Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church

Feast of St John of the CrossSt. John of the Cross –Image Courtesy: Catholic Online@Facebook

(Franciscan Media) Born in Spain as Juan de Santa Maria de Yepes according to SQPN Juan became a Carmelite Lay Brother in 1563 studying for the Priesthood in NW Spain at Salamanca – Ordained a Priest in 1567 he took the name St. John of the Cross.

John is a Saint because his life was a heroic effort to live up to his name:

  • “If anyone want to become My followers, let them deny themselves
    and take up their cross and follow Me.”  Mark 8:34

Partnering with St. Teresa of Avila (Feast Day: 15 October) Fr. John vowed himself to the primitive Rule of the Discalced Carmelites ‘discalced’ meaning barefoot, symbolizing the simplicity which they chose to return the Order after a period of corruption. Fr. John engaged in the work of reform and came to experience the life of it from stiff opposition, misunderstanding and persecution–Fr. John in his lifetime, came to know the Cross he took up acutely.

Fr. John passed away on this date in 1591 in Spain, was Beatified in 1675 by Pope Clement X and Canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII

More here from Franciscan Media and here from EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Lucy, Martyr for Christ & Patron Saint of the Blind

Saint Lucy

St. Lucy of Syracuse (283-304)
Image: Catholic Online

(Franciscan Media) Every young girl named Lucy must bite her tongue in disappointment when she attempts to find out what there is to know about her Patron Saint.

Lucy was born in Sicily Syracuse into a wealthy devout Christian family according to SQPN at an early Lucy vowed a life for Christ. When Lucy’s father passed away when she was still quite young, her Mother Eutychia arranged a marriage for her. For three years, Lucy managed to keep the marriage on hold.

to change her mother’s mind about her being married, Lucy prayed at the tomb of St. Agatha (Feast Day: 05 February) and her mother’s long hemorrhagic illness was cured. Subsequently Lucy’s mother agreed with Lucy’s desire to live for God.

Paschasius (Lucy’s disappointed suitor) wasn’t nearly as understanding. Accusing Lucy of being a Christian to the Governor of Sicily, she was sentenced to ‘forced prostitution’ – When the guard went to get Lucy, they could not move her even when they hitched a team of oxen to her. Subsequently as a result of this, the Governor of Sicily ordered that Lucy be tortured (which included blinding her) and burned to death. — Lucy was surrounded by bundles of wood but when the fire was set a blaze it went out. Lucy was subsequently Martyred by being stabbed to death.

One can easily imagine what a young Woman had to contend with in pagan Sicily in the year 300–If one has difficulty imagining, just take a look at today’s removal of God from all places an ‘pleasure at all cost’ society and the barriers it presents at leading an honorable Christian life.

Lucy’s ‘friends’ must have wondered aloud about Lucy’s hero, an obscure itinerant preacher in a far-away captive nation that was once a carpenter, that had been crucified by Roman soldiers after His own people turned against Him. — Lucy though believed with her whole being that this man named Jesus, had risen from the dead. Heaven had put a stamp on all He said and did, to give witness to her faith she had made a vow of chastity.

What a ruckus Lucy’s desire to lead a Christian life of chastity among her pagan acquaintances, the kindlier ones may have thought this was just a little peculiar, to be pure before marriage, though an ancient Roman ideal, it was rarely found but never condemned. To exclude marriage altogether, this was just too much in that day, Lucy must have something sinister to hide.

Lucy knew of the heroism of earlier virgin martyrs for Christ and she remained faithful to their example and the Carpenter whom she knew as the Son of God.

What an inspiring ‘Saint of the Day’ for all Christians — Lucy was an authentic first class heroine, an abiding inspiration for all Christians, whose moral courage shines forth as a guiding light for future generations just as it did in Lucy’s day.

More here from American Catholic

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron Saint of Unborn Children

Our Lady of GuadalupeMay the Intercession of ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’
be With All Pregnant Women and their Unborn Children
Image Courtesy: Fr. Richard Gonzales

(CNA) In December 1531 Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego (Feast Day: 09 December) who was hurrying down Tepeyac Hill to Celebrate Mass in Mexico City

According to SQPN the apparition identifying herself as the Mother of God, she instructed Juan Diego to tell Bishop Zumarraga to build a Church on the site where she stood.

Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary remained at the same place that evening and the following day awaiting on the Bishop’s response. At first, Bishop Zumarraga did not immediately believe Juan Diego, having him examined and watched but subsequently the Bishop told Juan Diego, to ask the Lady who claimed she was the Mother of God for a sign.

Juan Diego agreed readily to ask her for a sign desired by the Bishop. Juan was busy all of the next day with his uncle Bernardino dying of a fever, medicines had failed and it appeared that his days were short. At day break the following day, Juan ran to nearby St. James Convent for a Priest. In order to avoid the apparition and the untimely message of the Bishop, Juan slipped around where the well Chapel now stands but Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary crossed down to meet him and said, “What road is thou takest son?”

A tender dialogue reportedly ensued. The Blessed Virgin Mary reassured Juan about his uncle (to whom she had also briefly appeared and cured him) calling herself the ‘Holy Mary of Guadalupe’ she instructed Juan to return to the Bishop — Juan asked the Blessed Virgin Mary for a ‘sign’ which the Bishop required.

Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary told him to go to the rocks and gather roses. Juan knew it was neither the time or the place for roses but he did as he was instructed. Finding them just as she said, he gathered as many as his tilma (an outer garment/cloak worn by men during that period) would hold and returned to the Blessed Virgin Mary — She would rearrange the roses and told Juan to keep them untouched and unseen until he had seen the Bishop.

Doing just as he was told, when Juan again met with Bishop Zumarraga, he unfolded his tilma, the roses wet with dew fell out. Juan was startled to see the Bishop and his Attendants kneeling before him as the life size figure of the Blessed Virgin Mother just as Juan had described her was glowing on the tima. — The image was Venerated, guarded in the Bishop’s Chapel and soon thereafter carried in procession to the preliminary shrine.

An incredible list of miracles, cures and interventions have been attributed to ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ — Each year, an estimated ten million people visit her Basilica, making her Mexico City home the most popular Marian Shrine in the world and the most visited Catholic Church in the world after St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Although 24 Popes have officially honored ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ Pope Saint John Paul II visited her Sanctuary four times.

The Feast of ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ is celebrated on this date after Pope Saint John Paul II declared in his Homily at the ‘Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe’ in 1999 — the 12 December, as the Liturgical Holy Day for the entire continent. During this visit Pope Saint John Paul II entrusted the cause of life to “Blessed Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church” placing under her Motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born.

  • Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin of Guadalupe, that in your apparitions on Mt. Tepeyac, you promised to show pity and compassion to all who, loving and trusting you, seek your help and protection.

Accordingly listen now to our supplications, grant us consolation and relief. We are full of hope that relying on your help, nothing can trouble or affect us. As you have remained with us through your admirable image, so now obtain for us, the graces we need. Amen.

More here from The Integrated Catholic Life and here from EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Pope Saint Damasus I

Saint DamasusPope Saint Damasus I –Image: Pinterest

(CatholicOnline@Facebook) All lovers of scripture have reason to celebrate this date. Damasus was the Pope that commissioned Saint Jerome to translate the scriptures into Latin, the Vulgate version of the  Bible.

To his Secretary St. Jerome, Damasus was “an incomparable person, learned in the scriptures, a virgin doctor of the virgin Church, who loved chastity and heard its praises with pleasure.”

As Pope, his lifestyle was simple in contrast to other ecclesiastics of Rome and he was fierce in his denunciation of Arianism and other heresies. A misunderstanding of the Trinitarian terminology used by Rome threatened amicable relations with the Eastern Church and Damasus was only moderately successful in dealing with that challenge.

More here from Catholic Online and here from Franciscan Media

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Blessed Fr. Adolph Kolping

blessed-adolph-kolpingBlessed Fr. Adolph Kolping (1813-1865) –Image: The Black Cordelias

(Franciscan Media) Born in the village of Kerpen Germany in 1813 Adolph Kolping became a shoemaker at an early age because of his families economic situation–Ordained in 1845, Kolping ministered to young workers in Cologne, establishing a choir which by 1849 grew into the ‘Young Workman’s Society’ a branch of this began in St Louis, Missouri in 1856

Nine years later, there were over 400 ‘Gersellenvereine’ (workman societies) around the world more commonly called the Kolping Societies today this group has over 500,000 members in 54 countries emphasizing the sanctification of the family life and dignity of labor.

Father Kolping, worked to improve conditions for workers and greatly assisted those in need.

Father Kolping once told his followers: “The first thing a person finds in life and the last to which he holds out his hand and the most precious he possesses even if he does not realize it, is his family.”

Blessed Fr. Kolping was beatified by Pope John Paul II on the 27 October, 1991 who said during his homily:

“Adolph Kolping gathered skilled workers and factory laborers together thus he overcome their isolation and defeatism–a faith society gave them strength to go out into their everyday lives as Christ’s witnesses before God and the world, to come together, to become strengthened in the assembly and thus to scatter again is and still remains our duty today. We are not Christians for ourselves alone but always for others too.”

More here on Blessed Fr. Adolph Kolping from The Black Cordelias

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Juan Diego

Saint Juan DiegoSaint Juan Diego –Image Courtesy: Catholic Online

Saint Juan Diego born around 1474, he was visionary and one of the first indigenous of the New World–an Indian peasant who experienced a vision of ‘Our Lady’ on Tepeyac Hill on the 09 December 1531

The Bishop at the time didn’t believe his story until he returned with his cloak (or tilma an outer garment worn by men in that period) filled with roses. As Juan Diego, spread the roses on the ground before the Bishop, an image of ‘Our Lady’ miraculously formed on the fabric.

The cloak/tilma is now at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadeloupe.

Thousands of people gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadeloupe on the 31 July, 2002 for the Canonization of Juan Diego to whom the ‘Blessed Mother’ appeared–Pope John Paul II, celebrated the ceremony at which this poor Indian peasant became the Church’s first Saint indigenous to the America’s.

More here from Franciscan Media

An Inspiration Of Time With God For Today

AdventHoly Advent -Image Courtesy: Franciscan Friars

An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said:

“Joseph son of David do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit, she will bear a Son and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

The Greatness and the Goodness of God

I will extol You, my God and King and bless Your name forever and ever. Everyday I will bless You and praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall laud Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate. The might of Your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed and I will declare Your greatness. They shall celebrate the fame of Your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

The Lord in gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all and His compassion is over all that He has made.

All Your works shall give thanks to You O Lord and all Your faithful shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and tell of Your power to make known to all people Your mighty deeds and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The Lord is faithful in all His words and gracious in all His deeds.

The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all who look to You and you give them their food in due season.

You open Your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.

The Lord is just in all His ways and kind in all His doings. The Lord is near to all who who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of all who fear Him, He also hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord watches over all who love Him but all the wicked He will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord and all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever. –Psalm 145

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Saint of the Day

(Franciscan Media) A feast called the ‘Conception of Mary’ arose in the Eastern Church during the 7th Century and came to the West in the 8th Century.

In the 11th century it received its present name–the ‘Immaculate Conception’ and during the 18th century it became a feast of the universal Church and is now recognized as a solemnity.

In 1854, Pius IX solemnly proclaimed: “The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.”

It took a long time for this doctrine to develop. While many Fathers and Doctors of the Church considered Mary the greatest and holiest of the Saints, they often had difficulty in seeing Mary as sinless–either at her conception or throughout her life. This is one of the Church teachings that arose more from the piety of the faithful than from the insights of the brilliant theologians. Even such champions of Mary as Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Aquinas, could not see theological justification for this teaching.

Two Franciscans, William of Ware and Blessed John Duns Scotus, helped develop the theology–pointing out that Mary’s Immaculate Conception enhances Jesus’ redemptive work. Other members of the human race are cleaned from original sin after birth.

In Mary, Jesus’ work was so powerful as to prevent original sin at the outset.

Immaculate Conception Pendant here –Catholic

Remembering Pearl Harbor — God Bless Our Greatest Generation

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St Ambrose, Patron Saint of Bee Keepers & Learning

Saint AmbroseSaint Ambrose –Image Courtesy: National Trust Art@Twitter

(Franciscan Media) One of Ambrose’s biographers noted that at the ‘Last Judgment’ people would still be divided between those who admired Ambrose and those who heartily disliked him–Ambrose emerges as a man of action who cut a furrow through the lives of his contemporaries, even royal personages were numbered among those who were to suffer crushing divine punishments for standing in his way.

At 33 Ambrose had it all observes Catholic Online a successful career as a lawyer, an important position as Governor of Milan, the approval and friendship of the Emperor and a large estate.

Then the Bishop of Milan died. At this time, about 374 heresies threatened to destroy the Church–the Bishop had supported the Arian heresy that argued against the divinity of Christ. Who would take his place an Arian or a Catholic? Both sides met in the cathedral and a riot broke out.

Public order was Ambrose’s responsibility as Governor, so he hurried to the church and made a passionate speech not in favor of either side but in favor for peace, begging the people to make their choice without a fight, using restraint and moderation.

Suddenly while he was speaking, a voice called out “Ambrose for Bishop.” Soon everyone was shouting, “Ambrose for Bishop.”

The other Bishops of the Province were only to glad to have this controversial decision taken out of their hands but Ambrose was not about to give up his successful career for the dangerous position as Bishop–a life threatening position in these heretical times, so Ambrose ran away.

When he appealed to his friend the Emperor to overturn the decision on the grounds that he hadn’t even been baptized yet, the Emperor answered that he was happy that he chose Governor’s fit for the episcopal office–Ambrose hid in a Senator’s house but the Senator surrendered Ambrose when he heard about the Emperor’s decision.

With nowhere else to run, Ambrose gave in. Since he had been forced to take the position, no one would have been surprised if he’d decide to keep on living the way he had before ordination. Instead, Ambrose immediately gave all of his property to the poor, making only provisions for his Sister Marcellina (who later became a Nun) and committed the care of his family to his brother–raising Ambrose’s popularity even more…

Full Biography here of Saint Ambrose from Catholic Online