Sixth Day: Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Mother of God
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young by your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God! (Psalms 84:2-4)
The Eucharist and the Mother of God were objects of Dominic’s special devotion. Before the tabernacle he spent his nights, finding there rest after his labours; and arriving weary and foot sore from a journey, he always visited the Blessed Sacrament before refreshing his body. However much fatigued, he always celebrated Mass and if possible sang it. During the celebration of Mass tears were often seen flowing down his face, moving all to devotion.
Of God’s Mother he was always an ardent and reverent lover. His life, his work, his Order were placed under her protection, and he invoked her in every difficulty and danger. He began the custom of saying the Hail Mary before preaching. The Blessed Mother filled him with heavenly favors, watched over him with motherly care and gave him the habit of his Order. A tradition cherished in his Order and supported by the testimonies of many popes, ascribes to him the first teaching of devotion to the recitation of the Rosary. His disciples were called “Friars of Mary” and have carried her Rosary and scapular to the uttermost parts of the earth.
I myself am the bread of life. No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me shall ever thirst. (John 6:35)
I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come to me, all you that desire me, and be filled with my goodness. (Sirach 24: 18; John 14:6)
Pray for us, blessed father, St. Dominic, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
O most blessed father, St. Dominic,
who loved our Lord Jesus Christ
in the most perfect manner
and served Mary, His Virgin Mother,
with most fervent devotion,
pray for us, your children,
that we may ever grow in love
of the Sacrament of the Altar,
and that, next to God,
we may at all times trust in the protection
of the Queen of Heaven,
so that at the hour of death
we may be received by her into heaven
and ever abide under the mantle of her love.
We pray that we may grow
in love and devotion
for our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist
and attach ourselves, with unfailing confidence,
to His Holy Mother’s protection.
We ask too Holy St Dominic,
that our prayers and yours,
may draw back those
who have lapsed from the one, true faith
and for this our special intention …
(make your request)
Through Christ our Lord. Amen
The Transfiguration of the Lord is one shining moment in the life of the apostles that prepares them for the trials ahead. Peter, James and John experience the glory in the mountain of Transfiguration.
This is a foretaste of the glory that will be theirs in the Father’s kingdom
and it will help them survive with courage the “terrible” days when Jesus undergoes His passion and death
and when they themselves are persecuted in His name.
Let us Pray:
upon the mountaintop
You let the light of Your face
shine over Moses and Elijah.
Peter, James and John.
Shine Your Face upon Your Church,
that we may persevered with courage
and zeal to live for the glory of Your Kingdom.
We ask You too to bless Your people
who call on Your name,
as they strive to reach You
in Your kingdom of light and life. Amen
When Pope Benedict XVI announced a special Year for Priests to be observed in the Church (June 19, 2009 — June 19, 2010), he noted that the timing was not arbitrary. The year coincides, he said, with the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, “a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ’s flock.”
It is, therefore, appropriate that we pray for all our priests today:
Gracious and loving God, we thank your for the gift of our priests. Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.
Help our priests to be strong in their vocation. Set their souls on fire with love for your people.
Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.
Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel. Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.
Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.
The people were careless about practicing their faith, so they were not happy with this priest who was eager to draw them back to God and Christian living. Some caused trouble by lying about John, by acting violently against him and by refusing to cooperate with him. They hoped that he would give up and leave. Instead, Father Vianney increased his prayers, fasting, and penances.
Gradually, people came to celebrate the sacraments and listen to his homilies. Within a few years, Father Vianney was spending 10–16 hours a day in the confessional. People from all over France and other countries came to consult him. The government built a railroad line to Ars to accommodate all the pilgrims. Father Vianney just continued his hard, yet simple, way of prayer, fasting and penance. He was strict with his parishioners but a hundred times stricter with himself. John gave away his furnishings, his belongings and the gifts of clothes and food that the neighbours brought him. Once he received a black velvet cape as an award and sold it to buy food for those who were poor.
Indifference toward religion, coupled with a love for material comfort, seem to be common signs of our times. A person from another planet observing us would not likely judge us to be pilgrim people, on our way to somewhere else. St John Vianney on the other hand, was a man on a journey, with his goal before him at all times – if he could overcome all obstacles, so can we!
“You must accept your cross. If you bear it courageously, it will carry you to heaven.”
“Here is the rule for everyday life. Do not do anything which you cannot offer to God.”
“The priest is not a priest for himself – he is for you. After God, the priest is everything.”
“It is by battles against hell and by resistance to temptations, that we give God proofs of our love.”
“His look rests on you alone.”
“The sign of the cross is the most terrible weapon against the devil. Thus the Church wishes not only, that we have it continually in front of our minds, to recall to us just what our souls are worth and what they cost Jesus Christ but also that we should make it at every juncture ourselves: when we go to bed, when we awaken during the night, when we get up, when we begin any action, and, above all, when we are tempted.”
“The Devil writes down our sins – our Guardian Angel all our merits. Labour that the Guardian Angel’s book may be full and the Devil’s empty.”
Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you…..James 4:10
REFLECTION – “Humility is like a pair of scales: the lower one side falls, the higher rises the other. Let us humble ourselves like the Blessed Virgin and we shall be exalted.”………St John Vianney
PRAYER – Lord God, light of the faithful and shepherd of souls, who gave blessed John Vianney to Your Church to feed Your flock by his teaching and form them by his example, grant that by his intercession, we may keep the faith which he taught and follow in the way he walked, through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit. St John Vianney, pray for us, amen.
I love You, O my God.
My only desire is to love You, until the last breath of my life.
I love You, O infinitely loveable God
and I prefer to die loving You,
rather than to live for an instant without You.
I love You, O my God
and I desire only to go to heaven,
to have the happiness of loving You perfectly.
I love You, O my God
and my only fear is to go to hell
because one will never have the sweet solace of loving You there.
O my God, if my tongue cannot say at all times that I love You,
at least I want my heart to repeat it to You as many times as I breathe.
Ah! Do me the grace: to suffer while loving You,
to love You while suffering.
And, that when I die: I not only will love You
but experience it in my heart.
I beg You that the closer I come to my final end,
You will increase and perfect my love for You. Amen
Saint of the Day – 4 August – St Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney TOSF (1786-1859) – The Curé of Ars (Parish Priest of Ars) – Priest and Tertiary – (8 May 1786 at Dardilly, Lyons, France – 4 August 1859 at Ars, France of natural causes) His body is interred in the basilica of Ars. He was Canonised on 31 May 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Patronages – confessors, priests (proclaimed on 23 April 1929 by Pope Pius XI), Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney, Dubuque, Iowa, archdiocese of, Kamloops, British Columbia, diocese of, Kansas City, Kansas, archdiocese of, Lafayette, Louisiana, diocese of, Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, archdiocese of. St John Vianney’s body is incorrupt.
St John Vianney was born on 8 May 1786, in the French town of Dardilly, France (near Lyon) and was baptised the same day. His parents, Matthieu Vianney and his wife Marie (Belize), had six children, of whom John was the fourth. The Vianneys were devout Catholics, who helped the poor and gave hospitality to St Benedict Joseph Labre, the patron saint of tramps, who passed through Dardilly on his pilgrimage to Rome.
By 1790, the anticlerical Terror phase of the French Revolution forced many loyal priests to hide from the regime in order to carry out the sacraments in their parish. Even though to do so had been declared illegal, the Vianneys traveled to distant farms to attend Masses celebrated by priests on the run. Realising that such priests risked their lives day by day, Vianney began to look upon them as heroes. He received his First Communion catechism instructions in a private home by two nuns whose communities had been dissolved during the Revolution. He made his first communion at the age of 13 (normal in those times). During the Mass, the windows were covered so that the light of the candles could not be seen from the outside. His practice of the Faith continued in secret, especially during his preparation for confirmation.
The Catholic Church was re-established in France in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, resulting in religious peace throughout the country, culminating in a Concordat. By this time, Vianney was concerned about his future vocation and longed for an education. He was 20 when his father allowed him to leave the farm to be taught at a “presbytery-school” in the neighbouring village of Écully, conducted by the Abbé Balley. The school taught arithmetic, history, geography and Latin. Vianney struggled with school, especially with Latin, since his past education had been interrupted by the French Revolution. Only because of Vianney’s deepest desire to be a priest—and Balley’s patience—did he persevere.
St Vianney’s studies were interrupted in 1809 when he was drafted into Napoleon’s armies. He would have been exempt, as an ecclesiastical student but Napoleon had withdrawn the exemption in certain dioceses because of his need for soldiers in his fight against Spain. Two days after he had to report at Lyons, he became ill and was hospitalised, during which time his draft left without him. Once released from the hospital, on 5 January, he was sent to Roanne for another draft. He went into a church to pray and fell behind the group. He met a young man who volunteered to guide him back to his group but instead led him deep into the mountains of Le Forez, to the village of Les Noes, where deserters had gathered. St Vianney lived there for fourteen months, hidden in the byre attached to a farmhouse and under the care of Claudine Fayot, a widow with four children. He assumed the name Jerome Vincent and under that name, he opened a school for village children. Since the harsh weather isolated the town during the winter, the deserters were safe from gendarmes. However, after the snow melted, gendarmes came to the town constantly, searching for deserters. During these searches, Vianney hid inside stacks of fermenting hay in Fayot’s barn.
An imperial decree proclaimed in March 1810 granted amnesty to all deserters, which enabled Vianney to go back legally to Ecully, where he resumed his studies. He was tonsured in 1811 and in 1812 he went to the minor seminary at Verrières-en-Forez. In autumn of 1813, he was sent to the major seminary at Lyons. Considered too slow, he was returned to Abbe Balley. However, Balley persuaded the Vicar general that Vianney’s piety was great enough to compensate for his ignorance and the seminarian received minor orders and the subdiaconate on 2 July 1814, was ordained a deacon in June 1815 and was ordained priest on 12 August 1815 in the Couvent des Minimes de Grenoble. He said his first Mass the next day and was appointed the assistant to Balley in Écully.
Curé of Ars
In 1818, shortly after the death of Balley, Jean-Marie Vianney was appointed parish priest of the parish of Ars, a town of 230 inhabitants. As parish priest, he realised that the Revolution’s aftermath had resulted in religious ignorance and indifference, due to the devastation wrought on the Catholic Church in France. At the time, Sundays in rural areas were spent working in the fields, or dancing and drinking in taverns. He spent time in the confessional and gave homilies against blasphemy and paganic dancing. If his parishioners did not give up this dancing, he refused them absolution. Abbe Balley had been St Vianney’s greatest inspiration, since he was a priest who remained loyal to his faith, despite the Revolution. He felt compelled to fulfill the duties of a curé, just as did Balley, even when it was illegal. With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La Providence, a home for girls. Only a man of vision could have such trust that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those who came to make La Providence their home.
Fr Vianney came to be known internationally and people from distant places began travelling to consult him as early as 1827. “By 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached 20,000 a year. During the last ten years of his life, he spent 16 to 18 hours a day in the confessional. Even the bishop forbade him to attend the annual retreats of the diocesan clergy because of the souls awaiting him yonder”. His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s most remarkable accomplishment. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours. Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day after day.
Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney had no thoughts of retirement. As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God’s people. Even the few hours he would allow himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil, who physically attacked and tormented St John and kept him from sleeping.
St Vianney had a great devotion to St. Philomena. He regarded her as his guardian and erected a chapel and shrine in honor of the saint. During May 1843, he fell so ill he thought that his life was coming to its end. St John Vianney attributed his cure to her intercession.
He yearned for the contemplative life of a monk and four times ran away from Ars, the last time in 1853. St John Vianney read much and often the lives of the saints, and became so impressed by their holy lives that he wanted for himself and others to follow their wonderful examples. The ideal of holiness enchanted him. This was the theme which underlay his sermons. “We must practice mortification. For this is the path which all the Saints have followed,” he said from the pulpit. He placed himself in that great tradition which leads the way to holiness through personal sacrifice. “If we are not now saints, it is a great misfortune for us: therefore we must be so. As long as we have no love in our hearts, we shall never be Saints.” The Saint, to him, was not an exceptional man before whom we should marvel but a possibility which was open to all Catholics. Unmistakably did he declare in his sermons that “to be a Christian and to live in sin is a monstrous contradiction. A Christian must be holy.” With his Christian simplicity he had clearly thought much on these things and understood them by divine inspiration, while they are usually denied to the understanding of educated men. He was a champion of the poor as a Franciscan tertiary and was a recipient of the coveted French Legion of Honour.
On 4 August 1859, Vianney died at the age of 73. The bishop presided over his funeral with 300 priests and more than 6,000 people in attendance. Before he was buried, Vianney’s body was fitted with a wax mask.
On 3 October 1874 Pope Pius IX proclaimed him “venerable”; on 8 January 1905, Pope Pius X declared him Blessed and proposed him as a model to the parochial clergy. In 1925 John Mary Vianney was canonized by Pope Pius XI, who in 1929 made him patron saint of parish priests.
In 1959, to commemorate the centenary of John Vianney’s death, Pope John XXIII issued the encyclical letter Sacerdotii nostri primordia. St Pope John Paul II visited Ars in person in 1986 in connection with the anniversary of Vianney’s birth and referred to the great saint as a “rare example of a pastor acutely aware of his responsibilities … and a sign of courage for those who today experience the grace of being called to the priesthood.”
In honour of the 150th anniversary of Vianney’s death, Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of the Priest, running from the Feast of the Sacred Heart 2009–2010. The Vatican Postal Service issued a set of stamps to commemorate the 150th Anniversary. With the following words on 16 June 2009, Benedict XVI officially marked the beginning of the year dedicated to priests, “…On the forthcoming Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday 19 June 2009 – a day traditionally devoted to prayer for the sanctification of the clergy –, I have decided to inaugurate a ‘Year of the Priest’ in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the dies natalis of John Mary Vianney, the Patron Saint of parish priests worldwide…” In the Holy Father’s words the Curé d’Ars is “a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ’s flock.”
There are statues and stained glass windows of St John Vianney in many French churches and in Catholic churches throughout the world. Also, many parishes founded in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are named after him. Some relics are kept in the Church of Notre-Dame de la Salette in Paris.
St John Mary Vianney (Memorial) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc3kd25BqeY
St Agabius of Verona
St Aristarchus of Thessalonica
St Crescentio of Rome
St Eleutherius of Bithynia
St Epiphanes of Besançon
St Euphronius of Tours
St Francesc Mercader Rendé
Bl Frédéric Janssone
St Hyacinth of Rome
St Ia of Persia
St Isidore of Besançon
St Justin of Rome
St Lua of Limerick
St Onofrio of Panaia
St Perpetua of Rome
St Protasius of Cologne
St Rainerio of Split
St Tertullinus of Rome
Bl William Horne
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Gil Rodicio y Rodicio
Bl Gonzalo Gonzalo y Gonzalo
Bl Josep Batalla Parramon
Bl Josep Colom Alsina
Bl Josep Rabasa Betanachs
Bl Luis Quintas Durán
Bl Antonio Arrue Peirano
Bl Riccardo Gil Barcelon