Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Saint Matthew, Patron Saint of Investment Advisors

The Calling of St. Matthew PaintingPainting: ‘The Calling of St. Matthew’
Artist: Matthias Stomer (1600-1650) Image Courtesy: Molly/Flickr

(CNA) St. Matthew, the first century ‘Tax Collector’ turned Apostle, chronicled the life and ministry of Christ in his Gospel. While little is known of Sr. Matthew, the account which he wrote about Christ’s Ministry is of inestimable value to Christians, particularly to his verification of Jesus as the Messiah.

The Gospel accounts of St. Mark (Feast Day: 25 April) and St. Luke (Feast Day: 18 October)  like St. Matthew’s own, describe the encounter between Jesus and Matthew: Matthew 9:9-13 under the surprising circumstances of Matthew’s tax-collecting duties. Jewish Publicans who collected taxes on behalf of the Roman authorities of first century Judea were objects of scorn, even hatred among their own communities–since they worked on behalf of the occupying authority, often earning their living by collecting more than the state’s due.

Jesus most likely encountered Matthew near the house of St. Peter (Feast Day: 29 June) in Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee — Matthew’s calling into Jesus’ inner circle, was a dramatic gesture of of the Messiah’s universal message and mission, causing some religious authorities of the Jewish community to ask: “Why does your teacher eat with the tax-collectors and sinners?” —Matthew 9:11 Jesus significant response indicated a central purpose: “For I came not to call the righteous but sinners.” Matthew 9:13; See also: Mark 2:15-17 and Luke 5:29-32

A witness to Christ’s resurrection after death as well as His ascension into Heaven and the events of Pentecost, Matthew also recorded Jesus’ instruction for the Apostles:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you and Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” — Matthew 28:19-20

Like 11 of the 12 Apostles, St. Matthew is traditionally thought to have died as a Martyr for Christ, while ministering the Gospel.

There is some disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew’s martyrdom according to EWTN and the kind of torture inflicted upon him, therefore its is not known whether St. Matthew was beheaded, burned or stoned to death.

Both St. Matthew and his Gospel have inspired important works of religious art, ranging from the ornate illuminated pages of the ‘Book of Kells’ to the St. Matthew Passion of J.S. Bach — Three famous paints of Caravaggio, depicting St. Matthew’s calling, inspiration and martyrdom, hanging within the Contarelli Chapel in Rome’s Church of St. Louis of the French.

Reflecting on St. Matthew’s calling, from the pursuit of dishonest financial gain to the heights of holiness and divine inspiration, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “…the persuasive voice of the publican Matthew, who having become an Apostle, continues to proclaim God’s saving mercy to us and let us listen to St. Matthew’s message, meditating upon it ever anew also to learn to stand up and follow Jesus with determination.”

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, St. Paul Chong Hasang and Companions, Martyrs for Christ

Sts Andrew Kim and Paul ChongSt. Andrew Kim Tae-gon & St. Paul Chong Hasang — Pray For Us
Image Courtesy: Pinterest

(Vatican) Pope Saint John Paul II said this of the Catholic Church in Korea in his Homily during the ‘Celebration of Mass for the Canonization of Korean Martyrs’ on the 06 May, 1984

“The truth about Jesus Christ–reached Korean soil, it came by means of books brought from China and in a most marvelous way, divine grace soon moved your scholarly ancestors, first to an intellectual quest for the truth of God’s word and then to a living faith in the Risen Savior.

Yearning for an ever greater share in the Christian faith, tour ancestors, sent one of their own to Peking where he was Baptized. From this good seed was born the first Christian community in Korea, unique in the history of the Church by reason of the fact, that it was founded entirely by Lay people.

This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus in less than a century, it could boast 10,000 Martyrs. The years 1791, 1801, 1827, 1839, 1846 and 1866 are forever signed with the Holy blood of your Martyrs and engraved in your hearts.

Even though the Christians in the first half century only had two Priests from China to assist them and these only for a time, they deepened their unity in Christ through prayer and fraternal love; they disregarded social classes, encouraged religious vocations and they sought ever closer union with the Bishop in Peking and the Pope in faraway Rome.

After years of pleading for more Priests to be sent, your Christian ancestors welcomed the first French Missionaries in 1836 — Some of these too are numbered among the Martyrs who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel and who are being Canonized today in this historic celebration.”

Saint Andrew Kim Taegon: (EWTN) Born 1821 in Korea Chungchong Province, his parents being converts to Catholicism were subject to persecution, to avoid this they moved to Kyonggi Province.

At the age of 15, Kim Tae-gon was selected by a visiting Priest to be a Seminarian and was sent with two other Seminarian to China Macau.

Arriving in 1873 he began his studies with the Missionaries of the Far Eastern Procure of the ‘Paris Foreign Mission Society’ by 1842 Kim Tae-gon left Macau as an Interpreter for a French Admiral aboard a warship. When the Admiral returned to France, Kim Tae-gon attempted to return to his homeland through the strictly guarded Northern frontier but failed.

In 1844 Kim Tae-gon was Ordained a Deacon in China, managing to return to Korea the following year arriving in Seoul — Kim Tae-gon would subsequently lead the French Missionaries by sea to China Shanghai, where Bishop Ferreol Ordained Kim Tae-gon the first Korean Priest in the Church’s 60 yr history in Korea.

Fr. Kim Tae-gon would return to Korea with Bishop Ferreol, reaching Chungchong Province by October 1845 — In Fr. Kim Tae-gon hometown, he Catechized the Christian faithful until Bishop Ferreol summoned him to Seoul.

At Bishop Ferreol Order, Fr.  Kim Tae-gon, he attempted to introduce French Missionaries from China into Korea, enlisting the aid of Chinese Fishermen. For this, Fr. Kim Tae-gon was arrested and sent to the central prison in Seoul, where he was charged as the ‘ringleader’ of a heretical sect, traitor to his country and sentenced to death by beheading.

Saint Paul Chong Hasang: (SQPN) Born 1795 in Korea and son of Yak Jong Church who was Martyred for Christ in 1801 during the persecution of Shin-Yu, which resulted in the deaths of all of the Clergy– Paul Chong Hasang though a Laymen, reunited the scattered Christians, encouraging them to keep and live their faith.

Paul Chong Hasang would write the Sang-Je-Sang-Su attempting to explain to the Korean government why the Church was no threat to them. Crossing into China 9 separate times, he worked as a servant to the Korean diplomatic corps. There Paul Chong Hasang worked to get the Bishop of Beijing, to send more Priests to Korea, he would likewise plead directly to Rome for assistance.

In September 1831 Pope Gregory X proclaimed the validity of the Korean Catholic Diocese. When the Priests began to return, Paul Ching Hasang entered the Seminary to study for the Priesthood, however he would be Martyred during the Gi Hye perscution of 1839 before he could be Ordained. — Paul Chong Hasang is remembered as one of the ‘Great Founders’ of the Catholic Church in Korea.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, there were 6 great waves of persecutions in which some 10,000 Christians according to Catholic News Agency shed their blood for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Today there are an estimated 5.1 Million Catholics in Korea.

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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Saint Januarius, Martyr for Christ

Martyrdom of St.-Januarius

Martyrdom of St. Januarius in 304
Image: Catholic Lane

(Franciscan Media) Born in Italy, little is known of the life of Saint Januarius except that he was a Bishop of Italy Benevento according to SQPN and was arrested during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian (from about 284 until is reign ended in 305) when Januarius went to visit imprisoned Deacons and was martyred for Christ with them.

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino, Patron Saint of Aviators & Air Travelers

St Joseph...

Saint Joseph of Cupertino (1601-1663)
Image: Catholic Online

(EWTN) Born in Italy Cupertino, Joseph’s father was a poor carpenter who died before he was born, leaving some debts–creditors would drive Joseph’s mother from her home while she was still pregnant with him and as a result Joseph, like the Baby Jesus, was born in a stable. — From this point on, not much is known about young Joseph until about the age of 7 or 8 when he began to have ‘mystical visions’ according to Catholic News Agency and was often times so lost to the world around him, that the other children would make fun of young Joseph, giving him the nickname “open-mouthed” for his gaping manner.

During this time, Joseph had a hot, irascible temper and read very poorly giving people the impression that Joseph was not very smart and not good for much. Aside from this, Joseph was continually drawn into a state of ecstasy which would leave him out of touch with things around him, making it impossible for him to be attentive to the tasks at hand. — Later when Joseph secured employment, he lost it very quickly.

According to EWTN at the age of 17, Joseph attempted to be admitted to the ‘Friars Minor Conventuals’ but was refused on the account of his ignorance. Subsequently Joseph applied to the ‘Capuchins at Martino’ near Italy Taranto and was accepted as a Lay-Brother at the age of 19 but his persistent ecstatic experiences would make him unfit to work and he was subsequently dismissed.

As a consequence to Joseph’s peculiar nature, he found himself to be scorned by his mother and uncle’s as ‘being good for nothing’ Joseph though did not lose hope. Though Joseph’s continual prayers and sincere desire, he succeeded in obtaining permission to work in the stable at the Franciscan Convent of La Grotella near Cupertino, at which time he would give evidence to his great virtues, humility, obedience and love of penance to such an extent that Joseph was admitted in 1625 and in just 3 years, he was Ordained a Priest.

Fr. Joseph was but a little versed in human knowledge and according to his biographers, he continued to read poorly (as was this case earlier in his life) yet he was said to be ‘infused by knowledge and supernatural light’ that he not only surprised all educated men but they were also surprised how Joseph could solve the most intricate questions.

Fr. Joseph’s life was now one long succession of visions and other heavenly favors–Everything that in any way had reference to God or Holy things, would bring on an ecstatic state: The sound of a bell, or of Church music, the mentioning of God, or the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Saint, any event in the Life of Christ, the Sacred Passion, a Holy picture to the thought of the Glory of Heaven, all would put Fr. Joseph into contemplation and nothing would have any effect on him during such times–only the voice of his Superior would have an effect on his state of consciousness.

These ‘States of Ecstasy’ would occur at any time or place but especially at Mass and during Divine Services. Fr. Joseph would likewise frequently would be raised up (levitating) in the air, as a result of such occurrences in public, this resulted in both much admiration of Fr. Joseph but also disturbances within the community.

As a result of such occurrences, for the last 35 years of Fr. Joseph’s life he was no longer permitted to attend choir, go to the common refectory, walk in procession or celebrate Mass in Church but was ordered to remain in his room where a private Chapel was prepared for him.

Evil minded and envious men would have Fr. Joseph investigated by the Inquisition and he would be transferred from one lonely house of the Capuchins or Franciscans to another but Fr. Joseph always retained his joyful spirit, submitting confidently to Divine Providence.

Fr. Joseph passed away on this date in 1663 in 1753 he was Beatified by Pope Benedict XIV and Canonized in 1767 by Pope Clement XIII

More here from American Catholic and here from EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, Patron Saint of Catechists

St RobertSaint Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) Image: Catholic Truths

(CNA) Born in Italy at Montepulciano Tuscany, Robert’s uncle was a Cardinal who later became Pope Marcellus II — As a young man, Robert would be educated by the Jesuit’s which had only received Papal approval 2 yrs before his birth.

In September 1560 Robert entered the Jesuit Order himself, studying philosophy for 3 yr in Rome then taught humanities until 1567 when he began a study of theology for a little more than two years at which time he was Ordained a Priest in 1570 according to Franciscan Media in Belgium. — Fr. Robert Bellarmine sermons drew crowds of both Catholics and Protestants. In 1576 returning to Italy, he accepted an academic position addressing theological controversies, his resulting work Disputations became a classic of Catholic apologetics.

Near the end of the 1580s, Fr. Robert Bellarmine became ‘Spiritual Father’ of the Roman College according to SQPN teaching Jesuit students and children, writing a children’s catechism, together with one for teachers also. — Fr. Robert Bellarmine would serve as a Confessor  of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (Feast Day: 21 June) who passed away at the age of just 23 then worked for the young man’s Canonization and likewise helped to produce the authoritative Latin text of the Bible, called for by the Council of Trent.

Around the end of that century, Fr. Robert Bellarmine would become an Advisor to Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) who named him a Cardinal in 1599 declaring that Cardinal Bellarmine, was the most educated man in the Church.

Cardinal Bellarmine, played a part in a debate betweem Dominicans and Jesuits regarding Grace, though the Pope later decided to appoint and consecrate him as the Archbishop of Capua.

Cardinal-Archbishop Bellarmine 3 yrs in Capua, would stand out as an example of fidelity to the reforming spirit and decrees of the Council of Trent — Cardinal-Archbishop Bellarmine was subsequently considered as a possible Pope in two successive elections however, the thought of becoming Pope would disturb him and in the end, he was never chosen.

In the early years of the 17th century, Cardinal-Archbishop Bellarmine would take a stand for the Church’s independence when it came under attack in Venice and England — Archbishop-Cardinal Bellarmine would likewise attempt to negotiate a reconciliation between his friend Galileo and the Vatican but was unsuccessful.

Galileo had believed the sun was the fixed center of the universe which revolved around it. Today we now know that Galileo was incorrect in his hypothesis and the sun is not the center of the universe. See more here of the ‘Galileo Controversy’ from Catholic Answers.

In 1621 Cardinal Bellarmine retired due to health problems. Two years before,  he had set out his thoughts on the end of earthly life in a book entitled: ‘The Art of Dying Well’ (available at Barnes & Noble online which they describe as ‘one of his most famous devotional works,’) since the state of one’s soul at death, determines an individuals eternal destiny.

St. Robert Bellarmine, passed away on this date in 1621 at Rome, he was Beatified in 1923 and Canonized in 1930 by Pope Pius XI

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of Pope Saint Cornelius, Martyr for Christ

Saint CorneliusPainting of St. Anthony Abbot with Pope Saint Cornelius, St. Cyprian and a Page — By: Paolo Veronese at Pinacoteca di Brera Museum,
Italy Milan –Image Courtesy: MyStudios.com

(Franciscan Media) There was no Pope for 14 months following the martyrdom of Pope Saint Fabian (Feast Day: 19 January) because of the intensity of the persecution of the Church. During the interim, the Church was governed by a College of Priests. — Saint Cyprian (Feast Day: 11 September) a friend of Pope Saint Cornelius writes that Cornelius was elected Pope: “By the the judgment of God and of Christ, by the testimony of most of the Clergy by the vote of the people, with the consent of aged Priests and of good men.”

The greatest problem of St. Cornelius two-year term as Pope, had to do with the Sacrament of Penance and centered on the readmission of Christians who had denied their faith during the persecution. Two extremes were finally both condemned. — St. Cyprian Bishop of Carthage appealed to Pope Cornelius to confirm his stand, that the relapsed could be reconciled only by the decision of the Bishop.

In Rome however, Pope Cornelius met with the opposite view. After his elect a Priest named Novatian had himself consecrated a rival Bishop of Rome–one of the first anti-popes. Novatian argued that the Church no power to reconcile not only the apostates but also those guilty of murder, adultery, fornication or second marriage. Pope Cornelius however had support of most of the Church, especially of St. Cyprian Bishop of Carthage in condemning Novatianism (though the sect persisted for several centuries) Pope Cornelius held a synod at Rome in 251 and Ordered the ‘relapsed’ Christians to be restored to the Church with the usual “medicines of repentance.”

The friendship of Pope Cornelius and St. Cyprian Bishop of Carthage, was strained for a time when one of St. Cyprian’s rivals made some allegations about him but the problem was resolved.

A document from Pope Cornelius showed the size of the Church in Rome during his Papacy: 46 Priest; 7 Deacons; 7 Subdeacons. It is estimated the number of Christians totaled about 50,000

Pope Cornelius was exiled by the Emperor Gallus and died a martyrs death as a result of hardships he endured while in exile in September 253 according to Catholic News Agency during the persecutions of the Emperor Valerian.

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Today Christians Commemorate the Memorial of ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’ – Pray For Us!

Our Lady of SorrowsOur Lady of Sorrows –Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(CNA) The Feast of ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’ commemorates the 7 great sorrows which Mary lived, in relation to her Son as they are recorded in the Gospels or through tradition:

  • At the Prophecy of Simeon: (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also) that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed. —Luke 2:35
  • At the flight into Egypt: “Rise, take the Child and His Mother and flee to Egypt and remain there till I tell you.” —Matthew 2:13
  • Having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem: “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” —Luke 2:48
  • Meeting Jesus on His way to Calvary.
  • Standing at the foot of the Cross: “Standing by the Cross of Jesus were his mother and mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene.” —John 19:25
  • Jesus being taken from the Cross;
  • At the burial of Christ

Prior to the Second Vatican Council, there were two Feasts devoted to the ‘Sorrows of Mary’ — The first was instituted in Cologne in 1413 as an expiation for the sins of the iconoclast Hussites;

The second is attributed to the Servite Order whose principle devotion are the ‘Seven Sorrows’ it was instituted in 1668 though the devotion had been in existence since 1239–Five years after the founding of the order.

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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Feast of the Exhaltation of the CrossFeast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(EWTN) The ‘Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross’ sprang into existence at Rome towards the end of the 7th century — Allusion is made to it during the pontificate of Pope Saint Sergius I (687-701) however as  Dom Baumer observes, the very terms of the text (Lib. Pontif I, 374-378) show that the Feast already existed.

It is then inexact as has often been pointed out, to attribute the introduction of it to Pope Saint Serguis I

The Gallican Churches (Rite) which at this point referred to but do not yet know of this Feast on (14 September) have another on the 03 May of the same signification. It appears to have been introduced there in the 7th century for ancient Gallican documents such as the Lectionary of Luxeuil do not mention it. — St. Gregory of Tours also seems to ignore it. According to Mgr. Duchesne, the date seems to have been borrowed from the legend of the Finding of the Holy Cross (Lib Pontif I p.cviii) Later when the Gallican and Roman Liturgies were combined, a distinct character was given to each Feast so as to avoid sacrificing either.

The 03 May was called the Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross and its commemorated in a special manner–St. Helena (Feast Day: 18 August) discovery of the Sacred Wood of the Cross.

The 14 September ‘Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross’ commemorates above all the circumstances in which Heracilus, recovered from the Persians the True Holy Cross, which they carried off in 614 according to Franciscan Media — According to the story, the Emperor intended to carry the Cross back to Jerusalem himself but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim.

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. John Chrysostom, Pray For Us!

St John ChrysostomSt. John Chrysostom  -Image Courtesy: Pinterest

(CNA) Born in Asia-Minor (modern day Turkey) Antioch, St. John Chrysostom  was perhaps one of the greatest preachers in the history of the Church, thus the name that earned him the title ‘Chrysostom’ (Golden Mouthed) and the most prominent Greek Father of the Church.

John grew up in Antioch (ancient Greek–Roman city) receiving an excellent classical Greek education–upon meeting the Holy Bishop Meletus, John decided to devote his time to the study of Sacred Scripture and religious works. Following his Baptism and three years of study, John set out for the desert to live the ascetic life of a Hermit in solitude. — John’s extreme mortification left him in fragile health, necessitating his return to Antioch.

After two years of recovery, John would devote himself to studying for the Priesthood, he was Ordained in 386, serving in the Cathedral of Antioch for 12 yrs, earning him widespread fame for his preaching which is said, “the content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture were never without a point according to Franciscan Media which sometimes the point stung the high and mighty–some of Fr. John’s sermons were said to have lasted up to 2 hours.

In 398 Fr. John was appointed ‘Patriarch of Constantinople’ and quickly became very popular with the people, through his example of preaching and courage in front of the imperial authority, whose corruption and decadence he never shirked from publicly criticizing. — This attitude naturally made Fr. John enemies of the Empress, Eudoxia as well as Theophilus Bishop of Alexandria, who had Fr. John condemned on false allegations in 403

Fr. John was subsequently exiled to Armenia where he continued to be a great presence in the Church of the East, through his many letters–From there, Fr. John was exiled from Armenia to an isolated place along the Black Sea, where he would die during the journey in 407 of natural causes.

In 438 the Emperor Theodosius II of Constantinople had Fr. John’s body returned and he did penance for the sins of his mother Eudoxia (Aelia Eudocia) who died in 460

Fr. John Chrysostom’s many writings, especially his Homilies and commentaries on the Gospels remain in existence and have exerted great influence throughout the centuries.

Related: St. John Chrysostom Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew

St. John Chrysostom Homilies on the Gospel of John

St. John Chrysostom on the Day he was Ordained a Priest

St. John Chrysostom ‘Easter Homily’ –EWTN

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God

Most Holy Name of MaryMost Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(Franciscan Media) Today’s Feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Feast Day: 03 January) both have the possibility of reconciling people too easily divided.

The ‘Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary’ began in Spain 1513 and by 1671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples.

In 1683 King John Sobieski III of Poland (1629-1696) brought an Army to the outskirts of Vienna to stop the advance of Muslim armies, loyal to Mohamed in Constantinople — After King Sobieski entrusted himself to Our ‘Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God’ he and his Soldiers thoroughly defeated the Muslims (an invaluable lesson that Americans should heed today –I digress)

Pope Innocent IV extended this Feast to the entire Church as a perpetual memorial of the great blessing won by Christians at Vienna.

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