Posted in Catholic NEWS, DOMINICAN, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

16 July – SAINT Bartholomew of the Martyrs/ of Braga OP (1514-1590)

16 July – SAINT Bartholomew of Braga OP ArchBishop of Braga also known as Bl Bartholomew of the Martyrs (Bartolomeu Fernandez dei Martiri Fernandes) (1514-1590)

https://anastpaul.com/2018/07/16/saint-of-the-day-16-july-blessed-bartholomew-of-the-martyrs-1514-1590/

On 8 July 2019, Pope Francis approved the favourable votes cast by the Eminent and Excellent members of the Congregation and extended to the Universal Church the liturgical worship in honour of Blessed Bartholomew of the Martyrs (born Bartolomeu Fernandes), of the Order of Preachers, archbishop of Braga, born in Lisbon, Portugal on 3 May 1514 and died in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, on 16 July 1590, inscribing him in the book of Saints (Equipollent Canonisation).

Alleluia!

Saint Bartholomew of the Martyrs, Pray for Us!st bartholomew of the martyrs - 16 july 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 13 July – Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodríguez Santiago (1918–1963)

Saint of the Day – 13 July – Blessed Carlos Manuel Cecilio Rodríguez Santiago (1918–1963) aged 44 Layperson, Apostle of the Liturgy, Catechist, Speaker, Spiritual Advisor – born on 22 November 1918 at Caguas, Puerto Rico – died on 13 July 1963 of cancer at Caguas, Puerto Rico.   He is the first Puerto Rican, the first Caribbean-born layperson in history to be Beatified.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico on 22 November 1918.   His parents Manuel Baudilio Rodríguez and Herminia Santiago, both came from large families with strong Christian roots.   He was baptised at the Sweet Name of Jesus Church in Caguas on 4 May 1919.   He was the second of five brothers and sisters.   Two of his sisters married, while another is a Carmelite nun.   His only brother is a Benedictine priest and was the first Puerto Rican to become the abbot of a monastery.bl CarlosRodriguezSantiago1.jpg

‘Chali’ as a six years old, experienced a terrible loss – a terrible fire destroyed both his father’s small store and the family home.   Having lost virtually all of their earthly goods, the young family moved in with Carlos Manuel’s maternal grandparents.   Carlos Manuel was thereby strongly influenced by his grandmother, Alejandrina Esterás, a deeply devout and holy woman.

Carlos Manuel’s father, Manuel Baudilio, endured the loss good-naturedly.   Hope and faith never left him until his death in 1940.   Doña Herminia not being in a house of her own, imposed upon herself and her children a strong sense of respect, to a point of inhibition.   This contributed to the reserved and timid personality of her children. Nonetheless, Herminia had the virtue of a serene happiness that was brightened up by her faith.   Her relationship with the Lord was nourished by daily Eucharistic encounters.

So it was that – at a young age and in the heart of his own family – Carlos received his first lessons in Catholic faith and life.   At the age of six he began his schooling at the Catholic School of Caguas, where he remained until completing eighth grade.   It was there that he would come into contact with the Sisters of Notre Dame.   He cultivated a special friendship with them during his entire life.   Under their tutelage – as well as that of the Redemptorist Fathers – he received his initial religious and humanistic education.

His reception of Christ for the first time in the Holy Eucharist would mark the beginning of a love that would last a lifetime.   He became an altar boy and began to experience the riches of the faith through the sacred liturgy of the Church.   It is likely that it was at this time that he felt the initial call to live a life entirely dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.

When he graduated from eighth grade in 1932, he was first in his class and won a medal for his Religion.   He then went on to study at the public Gautier Benítez High School in Caguas.   But shortly after, he experienced the first symptoms of what would later become a severe gastrointestinal disorder, ulcerative colitis.   This illness would cause him much suffering and inconvenience for the rest of his life.   Nevertheless, it never undermined his commitment to Christ and His Church.

Carlos Manuel began his third year of high school (1934-35) at the Perpetual Help Academy in San Juan.   There he renewed his contact with the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Redemptorist Fathers  . His health, however, rendered him unable to continue studying there.   Thus back in Caguas, he worked for some time, finally earning his High School diploma, in both the commercial and scientific areas, by May 1939.bl carlos-manuel-cecilio-rodriguez-santiago.jpg

He continued working as an office clerk until 1946, when he decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Río Piedras.   However, despite excellent grades and his love for studies, illness prevented him from completing his second year.   The end of formal education, however, did not mark the end of his education.   As his friends at the UPR – who began to call him ‘Charlie’ would later recall – his studies really never ended.   He was a voracious reader and his interests were wide-ranging, including the arts, science, philosophy, religion and music.   In fact, although he only took piano lessons for a year, he continued to learn on his own, to the point where he was able to not only play the piano but also, the church organ.   The sacred music he loved so much!

Nature was another of his great loves.  As a child, he would spend summer vacations in the countryside  . He often made day trips to the river or to the beach with his siblings. As an adult, he organised leisurely hikes with his family through the countryside.   They would travel light – with modest provisions for food – and yet a great desire to commune with God’s creation.

Carlos Manuel worked as an office clerk in Caguas, Gurabo and at the Agriculture Experiment Station, which was part of the UPR.   There he also translated documents from English to Spanish.   He spent almost his entire modest salary to promote knowledge and love of Christ.   He did this especially promoting a greater understanding of the significance of the Sacred Liturgy.   Using articles on liturgical subjects which he himself translated and edited, Carlos Manuel began publishing Liturgy and Christian Culture, publications to which he dedicated innumerable hours.

Increasingly convinced that “the liturgy is the life of the Church,” (through proclamation of the Word, the Eucharist and the “mysteries of Christ” or sacraments), he organised along with Father McWilliams in Caguas a Liturgy Circle.   Later on, in 1948, he assembles along with Father McGlone the parroquial chorus Te Deum Laudamus.bl carlos santiago art.jpg

In Río Piedras, where brother Pepe and sister Haydée were already UPR faculty members, Carlos was able to achieve his ardent desire to make Christ known, among professors and students.   As his disciples grew in number he moved into nearby Catholic University Centre and organised another Liturgy Circle (later called the Círculo de Cultura Cristiana).

He continued his publications and also organised his notable Christian Life Days for the benefit of University students who sought to understand and enjoy the liturgical seasons. He participated in panels on various topics and distinguished himself for his insistent emphasis on the importance of liturgical life, as well as the paschal meaning of life and death in Christ.

Carlos Manuel organised discussion groups in various towns and participated in societies such as the Brotherhood of Christian Doctrine, the Holy Name Society and the Knights of Columbus.   He also taught Catechism to high school students whose teaching aids he supplied from his own income.

He zealously promoted and stood for liturgical renewal, among bishops, clergy and laymen: – active participation of laity, the use of the vernacular and – most especially – the observance of his much loved Paschal Vigil, which to Charlie’s delight was restored to its proper time near midnight by Pope Pius XII in 1952.   Of note, all of Carlos Manuel’s proactive lay apostolic activity took place prior to the Second Vatican Council, thus a veritable pre-conciliar apostle towards approval of the Sacrosanctum concillium, at its onset.

Many a good number of people testify to their growth of a living faith thanks to his teachings, in conjunction with the integrity of his life and exemplary service.   Others testify that Carlos Manuel’s zeal for Christ awakened in them their vocation to religious life.   Those who sought him out in order to clarify their doubts — or seek to strengthen their faith –would never be disappointed.

To approach Carlos Manuel and to getting to know him was as if to approach a light that illuminated one’s perspective of life and its meaning.   His glance and smile revealed the certain joy of Easter.   An enormous spiritual strength transcended his fragile physical constitution.   The firm conviction of his faith allowed him to overcome his natural shyness and he spoke with assurance resembling Saint Peter’s on Pentecost.   Despite his failing health for so many years, no complaints ever clouded the joy with which he faced life.   He reminded us that the Christian must be joyful because he or she lives the joy and hope that Christ gave with His Resurrection:   VIVIMOS PARA ESA NOCHE – WE LIVE FOR THAT NIGHT – he would say.

His physical strength declined gradually but his spirit never failed.   He lived each moment quietly overcoming his pain with the profound joy of one who knows himself to be resurrected.   Following an aggressive “life-saving” surgery in 1963 he turned out to have advanced terminal cancer.   Near the end, he experienced the “dark night of faith”, thinking himself abandoned by God, a known mystical experience.   Yet, before dying, he rediscovered the Word he had lost and which had given sense to his entire life.   His passage to eternal life took place on 13 July 1963  . He was 44. “The 13th is a good day,” he had said a few days before his death, without any of us having a notion of what that meant.   Now we know.

Charlie’s Beatification Process was indeed a swift one!   Initiated in 1992, the positio on heroic virtues, lead to his status as Venerable as of 7  July 1997.   The miracle for his Beatification (cure of non-Hodgkins malignant lymphoma back in 1981) was approved on 20 December 1999 by HH St John Paul II.    Thus, a record-making eight-year span, a first for lay apostles!…Vatican.va

A school in Bayamón is named after him, with the blessed title.   The school was renamed in 2001: = Colegio Beato Carlos Manuel Rodríguez.   Staff from the school witnessed the Beatification ceremony.

Below are his tomb and Shrine.

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 8 July – Blessed Peter Vigne (1670-1740)

Saint of the Day – 8 July – Blessed Peter Vigne (1670-1740) Missionary Priest, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, of Charity, of Mary, Catechist, tireless missionary and teacher and Founder of the Religious of the Blessed Sacrament – born Pierre Vigne on 20 August in Privas, France and died on 8 July 1740 aged 70, of natural causes. Patronage – the Blessed Sacrament Sisters of Valence.

Peter Vigne was born 20 August 1670 in Privas (France), a small town still feeling the effects of the Wars of Religion from the previous century.   His father, Peter Vigne, an honest textile merchant and his mother, Frances Gautier, married in the Catholic Church, had their five children baptised in the Catholic parish of Saint Thomas, Privas.   Two daughters died in infancy.   Peter and his two older siblings, John-Francis and Eleonore, lived with their parents in relative comfort.

When he was 11 years of age, Peter was chosen by the Parish Priest to act as a witness, signing the parish register for Baptisms, Marriages or Deaths.

After receiving a good level of education and instruction, towards the end of his teenage years, his life was suddenly transformed by a new awareness of the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.   This experience led him to centre his life on Jesus, who offered Himself on the Cross for love of us and in the Eucharist, never ceases to give Himself to all men.   In 1690, he entered the Sulpician Seminary in Viviers.   Ordained a priest on 18 September 1694 in Bourg Saint Andeol by the Bishop of Viviers, he was sent as curate to Saint-Agreve where, for six years he exercised his priestly ministry, in friendship with his Parish Priest and beloved by his parishioners.bl peter vigne

Always attentive to discern in life’s events what the Lord was asking of him, he felt called elsewhere.   With understandable hesitancy in the beginning and then with increasing certitude, he pursued his spiritual itinerary along new paths.   His desire to work as a missionary among the poor was central to his decision to join the Vincentians in Lyon, in 1700.   There, he received a solid formation in poverty and in conducting “popular missions” and with his fellow priests began visiting towns and villages in the work of evangelisation.   In 1706, he left the Vincentians of “his own free will”.   Now more than ever he was passionate for the salvation of souls, especially for the poor people living in the countryside.   After a period of searching, his vocation took shape with increasing clarity.   He became an “itinerant missionary” applying his own pastoral methods, whilst submitting his ministry to the authorisation of his hierarchical superiors.

For more than thirty years he tirelessly travelled on foot or on horseback the ways of Vivarais and Dauphiné and even further ahead.   He faced the fatigue of being constantly on the move, as well as severe weather conditions, in order to make Jesus known, loved and served.   He preached, visited the sick, catechised the children, administered the sacraments, even going as far as carrying “his” confessional on his back, ready at all times to celebrate and bestow the Mercy of God.   He celebrated Mass, exposed the Blessed Sacrament and taught the faithful the prayer of Adoration.   Mary, “Beautiful Tabernacle of God among men” was also given a place of honour in his prayer and his teaching.bl peter vigne icon

In 1712, he came to Boucieu-le-Roi, where the terrain favoured the erection of a Way of the Cross.   With the help of parishioners he constructed 39 stations throughout the village and countryside, teaching the faithful to follow Jesus from the Upper Room to Easter and Pentecost.   Boucieu became his place of residence.   There, he gathered together a few women, charging them to “accompany the pilgrims” on the Way of the Cross and help them to pray and meditate.

It was there that he founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.  On 30 November 1715, in the church at Boucieu, he gave them the cross and the religious habit.   He invited them to assure continuous adoration of Jesus present in the Eucharist and to live together in fellowship.   Anxious to give the youth access to instruction, thus helping them grow in their faith and Christian values, Peter Vigne opened schools and also established a “Training School” for teachers.

Such a challenging and busy lifestyle needed some support.   For that reason, whenever Peter Vigne was in Lyon on business, he never failed to call on his former seminary tutors, the priests of Saint Sulpice, to meet his confessor and spiritual director.   Drawn by the Eucharistic spirituality of the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, founded by Monsignor d’Authier de Sisgaud, he was accepted as an associate member of this society of priests, on 25 January 1724, in Valence and benefited by their spiritual and temporal help.bl pietro vigne statue

Whilst continuing to accompany his young Congregation, Peter Vigne persisted with his apostolic works and to make the fruits of his missions more available, he found time to write books  – rules to live by, works of spirituality, especially the one entitled, “Meditations on the Most Beautiful Book, Jesus Christ Suffering and Dying on the Cross”.

The physical strength of our pilgrim for God, the demands of his apostolic activities, the long hours he spent in adoration and his life of poverty, bear witness not only to a fairly robust physique but above all to a passionate love of Jesus Christ who loved His own to the end (cf. John 13:1).

At the age of 70, the effects of exhaustion began to show.   During a mission at Rencurel, in the Vercors mountains, he was taken ill and had to interrupt his preaching.   Despite all his efforts to celebrate the Eucharist one more time and encourage the faithful to love Jesus, feeling his end was near, he expressed once again his missionary zeal, then withdrew in quiet prayer and reflection.   A priest and two Sisters came in haste to accompany him in his final moments.   On 8 July 1740, he went to join the One he had so loved, adored and served.   His body was taken back to its final resting place in the little church in Boucieu where it remains to this day…Vatican.va

St Pope John Paul II declared that he lived a life of heroic virtue and proclaimed him to be Venerable on 7 July 2003. That same pope beatified him after the recognition of a miracle on 3 October 2004.bl pietro vigne head of statue

Posted in PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 1 July – Blessed Antonio Rosmini (1797-1855)

Saint of the Day – 1 July – Blessed Antonio Rosmini (1797-1855) aged 58 – Priest, Founder of the Institute of Charity (also known as the Rosminians), Philosopher, Writer, pioneer of the concept of social justice and was a key figure in Italian Liberal Catholicism.   Born on 24 March 1797 in Rovereto, Austrian Tyrol (modern Trent, Italy) and died on 1 July 1855 in Stresa, Viterbo, Italy of natural causes.   bl-rosmini-ritratto-2-800x500-d0bad0bed0bfd0b8d18f1.jpg

Antonio Rosmini was born on 24 March 1797 to Pier Modesto and Giovanna dei Conti Formenti di Riva at Rovereto, a very “Italian” town although part of the Austrian Empire since 1509.   He was baptised the following day and received his early education locally.

In 1816 he enrolled at the University of Padua, Italy, where he received doctorates in theology and canon law.   After his studies he returned to Rovereto to prepare for Holy Orders.

In February 1820 he accompanied his sister, Margherita, to Verona where the Marquess Maddalena of Canossa (now Blessed) had founded a religious institute.   During the visit Maddalena invited him to found a male religious institute as a twin to her own institute. While the young man politely declined, her invitation in time proved prophetic.

Antonio was ordained a priest on 21 April 1821 at Chioggia, Italy.  bl antonio rosmini.jpgIn 1823 he travelled to Rome with the Patriarch of Venice, who arranged an audience for him with Pope Pius VII.   In that audience the Pontiff encouraged him to undertake the reform of philosophy.

In 1826 he went to Milan to continue his research and publish the results of his philosophical studies.   He wrote on many subjects, including the origin of ideas and certitude, the nature of the human soul, ethics, the relationship between Church and State, the philosophy of law, metaphysics, grace, original sin, the sacraments and education.

On Ash Wednesday, 20 February 1828, Fr Rosmini withdrew to write the Constitutions of the budding Institute of Charity, in which he incorporated the principle of passivity (to be concerned with one’s personal sanctification until God’s will manifests itself to undertake some external work of charity) and the principle of impartiality (to free one of any personal preference in assuming a work of charity).

To assure himself of God’s will in his philosophical and foundational work, Rosmini went to Rome a second time, in November 1828 and there received Pope Leo XII’s support.   On 15 May 1829 he met with the new Pope, Pius VIII, who confirmed his double mission as philosopher and founder.   During this visit to Rome, Fr Rosmini published “Maxims of Christian Perfection” and “Origin of Ideas”, winning the admiration of many scholars.

By 1832 the Institute of Charity had spread to Northern Italy and by 1835 it reached England, where the community enjoyed substantial growth.   In England the Rosminians are credited with introducing the use of the Roman collar and cassock and the practice of wearing the religious habit in public.   They were known for preaching missions, the practice of the Forty Hours, May devotions, the use of the scapular, novena celebrations, public processions and the blessing of throats on the feast of St Blaise.bl antonio rosmini.header.jpg

Pope Gregory XVI approved the Constitutions of the Institute of Charity on 20 December 1838.   On 25 March 1839 vows were taken by 20 Italian and 6 British priests  . On 20 September 1839 Fr Rosmini was appointed provost general for life.

This happy period of growth and apostolic success, however, was tempered by opposition to his intellectual and philosophical writings from 1826 until his death.

Primarily his “Treatise on Moral Conscience” (1839) led to a sharp, 15-year controversy which required more than one Papal injunction to silence the “Rosminian Question”. Another important, controversial work was “The Five Wounds of the Church” (1832).

Fr Rosmini found himself wedged between the obligation to renew Catholic philosophy and finding his works on the Index.   But his obedience to the Church was admirable: ” In everything, I want to base myself on the authority of the Church and I want the whole world to know that I adhere to this authority alone” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Note on the Force of the Doctrinal Decrees”, L’Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 25 July 2001, p. 9).

To close the issue definitively, the Pontiff submitted all Rosmini’s works to examination by the Congregation of the Index.   On 3 July 1854, it was decreed:  “All the works of Antonio Rosmini-Serbati that have recently been examined are to be dismissed [from the Index or any error] and this examination in no way detracts from the good name of the author, nor of the religious Society founded by him, nor from his life and singular merits towards the Church” (R. Malone, “Historical Overview of the Rosmini Case”, ORE, 25 July 2001, p. 10).

Less than a year after this Decree Fr Antonio Rosmini died on 1 July 1855 at Stresa, Italy, at age 58…Vatican.va

He was Beatified on 18 November 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.

400px-9350_-_Milano_-_Giardini_Pubblici_-_Monumento_ad_Antonio_Rosmini_-_Foto_Giovanni_Dall'Orto_22-Apr-2007
Monument to St Antonio Rosmini in Milan (1896).

His body is interred in the Church of the Santissimo Crocifisso built by him in Stresa.

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Today the Rosminians operate on 5 continents and continue to flourish.

O God, light of the faithful and shepherd of souls,
who set blessed Antonio in the Church
to feed your sheep by his words and form them by his example,
grant that through his intercession
we may keep the faith he taught by his words
and follow the way he showed by his example.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Pastors)BL ANTONIO SNIP FROM THE ROSMINIANS.JPG

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – Blessed Jacques Ghazir Haddad OFM Cap (1875-1954)

Saint of the Day – Blessed Jacques Ghazir Haddad OFM Cap (1875-1954) aged 79 – Priest, Religious of the Order of Friars Minor as a Capuchin Friar, Founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Cross of which he is the Patron, noted Preacher and founder of many orphanages and schools across Lebanon, Apostle of Charity.   Called the “St Vincent de Paul of Lebanon,”  “the Apostle of the Cross” and “the Apostle of Lebanon.”bl jacques ghaxir haddid.jpg

Fr Jacques Ghazir Haddad was born on 1 February 1875, in Ghazir, Lebanon, the third of five children.   He attended school in Ghazir and then the College de la Sageese in Beirut, where he studied Arabic, French and Syriac.

In 1892 he went to Alexandria, Egypt, to teach Arabic at the Christian Brothers’ College, and there he felt the call to the priesthood.   He entered the Capuchin Convent in Khashbau the next year.   He was ordained a priest on 1 November 1901 in Beirut, Lebanon.

As an itinerant preacher from 1903 to 1914 he walked all over Lebanon proclaiming the Word of God and was given the name “the Apostle of Lebanon”.   He was also seen preaching in Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Turkey.

In 1919 he bought a piece of land on the hill of Jall-Eddib, north of Beirut, where he built a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea.   Nearby he erected a great Cross.

Fr Jacques was tireless, he would help anyone in need following in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi.   In 1920, to assist him in this mission to help the sick and the poor, he founded the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Cross of Lebanon.  Sister Marie Zougheib was his first collaborator and aided him in setting up his new congregation.  He set out in the rule of his order with the insistence, above all else, that the works of mercy never be neglected in the pursuit of the order’s work.   He had been titled as the “Vincent de Paul of Lebanon”. bl jacques ghaxir haddid 2

The modest work of Fr Jacques aroused the people’s admiration, many poor and sick people began to go to the “Cross” and Fr Jacques would welcome them all.   In 1950 the “Cross” became exclusively a psychiatric hospital, one of the most modern in the Near East.   The movement of charity began to spread throughout Lebanon and Fr Jacques and his Sisters multiplied their works of social assistance.

In 1933 he opened the House of the Sacred Heart in Deir el-Kamar, a girls’ orphanage, which later became an asylum for the chronically ill.   In 1948 he opened the Hospital of Our Lady for the aged, the chronically ill and the paralysed.   In 1949 St Joseph’s Hospital became one of the most important medical centres of the capital.   It was followed in 1950 by St Anthony’s House in Beirut for beggars and vagabonds whom the police found on the streets and Providence House for homeless girls.F73_james_00

Even though Fr Jacques was very busy with the hospital mission, he and his Sisters carried on the important work of education and opened several schools as well as an orphanage for 200 girls.

Fr Jacques was worn out by vigils, fatigue and travel.   Although he suffered from numerous illnesses, became almost completely blind and was stricken with leukemia, he did not stop blessing God and working.   He was lucid to the end, at dawn on the day of his death, he said “Today is my last day!”   His last hours were an uninterrupted series of prayers invoking the Cross and the Virgin Mary until he died on 26 June 1954 in Lebanon.bl jacques ghaxir haddid 3

His cause for Beatification was introduced in February 1979, on 24 February 1979, His Holiness St Pope John Paul II signed the Decree of Introduction of the Cause for Beatification.   On Sunday, 22 June 2008, he was Beatified during a special Mass in Beirut by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., Prefect of Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Since Blessed Haddad’s death, additional hospitals have opened to assist those injured during the war and to assist the Kabr-Chemoun region where medical services were scarce…Vatican.va

Father al-Haddād received from President Émile Eddé the Palm Medal of Lebanese Merit on 5 January 1938 while President Bechara El Khoury awarded him the Golden Medal of Lebanese Merit on 2 June 1949 and then the Officer Degree of the Lebanese Cedars Medal on 26 November 1951.

Posted in CATECHESIS, FATHERS of the Church, LAPSED Catholics, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on the CHURCH, VATICAN Resources, YouTube Videos

Thought for the Day – 22 May – The Christian in the World – You and Me!

Thought for the Day – 22 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter C, Gospel: John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me
that does not bear fruit and everyone that does,
he prunes so that it bears more fruit” … John 15:1-2

The Christian in the World

An excerpt from A Letter to Diognetus

(Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs.   They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life.   Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men.   Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine.   With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives.    They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through.   They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens.   Any country can be their homeland but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country  . Like others, they marry and have children but they do not expose them.   They share their meals but not their wives.   They live in the flesh but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth but they are citizens of heaven.   Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men but all men persecute them.   Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death but raised to life again.   They live in poverty but enrich many, they are totally destitute but possess an abundance of everything.   They suffer dishonour but that is their glory.   They are defamed but vindicated.   A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference, their response to insult.   For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life.   They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.   As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world but cannot be identified with the world.  As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world but their religious life remains unseen.   The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures.   Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred.   It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together.   The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven.   As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution.   Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself…Vatican.va

Prayer

Father of all holiness,
guide our hearts to You.
Keep in the light of Your truth
all those You have freed from the darkness of unbelief.
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.

Prepared by the Spiritual Theology Department
of the Pontifical University of the Holy Crossdiogentus - the christian in the world - 22 may 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 10 May – Blessed Ivan Merz (1896-1928)

Saint of the Day – 10 May – Blessed Ivan Merz (1896-1928) aged 32 – Layman, Teacher, Professor, Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament and of prayer, Founder of Youth Movements in Croatia – Patronages – Croatian youth, youth as a whole, World Youth Day celebrations.bl Ivan

Ivan Merz was born in Banja Luka, Bosnia, on 16 December 1896 and was baptised on 2 February 1897.   He attended elementary and middle school in Banja Luka and, after a brief period of education at the military academy of Wiener Noustadt, he enrolled in 1915 at the University of Vienna, with the dream of teaching young people in Bosnia, thus, he would be following the example of his professor, Ljubomir Marakovic, who helped Ivan to discover the richness of the Catholic faith.ivan-merz-as a boy.jpeg

In March 1916, Ivan was enlisted in the army and shipped to the Italian battle front, where he spent the greater part of two years beginning in 1917.   The war experience and its horrors marked a turning point in Ivan’s young life and contributed greatly to his spiritual growth, prompting him to abandon his future into God’s hands and to strive with all his might towards the goal of Christian perfection.

On 5 February 1918, he wrote in his diary:  “Never forget God!   Always desire to be united with Him.   Begin each day in the first place with meditation and prayer, possibly close to the Blessed Sacrament or during Mass.   During this time, plans for the day are made, one’s defects are put under examination and grace is implored for the strength to overcome all weakness.   It would be something terrible if this war had no meaning for me!…   I must begin a life regenerated in the spirit of this new understanding of Catholicism.   The Lord alone can help me, as man can do nothing on his own”.   At this time, Ivan also made a private vow of perpetual chastity.bl ivan merz 3.jpg

After the war, he continued his studies at Vienna (1919-20) and then in Paris (1920-22).   In 1923 he obtained a degree in philosophy.   His thesis was entitled “The influence of the Liturgy on the French authors”.   He then became a professor of language and French literature and was exemplary in his dedication to the students and to his responsibilities as a teacher.

In his spare time he studied philosophy and theology and deepened his knowledge of the documents of the Magisterium of the Church.

Ivan was especially noted for his interest in young people and concern for their growth in faith and holiness.   He started the “League of Young Croatian Catholics” and the “Croatian League of Eagles” within the Croatian Catholic Action Movement.   Their motto was: “Sacrifice Eucharist Apostolate”.

For Ivan, the purpose of this organisation was to form a group of front-line apostles whose goal was holiness.   The scope of this goal also flowed over into liturgical renewal, of which Ivan was one of the first promoters in Croatia.

As a Catholic intellectual, Ivan was able to guide young people and adults to Christ and His Church, through his writings and organised gatherings.   He also sought to teach them love and obedience to the Vicar of Christ and the Church of Rome.bl ivan 4.jpg

In the face of any misunderstandings and difficulties, Ivan always had an admirable patience and calm, the fruit of his continual union with God in prayer.   Those who knew him well described him as a person who had his “mind and heart immersed in the supernatural”.   Convinced that the most effective way to save souls was through efficacious suffering, he offered to God all his physical and moral sufferings, particularly for the intention of the success of his apostolic endeavours.

Shortly before his death, he offered his life for the youth of Croatia.   In short, the young man believed that his vocation was very simply “the Catholic faith”.Bl_Ivan_Merz_u_Bazilici_Srca_Isusova_13_rujna_2008

Ivan Merz died on 10 May 1928 in Zagreb.   He was 32 years old….Vatican.va

Blessed Ivan left an example of how a man can live, fight and suffer for God’s cause. Merz tried hard to give his life the “full meaning”, heading for sanctity and all his pedagogical task was devoted to the formation of apostles of sanctity.   He died with a reputation of a saint.   His shrine is located in the Basilica of the Heart of Jesus in Zagreb, Croatia.   The canonisation cause started in 1958.

He was Beatified by St Pope John Paul on Sunday, 22 June 2003 in Bosnia Herzegovina.

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Blessed Ivan Merz’s tomb in the Basilica of the Heart of Jesus in Zagreb, Croatia

On 3 March 2018, His Excellency Francisco Mendoza De Leon, DD, bishop of the Diocese of Antipolo and local Ordinary of the Blessed Ivan Merz Centre and Reliquarium, formally opened and blessed the Blessed Ivan Merz Reliquarium.

The Blessed Ivan Merz Reliquarium (Home of the Sacred Relics) was established to house the sacred relics of Blessed Ivan Merz and of other sacred relics belonging to Our Lord, the Blessed Mother and beatified and canonised Servants of God.   It serves as spiritual oasis for pilgrims, devotees and disciples in faith of the Apostle of the Youth.

We pray that those who will visit Blessed Ivan Merz Reliquarium will experience the Lord’s kind assistance.

May those who venerate the remains of the Saints, especially of Blessed Ivan Merz, with their prayers and merits, obtain pardon for sin and protection from every adversity. blivan reliquariumbl ivan relics

Beautiful images on their website here:  https://ivanmerz.org/the-reliquarium-and-relics/