncle, John Angelus of Medici, became Pope Pius IV. Charles was clearly destined for the ecclesiastical vocation; all his preferences in study made it clear.

When he was twelve years old, a paternal uncle willed to him an abbey in commendam; and the child constantly reminded his father that this revenue was the patrimony of the poor. His father wept for joy, seeing his son's solicitude for the just application of his trust.

Count Gilbert died when Charles was twenty years old, and he was obliged to come home from Pavia where he had been studying law; he returned there, however, to complete his doctorate at the university after settling his affairs. One year later, when his maternal uncle became Pope Pius IV, he created Charles cardinal, and after another year nominated him Archbishop of Milan. The Pontiff detained him in Rome, however, seeing his extensive capacities and adding to these offices other administrative duties which ordinarily require the prudence of mature years. No one was disappointed in his services, despite the fact he was maintaining delicate papal relations with other nations, as protector of Portugal and the Low Countries, and was at the head of the Knights of Malta, the Orders of Carmel and Saint Francis, among other duties.

When the Council of Trent (1545-1563) was nearing its conclusion, Saint Charles, who had participated with authority in many of its twenty-five sessions, desired to leave Rome to attend to his diocese of Milan, a duty which his vicar general had carried out until that time. The urgency of the situation there persuaded the Pope to consent regretfully to his departure. Saint Charles intended to put into execution the reforming decrees of the Council, create seminaries and schools and in general restore discipline in the Church of Milan.

As Archbishop of Milan he enforced the observance of the decrees, and thoroughly restored the discipline of his see. Criticism hounded him there, but left him unmoved; he kept with him in his episcopal household of about one hundred persons, a certain priest who delighted in finding fault with whatever he did; he treated him with great consideration, and in his will left him a pension for life. He was very severe with himself, eating only once a day, and limiting himself often to bread and water. When someone suggested he should have a garden at Milan to get some fresh air, he replied that the Holy Scriptures should be the garden of a bishop.

The sermons of Saint Charles produced great fruits among all ranks of the people. When young he had manifested a speech defect with a tendency to speak too fast, but he overcame these handicaps with many efforts. A man who admired him said that he always forgot the orator himself when he preached, so transported was he by the great truths he heard explained, and the longest sermons of Saint Charles seemed short to him. Everywhere the holy Archbishop established schools of Christian doctrine, numbering in all seven hundred and forty, in which over three thousand catechists were employed, presiding over forty thousand students.

Once Saint Charles heard a cardinal who was a bishop of a small diocese say that his diocese was too small to require his constant residence there, as canon law required; Saint Charles said to him with force that the price of one soul is such as to merit the residence and entire time of the greatest of men. He himself visited the most remote corners of his diocese, traveling in mountainous regions amid the greatest dangers, which he regarded as nothing unusual, and unworthy of mention.

Inflexible in maintaining discipline, to his flock he was a most tender father. He would sit by the roadside to teach a poor man the Pater and Ave. During the great plague which broke out in Milan, which he had foretold as a chastisement for the disorders of the Carnival, he refused to leave, asking those who remonstrated with him if it were not more perfect to remain with one's flock than to abandon them in need, and adding that a bishop is obliged to choose what is most perfect. He was ever at the side of the sick and dying. He stripped his palace of literally everything to aid those who had lost their support in their fathers and spouses, even giving away his straw mattress. As he lived, so he died, having governed his church for twenty-four years and eight months. To the heroic sanctity of this faithful copy of the Good Shepherd, many miracles came to testify, through his relics and his intercession. In 1610 he was canonized by Pope Paul V.


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Tuesday, November 5, 2019
: Feria
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Thursday, November 7, 2019
: Feria
Thursday, November 7, 2019

Friday, November 8, 2019
: Feria
Friday, November 8, 2019

: Abstinence
Friday, November 8, 2019

Saturday, November 9, 2019
: Dedication of the Basilica of Our Most Holy Savior
Saturday, November 9, 2019

DEDICATION of the LATERAN BASILICA
The Church of the Most Holy Saviour, Rome

The residence of the Popes which was named the Lateran Palace was built by Lateranus Palutius, whom Nero put to death to seize his goods. It was given in the year 313 by Constantine the Great to Saint Miltiades, Pope, and was inhabited by his successors until 1308, when they moved to Avignon. The Lateran Basilica built by Constantine near the palace of the same name, is the first Basilica of the West. Twelve councils, four of which were ecumenical, have assembled there, the first in 649, the last in 1512.

If for several centuries the Popes have no longer dwelt in the Palace, the primacy of the Basilica is not thereby altered; it remains the head of all churches. Saint Peter Damian wrote that "just as the Saviour is the Head of the elect, the church which bears His name is the head of all the churches. Those of Saints Peter and Paul, to its left and its right, are the two arms by which this sovereign and universal Church embraces the entire earth, saving all who desire salvation, warming them, protecting them in its maternal womb."

The Divine Office narrates the dedication of the Church by the Pope of Peace, Saint Sylvester:

"It was the Blessed Pope Sylvester who established the rites observed by the Roman Church for the consecration of churches and altars. From the time of the Apostles there had been certain places dedicated to God, which some called oratories, and others, churches. There, on the first day of the week, the assembly was held, and there the Christian people were accustomed to pray, to hear the Word of God, and to receive the Eucharist. But never had these places been consecrated so solemnly; nor had a fixed altar been placed there which, anointed with sacred chrism, was the symbol of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who for us is altar, victim and Pontiff. But when the Emperor Constantine through the sacrament of Baptism had obtained health of body and salvation of soul, a law was issued by him which for the first time permitted that everywhere in the world Christians might build churches. Not satisfied to establish this edict, the prince wanted to give an example and inaugurate the holy labors. Thus in his own Lateran palace, he dedicated a church to the Saviour, and founded the attached baptistry under the name of Saint John the Baptist, in the place where he himself, baptized by Saint Sylvester, had been cured of leprosy. It is this church which the Pontiff consecrated in the fifth of the ides of November; and we celebrate the commemoration on that day, when for the first time in Rome a church was thus publicly consecrated, and where a painting of the Saviour was visible on the wall before the eyes of the Roman people."

When the Lateran Church was partially ruined by fires, enemy invasions, and earthquakes, it was always rebuilt with great zeal by the Sovereign Pontiffs. In 1726, after one such restoration, Pope Benedict XIII consecrated it anew and assigned the commemoration of that event to the present day. The church was afterwards enlarged and beautified by Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII.


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Sunday, November 10, 2019
Sunday, November 10, 2019

: St. Andrew Avellino, C
Sunday, November 10, 2019

SAINT ANDREW AVELLINO
Theatine Priest
(1608)

After a holy youth devoted to serious studies of philosophy and the humanities in Venice, Lancelot Avellino was ordained priest by the bishop of Naples. He was assigned to the chaplaincy of a community of nuns, sadly in need of reform; his intrepid courage and perseverance finally overcame many difficulties, and regular observance was restored in the monastery. Certain irritated libertines, however, decided to do away with him and, waiting for him when he was about to leave a church, felled him with three sword thrusts. He lost much blood, but his wounds healed perfectly without leaving any trace. The viceroy of Naples was ready to employ all his authority to punish the authors of this sacrilege; the holy priest, not desiring the death of sinners but rather their conversion and their salvation, declined to pursue them. One of them, however, died soon afterwards, assassinated by a man who wished to avenge a dishonor to his house.

He was still practicing law, which he had studied in Naples; one day a slight untruth escaped him in the defense of a client, and he conceived such regret for his fault that he vowed to practice law no longer. In 1556, at the age of thirty-six, he entered the Theatine Order, taking the name of Andrew out of love for the cross. After a pilgrimage to Rome to the tombs of the Apostles, he returned to Naples and was named master of novices in his Community, a duty he fulfilled for ten years. He was also chosen to be Superior of the house there, and then was sent out to found two houses elsewhere, at Milan and Piacenza. At the latter city he again met the opposition of libertines; but the Duke of Parma, to whom letters accusing him were directed, was completely charmed when he met him, and regarded him thereafter as a Saint.

He then became Superior of the Milan foundation, where his friendship with Saint Charles Borromeo took root; the two Saints conversed together often. And Saint Andrew, with his admirable simplicity, confided to the Archbishop that he had seen Our Lord, and that since that time the impression of His divine beauty, remaining with him constantly, had rendered insipid all other so-called beauties of the earth. Petitions were presented to Pope Gregory XIV to make him a bishop, but he declined that honor with firmness, having always desired to remain obedient rather than to command. When his term as superior ended, he was successful in avoiding the government of another Theatine residence for only three years, then became superior at Saint Paul of Naples.

Once when Saint Andrew was taking the Viaticum to a dying person and a storm extinguished the lamps, a heavenly light surrounded him, guided his steps, and sheltered him from the rain. But he was far from exempt from sufferings. His horse threw him one day on a rough road, and since his feet were caught in the stirrups, dragged him for a long time along this road. He invoked Saint Dominic and Saint Thomas Aquinas, who came to him, wiped his face covered with blood, cured his wounds, and even helped him back onto the horse. He attributed such episodes to his unworthiness, believing he was among the reprobate, but Saint Thomas once again came to him, accompanied by Saint Augustine, and restored his confidence in the love and mercy of God.

On the last day of his life, November 10, 1608, Saint Andrew rose to say Mass. He was eighty-eight years old, and so weak he could scarcely reach the altar. He began the Judica me, Deus, the opening prayer, but fell forward, the victim of apoplexy. Laid on a straw mattress, his whole frame was convulsed in agony, while the ancient fiend, in visible form, advanced as though to seize his soul. Then, while the onlookers prayed and wept, he invoked Our Lady, and his Guardian Angel seized the monster and dragged it out of the room. A calm and holy smile settled on the features of the dying Saint and, as he gazed with a grateful countenance on the image of Mary, his holy soul winged its way to God.

Reflection: Saint Andrew, who suffered so terrible an agony, is invoked as special protector from an unprovided and sudden death. Ask this holy priest to be with you in your last hour, and bring Jesus and Mary to your aid.


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Monday, November 11, 2019
: St. Martin of Tours, EC
Monday, November 11, 2019

SAINT MARTIN of TOURS
Missionary Bishop
(397)

Saint Martin, born in Pannonia (Hungary), followed his father, a military tribune in the service of Rome, to Italy. Although he was raised in paganism, he felt nothing but contempt for its cult, and as though he were Christian by nature, he took pleasure only in the assemblies of the faithful, which he attended despite his family's opposition. When he was fifteen years old, he was forcibly enrolled in the Roman armies and went to serve in Gaul, the land he was predestined to evangelize one day. What would become of this young boy, when exposed to the libertinage of the camps? Would his faith not be obliterated? No, for God was watching over His vessel of election.

The most famous episode of this period in his life is his meeting with a poor man almost naked in the dead of winter, and trembling with cold. Martin did not have a penny to give him, but he remembered the text of the Gospel: "I was naked, and you clothed Me." "My friend," he said, "I have nothing but my weapons and my garments." And taking up his sword, he divided his cloak into two parts and gave one to the beggar. The following night he saw Jesus Christ in a dream, clothed with this half-cloak and saying to His Angels: "It is Martin, still a catechumen, who covered Me." Soon afterwards he received Baptism.

Disinterested charity, purity, and bravery distinguished the life of the young soldier. He obtained his discharge at the age of about twenty. Martin succeeded in converting his mother, but was driven from his home by the Arians. He took refuge with Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers. After having given striking proofs of his attachment to the faith of Nicea, he founded near Poitiers the celebrated monastery of Ligugé, the first in Gaul. The brilliance of his sanctity and his miracles raised him in 372 to the episcopal throne of Tours, despite his lively resistance. His life thereafter was but a continual succession of prodigies and apostolic labors. His flock, though Christian in name, was still pagan at heart. Unarmed and attended only by his monks, Martin destroyed the heathen temples and groves, and completed by his preaching and miracles the conversion of the people. His power over demons was extraordinary. Idolatry never recovered from the blows given it by Saint Martin.

After having visited and renewed his diocese, the servant of God felt pressed to extend his journeyings and labors beyond its confines. Clothed in a poor tunic and a rude cloak, and seated on an ass, accompanied only by a few religious, he left like a poor missionary to evangelize the countryside. He passed through virtually all the provinces of Gaul, and neither mountains, nor rivers, nor dangers of any description stopped him. Everywhere his undertakings were victorious, and he more than earned his title of the Light and the Apostle of Gaul.


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Tuesday, November 12, 2019
: St. Martin I, PM
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

SAINT MARTIN I
Pope and Martyr
(655)

Saint Martin, who occupied the Roman See from 649 to 655, was a native of Toscany, and became celebrated amid the clergy of Rome for his learning and his sanctity. When he was elected Pope, Rome echoed with cries of joy; the clergy, the Senate and the people gave witness to their great satisfaction, and the emperor approved this happy choice. He did not disappoint the hopes of the Church; piety towards God and charity to the poor were his two rules of life. He repaired churches falling into ruin and restored peace between divergent factions, but his greatest concern was to maintain in the Church the precious heritage of the true faith.

For this purpose he assembled in the Lateran Church a Council of a hundred bishops, which condemned the principal heads of the eastern Monothelite heresy, again raising its head. Saint Martin himself sent out an encyclical letter to all prelates, showing that a spurious Credo circulating in the east was erroneous, and excommunicating all who followed it. He incurred the enmity of the Byzantine court and even of two patriarchs, by his energetic opposition to their errors, and the Exarch of Ravenna, representing the oriental Emperor Constant II in Italy, went so far as to endeavor to procure the assassination of the Pope while he stood at the altar in the Church of Saint Mary Major. The would-be murderer, a page of the Exarch, was miraculously struck blind, however, and his lord refused to have any further role in the matter. But the eastern Emperor's successor had no such scruples. After having the holy Pontiff accused of many fabricated misdeeds, he seized Saint Martin - who did not resist or permit resistance, for fear of bloodshed in Rome - then had him conveyed to Constantinople on board a vessel bound for that port. None of his clergy were permitted to accompany him; he was boarded at night in secret.

After a three month's voyage the ship anchored at the island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea, where the Pope was kept in confinement for a year, then finally brought in chains to the imperial city in 654, where he was imprisoned for three months. When he appeared before his judge he was unable to stand without support; but the pitiless magistrate heard his accusers and sentenced him to be chained and dragged through the streets of the city. He bade farewell to his companions in captivity before he left, banished to the present-day Crimea (the Chersonese in those days), saying to them when they wept: "Rejoice with me that I have been found worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ." There, where a famine prevailed, he lingered on for four months, abandoned to sickness and starvation but maintaining perfect serenity, until God released him by death from his tribulations on the 12th of November, 655. In a letter he sent from there, which has been conserved, the Pope wrote: "For this miserable body, the Lord will have care; He is near. What is there to alarm me? I hope in His mercy, it will not be long before it terminates my career."

Reflection: There have been times in the history of Christianity when its truths have seemed on the verge of extinction. But there is a Church whose testimony has never failed - it is the Church of Saint Peter. Where Peter is, there also is the Church! When the Pope is unable to speak, his deeds speak more eloquently still.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2019
: St. Didacus, C
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

SAINT DIDACUS or DIEGO
Franciscan Confessor
(1463)

Saint Didacus was born in Andalusia in Spain, towards the beginning of the fifteenth century. He was remarkable from childhood for his love of solitude, and for conversations concerning holy things. When still young he retired to live with a hermit not far from his village, where he spent several years in vigils, fasting, and manual work. Like the Fathers of the desert, he made baskets and other objects with willow branches and gave them to those who brought alms to the two hermits.

God inspired him to enter into the Order of the seraphic Saint Francis; he did so at the convent of Arrizafa, not far from Cordova. He did not aspire to ecclesiastical honors, but to the perfection and inviolable observance of his Rule - an admirable ideal, the practice of which, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, is equivalent to martyrdom in merit. He made himself the servant of all his brethren. Any occupation was his choice. All his possessions were a tunic, a crucifix, a rosary, a prayer book and a book of meditations; and these he did not consider as his own and wanted them to be the most worn of all that were in the house. He found ways to nourish the poor who came to the convent, depriving himself of bread and other food given him, and if unable to do so consoled them with such gentle words that they left with profit nonetheless.

At one time he was sent by his superiors to the Canary Islands, and went there joyfully, hoping to win the crown of martyrdom. Such, however, was not God's Will. After making many conversions by his example and holy words, he was recalled to Spain. He was assigned to the care of the sick and when he went to Rome for the Jubilee year of 1450, with 3,800 other religious of his Order, most of whom fell ill there, he undertook to care for them, succeeding in procuring for them all they needed even in that time of scarcity.

Saint Didacus one day heard a poor woman lamenting, and learned that she had not known that her seven-year-old son had gone to sleep in her large oven; she had lighted a fire, and lost her senses when she heard his cries. He sent her to the altar of the Blessed Virgin to pray and went with a large group of persons to the oven; although all the wood was burnt, the child was taken from it without so much as a trace of burns. The miracle was so evident that the neighbors took the child in triumph to the church where his mother was praying, and the Canons of the Church dressed him in white in honor of the Blessed Virgin. Since then, many afflicted persons have invoked the Mother of Heaven there.

After a long and painful illness, Saint Didacus ended his days in 1463, embracing the cross which he had so dearly loved during his entire life. He died having on his lips the words of the hymn, Dulce lignum [Sweet wood - a chant of Good Friday]. His body remained incorrupt for several months, exposed to the devotion of the faithful, ever exhaling a marvelous fragrance. He was canonized in 1588; Philip II, king of Spain, had labored to obtain that grace after his own son was miraculously cured in 1562 by the relics of the Saint, when he had fallen from a ladder and incurred a mortal wound on his head.

Reflection: If God be in your heart, He will be also on your lips; for Christ has said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."


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Thursday, November 14, 2019
: St. Josaphat, EM
Thursday, November 14, 2019

SAINT JOSAPHAT
Archbishop and Martyr
(1584-1623)

Born in 1584 in Vladimir, a city of ancient Poland, Saint Josaphat was the son of Gabriel Kuncewicz. His was a family of honorable Christians of the Greco-Slavic rite, in use among the Russians. His mother took care to raise him in the fear of God, and in his tender heart formed the first longings for virtue. He was never in any way lightheaded, but separated willingly from the games of his companions to pray. He made excellent progress in his studies, always preferring the sacred branches to the profane, and for thirty years he recited each day, without ever failing even once to do so, a large section of the Divine Office which he learned by heart.

At twenty years of age Josaphat deplored the situation of religion in Poland. In 1596, the Ruthenian Church was divided into two contending parties - the Unionates and those who persevered in schism. He saw divisions growing in the Church, and that few were remaining faithful to the Holy See, to safeguard the true orthodoxy and their eastern rites. He studied philosophy and theology under two famous Jesuits, and decided to enter religious life. When his employer, who was childless and wished to keep him, offered him his commerce as his adopted son, he declined that offer without hesitating, and entered the Convent of the Trinity at Vilna, where Basilian religious submissive to the Holy See were residing. He received the religious habit and was professed in 1604.

Saint Josaphat was ordained a priest and began to preach in various churches of the city, bringing back many dissidents to the Union. He was invited also to preach and govern in various regions of the land; he accepted to become head of a monastery at Bytene. He restored there celebrated sanctuaries, built a convent, and converted, among others, one of the most zealous of the dissidents. In 1614 Josaphat's friend Joseph Routski became Archbishop of the city of Vilna, and recalled his holy former companion to that city, confiding the monastery of the Trinity to him. Saint Josaphat never made harsh reproaches, but corrections warmed by a wholly paternal affection. The conversion of the separated brethren continued through the preaching of the one called by the Uniates The Scourge of the Schismatics, whereas the latter called him The Ravisher of Souls.

He became the Archbishop of Polotsk in 1617 at the age of thirty-eight, on the very day when, six years later, he would earn the consecration of blood, November 12th. He restored five major cathedrals and several lesser ones; he aided the poor, stripping himself often of the most necessary objects or funds. He maintained total frugality in his residence; he recovered certain properties retained unjustly by powerful lords of the region, through his mildness of language in the lawcourts, to which he had recourse for that purpose. But he was soon to acquire, in a certain Melece Smotritski, a formidable enemy, who had himself consecrated, in Russia, Archbishop of the same city as Josaphat, with other aspirants to like authority. Despite the opposition of King Sigismond of Poland, who forbade all his subjects to have any communication with the usurper, the latter won adherents. The people of the city of Vitebsk, a little like those of Jerusalem, who in one week's time changed their hosanna's into tolle's, turned toward the newcomers in large numbers, and in an uprising succeeded in giving eighteen wounds to the head of the Archdeacon of the church, and leaving for dead another official, bathed in his blood.

When their Archbishop went there to calm the tumult in 1623, knowing well that his hour had come, in effect he was most cruelly assassinated and his body profaned; he was in his forty-fourth year. His mortal remains were recovered after five days from the waters of a river, and exposed for nine days, constantly emitting a fragrance of roses and lilies. A councillor of Polotsk, where the body was returned, abandoned the schism merely at the sight of the archbishop's beautiful countenance. Many of the parricides struck their breasts, and did likewise. The Archbishop had gone gladly to his death, offering his life that the schism might end; he had said as much beforehand. Four years after his death the author of the troubles, Smotritski, the false archbishop, after many combats made a decisive step and consecrated his life to penance, prayer and the defense of the Union. Such changes of heart are indeed the greatest of miracles, won by the sanctity of the true servants of God.

About five years after Saint Josaphat's martyrdom his body was found intact, though the clothing had rotted away. Again in 1637 it was still white and supple. A beautiful silver reliquary was made for it, with a life-size image of the reclining Saint surmounting it. The body was again exposed intact in 1767. It was eventually taken to the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. Pope Leo XIII canonized Saint Josaphat in 1867.


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Friday, November 15, 2019
: St. Albert the Great, ECD
Friday, November 15, 2019

SAINT ALBERT THE GREAT
Doctor of the Chuch
(1207-1280)

Saint Albert the Great was born in the region of Ausgbourg, of parents rich in the goods of fortune. From the time he was a child, he manifested in his studies an unusual aptitude for the exact sciences. While he was still a boy, he had himself let down the side of a cliff to examine at close range an eagle's nest which interested him. At the age of fifteen he was already a student of the natural sciences and the humanities at Bologna; Saint Dominic had died in that city the preceding year, 1221, and was buried in the Dominican Convent. Their house, in a suburban area of Bologna, was closely associated with the activities at the University, and students in large numbers were requesting admission to the Order.

Blessed Reginald of Orleans, Dominican, a former professor in Paris, came to preach there in the streets. The second Dominican General, Blessed Jordan of Saxony, a compatriot of Albert and a very eloquent preacher, was in Padua, and when the students of Bologna were transferred there Albert heard him at the Padua Dominican Church. He had already desired to enter the Order, but his uncle opposed to that plan a very vigorous opposition, and Albert was still very young. He dreamed one night that he had become a Dominican but left the Order soon afterwards. The same day he heard Master Jordan preach, and the Dominican General spoke of how the demon attempts to turn aside those who want to enter into religion, knowing that he will suffer great losses from their career in the Church; he persuades them in dreams that they will leave it, or else they see themselves on horseback, or clothed in purple, or as solitaries in the desert, or surrounded by cordial friends; thus he makes them fear entering because they would not be able to persevere. This was precisely Albert's great concern, faced as he was with his uncle's opposition. Afterwards the young student, amazed, went to Blessed Jordan, saying: "Master, who revealed my heart to you?" And he lost no time then in entering the Order at the age of sixteen, in 1223, having heard the same preacher remark to him personally that he should consider what a pity it would be if his excellent youthful qualities became the prey of eternal fires.

When he had earned the title of Doctor in theology, he was sent to Cologne, where for a long time his reputation attracted many illustrious disciples. The humble Albert, filled with the love of God, taught also in Padua and Bologna, in Saxony, at Fribourg, Ratisbonne and Strasbourg, and when Blessed Jordan of Saxony died in 1237, he occupied his place and fulfilled his functions until 1238, when the election of his successor was held. He returned then to Cologne, where he would encounter a disciple who alone among all of them would suffice for his glory - Saint Thomas Aquinas. This young religious, already steeped in the highest theological studies, was silent among the others, to the point of being called by his fellow students "the Mute Ox of Sicily." But Albert silenced them, saying, "The bellowings of this ox will resound throughout the entire world."

From Cologne, Saint Albert was called to the University of Paris, with his dear disciple. There his genius appeared in all its brilliance, and there he composed a large number of his writings. Later, obedience took him back to Germany as Provincial of his Order. Without a murmur, he said farewell to his cell, his books, and his numerous disciples, and as Provincial thereafter journeyed with no money, always on foot, visiting the numerous monasteries under his jurisdiction, throughout an immense territory in which were included Austria, Bavaria, Saxony, and other regions even to Holland.

He was no longer young when he had to submit to the formal order of the Pope and accept, in difficult circumstances, the episcopal see of Ratisbonne; there his indefatigable zeal was rewarded only by harsh trials, in the midst of which his virtue was perfected. When, in response to his persevering requests to be relieved of the responsibilities of a large see, Pope Urban IV restored to him the conventual peace of his Order, he was nonetheless obliged to take up his apostolic journeyings again. Finally he could enter into a definitive retreat, to prepare for death. One is astonished that amid so many labors, journeys and works of zeal, Albert could find the time to write on the natural sciences, on philosophy and theology, works which form from twenty-one to thirty-eight volumes, depending on the edition - and one may ask in which of his titles he most excelled, that of scholar, of Saint, or of Apostle.

He died, apparently of fatigue, at the age of seventy-three, on November 15, 1280, and his body was buried in Cologne in the Dominican church. He had to wait until December 16, 1931 for the honors of canonization and the extension of his cult to the universal Church. Proclaiming his holiness, Pope Pius XI added the glorious title, so well merited, of Doctor of the Church. From time immemorial, he has been known as Albert the Great.


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: Abstinence
Friday, November 15, 2019

Saturday, November 16, 2019
: St. Gertrude, V
Saturday, November 16, 2019

SAINT GERTRUDE
Abbess of Eisleben
(1264-1334)

Saint Gertrude of Eisleben is the most celebrated of several Saints of the same name, and for this reason the ancient authors named her Gertrude the Great. She was born in the year 1264 of a noble Saxon family, and placed at the age of five for education with the Benedictines of Helfta. She dwelt there as a simple religious, very mistrustful of herself, under the direction of an Abbess having the same name as herself. The Abbess' sister was Saint Mechtilde of Hackeborn; and she was the mistress and friend of the young Saint Gertrude, who consulted her excellent teacher whenever she was tempted by vain and useless thoughts, or troubled by doubts suggested by the ancient enemy.

Saint Gertrude learned Latin in her youth, as in those days was customary for persons of her sex who consecrated themselves to God, and she wrote Latin with unusual elegance and force. She also had an uncommon knowledge of Holy Scripture and of all the branches of learning having religion as their object; but one day Our Lord reproached her with having too great a taste for her studies. Afterwards she could find in them nothing but bitterness; but soon Our Lord came to instruct her Himself. For many years she never lost His amiable Presence, save for eleven days when He decided to test her fidelity. Prayer and contemplation were her principal exercise, and to those she consecrated the greater part of her time.

Zeal for the salvation of souls was ardent in the heart of Gertrude. Thinking of the souls of sinners, she would shed torrents of tears at the foot of the cross and before the Blessed Sacrament. She especially loved to meditate on the Passion and the Eucharist, and at those times, too, could not restrain the tears that flowed in abundance from her eyes. When she spoke of Jesus Christ and His mysteries, she ravished those who heard her. One day while in church the Sisters were singing, I have seen the Lord face to face, Saint Gertrude beheld what appeared to be the divine Face, brilliant in beauty; His eyes pierced her heart and filled her soul and flesh with inexpressible delights. Divine love, ever the unique principle of her affections and her actions, was the principle by which she was crucified to the world and all its vanities.

She was the object of a great number of extraordinary graces; Jesus Christ engraved His wounds in the heart of His holy spouse, placed rings on her fingers, presented Himself to her in the company of His Mother, and in her spirit acted as though He had exchanged hearts with her. All these astonishing graces only developed her love for suffering. It was impossible for her to live without some kind of pain; the time she spent without suffering seemed to her to be wasted.

During the long illness of five months from which she would die, she gave not the slightest sign of impatience or sadness; her joy, on the contrary, increased with her pains. When the day of her death arrived in 1334, she saw the Most Blessed Virgin descend from heaven to assist her, and one of her Sisters perceived her soul going straight to the Heart of Jesus, which opened to receive it. Saint Gertrude is one of the great mystics of the Church; the book of her Revelations, recorded out of obedience, remains celebrated. In it she traces in words of indescribable beauty the intimate converse of her soul with Jesus and Mary. She was gentle to all, most gentle to sinners; filled with devotion to the Saints of God, to the souls in purgatory, and above all to the Passion of Our Lord and to His Sacred Heart.

Reflection: No preparation for death can be better than to offer and resign ourselves constantly to the Divine Will, humbly, lovingly, and with unbounded confidence in the infinite mercy and goodness of God.


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Sunday, November 17, 2019
Sunday, November 17, 2019

: St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, EC
Sunday, November 17, 2019

SAINT GREGORY THAUMATURGE
Bishop, confessor
(270)

Saint Gregory was born in the Pont, of distinguished parents who were still engaged in the superstitions of paganism. He lost his father at the age of fourteen, and began to reflect on the folly of idolatry's fables. He recognized the unity of God and was becoming disposed to accept the truths of Christianity. His father had destined him for the legal profession, in which the art of oratory is very necessary, and in this pursuit he was succeeding very well, having learned Latin. He was counseled to apply himself to Roman law.

Gregory and his brother Athenodorus, later to be a bishop like himself, had a sister living in Palestine at Caesarea. Not far from that city was a school of law, and in Caesarea itself, another which the famous Origen had opened in the year 231 and in which he was teaching philosophy. The two brothers heard Origen there, and that master discovered in them a remarkable capacity for knowledge, and more important still, rare dispositions for virtue. He strove to inspire love for truth in them and an ardent desire to attain greater knowledge and the possession of the Supreme Good; and the two brothers soon put aside their intentions to study law. Gregory studied also in Alexandria for three years, after a persecution drove his master, Origen, from Palestine, but returned there with the famous exegete in 238. He was then baptized, and in the presence of a large audience delivered a speech in which he testified to his gratitude towards his teacher, praising his methods, and thanking God for so excellent a professor.

When he returned to his native city of Neocaesarea in the Pont, his friends urged him to seek high positions, but Gregory desired to retire into solitude and devote himself to prayer. For a time he did so, often changing his habitation, because the archbishop of the region desired to make him Bishop of Neocaesarea. Eventually he was obliged to consent. That city was very prosperous, and the inhabitants were corrupted by paganism. Saint Gregory, with Christian zeal and charity, and with the aid of the gift of miracles which he had received, began to attempt every means to bring them to the light of Christ. As he lay awake one night an elderly man entered his room, and pointed to a Lady of superhuman beauty who accompanied him, radiant with heavenly light. This elderly man was Saint John the Evangelist, and the Lady of Light was the Mother of God. She told Saint John to give Gregory the instruction he desired; thereupon he gave Saint Gregory a creed which contained in all its plenitude the doctrine of the Trinity. Saint Gregory consigned it to writing, directed all his preaching by it, and handed it down to his successors. This creed later preserved his flock from the Arian heresy.

He converted a pagan priest one day, when the latter requested a miracle, and a very large rock moved to another location at his command. The pagan priest abandoned all things to follow Christ afterwards. One day the bishop planted his staff beside the river which passed alongside the city and often ravaged it by floods. He commanded it never again to pass the limit marked by his staff, and in the time of Saint Gregory of Nyssa, who wrote of his miracles nearly a hundred years later, it had never done so. The bishop settled a conflict which was about to cause bloodshed between two brothers, when he prayed all night beside the lake whose possession they were disputing. It dried up and the miracle ended the difficulty.

When the persecution of Decius began in 250, the bishop counseled his faithful to depart and not expose themselves to trials perhaps too severe for their faith; and none fell into apostasy. He himself retired to a desert, and when he was pursued was not seen by the soldiers. On a second attempt they found him praying with his companion, the converted pagan priest, now a deacon; they had mistaken them the first time for trees. The captain of the soldiers was convinced this had been a miracle, and became a Christian to join him. Some of his Christians were captured, among them Saint Troadus the martyr, who merited the grace of dying for the Faith. The persecution ended at the death of the emperor in 251.

It is believed that Saint Gregory died in the year 270, on the 17th of November. Before his death he asked how many pagans still remained in the city, and was told there were only seventeen. He thanked God for the graces He had bestowed on the population, for when he arrived, there had been only seventeen Christians.

Reflection: Devotion to the blessed Mother of God is the sure guarantee of faith in Her Divine Son. Every time we invoke Her, we renew our faith in the Incarnate God, we reverse the sin and unbelief of our first parents, and we establish communion with the One who was blessed because She believed.


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Monday, November 18, 2019
: Dedication of the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, App
Monday, November 18, 2019

DEDICATION of the BASILICAS
of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

The ancient basilica of Saint Peter stood, like the present one, on the hill of Rome called in Latin Mons Vaticanus, at the northwestern extremity of the city, on the right bank of the Tiber. What we call the Vatican is a Roman palace, the ordinary dwelling of the Pope. Near the Lateran palace where the early Popes dwelt, which was itself built by Constantine the Great or Saint Liberius, Constantine built on the same hill, over the tomb of Saint Peter called the Confession, the Church of the first Vicar of Christ, where once a Roman circus had stood. This first Christian emperor placed there a plaque to honor Saint Peter, on which he had inscribed:

Because the world under your guidance has risen triumphant to the very heavens, Constantine, victorious, has built this temple to your glory.

The Divine Office for this day narrates its origins as follows:

"The Emperor Constantine the Great, on the eighth day after his baptism, after deposing the diadem and prostrating himself, shed a great many tears; then taking up a pick and a shovel, he dug into the soil and drew out twelve loads of earth in honor of the twelve Apostles, thereby designating the site of the basilica he desired to build to honor their Prince. This basilica was dedicated by Pope Saint Sylvester on the fourteenth day of the calendes of December, just as on the fifth of the ides of November he had consecrated the Church of the Lateran, but here he did so by raising a stone altar which he anointed with sacred chrism... When the old Vatican basilica became decrepit, it was rebuilt, through the piety of several Pontiffs, on the same foundations but larger and more magnificent. And in the year 1626, on this same day, Urban VII solemnly consecrated it."

As during the earliest centuries, still today from all corners of the world Christians go to venerate the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles.

The tomb of Saint Paul is on the Ostian Way, at the southern extremity of the city. The characters indicating the Apostle buried there, which clearly date from the epoch of Constantine, are engraved in the marble which closes the sarcophagus: PAULO APOSTOLO ET MARTYRI.

"On the same day, Saint Sylvester dedicated the Basilica of Saint Paul the Apostle which the emperor Constantine had also built with magnificence on the Ostian Way, enriching this one, too, with revenues, ornaments and valuable gifts. In the year 1823, a violent fire totally consumed this Basilica, but it was raised again, more beautiful than before, by the persevering zeal of four Pontiffs, who recovered it from its ruins. Pius IX chose for the time of its consecration the blessed occasion of the definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which he had just proclaimed, and which had drawn to Rome from the farthest places of the Catholic world, a number of Bishops and Cardinals. It was on the 10th day of December in 1854, that amid this beautiful crown of prelates and princes of the Church, he carried out the solemn dedication, and fixed its annual commemoration for the present day." (November 18)

Thus the city is laid out between the two pillars of the Church, the two Apostles who from Rome made the Word of God resound throughout the entire world.


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Tuesday, November 19, 2019
: St. Elizabeth, Vid
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

SAINT ELIZABETH of HUNGARY
Widow
(1207-1231)

Elizabeth was the daughter of the just and pious Andrew II, king of Hungary, the niece of Saint Hedwig, and the sister of the virtuous Bela IV, king of Hungary, who became the father of Saint Cunegundes and of Saint Margaret of Hungary, a Dominican nun. Another of her brothers was Coloman, King of Galicia and prince of Russia, who led an angelic life amid the multiple affairs of the world and the troubles of war.

She was betrothed in infancy to Louis, Landgrave of Thuringia, and brought up from the age of four in his father's court. Never could she bear to adopt the ornaments of the court for her own usage, and she took pleasure only in prayer. She would remove her royal crown when she entered the church, saying she was in the presence of the Saviour who wore a crown of thorns. As she grew older, she employed the jewels offered her for the benefit of the poor. Not content with receiving numbers of them daily in her palace, and relieving all in distress, she built several hospitals, where she herself served the sick, bathing them, feeding them, dressing their wounds and ulcers. The relatives of her fiancé tried to prevent the marriage, saying she was fit only for a cloister; but the young prince said he would not accept gold in the quantity of a nearby mountain, if it were offered him to abandon his resolution to marry Elizabeth.

Once as she was carrying in the folds of her mantle some provisions for the poor, she met her husband returning from the hunt. Astonished to see her bending under the weight of her burden, he opened the mantle and found in it nothing but beautiful red and white roses, though it was not the season for flowers. He told her to continue on her way, and took one of the marvelous roses, which he conserved all his life. She never ceased to edify him in all of her works. One of her twelve excellent Christian maxims, by which she regulated all her conduct was, "Often recall that you are the work of the hands of God and act accordingly, in such a way as to be eternally with Him."

When her pious young husband died in Sicily on his way to a Crusade with the Emperor Frederick, she was cruelly driven from her palace by her brother-in-law. Those whom she had aided showed nothing but coldness for her; God was to purify His Saint by harsh tribulations. She was forced to wander through the streets with her little children, a prey to hunger and cold. The bishop of Bamberg, her maternal uncle, finally forced the cruel prince to ask pardon for his ill treatment of her, but she voluntarily renounced the grandeurs of the world, and went to live in a small house she had prepared in the city of Marburgh. There she practiced the greatest austerities. She welcomed all her sufferings, and continued to be the mother of the poor, distributing all of the heritage eventually conceded to her, and converting many by her holy life. She died in 1231, at the age of twenty-four.

Reflection: This young and delicate princess made herself the servant and nurse of the poor. Let her example teach us to disregard the opinions of the world and to overcome our natural hesitation, in order to serve Christ in the person of His poor.


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Wednesday, November 20, 2019
: St. Felix of Valois, C
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

SAINT FELIX of VALOIS
Founder
(1127-1212)

Saint Felix was the son of the Count of Valois. His mother carried him to Saint Bernard at his monastery of Clairvaux, to offer him there to God, when he was three years old; she kept him, however, under her own care and took particular care of him, permitting him, still young, to distribute the alms she was pleased to give to the poor. When the exiled Pope Innocent II sought refuge in France, the Count of Valois, father of Felix, offered his castle of Crepy to the Pontiff, who often blessed the young child whom he saw being trained in virtue. One day when Felix gave away his own habits to a poor beggar, he found them that evening neatly laid on his bed; and he thanked God for this sign of His divine goodness, proving that one loses nothing when one gives to the poor.

When he was ten years old he obtained grace for a prisoner condemned to death, by means of his prayer and his pleadings with his uncle, a lord of whom the man was the subject. Felix had a presentiment that this man would become a saint; and in fact, he retired into a deep solitude where he undertook severe penance and died the death of the just.

The unfortunate divorce of the parents of Felix, and the excommunication of his father, who had remarried and whose condemnation raised serious troubles on his domains, caused to mature in the young man a long-formed resolution to leave the world. Confiding his mother to her pious brother, Thibault, Count of Champagne, Felix took the Cistercian habit at Clairvaux. His rare virtues drew on him an admiration such that, with Saint Bernard's consent, he fled from it to Italy, where he began to live an austere life with an aged hermit in the Alps. For this purpose he had departed secretly, and the servants his uncle sent believed him dead, being unable to trace him; they published the rumor of his death. About this time the old hermit procured the ordination of his disciple as a priest.

After his elderly counselor died in his arms, Saint Felix returned to France. He built a cell in the diocese of Meaux in an uninhabited forest; this place was later named Cerfroid. Amid savage beasts he led an angelic life of perpetual fasting. Here God inspired him with the desire of founding an Order for the redemption of Christian captives. The Lord also moved Saint John of Matha, a young nobleman of Provence, to seek out the hermit and join him. The two applied themselves to the practice of all virtues. It was John who overtly proposed to Saint Felix the project of an Order for the redemption of captives, when his preceptor was already seventy years old. The latter gladly offered himself to God for that purpose, and after praying for three days the two solitaries made a pilgrimage to Rome in the middle of winter. They were kindly received by the Pope, after he read the recommendation which the Bishop of Paris had given them. He too prayed and became convinced that the two Saints were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and he gave his approbation to the Trinitarian Order.

Within forty years the Order would have six hundred monasteries. Saint John, who was Superior General, left to Saint Felix the direction of the convents in France, exercised from the monastery which the founders had built at Cerfroid. There Saint Felix died in November of 1212, at the age of eighty-five, only about six weeks before his younger co-founder. It is a constant tradition in the Trinitarian Order that Saint Felix and Saint John were canonized by Urban IV in 1260, though no bull has ever been found. In 1219 already the feast of Saint Felix was kept in the entire diocese of Meaux. In 1666 Alexander VI declared that veneration of the servant of God was "immemorial."


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Thursday, November 21, 2019
: Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Thursday, November 21, 2019

THE PRESENTATION
of the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to God, His divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some among the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the priests in the Temple, to be brought up in quarters attached to the Temple, attending the priests and Levites in their sacred ministry. There were special divisions in these lodgings for the women and children dedicated to the divine service. (III Kings 6:5-9) We have examples of this special consecration of children in the person of Samuel, for example. Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem. It is very probable that the holy prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who witnessed the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, as we read in the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke (verses 25 ff.) had known His Mother as a little girl in the Temple and observed her truly unique sanctity.

It is an ancient and very trustworthy tradition that the Blessed Virgin was thus solemnly offered in the Temple to God at the age of three by Her parents, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim. The Gospel tells us nothing of the childhood of Mary; Her title Mother of God, eclipses all the rest. Where, better than in the Temple, could Mary be prepared for Her mission? Twelve years of recollection and prayer, contemplation and sufferings, were the preparation of the chosen one of God. The tender soul of Mary was adorned with the most precious graces and became an object of astonishment and praise for the holy Angels, as well as of the highest complacency for the adorable Trinity. The Father looked upon Her as His beloved Daughter, the Son as One set apart and prepared to become His Mother, and the Holy Ghost as His undefiled Spouse.

Here is how Mary's day in the Temple was apportioned, according to Saint Jerome. From dawn until nine in the morning, She prayed; from 9:00 until 3:00 She applied Herself to manual work; then She turned again to prayer. She was always the first to undertake night watches, the One most applied to study, the most fervent in the chanting of Psalms, the most zealous in works of charity, the purest among the virgins, Her companions, the most perfect in the practice of every virtue. On this day She appears as the standard-bearer for Christian virginity: after Her will come countless legions of virgins consecrated to the Lord, both in the shadow of the altars or engaged in the charitable occupations of the Church in the world. Mary will be their eternal Model, their dedicated Patroness, their sure guide on the paths of perfection.

Reflection: The consecration of Mary to God presented all the conditions of the most perfect sacrifice: it was prompt, generous, joyous, unregretted, without reservation. How agreeable it must have been to God! May our consecration of ourselves to God be made under Her patronage, assisted by Her powerful intercession and united with Her ineffable merits.



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Friday, November 22, 2019
: St. Cecilia, VM
Friday, November 22, 2019

SAINT CECILIA
Virgin, Martyr
(177)

It is under the emperor Alexander Severus that this young Saint, one of the most fragrant flowers of Christian virginity and martyrdom, suffered for the Faith she had chosen; to choose it was at that moment as certain an end to earthly felicity as it is a guarantee, at every epoch, of the eternal felicity of those who remain faithful to it. Cecilia was the daughter of an illustrious patrician, and was the only Christian of her family; she was permitted to attend the reunions held in the catacombs by the Christians, either through her parents' condescension or out of indifference. She continually kept a copy of the holy Gospel hidden under her clothing over her heart. Her parents obliged her, however, despite her vow of virginity, which most probably they knew nothing of, to marry the young Valerian, whom she esteemed as noble and good, but who was still pagan.

During the evening of the wedding day, with the music of the nuptial feast still in the air, Cecilia, this intelligent, beautiful, and noble Roman maiden, renewed her vow. When the new spouses found themselves alone, she gently said to Valerian, "Dear friend, I have a secret to confide to you, but will you promise me to keep it?" He promised her solemnly that nothing would ever make him reveal it, and she continued, "Listen: an Angel of God watches over me, for I belong to God. If he sees that you would approach me under the influence of a sensual love, his anger will be inflamed, and you will succumb to the blows of his vengeance. But if you love me with a perfect love and conserve my virginity inviolable, he will love you as he loves me, and will lavish on you, too, his favors." Valerian replied that if he might see this Angel, he would certainly correspond to her wishes, and Cecilia answered, "Valerian, if you consent to be purified in the fountain which wells up eternally; if you will believe in the unique, living and true God who reigns in heaven, you will be able to see the Angel." And to his questions concerning this water and who might bestow it, she directed him to a certain holy old man named Urban.

That holy Pontiff rejoiced exceedingly when Valerian came to him the same night, to be instructed and baptized; his long prayer touched the young man greatly, and he too rejoiced with an entirely new joy in his new-found and veritable faith, so far above the religion of the pagans. He returned to his house, and on entering the room where Cecilia had continued to pray for the remainder of the night, he saw the Angel waiting, with two crowns of roses and lilies, which he would place on the head of each of them. Cecilia understood at once that if the lilies symbolized their virginity, the roses foretold for them both the grace of martyrdom. Valerian was told he might ask any grace at all of God, who was very pleased with him; and he requested that his brother Tiburtius might also receive the grace he had obtained; and the conversion of Tiburtius soon afterwards became a reality.

The two brothers, who were very wealthy, began to aid the families which had lost their support through the martyrdom of the fathers, spouses, and sons; they saw to the burial of the Christians, and continually braved the same fate as these victims. In effect they were soon captured, and their testimony was such as to convert a young officer chosen to conduct them to the site of their martyrdom. He succeeded in delaying it for a day, and took them to his house, where before the day was ended he had decided to receive Baptism with his entire family and household. The two brothers offered their heads to the sword; and soon afterward the officer they had won for Christ followed them to the eternal divine kingdom. It was Cecilia who saw to the burial of all three martyrs. She then distributed to the poor all the valuable objects of her house, in order that the property of Valerian might not be confiscated according to current Roman law, and knowing that her own time was close at hand.

She was soon arrested and arraigned, but having asked a delay after her interrogation, she assembled those who had heard her with admiration and instructed them in the faith; the Pontiff Urban baptized a large number of them. The death appointed for her was suffocation by steam. Saint Cecilia remained unharmed and calm, for a day and a night, in the calderium, or place of hot baths, in her own palace, despite a fire heated to seven times its ordinary violence. Finally, an executioner was sent to dispatch her by the sword; he struck with trembling hand the three blows which the law allowed, and left her still alive. For two days and nights Cecilia would lie with her head half severed, on the pavement of her bath, fully sensible and joyfully awaiting her crown. When her neophytes came to bury her after the departure of the executioner, they found her alive and smiling. They surrounded her there, not daring to touch her, for three days, having collected the precious blood from her wounds. On the third day, after the holy Pontiff Urban had come to bless her, the agony ended, and in the year 177 the virgin Saint gave back her glorious soul to Christ. It was the Supreme Pontiff who presided at her funeral; she was placed in a coffin in the position in which she had lain, as we often see her pictured, and interred in the vault prepared by Saint Callixtus for the Church's pontiffs. The authentic acts of her life and martyrdom were prepared by Pope Anteros in the year 235. When the tomb was opened in 1599 her body was entirely intact still.


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: Abstinence
Friday, November 22, 2019

Saturday, November 23, 2019
: St. Clement I, PM
Saturday, November 23, 2019

SAINT CLEMENT I of ROME
Pope and Martyr
(100)

Saint Clement is a Roman of noble birth, the son of the Senator Faustinian. Saint Paul speaks of him in his Epistle to the Philippians, chapter 4, assuring that Clement had worked with him in the ministry of the Gospel, and that his name was written in the Book of Life. Later Saint Clement was consecrated bishop by Saint Peter himself. He succeeded in the supreme office to Saint Linus, the immediate successor to Saint Peter, and the Liber Pontificalis says that "he reigned nine years, two months and ten days, from 67 to 76, ...until the reign of Vespasian and Titus."

It was, we may say, with the words of the Apostles still resounding in his ears that he began to rule the Church of God; he was among the first, as he was among the most illustrious, in the long line of those who have held the place and power of Peter. Living at the same time and in the same city with Domitian, persecutor of the Church, and having to face not only external foes but to contend with schism and rebellion from within, his days were not tranquil. The Corinthian Church was torn by intestine strife, and its members were defying the authority of their clergy. It was then that Saint Clement intervened in the plenitude of his apostolic authority, and sent his famous Epistle to the Corinthians. He reminded them of the duties of charity, and above all of submission to the clergy. He did not speak in vain; peace and order were restored. Saint Clement had done his work on earth, and shortly after sealed with his blood the Faith which he had learned from Peter and taught to the nations.


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Sunday, November 24, 2019
Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

: St. John of the Cross, CD
Sunday, November 24, 2019

SAINT JOHN of the CROSS
Doctor of the Church
(1542-1591)

Saint John of the Cross was born near Avila in Spain. As a child, he was playing near a pond one day. He slid into the depths of the water, but came up unharmed and did not sink again. A tall and beautiful Lady came to offer him Her hand. "No," said the child, "You are too beautiful; my hand will dirty Yours." Then an elderly gentleman appeared on the shore and extended his staff to the child to bring him to shore. These two were Mary and Joseph. Another time he fell into a well, and it was expected he would be retrieved lifeless. But he was seated and waiting peacefully. "A beautiful lady," he said, "took me into Her cloak and sheltered me." Thus John grew up under the gaze of Mary.

One day he was praying Our Lord to make known his vocation to him, and an interior voice said to him: "You will enter a religious Order, whose primitive fervor you will restore." He was twenty-one years old when he entered Carmel, and although he concealed his exceptional works, he outshone all his brethren. He dwelt in an obscure corner whose window opened upon the chapel, opposite the Most Blessed Sacrament. He wore around his waist an iron chain full of sharp points, and over it a tight vestment made of reeds joined by large knots. His disciplines were so cruel that his blood flowed in abundance. The priesthood only redoubled his desire for perfection. He thought of going to bury his existence in the Carthusian solitude, when Saint Teresa, whom God enlightened as to his merit, made him the confidant of her projects for the reform of Carmel and asked him to be her auxiliary.

John retired alone to a poor and inadequate dwelling and began a new kind of life, conformed with the primitive Rules of the Order of Carmel. Shortly afterwards two companions came to join him; the reform was founded. It was not without storms that it developed, for hell seemed to rage and labor against it, and if the people venerated John as a Saint, he had to accept, from those who should have seconded him, incredible persecutions, insults, calumnies, and even prison. When Our Lord told him He was pleased with him, and asked him what reward he wished, the humble religious replied: "To suffer and to be scorned for You." His reform, though approved by the General of the Order, was rejected by the older friars, who condemned the Saint as a fugitive and an apostate and cast him into prison, from which he only escaped, after nine months' suffering, with the help of Heaven and at the risk of his life. He took refuge with the Carmelite nuns for a time, saying his experience in prison had been an extraordinary grace for him. Twice again, before his death, he was shamefully persecuted by his brethren, and publicly disgraced.

When he fell ill, he was given a choice of monasteries to which he might go; he chose the one governed by a religious whom he had once reprimanded and who could never pardon him for it. In effect, he was left untended most of the time, during his last illness. But at his death the room was filled with a marvelous light, and his unhappy Prior recognized his error, and that he had mistreated a Saint. After a first exhumation of his remains, they were found intact; many others followed, the last one in 1955. The body was at that time found to be entirely moist and flexible still.

Saint John wrote spiritual books of sublime elevation. A book printed in 1923 which has now become famous, authored by a Dominican theologian,* justly attributed to Saint John and to Saint Thomas Aquinas, whom the Carmelite Saint followed, the indisputable foundations for exact ascetic and mystical theology. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1926 by Pope Pius XI.


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Monday, November 25, 2019
: St. Catherine of Alexandria, VM
Monday, November 25, 2019

SAINT CATHERINE of ALEXANDRIA
Virgin, Martyr
Patroness of Students and Young Girls
( Fourth Century)

Catherine was a noble virgin of Alexandria, born in the fourth century. Before her Baptism, she saw in a dream the Blessed Virgin asking Her Son to receive her among His servants, but the Divine Infant turned away, saying she was not yet regenerated by the waters of Baptism. She made haste to receive that sacrament, and afterwards, when the dream was repeated, Catherine saw that the Saviour received her with great affection, and espoused her before the court of heaven, with a fine ring. She woke with it on her finger.

She had a very active intelligence, fit for all matters, and she undertook the study of philosophy and theology. At that time there were schools in Alexandria for the instruction of Christians, where excellent Christian scholars taught. She made great progress and became able to sustain the truths of our religion against even very subtle sophists. At that time Maximinus II was sharing the empire with Constantine the Great and Licinius, and had as his district Egypt; and this cruel Christian-hater ordinarily resided in Alexandria, capital of the province. He announced a gigantic pagan sacrifice, such that the very air would be darkened with the smoke of the bulls and sheep immolated on the altars of the gods. Catherine before this event strove to strengthen the Christians against the fatal lures, repeating that the oracles vaunted by the infidels were pure illusion, originating in the depths of the lower regions.

She foresaw that soon it would be the Christians' turn to be immolated, when they refused to participate in the ceremonies. She therefore went to the emperor himself, asking to speak with him, and her singular beauty and majestic air won an audience for her. She said to him that it was a strange thing that he should by his example attract so many peoples to such an abominable cult. By his high office he was obliged to turn them away from it, since reason itself shows us that there can be only one sovereign Being, the first principle of all else. She begged him to cease so great a disorder by giving the true God the honor due Him, lest he reap the wages of his indifference in this life already, as well as in the next. The consequences of her hardy act extended over a certain time; he decided to call in fifty sophists of his suite, to bring back this virgin from her errors. A large audience assembled to hear the debate; the emperor sat on his throne with his entire court, dissimulating his rage.

Catherine began by saying she was surprised that he obliged her to face, alone, fifty individuals, but she asked the grace of him, that if the true God she adored rendered her victorious, he would adopt her religion and renounce the cult of the demons. He was not pleased and replied that it was not for her to lay down conditions for the discussion. The head of the sophists began the orations and reprimanded her for opposing the authority of poets, orators and philosophers, who unanimously had revered Jupiter, Juno, Neptune, Minerva and others. He cited their writings, and said she should consider that these persons were far anterior to this new religion she was following. She listened carefully before answering, then spoke, showing that the ridiculous fables which Homer, Orpheus and other poets had invented concerning their divinities, and the fact that many offered a cult to them, as well as the abominable crimes attributed to them, proved them to be gods only in the opinion of the untutored and credulous. And then she proved that the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures had clearly announced the time and the circumstances of the life of the future Saviour, and that these were now fulfilled. Prodigy; the head of the sophists avowed that she was entirely correct and renounced his errors; the others said they could not oppose their chief. Maximinus had them put to death by fire, but the fire did not consume their remains. Thus they died as Christians, receiving the Baptism of blood.

The story of Saint Catherine continues during the time of the emperor's efforts to persuade her to marry him; he put to death his converted wife and the captain of his guards who had received Baptism with two hundred of his soldiers. He delivered Catherine up to prison and then to tortures as a result of her firmness in refusing his overtures. The famous wheel of Saint Catherine - in reality several interacting wheels - which he invented to torment her, was furnished with sharp razor blades and sharp points of iron; all who saw it trembled. But as soon as it was set in movement it was miraculously disjointed and broken into pieces, and these pieces flew in all directions and wounded the spectators. The barbaric emperor finally commanded that she be decapitated; and she offered her neck to the executioner, after praying that her mortal remains would be respected.

The story of Saint Catherine continues with the discovery of the intact body of a young and beautiful girl on Mount Sinai in the ninth century, that is, four centuries later. The Church, in the Collect of her feast day, bears witness to the transport of her body. A number of proofs testified to the identity of her mortal remains found in the region of the famous monastery existing on that mountain since the fifth century. Her head is today conserved in Rome.

Reflection: The constancy displayed by the Saints in their glorious martyrdom cannot be isolated from their previous lives, but is their logical sequence. If we wish to emulate their perseverance, let us first imitate their fidelity to grace.


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Tuesday, November 26, 2019
: St. Silvester, Ab
Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Wednesday, November 27, 2019
: Feria
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thursday, November 28, 2019
: Feria
Thursday, November 28, 2019

Friday, November 29, 2019
: St. Saturnius, EM
Friday, November 29, 2019

SAINT SATURNINUS
Bishop and Martyr
(ca. 70 A.D.)

Saint Saturninus was a contemporary and a disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ; he came to Palestine from Greece, attracted by the reputation of Saint John the Baptist, which had echoed even to the northern Mediterranean region. He then followed our Saviour, heard His teaching, and was a witness to many of His miracles. He was present in the Cenacle when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost upon the Mother of Christ, the Apostles and Disciples assembled in the number of 120. (Acts of the Apostles 1:15) He departed to teach Christianity under Saint Peter's authority, evangelizing the lands east of Palestine, and going as far as the region of the Persians and Medes and their neighboring provinces. He cured the sick, the lepers, and the paralytics and delivered souls from the demons; and before he left, he gave written instructions to the new Christians concerning what they should believe and practice.

When Saint Saturninus went with Saint Peter to Rome, the Apostle was inspired to send out a number of fervent evangelists to the West, to dissipate by the light of Christ the darkness in which those regions were still plunged. Saturninus was directed to go to what is now southern France, to Toulouse in particular. Saint Peter consecrated him a bishop, that he might form and ordain native priests for the future Christian churches of Gaul. He was given for his companion Papulus, later to become Saint Papulus the Martyr.

The two companions acquired at Nimes an ardent assistant in the person of Honestus. At Carcassonne, when the three announced Christ they were thrown into a prison, where they suffered from hunger; but an Angel was sent by the Lord to deliver them, and they continued on their way to Toulouse, preaching the doctrine and the name of Christ publicly. At this large and opulent city, where idolatry was entrenched, the idols became mute when the missionaries arrived. This caused great astonishment, and the cause of the silence was sought. Saint Saturninus in the meantime was working miracles which produced a strong impression on the witnesses; among them, the cure of a woman with advanced leprosy. The sign of the cross which he made over crowds often cured many sick persons at the same time, and he then baptized those who showed themselves ready for the sacrament. For a time he left his two disciples there and continued on elsewhere, preaching in the cities of what are now Auch and Eauze. A Spaniard heard of him and crossed the Pyrenees to hear him; this man, by the name of Paternus, advanced so rapidly on the paths of virtue that Saint Saturninus ordained him and then established him bishop of Eauze. He himself returned to Toulouse and sent Honestus to Spain to preach. When the latter returned to ask him to come with him to Spain, he left his disciple Papulus in charge for a time at Toulouse.

At Pampeluna his preaching brought thousands to the truth, delivering these former idolaters from the heavy yoke of the ancient enemy. While he continued his apostolic labors elsewhere, in Toulouse a persecution broke out against Papulus, and the faithful Christian obtained the crown of martyrdom by a violent death. At once Saint Saturnin returned to Toulouse, when he learned of it.

The idols again became mute. One day a great multitude was gathered near a pagan altar, where a bull stood ready for the sacrifice. A man in the crowd pointed out Saturninus, who was passing by, as the cause of the silence. "There is the one who preaches everywhere that our temples must be torn down, and who dares to call our gods devils! It is his presence that imposes silence on our oracles!" He was chained and dragged to the summit of the capitol, situated on a high hill, and commanded to offer sacrifice to the idols and cease to preach Jesus Christ. An Angel appeared to him to fortify him, and the terrible flagellation he endured could not alter his firmness. "I know only one God, the only true one; to Him alone I will offer sacrifice on the altar of my heart... How can I fear gods who you yourselves say are afraid of me?" He was tied by a rope to the bull, which was driven down the stairs leading to the capitol. His skull was broken, and the Saint entered into the beatitude of the unceasing vision of God. His body was taken up and buried by two devout young women. Tradition conserved the memory of the place of his burial, where later a church was built.

Reflection: When beset by the temptations of the devil, let us call upon the Saints, who reign with Christ. They were powerful during their lives against the devil and his angels. They are more powerful now that they have passed from the Church on earth to the Church triumphant.


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: Abstinence
Friday, November 29, 2019

Saturday, November 30, 2019
: St. Andrew, Ap
Saturday, November 30, 2019

SAINT ANDREW
Apostle
( First century)

Saint Andrew was one of the fishermen of Bethsaida, and was the brother of Saint Peter. He became a disciple of Saint John the Baptist. When called himself by Christ on the banks of the Jordan, his first thought was to go in search of his brother, and he said to Peter, "We have found the Messiah!" and brought him to Jesus.

It was Saint Andrew who, when Christ wished to feed the five thousand in the desert, pointed out a little lad with five loaves and a few fishes. After Pentecost, Saint Andrew went forth upon his mission to plant the Faith in Scythia and Greece and, at the end of years of toil, to win a martyr's crown at Patrae in Achaia. When Saint Andrew first caught sight of the gibbet on which he was to die, he greeted the precious wood with joy. "O good cross!" he cried, "made beautiful by the limbs of Christ, so long desired, now so happily found! Receive me into thy arms and present me to my Master, that He who redeemed me through thee may now accept me from thee!" After suffering a cruel scourging he was left, bound by cords, to die upon this diagonal cross. For two whole days the martyr remained hanging on it, alive, preaching with outstretched arms from this chair of truth, to all who came near, and entreating them not to hinder his passion.

Reflection: If we would do good to others, we must, like Saint Andrew, receive our cross with loving gratitude and not desire to be separated from it, until God so wills. To "take up our cross" is Jesus' command; are we perhaps dragging ours?


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