Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MARTYRS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 3 August – The Finding of the Relics of St Stephen, Protomartyr.

Saint of the Day – 3 August – The Finding of the Relics of St Stephen, Protomartyr.
St Stephen, the ProtoMartyr (c 05-c 34) – 26 December the Second Day in the Octave of Christmas.

The Finding of the Relics
of St Stephen, the ProtoMartyr

By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)

After St Stephen, the First Martyr, had been stoned to death by the Jews for having uncontestably proved that Christ, Whom they had Crucified, was the true Messiah, some pious men, filled with deep sorrow, buried him with all due reverence. Foremost among these was St Gamaliel, who had formerly been a rabbi and later a disciple of St Paul. He arranged everything, so that the body of St Stephen was carried, during the night, by some Christians, from the spot in which it lay, to his country-seat, which was a few miles from Jerusalem.

The burial of St Stephen

“In the course of time and in consequence of the persecution of the Christians in Juda, the location of his tomb was forgotten, until it pleased the Almighty to reveal it, in the time of the Emperor Honorius. There lived, at that period, in the place where St Stephen was buried, a Priest of the Church of Jerusalem, named Lucian. St Gamaliel appeared to this holy man in his sleep and disclosed to him where the bodies of St Stephen, St Nicodemus, his son St Abibon and his own body, were lying, telling him, at the same time, to inform St John, Bishop of Jerusalem, of this fact and to say that it was the will of God that he should exhume them for the benefit of many men. Lucian awakening and fearing it was but a dream, or perhaps even a delusion from Satan, did not tell the Bishop but humbly prayed to God that, if it were a revelation from on high, He would grant him a repetition of the vision. To this effect, Lucian continued in prayer and fasting for eight days, when Gamaliel again appeared to him and repeated all he had said before.

Lucian did not yet obey but, to be more certain, fasted and prayed eight days more. St Gamaliel appeared to him for the third time and, with a severe countenance, reproving him for not believing his words, commanded him to make the Bishop acquainted with the facts immediately, in order that the faithful might no longer be deprived of the benefits which they would obtain by the intercession of St Stephen and the other Saints.

After this third apparition, Lucian could no longer doubt and, betaking himself to the Bishop of Jerusalem, he communicated to him all that had happened. The joy of the holy Bishop was exceedingly great. He called the Bishops and Priests of the neighbouring Churches and, accompanied by them and a great number of Christians, he went to the place indicated and had the satisfaction of finding four coffins, on which were engraven the names of the Saints abovementioned – St Stephen, St Nicodemus, St Abibon, St.Gamaliel. When the coffins were reverently opened, there issued from them a fragrance as if the place had been filled with blooming flowers.

St Stephen mourned by Saints Gamaliel and Nicodemus

More than seventy persons, some of whom were sick and others possessed by evil spirits, were instantly restored to health, or relieved of their torments, upon touching the Sacred Relics, especially those of St Stephen. The body of the Protomartyr was carried with great solemnity to Jerusalem, and deposited in the Church of Sion, the oldest and largest Church in that City.

During the reign of Theodosius the Younger, it was transported to Constantinople, and thence to Rome in the reign of Pope Pelagius I. The rearkable discovery of the relics of St Stephen and the miracles, which had been wrought at their touch, were soon known all over the Christian world. The heretics, who, at that time persecuted the Church, were ashamed and the faithful strengthened in the True Faith and animated in their veneration for the Protomartyr.

All Countries and Cities applied for portions of the Relics and many were favoured with them, to the great benefit of the people. Many received only some of the earth in which the holy body had rested; others, a piece of linen which had touched his coffin but, by the pious use of them, as many miracles were wrought as by the relics themselves.

In St Augustine, we have an indisputable witness of this, as he lived at the time of the discovery. Among other things, he tells us, in the twenty second book of the “City of God,” of many great miracles wrought, in his presence, by these relics, in the city of Hippo, of which he was bishop, as also in adjacent Countries. A few of these we will here relate.

A blind woman’s sight was immediately restored, by touching her eyes with a flower, which, at her request, had been laid on the Relics of St Stephen. Lucillus, a Bishop, was cured of a dangerous fistula by devoutly carrying the Sacred Relics. Eucharius, a Priest, arose again to life, when they placed upon his corpse, a tunic which had rested on St Stephen’s body. Two men suffering with gout were cured by the same. A lad who was killed by being run over by a carriage, was not only restored to life, but his broken limbs were healed. A nun who had died, retuned to life and health, when her habit was laid upon her, ,after it had touched the Sacred Relics. Eleusinus placed the corpse of his child upon the spot where the Relics of the Saint had rested, and immediately, the child lived again. Upon the head of Marial, a hardened Jew, his brother-in-law–a Christian–laid a flower, which had been on the Altar near the Relics and the next day the Jew requested to be Baptised. Two sisters, who were afflicted with epilepsy, were instantly cured by these relics. Many other miracles are narrated by St Augustine and he concludes with these words: “If I alone were to relate what I know of the miraculous cures performed by St Stephen at Calama and in its neighbourhood, I should have to write many books and yet, not be able to collect all of them!”

What does a non-Catholic think or say on reading or hearing these and many other things which the holy Fathers have written of the Sacred Relics? He rejects all these histories and accuses St Augustine and other great teachers, of falsehood and superstition. But, if he believes even one of these miracles, how can he, according to the doctrines of his religion, condemn the veneration of Relics and the invocation of the Saints!?”

For us, who believe in the powerful intercession of our Saints through their holy Relics, let us pray:

A Prayer to the Holy Martyrs
to Obtain Their Protection
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

O you blessed Princes of the heavenly Kingdom!
you who sacrificed to the Almighty God the honours,
the riches received in return, the unfading glory
and never-ending joys of Heaven!
you who are secure in the everlasting possession
of the brilliant Crown of glory
which your sufferings have obtained!
Look with compassionate regard upon
our wretched state in this vale of tears,
where we groan in the uncertainty
of what may be our eternal destiny.
And from that Divine Savior,
for Whom, you suffered so many torments
and Who now repays you with so unspeakable glory,
obtain for us that we may love Him,
with all our heart and receive in return,
the grace of perfect resignation,
under the trials of this life,
fortitude, under the temptations of the enemy
and perseverance, to the end.
May your powerful intercession
obtain for us that we may one day,
in your blessed company,
sing the praises of the Eternal
and even as you now do,
face-to-face, enjoy the Beatitude of His Vision!
Amen

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, JULY - The MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD, JUNE-THE SACRED HEART, SACRED HEART REFLECTIONS, The MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – 24 June

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

For this cause I bow my knees to the Father, that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of this Mystery.” – Ephesians 3:14,18.

To me, the least of all the saints, is given this grace to preach among the Gentiles and to enlighten all men, what is the dispensation of the Mystery which hath been hidden from eternity in God, Who created all things. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, That He would grant you the grace to be strengthened by the power of His Spirit, unto the inward man. That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts, that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth of this mystery. To know also, the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all human knowledge.

“With these words to the Ephesians and similar assurance,s in many passages of the Epistles, which St Paul wrote – not only for the faithful of his own day but for those of all future time – the Apostle of Nations exhorts us, in the most expressive manner, to advance in the knowledge of Christ. And, if we wish to comprehend the total height and depth, the entire breadth and length, of the Love of Jesus, we can only do so, by looking into the depths of His Sacred Heart and to make this clear, will be the object of my words today. O Mary, Mother of the Divine Heart, obtain for us the grace to enter into the full knowledge of Christ’s Love for us, that we may meet it with faithful reciprocal love! I speak in the Holy Name of Jesus, for the greater honour and glory of God!

To contemplate in its entire extent the Love of Jesus Christ and to open our hearts, in true reciprocal love to the Lord, that He may dwell therein, we must go to the Sacred Heart and look into its depths. There, ah! there, we can behold, in all its immensity, a Love so mighty, that it drew Him away from the Throne of His Glory in Heaven to earth and urged Him, not only to assume human nature but, by so doing, as St Paul assures us, to annihilate Himself and take the form of a slave. For, appearing as a Man among men, He concealed His Divinity before them and, although He wrought miracles, other men, with the Divine assistance, performed wonders still greater – Moses, for instance, at the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt.

Men, in general, acknowledged Him so little as God, that they threatened to stone Him when He declared that He was! They persecuted ,at every occasion, this meek Lamb of God and at last nailed Him to the Cross. And what brought to such depths of humility, the King of kings and Lord of lords? Because He chose not to appear as a powerful monarch, as a ruler over the whole universe, before whom all nations would tremble but ,as a slave, for He entered this world as the subject of an emperor, who governed only the Romans as free men, while those nations he had conquered, were held in subjection. And, therefore, Christ suffered the Death of the slave – Crucifixion.

Why did He humble Himself so deeply? One glance into the Divine Heart will tell us that it was His Merciful Love to us. Great God! what misery overwhelmed the human race and, what would have become of us, if the Arm of Thy infinite Justice had not been stayed! But Christ the Son of God, equal in essence and nature to His eternal Father, wished, through Love, to celebrate the triumph of His Infinite Mercy and this Love, urged Him,not only to grant pardon to penitent sinners but to make satisfaction for them and take upon Himself, the justification for sin.

Not only, beloved in Christ, did He mean to pardon this or that sin, to forgive this or that sinner but for every sin, that would ever be committed and, for every sinner, if he were truly contrite, a gracious pardon would be found. Christ requires but one thing of the sinner – that he avails himself of those efficacious means of salvation, to be found in the True Church and takes refuge in His Sacred Heart.

Dearly beloved Catholic souls, redeemed by the Blood of God, reflect upon this precious truth and, that you may realise the depth of His Love for you, look at the Sacred Heart – look into Its Bleeding Wound. The Almighty, the Omnipotent God, the gracious and merciful Saviour, comes from the Heaven of His glory to afford us a certain refuge therein – to save us from that pit, which the malice of sin, has prepared for us in hell.

The Deluge prefigured the spiritual ruin which overwhelmed the whole human race. Now, Holy Scripture testifies, that the waters thereof rose to the height of fifteen cubits above the loftiest mountains. This indicates the degree of malice which characterised the wickedness of mankind, it being greater than that of the fallen angels. Their sin was that pride, which led them to wish to be like God; while man, on the contrary, committed Deicide, as St.Peter, in his first sermon, called the Crucifixion, when he said: “The Author of life you have killed.

This reproach applies, not only to those Jews who personally laid hands on Christ but, to all men as sinners; for St Paul asserts: “Whosoever sins, Crucifies God in his heart, tramples His Precious Blood under foot.” And yet God forgives on account of the merits of Christ! Whom? – The greatest sinner, if he but repent! And what means does He choose for this? Let us adore and wonder, for the commission of the greatest possible si – attempted Deicide – became for us, the source of every grace. What a triumph of Infinite Mercy!

Glance at the Heart of Jesus, opened after His Death: – by this, He opened His Arms to every soul, with the loving words: “I have loved thee unto death and presented the last drop of My Heart’s Blood for thee to draw thee from the abyss of destruction, which thy sins prepared for thee in hell.” Oh, what a depth and, at the same time, what a height of Love! The work of Redemption as consummated by this Love, made fast the gates of hell and rescued us from that fiery pit but, not content with this, our loving Saviour would open the portals of a Heaven, more beautiful, than the one which would have been our portion had Adam never sinned.

And now, as brothers of the Son of God, we may enter that region of bliss,and become, as precious stones, set in the celestial crown of the world of Angels. We may, by our zeal, in the exercise of good works and their union with the Merits of Christ, ascend higher and higher, through new and more brilliant merits, to an immeasurable degree of glory! Look at Mary, whose throne is next to that of Jesus: she was, like us, a child of man and her glory, by far outshines that of the brightest Angel. We, as her children, may hope to attain a place in Heaven, near that of our gracious Queen – for from the Heart of Jesus, came forth the cry: “To him that shall overcome, I will grant to sit with Me on My Throne.”

And how shall we learn the breadth of this love? I answer: By contemplating the generosity which marked Its course and so animated the Sacred Heart in the Breast of the Infant Saviour, in the crib and of the Redeemer, on the Cross. Even now, it beats for us in the Most Holy Sacrament over the whole globe. Think of the generosity of that Love, by which Jesus has communicated to us, the whole Merit of His Life, Passion, and Death.

The words of St Augustine, refer to this in the explanation and answer, given by him, of the words of Christ: “What price could man give for his soul?” “Remember,” exclaims St Augustine, “the price which Christ paid for you through the work of Redemption; you have been purchased by the Life, Passion and Death of Christ, the Son of God.” What He gave for you, He did not give even for the Angels. Oh, how sweetly are we reminded of all this by one loving glance at the Sacred Heart of Jesus! It beats indeed today on earth, for each one of us. Go before the Tabernacle and ask what is that which Jesus confers upon you in every Holy Communion. It is Himself.

And the length of this enduring Love, may be discerned by the unwearied forbearance He shows to man. From the first moment of your conception, Christian soul, He has loved you with an everlasting Love. He has thought of you and longed to bless you for all eternity. And it will be your own fault, if He does not remain, until your very latest breath, the same faithful, loving Jesus, Who will assist you in that last dread passage where time is merged into eternity.

Yes, it is an Article of Faith, that when the greatest sinner turns, with a repentant heart to Jesus, even in his dying hour, he will still be saved through Him. And is this really so? Christian, look at the wounded Heart in the Breast of your Redeemer. It has ceased to beat – it is dead! Yet, from the Wound came Blood and Water, the symbol of the Church, to which Christ gave power to pardon the dying sinner whose heart cries out for mercy – for forgiveness through the Merits of Christ.

Dearly beloved, who have listened to my words today, reflect upon what I have told you of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – of the height, depth, breadth and length of the Love of Christ. Consider it daily and the wish of St Paul, of which I have already spoken to you, will certainly be fulfilled in you. You will become so strengthened in the love of God, through the Spirit of Christ, that He will abide in your heart and, finding therein, so firm a faith, earnest a hope and ardent a love, will there take up His abode forever. Amen!Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888) (Excerpt -The Feast of the Sacred Heart).

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, GOD ALONE!, Our MORNING Offering, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering – 3 October – O Jesus, Sweetest Love, Come Thou to Me

Our Morning Offering – 3 October – The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

O Jesus, Sweetest Love,
Come Thou to Me
1940 Fr Francis Xavier Lasance (1860–1946)

O JESUS, sweetest Love, come Thou to me.
Come down in all Thy beauty unto me.
Thou Who didst die for longing of me
And never, never more depart from me.
Free me, O beauteous God, from all but Thee;
Sever the chain that holds me back from Thee;
Call me, O tender Love, I cry to Thee;
Thou art my all! O bind me close to Thee.
O suffering Love, Who hast so loved me;
O patient Love, Who wearies not of me.
You alone O Love! You weary not of me!
Ah! Weary not till I am lost in Thee,
Nay, weary not, till I am found in Thee.
Amen

Posted in Act of SPIRITUAL COMMUNION, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering – 24 January – O Jesus, Sweetest Love

Our Morning Offering – 24 January

O Jesus, Sweetest Love
Prayer Before Holy Comminion
Or Act of Spiritual Communion

1940 Fr Francis Xavier Lasance (1860–1946)

O JESUS, sweetest Love, come Thou to me.
Come down in all Thy beauty unto me.
Thou Who didst die for longing of me
And never, never more depart from me.
Free me, O beauteous God, from all but Thee;
Sever the chain that holds me back from Thee;
Call me, O tender Love, I cry to Thee;
Thou art my all! O bind me close to Thee.
O suffering Love, Who hast so loved me;
O patient Love, Who wearies not of me.
YOU ALONE O Love! You weary not of me!
Ah! Weary not till I am lost in Thee,
Nay, weary not, till I am found in Thee.
Amen

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, Our MORNING Offering, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering – 30 August – Sweet Sacrament, We Thee Adore

Our Morning Offering – 30 August – Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sweet Sacrament, We Thee Adore
By Fr Francis Xavier Lasance (1860-1946)
Prayer at the Consecration

I see upon the altar placed
the Victim of the greatest love,
Let all the earth below adore
and join the heavenly choirs above:
Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore,
Oh! make us love Thee more and more.

Jesus! dear Shepherd of the flock
that crowds in love about Thy feet,
Our voices yearn to praise Thee, Lord
and joyfully Thy presence greet:
Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore,
Oh! make us love Thee more and more.