Posted in CONTEMPLATIVE Prayer, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MEDITATION, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 April – St Isidore of Seville (c 560-636) Father & Doctor of the Church

Saint of the Day – 4 April – St Isidore of Seville (c 560-636) Father & Doctor of the Church, Creator of the first encyclopedia – often called “The Last Scholar of the Ancient World” and “The Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages.”   His most well known patronage is of computers and the internet (though not officially so_ – his full story with Patronages is here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/saint-of-the-day-4-april-st-isidore-of-seville-father-and-doctor-of-the-church/ but today we will follow his life with Pope Benedict XVI during his Catechetical audiences on the Doctors of the Church.   This was given at St Peter’s on Wednesday, 18 June 2008.saint-isidore-of-sevilla-miguel-zitow wow header

He was a younger brother of St Leander (c 534-c 600) memorial 13 March, Archbishop of Seville and a great friend of St Pope Gregory the Great.   Pointing this out is important, because it enables us, to bear in mind, a cultural and spiritual approach, that is indispensable for understanding Isidore’s personality.   Indeed, he owed much to Leander, an exacting, studious and austere person who created around his younger brother a family context, marked by the ascetic requirements proper to a monk and from the work pace demanded, by a serious dedication to study.   Furthermore, Leander was concerned to have the wherewithal to confront the political and social situation of that time – in those decades in fact, the Visigoths, barbarians and Arians, had invaded the Iberian Peninsula and taken possession of territories that belonged to the Roman Empire.   It was essential to regain them for the Roman world and for Catholicism. Leander and Isidore’s home was furnished with a library richly endowed with classical, pagan and Christian works.   Isidore, who felt simultaneously attracted to both, was, therefore, taught under the responsibility of his elder brother, to develop a very strong discipline, in devoting himself to study with discretion and discernment.st Isidor_von_Sevilla murillo

Thus, a calm and open atmosphere prevailed in the episcopal residence in Seville.   We can deduce this from Isidore’s cultural and spiritual interests, as they emerge from his works themselves, which include an encyclopaedic knowledge of pagan classical culture and a thorough knowledge of Christian culture.   This explains the eclecticism characteristic of Isidore’s literary opus, who glided with the greatest of ease from Martial to Augustine, or from Cicero to Gregory the Great.   The inner strife that the young Isidore had to contend with, having succeeded his brother Leander on the episcopal throne of Seville in 599, was by no means unimportant.   The impression of excessive voluntarism that strikes one, on reading the works of this great author, considered to be the last of the Christian Fathers of antiquity, may, perhaps, actually be due to this constant struggle with himself.   A few years after his death in 636, the Council of Toledo in 653 described him as “an illustrious teacher of our time and the glory of the Catholic Church.”Saint-Isidore---stained-glass.md

Isidore was, without a doubt, a man of accentuated dialectic antitheses.   Moreover, he experienced a permanent inner conflict in his personal life, similar to that which Gregory the Great and St Augustine had experienced earlier, between a desire for solitud, to dedicate himself solely to meditation on the word of God and, the demands of charity to his brethren, for whose salvation, as Bishop, he felt responsible.   He wrote, for example, with regard to Church leaders:  “The man responsible for a Church (vir ecclesiasticus) must on the one hand allow himself to be crucified to the world, with the mortification of his flesh and, on the other, accept the decision of the ecclesiastical order – when it comes from God’s will – to devote himself humbly to government, even if he does not wish to”   (Sententiarum liber III, 33, 1: PL 83, col 705 B).   Just a paragraph later he adds:  “Men of God, (sancti viri), do not in fact desire to dedicate themselves to things of the world and groan when by some mysterious design of God they are charged with certain responsibilities….   They do their utmost to avoid them bu,t accept what they would like to shun and do what they would have preferred to avoid.    Indeed, they enter into the secrecy of the heart and seek there to understand what God’s mysterious will is asking of them.   And when they realise that they must submit to God’s plans, they bend their hearts to the yoke of the divine decision”   (Sententiarum liber III, 33, 3: PL 83, coll. 705-706).st isidore old image

To understand Isidore better, it is first of all, necessary, to recall the complexity of the political situations in his time to which I have already referred – during the years of his boyhood he was obliged to experience the bitterness of exile.   He was, nevertheless, pervaded with apostolic enthusiasm.   He experienced the rapture of contributing to the formation of a people, that was at last, rediscovering its unity, both political and religious, with the providential conversion of Hermenegild, the heir to the Visigoth throne, from Arianism to the Catholic faith.   Yet we must not underestimate the enormous difficulty of coming to grips with such very serious problems as were the relations with heretics and with the Jews.   There was a whole series of problems which appear very concrete to us today too, especially if we consider what is happening in certain region, in which we seem almost to be witnessing the recurrence of situations, very similar to those, that existed on the Iberian Peninsular, in that sixth century.   The wealth of cultural knowledge that Isidore had assimilated, enabled him to constantly compare the Christian newness with the Greco-Roman cultural heritage, however, rather than the precious gift of synthesis, it would seem that he possessed the gift of collatio, that is, of collecting, which he expressed in an extraordinary personal erudition, although it was not always ordered as might have been desired.Saint-Isidore-by-Ambrosius-Benson1530.md

In any case, his nagging worry not to overlook anything, that human experience had produced, in the history of his homeland and of the whole world, is admirable.   Isidore did not want to lose anything that man had acquired, in the epochs of antiquity, regardless of whether they had been pagan, Jewish or Christian.   Hence, it should not come as a surprise if, in pursuing this goal, he did not always manage to filter the knowledge he possessed sufficiently, in the purifying waters of the Christian faith as he would have wished.   The point is, however, that in Isidore’s intentions, the proposals he made, were always in tune with the Catholic faith, which he staunchly upheld.   In the discussion of the various theological problems, he showed, that he perceived their complexity and often astutely suggested solutions, that summarise and express, the complete Christian truth.   This has enabled believers through the ages and to our times, to profit, with gratitude, from his definitions.   A significant example of this is offered by Isidore’s teaching on the relations between active and contemplative life.   He wrote: “Those who seek to attain repose in contemplation must first train in the stadium of active life and then, free from the dross of sin, they will be able to display that pure heart which alone makes the vision of God possible” (Differentiarum Lib. II, 34, 133: PL 83, col 91A).   Nonetheless, the realism of a true pastor, convinced him of the risk the faithful run, of reducing themselves to one dimension.   He therefore added: “The middle way, consisting of both of these forms of life, normally turns out to be more useful in resolving those tensions, which are often aggravated, by the choice of a single way of life and are instead better tempered, by an alternation of the two forms” (op. cit. 134; ibid., col 91B).st isidore glass

Isidore sought in Christ’s example the definitive confirmation of a just orientation of life and said:   “The Saviour Jesus offers us the example of active life, when during the day He devoted Himself to working signs and miracles in the town but, He showed the contemplative life, when He withdrew to the mountain and spent the night in prayer” (op. cit. 134: ibid.).   In the light of this example of the divine Teacher, Isidore can conclude with this precise moral teaching:  “Therefore let the servant of God, imitating Christ, dedicate himself to contemplation without denying himself active life. Behaving otherwise, would not be right.   Indeed, just as we must love God in contemplation, so we must love our neighbour with action.   It is therefore impossible to live without the presence of both the one and the other form of life, nor can we live without experiencing both the one and the other” (op. cit., 135; ibid. col 91C).   I consider that this is the synthesis of a life that seeks contemplation of God, dialogue with God in prayer and in the reading of Sacred Scripture, as well as action at the service of the human community and of our neighbour.   This synthesis, is the lesson that the great Bishop of Seville has bequeathed to us, Christians of today, called to witness to Christ at the beginning of a new millennium.   Amen … Vatican.va

Pedro Duque Cornejo and Manuel Guerrero de Alca'ntara, St. Isido
St Isidore at Seville Cathedral
576px-San_Isidoro,_Portada_del_Bautismo_de_la_Catedral_de_Sevilla
St Isidore on the Facade of Seville Cathedral

Prayer for the Intercession of St Isidore
before accessing the Internet

Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in Thy image
and bade us to seek after all that is good,
true and beautiful,
especially in the divine person
of Thy only-begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
grant we beseech Thee that,
through the intercession of Saint Isidore,
Bishop and Doctor,
during our journeys through the internet,
we will direct our hands and eyes
only to that which is pleasing to Thee
and treat with charity and patience,
all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen

Orátio ante colligatiónem in interrete:
*Omnípotens aetérne Deus,
qui secúndum imáginem Tuam nos plasmásti
et omnia bona, vera, et pulchra,
praesértim in divína persóna Unigéniti Fílii Tui
Dómini nostri Iesu Chrísti, quaérere iussísti,
praesta, quaésumus,
ut, per intercessiónem Sancti Isidóri, Epíscopi et Doctóris,
in peregrinatiónibus per interrete,
et manus oculísque ad quae Tibi sunt plácita intendámus
et omnes quos convenímus cum caritáte ac patiéntia accipiámus.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Amen

prayer for the intercession of st isidore before internet - 4 april 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 4 April

St Isidore of Seville (c 560-636) Father & Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
St Isidore’s life:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/saint-of-the-day-4-april-st-isidore-of-seville-father-and-doctor-of-the-church/

Bl Abraham of Strelna
St Agathopus of Thessalonica
St Aleth of Dijon
St Benedict of Sicily OFM (1526-1589)
About St Benedict:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/saint-of-the-day-4-april-st-benedict-of-sicily-o-f-m-1526-1589/

Bl Giuseppe Benedetto Dusmet OSB (1818-1894)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/04/saint-of-the-day-4-april-blessed-giuseppe-cardinal-benedetto-dusmet-osb-1818-1894/
St Gwerir of Liskeard
St Henry of Gheest
St Hildebert of Ghent
St Peter of Poitiers
St Plato
St Theodulus of Thessalonica
St Theonas of Egypt
St Tigernach of Clogher
St Zosimus of Palestine

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – 3 April – May I Love You More Dearly

Quote of the Day – 3 April – The Memorial of St Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)

May I Love You More Dearly
St Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)

Thanks be to You,
my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits
You have given me,
For all the pains and insults
You have borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer,
friend and brother,
May I know You more clearly,
Love You more dearly,
Follow You more nearly.
Amen

St Richard recited this prayer on his deathbed, surrounded by the clergy of the diocese. The words were transcribed, in Latin, by his confessor Ralph Bocking, a Dominican friar and were eventually published in the Acta Sanctorum, an encyclopedic text in 68 folio volumes of documents examining the lives of Christian saints.   The British Library copy, contains what is believed to be Bockings transcription of the prayer:

Gratias tibi ago, Domine Jesu Christe,
de omnibus beneficiis quae mihi praestitisti,
pro poenis et opprobriis, quae pro me pertulisti,
propter quae planctus ille lamentabilis vere tibi competebat.
Non est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.

thanks be to you my lord jesus christ - st richard of chichester - 3 april 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 3 April – Blessed John of Jesus and Mary O.SS.T (1895-1937) Priest Martyr

Saint of the Day – 3 April – Blessed John of Jesus and Mary O.SS.T (1895-1937) Priest Martyr, Religious Priest of the The Order of the Holy Trinity and of the Captives, more commonly known as the Trinitarians, Musician – born as Juan Otazua y Madariaga on 8 February 1895 in Rigoitia, Vizcaya, Spain and died by being shot at dawn on 3 April 1937 in the cemetery of Mancha Real, Jaén, Spain.   He was 42 years old.bl Juan-de-Jesús-María-Juan-Otazua-y-Madariaga

Juan Otazua was born on 8 February 1895 in the small town of Rigoitia, in the province of Vizcaya Spain.

On 30 September 1913, he began his Novitiate with the Trinitarian Religious Order in the Sanctuary of Bien Aparecida (Cantabria).   He made his simple profession in said sanctuary, on 11 October 1914, then taking the name of John of Jesus and Mary.   He studied philosophy at the Bien Aparecida and Córdoba and theology at La Rambla.   He professed his solemn vows at the Trinidad house in Córdoba on 17 May 1918.   He was Ordained a Priest on 23 October 1921 in Madrid .

For many years he was a Priest of the house of the Trinity in Madrid and exercised his pastoral work in the Church of the Basques of San Ignacio de Loyola, in the now known Las Letras neighbourhood.   He was known for his excellent command of music , especially the cello.

In March 1936 the church of San Ignacio was burned down by the mobs, in the atmosphere of civil war, which led to the disintegration of the Trinitarian community and the distribution of the Religious to various convents in Spain.   However some of them were arrested and executed days later.   Fr John was sentenced to 20 years in prison.   Despite the sentence, on the night of 2 April 1937, militiamen took him out of prison and took him to the La Mancha Real cemetery, where they shot him the following morning.   Fr John was 42 years old.   His body was buried in a grave to avoid recognition.

Fr John of Jesus and Mary was Beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on 28 October 2007.   His Memorial is also celebrated with his fellow Trinatarian Martyrs on 6 November.

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 3 April

Bl Alexandrina di Letto
St Attala of Taormina
St Benatius of Kilcooley
St Benignus of Tomi
St Burgundofara
St Chrestus
St Comman
St Evagrius of Tomi
Bl Francisco Solís Pedrajas
Saint or Blessed (conflicting reports?) Gandulphus of Binasco OFM (c 1200-1260)

Bl Iacobus Won Si-bo
St John I of Naples
Bl John of Penna
St Joseph the Hymnographer
Blessed John of Jesus and Mary/Juan Otazua Madariaga O.SS.T (1895-1937) Priest Martyr
Bl Lawrence Pak Chwi-deuk
St Luigi Scrosoppi Cong. Orat. (1804-1884)
About St Luigi:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/saint-of-the-day-3-april-st-luigi-scrosoppi/

A little Note about St Luigi – his Canonisation Miracle occurred in my Parish in Oudtshoorn!

Blessed Maria Teresa Casini (1864–1937)
Her life:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/03/saint-of-the-day-3-april-blessed-maria-teresa-casini-1864-1937/
St Nicetas of Medicion
St Papo
Bl Piotr Edward Dankowski
St Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/saint-of-the-day-3-april-st-richard-of-chichester-1197-1253/

Posted in PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on PATIENCE, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on REPARATION, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, SAINT of the DAY, The PASSION

Quote/s of the Day – 2 April – St Francis of Paola

Quote/s of the Day – 2 April – The Memorial of St Francis of Paola OM (1416-1507)

“Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Inflamed with love for us, He came down from heaven to redeem us.
For our sake He endured every torment of body and soul
and shrank from no bodily pain.
He Himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love.
We, then, are to be patient in adversity.”

fix your minds on the passion - st francis of paola 2 april 2019

“See to it that you refrain from harsh words.
But if you do speak them,
do not be ashamed to apply the remedy
from the same lips, that inflicted the wounds.”

St Francis of Paola

see to it that you refrain from harsh words - st francis of paola -2 april 2020

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 2 April – Blessed Vilmos Apor (1892–1945) Bishop Martyr

Saint of the Day – 2 April – Blessed Vilmos Apor (1892–1945) Bishop Martyr, Chaplain of the Order of Malta – born as Baron Vilmos Apor de Altorja on 29 February 1892 at Segesvár, Transylvania, Hungary and died by shooting on 2 April 1945 at Gyõr, Hungary. (Also known as – Vilhelm, Gulielmus, William).   Patronages – Abuse victims, Sexual abuse victims, Activists, Virgins, Military chaplains.

He became famous for protesting against the persecution of the Hungarian Jewish population and for his steadfast commitment to the poor.   His outreach also extended to abuse victims with a particular emphasis on the protection of women – it would be this latter point that saw him sustain fatal injuries leading to his death.   The Bishop dedicated himself to being an opponent of both communism and Nazism and used his sermons as a chance to condemn them, at a great personal risk to himself.   He was a beloved figure in his Diocese where people hailed him as a great saint upon learning of his death which came as a profound shock and loss to the Diocese he had served during the course of most of the war.bl VILMOS APOR

Vilmos Apor de Altorja was born in 1892 as the sixth of eight children to the nobles Baron Gábor Apor (1851–98) and Countess Fidelia Pálffy ab Erdöd (1863–1934);  one was stillborn and three died in their childhoods.   One sister was Gizella and another was Henrietta who was his junior and an elder brother was Gábor.   His elder brother served in World War I but later became a Hungarian delegate to the Vatican until his resignation in 1944 in protest of the German occupation of his homeland.   His father died in his childhood due to complications from diabetes.   His mother was strict but caring and imparted sage religious instruction to her children.   He served as an altar server during his childhood and his love for the Priesthood intensified to the stage where he harboured an interest in becoming a Priest himself.   Bishop Miklós Széchnyi was his uncle.

Year one of his initial education saw him teach Henrietta how to read and she often got him to instruct her in catechism.   He even asked his mother once for a chalice and missal for Christmas.   He attended high school at a Jesuit-run school in Kalksburg where his desires to become a Priest intensified further, despite his initial homesickness.   Apor liked Latin as well as historical studies and received outstanding marks in these subjects, while a treatise on the historical Church, earned him a prize.    He also liked tennis and swimming.   He then transferred to another Jesuit school at Kalocsa.

He decided to begin his studies for the Priesthood despite his mother’s wish that he wait a little while longer – she consented at Christmas in 1909 – and the local Bishop was delighted to receive him in 1910.   The Bishop sent him to Innsbruck for further studies with the Jesuits in 1910, where he later received a doctorate in theological studies, the rector there was a relative of his.   He was made a subdeacon on 22 August 1915 and was elevated to the diaconate on 23 August.

He received his Ordination to the Priesthood on 24 August 1915 and he celebrated his first Mass on 25 August, with his mother and sisters, Henrietta and Gizella, in attendance. Gabor could not be there because he was on the battlefront and was unable to obtain leave.    Vilmos was first sent to Gyula on 31 August 1915 and he preached his first sermon on the following 8 September.   On 27 March 1916 he opened an office for the protection of women that became a predominant focus for him on his pastoral mission while on 4 January 1917 he was sent as a chaplain to the Italian front before being transferred as such to Austria and then back to Gyula at the start of 1919 at the end of the war.BL Wilhelm_Vilmos_Apor

Pope Pius XII appointed him as a Bishop in 1941 and he received his Episcopal Consecration a month later.    His brother, Gabor, paid for his new Episcopal vestments.  He took formal possession of his new Episcopal See on 2 March 1941.   On 25 February 1941 – in a unanimous decision – the town council of Gyula made him an honorary citizen, due to his commitment to it’s people and his strong and tireless activism.   He became noted for his strong dedication to the poor and his tireless commitment to a range of social justice issues.

In summer 1944 he wrote to the Hungarian Primate Jusztinian Serédi to persuade him to take a strong stance against the government.   He also appealed to the Gestapo headquarters in Berlin in an attempt to free the Jews of his Diocese from the ghetto and negotiated with the Nazi command to spare the town from a siege.   The introduction of racial laws sought to further make matters worse and so the bishop spoke out for those affected from racial slurs and other forms of persecution.   He provided supplies to those Jews being deported through his Diocese and also sheltered those made homeless after air raids in the Episcopal palace while he himself withdrew to a small room for himself.

On the afternoon of 28 March 1945 – Good Friday – as Soviet troops reached his Diocese he offered safe haven to numerous women and children in his residence and also protected women who feared being raped.   Four or five drunken Soviet soldiers arrived with the intention of bringing 100 women to their barracks but Apor had them well-hidden in the cellar.   He refused to give them up and a long altercation saw an officer making threats with his gun and soon gave chase to a girl who came out of her hiding place, the girl screamed “Uncle Vilmos!  Help!” and he ran to her defense and shouted at them:  “Out! Get out of here!”   The officers turned to leave but one officer turned around and opened fire with a machine gun that shot him three times.   Apor suffered a first shot that grazed his forehead as well as a second in the right sleeve of his cassock and the third that perforated his abdomen.   Meanwhile the soldiers became frightened and fled the scene.bl vilmos apor protecting

He lent on the arms of two of his aides and walked towards the cellar with blood coming from his forehead.   A doctor administered first aid and his sister, Gizella, aided the doctor in placing her brother on a stretcher.   But getting to the hospital took longer due to checkpoints and had to stop several times, since the Russians wanted to inspect the ambulance, the blanket had to be taken off him on these occasions so the Russians could see there was no hidden treasure.   Professors Jung and Petz – who had known Apor – performed the operation which seemed to be successful and saw a slight improvement on Holy Saturday when he received the Eucharist, with his sister at his side.   He thanked God for having accepted his sacrifice and for the fact that the women he protected were still safe.   On Easter his condition deteriorated due to an infection – he made his confession and was given the Anointing of the Sick.   He remained lucid with his sister and Doctor Jung at his side, in addition to the nurses and the parish priest.

He died from his injuries not long after, in the afternoon of 2 April 1945, Easter Monday. István Sándor witnessed a stretcher on 3 April being carried from the hospital and saw the bishop’s remains as it was being transported.   The funeral was put on hold due to conflict in the area but was carried out within a week of his death.   His remains were buried in a Carmelite church as his confessor was the Carmelite priest Erno Szeghy.   His remains were later relocated to the Diocesan Cathedral.   St Pope John Paul II visited his tomb in 1996.

1280px-tomb of bl vitmor aGyőr_Apor_Vilmos_sírja
Blessed Vilmos Apor’s tomb carved by the Hungarian sculptor Sándor Boldogfai Farkas (1907–1970)

The theologian and cardinal-elect Hans Urs von Balthasar was his nephew.   St Pope John Paul II had named him as Cardinal in 1988  . He died, however, in his home in Basel on 26 June 1988, two days before the ceremony which would have granted him that position, therefore, he is often called “Cardinal” and is also a Servant of God.

St John Paul II confirmed on 7 July 1997 that Blessed Vilmos was killed “in odium fidei” (in hatred of the faith) and thus approved his Beatification.   The pope presided over his Beatification on 9 November 1997 in Saint Peter’s Square.bl vilmos apor statue

Today, there stands a statue in District XII of Budapest in Hungary in his honour and the place itself has been named Apor Vilmos tér according to the Hungarian standard of name order.

The Collect of the Mass of the Order of Malta on the Memorial of Blessed Vilmos

Almighty and Eternal God,
through your grace, Bishop Vilmos,
by courageously shedding his blood for his flock,
earned a martyr’s crown.
Grant that we, despite the difficulties of our daily lives,
may do Your will and offer our good works
for the salvation of our brothers and sisters.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.  Amen

statue of bl vilmos apor