Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 16 August – The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary

Thought for he Day – 16 August – The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary

At the turn of the second millennium, St Stephen succeeded his father as leader of the Magyars in Hungary.   Looking to strengthen his authority, he determined to consolidate the state and extend Christianity throughout the land.   In 1001 he arranged to have Pope Sylvester II name him king of Hungary.   The pope obliged.   As an additional sign of support, Sylvester had a special crown fashioned for Stephen that has become world famous.

Stephen extended his control over Hungary by restricting the power of the nobles.   By creating dioceses and establishing monasteries, Stephen strengthened the church and positioned it for expansion.   Politically, he aggressively used his power to establish Christianity as Hungary’s religion.   He ruthlessly abolished pagan customs, outlawing adultery and blasphemy.   Stephen ordered everyone to marry, except religious and forbade marriages between Christians and pagans.

But Stephen had a kinder, gentler side.   Like St Louis IX, he made himself accessible to his people.   He also took personal concern for the poor.   He used to walk the streets in disguise so he could give alms to needy people.   Once he barely escaped when some beggars beat and robbed him.   But he refused to stop the practice.   Stephen was a family man.   In 1015 he had married Gisela, the sister of emperor St Henry II.   The couple had one son, Emeric, whom Stephen groomed as his successor.   In the following letter to his son, Stephen lays out his vision of what a Christian monarch must be:st stephen and his son emeric

“My dearest son, if you desire to honour the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and apostolic faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession. However, dearest son, even now in our kingdom the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted;  and for that reason she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians. . .

Finally, be strong lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down. Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next.   Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately.   Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice.   Be honourable so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone.   Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death.   All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown and without them no one is first to rule here on earth or attain to the heavenly kingdom.”

Sadly, Emeric died in a hunting accident, leaving Stephen no successor.   But Stephen is a Saint and is still loved and honoured by his people, for whom he is still an inspiration and a model – and for all of us!

St Stephen, icon of charity and love, pray for us!

st stephen of hungary pray for us 2

 

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 16 August – The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary

Quote/s of the Day – 16 August – The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary

“Be HUMBLE in this life,
that God may raise you up in the next.
Be truly MODERATE
and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately.
Be GENTLE,
so that you may never oppose justice.
Be HONOURABLE,
so that you may never voluntarily
bring disgrace upon anyone.
Be CHASTE,
so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust
like the pangs of death.”

be humble in this life - st stephen of hungary

“Be merciful to all who are suffering violence,
keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord
who said, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.'”

St Stephen of Hungary

be merciful to all - st stephen of hungary

“Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today, will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church

do not look forward in fear - st francis de sales

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 16 August – The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary

One Minute Reflection – 16 August – The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary

If you show favouritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law…..James 2:9

REFLECTION – “Do not show favour only to relations and kin, or to the most eminent – whether they are leaders or the wealthy or neighbours or citizens of the same country.
Show favour to all who come to you. By fulfilling your duty in this way, you will reach the highest state of happiness.”…St Stephen of Hungary

do not show favour - st sephen of hungary

PRAYER – Just and Holy Father, help me to overcome all tendencies to show favourtisim in my life. Let me treat all persons as brothers and sisters in Christ and work and pray for their salvation. St Stephen of Hungary, pray for us, amen.

st stephen of hungary pray for us

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 16 August

Our Morning Offering – 16 August

Prayer For Strength
By St EPHREM of Syria (306-373) Doctor of the Church

Lord Jesus Christ,
King of kings,
You have power over life and death.
You know even things that are uncertain and obscure,
and our very thoughts and feelings are not hidden from You.
Cleanse me from my secret faults,
for I have done wrong and You saw it.
You know how weak I am,
both in soul and in body.
Give me strength, O Lord,
in my frailty and sustain me in my sufferings.
Grant me a prudent judgment, dear Lord,
and let me always be mindful of Your blessings.
Let me retain until the end, Your grace
that has protected me till now.
Amen

prayer for strength by st ephrem of syria

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 16 August- St Roch

Saint of the Day – 16 August- St Roch – Confessor, Pilgrim, Hermit, Apostle of the Sick, Miracle Worker, (1295 at Montpelier, France – 1327 at Montpelier or Angleria, France of natural causes).   His relics are in Venice, Italy in the church of San Rocco, in Rome, Italy and in Arles, France.   Patronages –  against cholera, against diseased cattle, against epidemics, against knee problems, against the plague, against skin diseases and rashes, bachelors, of dogs, falsely accused people, invalids, relief from pestilence, surgeons, tile makers, Tagbilaran, Philippines, diocese of, Constantinople, 24 other assorted cities around the world.   Attributes – angel, bread, dog, pilgrim with staff, often displaying a plague wound on his leg, pilgrim with a dog, pilgrim with a dog licking the wound, pilgrim with a dog carrying a loaf of bread in its mouth.

According to his Acta and his vita in the Golden Legend, he was born at Montpellier, at that time “upon the border of France”, as the Golden Legend has it, the son of the noble governor of that city.   Even his birth was accounted a miracle, for his noble mother had been barren until she prayed to the Virgin Mary.   Miraculously marked from birth with a red cross on his breast that grew as he did, he early began to manifest strict asceticism and great devoutness;  on days when his “devout mother fasted twice in the week and the blessed child Rocke abstained him twice also, when his mother fasted in the week, and would suck his mother but once that day”.

On the death of his parents in his twentieth year he distributed all his worldly goods among the poor like Francis of Assisi—though his father on his deathbed had ordained him governor of Montpellier—and set out as a mendicant pilgrim for Rome.   Coming into Italy during an epidemic of plague, he was very diligent in tending the sick in the public hospitals at Acquapendente, Cesena, Rimini, Novara and Rome, and is said to have effected many miraculous cures by prayer and the sign of the cross and the touch of his hand.   St Roch Praying to the Virgin for an End to the Plague Creator(s- Jacques-Louis DavidIn In Rome, according to the Golden Legend he preserved the “cardinal of Angleria in Lombardy” by making the mark of the cross on his forehead, which miraculously remained.   Ministering at Piacenza he himself finally fell ill.   He was expelled from the town;  and withdrew into the forest, where he made himself a hut of boughs and leaves, which was miraculously supplied with water by a spring that arose in the place;  he would have perished had not a dog belonging to a nobleman named Gothard Palastrelli supplied him with bread and licked his wounds, healing them.   Count Gothard, following his hunting dog that carried the bread, discovered Saint Roch and became his acolyte.

Jacopo_Tintoretto_-_St_Roch_in_the_Hospital_(detail)_-_WGA22606+(2)816roch16guido reni san roque 1617Saint_Paul_Saint_Roch

On his return incognito to Montpellier he was arrested as a spy (by orders of his own uncle) and thrown into prison, where he languished five years and died on 16 August 1327, without revealing his name, to avoid worldly glory.   After his death, according to the Golden Legend;

“anon an angel brought from heaven a table divinely written with letters of gold into the prison, which he laid under the head of St Rocke.   And in that table was written that God had granted to him his prayer, that is to wit, that who that calleth meekly to St Rocke he shall not be hurt with any hurt of pestilence.”

The townspeople recognised him as well by his birthmark;  he was soon canonised in the popular mind and a great church erected in veneration.

The story that when the Council of Constance was threatened with plague in 1414, public processions and prayers for the intercession of Roch were ordered and the outbreak ceased, is provided by Francesco Diedo, the Venetian governor of Brescia, in his Vita Sancti Rochi, 1478.   The cult of Roch gained momentum during the bubonic plague that passed through northern Italy in 1477–79.

His popularity, originally in central and northern Italy and at Montpellier, spread through Spain, France, Lebanon the Low Countries, Brazil and Germany, where he was often interpolated into the roster of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, whose veneration spread in the wake of the Black Death.   The magnificent 16th-century Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the adjacent church of San Rocco were dedicated to him by a confraternity at Venice, where his body was said to have been surreptitiously translated and was triumphantly inaugurated in 1485;  the Scuola Grande is famous for its sequence of paintings by Tintoretto, who painted St Roch visited by an angel, in a ceiling canvas (1564).

Tintoretto,_Jacopo_-_St_Roch_in_Prison_Visited_by_an_Angel_-_1567

We know for certain that the body of St. Roch was carried from Voghera, instead of Montpellier as previously thought, to Venice in 1485.   Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503) built a church and a hospital in his honour.   Pope Paul III (1534–1549) instituted a confraternity of St Roch.   This was raised to an arch-confraternity in 1556 by Pope Paul IV;  it still thrives today.   Saint Roch had not been officially recognised as a Saint as yet, however.   In 1590 the Venetian ambassador at Rome reported back to the Serenissima that he had been repeatedly urged to present the witnesses and documentation of the life and miracles of San Rocco, already deeply entrenched in the Venetian life, because Pope Sixtus V “is strong in his opinion either to canonise him or else to remove him from the ranks of the saints”;  the ambassador had warned a cardinal of the general scandal that would result if the widely venerated San Rocco were impugned as an impostor. Sixtus did not pursue the matter but left it to later popes to proceed with the canonisation process.   His successor, Pope Gregory XIV (1590–1591), added Roch of Montpellier, who had already been memorialised in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for two centuries, to the Roman Catholic Church Martyrology, thereby fixing August 16 as his universal feast day.

Numerous brotherhoods have been instituted in his honour.   He is usually represented in the garb of a pilgrim, often lifting his tunic to demonstrate the plague sore in his thigh, and accompanied by a dog carrying a loaf in its mouth.   The Third Order of Saint Francis, by tradition, claims him as a member and includes his feast on its own calendar of saints, observing it on August 17.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints for 16 August

St Stephen of Hungary (Optional Memorial)

Bl Angelus Agostini Mazzinghi
St Armagillus of Brittany
St Arsacius of Nicomedia
St Frambaldo
Bl Iacobus Bunzo Gengoro
Bl Jean-Baptiste Menestrel
Bl John of Saint Martha
Bl Laurence Loricatus
Bl Magdalena Kiyota Bokusai
Bl Maria Gengoro
Bl Ralph de la Futaye
St Roch
St Serena
Bl Simon Kiyota Bokusai
Bl Thomas Gengoro
St Titus the Deacon

Martyrs of Palestine – 33 saints: Thirty-three Christians martyred in Palestine; they are commemorated in old martyrologies, but the date and exact location have been lost.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Amadeu Monje Altés
Bl Antonio María Rodríguez Blanco
Bl Enrique García Beltrán
Bl José María Sanchís Mompó
Bl Laurentí Basil Matas