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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Patron Saint of Jesuits & Soldiers

Saint Ignatius of LoyolaSaint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) Image: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(CNA) Born into a noble family on Christmas Eve in Spain Guipuzcoa, Ignatius served as a Page in the Spanish Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, later becoming a Soldier in the Spanish Army where he would become wounded during the ‘Siege of Pamplona’ in 1521

During Ignatius’ recovery he would read about the ‘Lives of the Saint’s’ and this experience led him to undergo a profound conversion which led him to dedicate his life to Catholicism.

After making a general confession in a Monastery in Montserrat, Ignatius proceeded to spend almost the entirety of the year in solitude and prayer, during which time he would write his famous Spiritual Exercises following which he would make a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land where he worked to convert Muslims to Christianity but could not remain as he had planned according to Franciscan Media because of the hostility of the Turks.

Ignatius would spend the next 11 years in various European universities, finally returning to Spain and then France where he would receive his degree in Theology — While many held him in contempt because of his Holy lifestyle, Ignatius’ wisdom and virtue attracted some followers and ‘The Society of Jesus’ (The Company of Jesus) was born.

In 1540 the ‘Society of Jesus’ received approval by Pope Paul III and it grew rapidly, Ignatius was elected to serve as its first General and became friends with St. Philip Neri (Feast Day: 26 May) During this time despite all that he had to do in the ‘Society’ Ignatius still found time to find homes for Orphans, Catechumens and Penitents. — Ignatius founded the ‘Roman College’ intended to be a model of all other colleges of the ‘Society of Jesus.’

Ignatius’ final years were spent in partial retirement according to EWTN the correspondence inevitable in governing the ‘Society of Jesus’ left him with no time for active ministry which in themselves he much preferred. Ignatius health began failing in his latter years and he was nearly blind by 1556 at the time of his death.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was Beatified in 1609 by Pope Paul V and Canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV

On the 22 April, 2006 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI presided over a Eucharistic Celebration for the ‘Society of Jesus’ addressing the Fathers & Brothers of the Society present at the Vatican Basilica , calling to mind the dedication and fidelity of their founder saying:

“Saint Ignatius of Loyola was first and foremost a man of God who in his life put God, his greatest glory and his greatest service first. He was a profoundly prayerful man for whom the daily celebration of the Eucharist was the heart and crowning point of his day.

Thus he left his followers a precious spiritual legacy that must not be lost or forgotten. Precisely because he was a man of God, St. Ignatius  was a faithful servant of the Church, in which he saw and venerated the Bride of the Lord and the Mother of Christians and the special vow of obedience to the Pope which he himself describes as ‘our first and principal foundation’ was born from his desire to serve the Church in the most beneficial way possible.”

Today the Jesuits (The Company of Jesus) have more than 500 universities and colleges together with more than 30,000 members that teach more than 200,000 students annually.

More here from American Catholic

Related: Pope Francis Homily on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Today Christians Honor St. Junipero Serra, First Saint of California

Blessed Junipero Serra

St. Junipero Serra (1713-1784)
Image: Tinh Than

(Angelus) Just after Canonizing the first Saint of Sri Lanka St. Joseph Vaz, Pope Francis announced that he would also be Canonizing the first Saint of California–Blessed Junipero Serra, in 2015

“We are grateful to our Holy Father Pope Francis for this gift to California and the America’s,” said Archbishop Jose Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in a January statement — “Its wonderful  to think that this new Saint once walked the road that is now the Hollywood Fwy and called it El Camino Real: The King’s Highway.”

St. Junipero Serra was born on Spain’s island of Mallorca according to Franciscan Media and entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion  Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom, first as a student of theology and then following his Ordination as a professor.

Suddenly he gave this all up and followed his yearning that had begun years before when he had heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America — Fr. Junipero’s desire was to evangelize the native people of Mexico and California according to NCRegister and he established the first 9 of California’s 21 Missions, used to teach American Indians Catholicism and learn new skills such as growing crops and raising livestock that would help improve their standard of living.

Dubbed ‘The Evangelizer of the West in the United States,” by Pope Francis, St. Serra was most known for his zeal and determination, both physically and spiritually.

St. Junipero Serra missionary motto has been described as, “Never turn back.” According to several reports, once Fr. Junipero landed on Mexico’s shores with his companions, he insisted on walking the more than 200 miles to Mexico City. During this trek, Fr. Junipero suffered an infected insect sting on his leg that would affect him for the rest of his life. — Fr. Juniper’s fierce determination, also led him to baptize more than 6,000 people and confirm another 5,000

Fr. Junipero reputation as a ‘Great Evangelizer’ of his time is on par with several other Saints Canonized by Pope Francis, including the recent St. Joseph Vaz of Sri Lanka, St. Peter Faber of France, St. Jose Anchieta of Brazil, together with St. Francois de Laval and St. Marie of the Incarnation of Canada.

According to Gregory Orfalea, author of Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra’s Dream and the Founding of California, “evangelization is one of the several things Blessed Junipero and Pope Francis have in common.

“Serra talked about how Faith seemed to have dried up in (Spain) Mallorca,” Orfalea said in an email interview. “The Native Americans surely resurrected it. So evangelizing for both Pope Francis and Padre Serra was a two-way street of redemption.”

Similarly, both Pope Francis and St. Junipero Serra, experienced success in the academic world but preferred to be in the streets serving the poor, Orfalea said. They also came from similar backgrounds in religious orders.

“I sometimes think (Pope) Francis is a Franciscan Jesuit and (Junipero) Serra a Jesuit Franciscan,” Orfalea said.

Pope Francis had waived the customary requirement of a second miracle in the Canonization cause of St. Junipero Serra. — Beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1988, Blessed Junipero Serra’s first miracle was the inexplicable cure of a dying Nun with kidney failure in St. Louis in the 1960s — Pope Francis announced that the Canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra would take place during the Holy Father’s visit to the United States in September, 2015

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Cardinal Robert Sarah Warns of ‘Demonic’ Threat Facing America

Resist the DevilPleasures are Not Joys – When We Seek Them Out They Can Become Idols
The Tidings News Archdiocese of Los Angeles

(Catholic Online) Speaking in Washington, DC at the ‘National Catholic Prayer Breakfast’ on Tuesday, Cardinal Robert Sarah of West Africa Guinea, enjoined Christians to resist “ideological colonization” and the removal of God from society, in order to help the Church resist threats to the family and religious freedom around the world.

Cardinal Sarah emphasized that individualism and a desire to create a ‘utopian paradise’ without God has had profound impact on societies. “Rapid social and economic development in the past half century has not been accompanied by an equally fervent spiritual progress, as we witness what Pope Francis calls ‘globalized indifference’ ” he critiqued.

This indifference to persons can be seen in “our closing our eyes and hearts to the poor and vulnerable and in a very despicable  way, in how we discard the unborn and the elderly,” said Cardinal Sarah.

The greatest challenges however Cardinal Sarah said are the challenges facing the family. Quoting Pope Francis, he reminded those in attendance that proposing less than what the Church teaches on marriage proposes less than what Christ offers the human person.

“This is why the Holy Father openly and vigorously defends Church teaching on contraception, abortion — reproductive technologies, the education of children and much more.” These and other injuries to the family, Cardinal Sarah elaborated, can turn the family from a place of flourishing  and love into “a place where human beings can be humanly and spiritually wounded.”

Protecting the family is also linked to the preservation of religious freedom, Cardinal Sarah said as he urged Americans to protect their history of religious freedom. While many Christians across the world are suffering from violence due to persecution from governments or Jihadist groups such as the Islamic State, “violence against Christians is not just physical, it is also political, ideological and cultural,” Cardinal Sarah added.

“This form of religious persecution is equally damaging, yet more hidden. It does not destroy physically but spiritually.” The violence of cultural and ideological pressure seeks to separate the Christian from his/her conscience and blend them into society. — The Church’s teachings on marriage, sexuality and the family are under extreme pressure, Cardinal Sarah said.

In the face of such threats to the free exercise of religion and conscience, Cardinal Sarah called on Catholics to be prophetic, faithful and prayerful. – A prophetic approach requires careful discernment of how “in your lives” you homes, your workplaces – how in your nation, God is being eroded, eclipsed and liquidated, Cardinal Sarah added. Faithfulness requires Christians to be courageous in speaking the truth and prayer he said, is essential to discerning God’s will and to avoid discouragement.

Full Text here of Cardinal Robert Sarah Address at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Pope Francis March Prayer Video Focuses on Challenges of Needy Families

(EWTN) In his latest in a series of videos, Pope Francis focuses his monthly intention on families in difficulty, praying that they may receive the help they need and that children may grow up in a healthy environment.

“The family is one of the most precious assets of humanity but is it not perhaps one of the most vulnerable?” –Pope Francis said in this latest video of prayer intentions. When families are exposed to economic, health or other difficulties, the children grow up “in an environment of sadness,” said Pope Francis, sharing his universal prayer intention for this month, that families in need “may receive the necessary support and that children can grow up healthy and in peaceful environments.”

Pope Francis prayer video is the latest in a new series of short clips, dedicated to his monthly prayer intentions called ‘The Pope Video’ an initiative of the Jesuit run global prayer network in collaboration with the Vatican Television Center, marking the first time any Pope’s monthly prayer intentions have been featured on video.

January’s video Pope Francis highlighted the importance of a peaceful, loving dialogue and the beliefs different faith traditions, hold in common such as the figure of God and love;

February’s video Pope Francis reinforced his message of ‘caring for our common home’ and discovering ‘a new way of living.’

“Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all, we are all children of God, “Pope Francis said in his message released in January.

More here from Catholic News Agency

An Inspiration Of Time With God For Today

Service and LoveLife Lesson from God –Image Courtesy: Sister Story@Twitter

Love For One Another

Owe no one anything except to love one another for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments: You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal and any other commandment are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8-10

Related: For Today’s Bible Readings and More Visit: -USCCB

Life is Sacred, A Priceless Gift From God

Today Christians Honor Blessed Louis & Zelie Martin, To Be Canonized Saints October, 2015

Blessed Louis Martin...

Blessed Loius & Blessed Zelie Martin
Image: Carmelite Sisters of Ireland

(Franciscan Media) Born in France Bordeaux 1823 Louis’ desire to join a religious community went unfulfilled as he didn’t know Latin, he therefore trained to become a watchmaker.

Subsequently upon moving to Normandy, he met and fell in love with the highly skilled lacemaker Zelie, who also had been disappointed by her attempted to enter a religious order in her life — In 1858 Louis and Zelie were married and God blessed them with 9 children though two sons and two daughters died during infancy.

Louis would help manage his wife’s Zelie lacemaking business in their home while raising their children — Louis would become a widower when his wife Zelie died from breast cancer just months before her 46th birthday.

Following Zelie’s death, Louis moved his family to France Lisieux, to be near his brother and sister-in-law who helped with the education of his 5 surviving girls. — In 1889 Louis would suffer two paralyzing strokes according to SQPN followed by psychological trauma which resulted in his hospitalization for the next three years.

As Louis health deteriorated, his eldest daughter entered the Monastery of Mt. Carmel at Lisieux in 1888 — Subsequently, all 4 of her siblings also  entered into a religious life becoming Nuns, the youngest of which became Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (Feast Day: 01 October)

In 1894 their father Louis passed away. — Both Louis and Zelie were Venerated declared ‘Heroic in Virtue’ in 1994 by Pope Saint John Paul II and Beatified in 2008 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI — In October, both Blessed Louis Martin and Blessed Zelie Martin will be Canonized by Pope Francis in Rome during the Synod of the Family.

More here from the Carmelite Sisters of Ireland and here by EWTN