Wednesday, September 30, 2009

St. Thérèse of Lisieux


St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, or St. Thérèse of Lisieux was born January 2, 1873 in Alençon, France to pious parents, both who have been declared venerable by Pope John Paul II. Her mother died when she was four, leaving her father and elder sisters to raise her.

On Christmas Day 1886 St. Thérèse had a profound experience of intimate union with God, which she described as a “complete conversion.” Almost a year later, in a papal audience during a pilgrimage to Rome, in 1887, she asked for and obtained permission from Pope Leo XIII to enter the Carmelite Monastery at the young age of 15.

On entering, she devoted herself to living a life of holiness, doing all things with love and childlike trust in God. She struggled with life in the convent, but decided to make an effort to be charitable to all, especially those she didn’t like. She performed little acts of charity always, and little sacrifices not caring how unimportant they seemed. These acts helped her come to a deeper understanding of her vocation.

She wrote in her autobiography that she had always dreamed of being a missionary, an Apostle, a martyr – yet she was a nun in a quiet cloister in France. How could she fulfill these longings?

“Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!”

Thérèse offered herself as a sacrificial victim to the merciful Love of God on June 9, 1895, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity and the following year, on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, she noticed the first symptoms of Tuberculosis, the illness which would lead to her death.

Thérèse recognized in her illness the mysterious visitation of the divine Spouse and welcomed the suffering as an answer to her offering the previous year. She also began to undergo a terrible trial of faith which lasted until her death a year and a half later. “Her last words, ‘My God, I love you,’ are the seal of her life,” said Pope John Paul II.

Since her death, millions have been inspired by her ‘little way’ of loving God and neighbor. Many miracles have been attributed to her intercession. She had predicted during her earthly life that “My Heaven will be spent doing good on Earth.”

Saint Thérèse was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997 - 100 years after her death at the age of 24. She is only the third woman to be so proclaimed, after Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa of Avila.

St. Thérèse wrote once, 'You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Awesome Vocations Video


I found this video that I wanted to share. No, there's no liturgical reason to post it today. I just liked it, that's all.

Monday, September 14, 2009



The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates two historical events: the discovery of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, in 320, under the temple of Venus in Jerusalem and the dedication, in 335, of the basilica and shrine built on Calvary by Constantine which mark the site of the Crucifixion.

The basilica, named the Martyrium, and the shrine, named the Calvarium, were destroyed by the Persians in 614. The Church of the Holy sepulcher which now stands on the site was built by the crusaders in 1149.

However the feast, more than anything else, is a celebration and commemoration of God's greatest work, his salivific death on the Cross and Resurrection, through which death was defeated and the doors to Heaven opened.
The entrance antiphon for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is - "We should glory in the crossof our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation, our life and ourresurrection: through him we are saved and made free".

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Nativity of Our Blessed Mother

"The hope of the entire world and the dawn of salvation." - ( Lumen Gentium, 55 )

Besides Christmas, only two birthdays are celebrated in the Church’s liturgical calendar. That of John the Baptist on June 24, and the birth of our Lady, on September 8.

The reason for this is that these two saints, especially, of course, Mary, are figures of singular importance in the history of salvation. Their coming into the world heralds the arrival of the Word’s dwelling among men and the redemption of the fallen human race.

“Mary's birth lies at the confluence of the two Testaments--bringing to an end the stage of expectation and the promises and inaugurating the new times of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ (LG, 55).”

“Mary, the Daughter of Zion and ideal personification of Israel, is the last and most worthy representative of the People of the Old Covenant but at the same time she is "the hope and the dawn of the whole world." With her, the elevated Daughter of Zion, after a long expectation of the promises, the times are fulfilled and a new economy is established. (LG, 55)

The feast of the Nativity of Mary originated in the Middle East in the sixth or seventh century and was included in the Roman calendar in the eighth. It is celebrated exactly 9 months after the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


Known to all as a universal symbol of God's merciful and preferential love for the poor and forgotten, Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, the youngest of three children. She attended a youth group called Sodality, run by a Jesuit priest at her parish, and her involvement opened her to the call of service as a missionary nun.

She joined the Sisters of Loretto at age 17 and was sent to Calcutta where she taught at a high school. She contracted Tuberculosis and was sent to rest in Darjeeling. It was on the train to Darjeeling that she received her calling - what she called "an order" from God to leave the convent and work and live among the poor. At this point she did not know that she was to found an order of nuns, or even exactly where she was to serve. "I knew where I belonged, but I did not know how to get there," she said once, recalling the moment on the train.

Confirmation of the calling came when the Vatican granted her permission to leave the Sisters of Loretto and fulfill her calling under the Archbshop of Calcutta. She started working in the slums, teaching poor children, and treating the sick in their homes. She was joined a year later by some of her former students and together they took in men, women, and children who were dying in the gutters along the streets and cared for them.

In 1950 the Missionaries of Charity were born as a congregation of the Diocese of Calcutta and in 1952 the government granted them a house from which to continue their service among Calcutta's forgotten.

The congregation very quickly grew from a single house for the dying and unwanted to nearly 500 around the world. Mother Teresa set up homes for AIDS sufferers, for prostitutes, for battered women, and orphanages for poor children.

She often said that the poorest of the poor were those who had no one to care for them and no one who knew them. And she often remarked with sadness and desolation of milliions of souls in the developed world whose spiritual poverty and loneliness was such an immense cause of suffering.

She was a fierce defender of the unborn saying: "If you hear of some woman who does not want to keep her child and wants to have an abortion, try to persuade her to bring him to me. I will love that child, seeing in him the sign of God's love."

Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997 and was beatified only six years later, on October 19, 2003.

Mother Teresa once said, "A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace." She also said, "give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saint Gregory the Great

Gregory was born in Rome around 540, into the family of a wealthy Roman Senator who converted and became one of the seven deacons of Rome.

Gregory, who was known for his intelligence and capacity for work, was appointed Prefect of Rome by the emperor at the very young age of 34. However, a year later, on the death of his father, Gregory became a Benedictine monk, and founded seven monasteries, one in his own home in Rome.

His monastic life was interrupted, much to his regret, in 590 when he was elected Pope by all the clergy and faithful of Rome and carried to his consecration at St. Peter's on September 3.

His achievements in his 14 years as Pope are almost astounding. His biographer, Paul the Deacon, explaining his phenomenal work output, said that he never rested. All the more remarkable when one considers that he was always in ill health, physical suffering being a constant companion throughout his entire reign as pope.

He introduced liturgical reforms and brought chant into the Church, now known as Gregorian chant, after him. He sent Saint Augustine of Canterbury and a company of monks to evangelize England, and wrote many works on faith and moral subjects.

Saint Gregory's influence on the future shape of Catholicism should never be underestimated. His reforms and organization of the Church's relationships with the temporal order set the tone for succeeding centuries.

Most significantly, he became the model of the medieval pope. With regard to things spiritual, he impressed upon men's minds, to a degree unprecedented, the fact that the See of Peter was the one, supreme, decisive authority in the Catholic Church.

He is one of the four great Latin doctors of the Church, one of only two popes to be called 'great' (the other being Pope Saint Leo the Great) and the patron saint of music.

Pope Saint Gregory the Great once said, "The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."
Saint Gregory died on March 12th, 604.