Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions

November 24, 2017 – Memorial of Saint Andrew Dũng-Lac and Companions, Martyrs

On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II canonized a group of 117 martyrs who died for the Roman Catholic Faith in Vietnam during the nineteenth century. The group was made up of ninety-six Vietnamese, eleven Spaniards, and ten French. Eight of the group were bishops, fifty were priests and fifty-nine were lay Catholics.

St. Andrew Dung-Lac, who represents this group of heroes, was a Vietnamese diocesan priest. He came from a poor, non-Christian family and was taught by a Christian lay catechist. He worked in the missions with the priests of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris. He was imprisoned and repeatedly tortured during the persecutions of Minh-Meng, the emperor of Vietnam between 1820 and 1840 who was famed for his persecutions of the Christians.

This feast day, and the witnesses of the lives of the martyrs, give testament to the sufferings inflicted on the Vietnamese Church, which are among the most terrible in the long history of Christian martyrdom.

Source: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2014-11-24

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Memorial of St. Cecilia

November 22, 2017 – Memorial of St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians

Her story:  

St. Cecilia, by preaching, had converted four hundred persons, whom Pope Urban forthwith baptized. Then Cecilia was arrested, and condemned to be suffocated in the baths. She was shut in for a night and a day, and the fires were heaped up, and made to glow and roar their utmost, but Cecilia did not even break out into perspiration through the heat. When Almachius heard this he sent an executioner to cut off her head in the bath. The man struck thrice without being able to sever the head from the trunk. He left her bleeding, and she lived three days. Crowds came to her, and collected her blood with napkins and sponges, whilst she preached to them or prayed. At the end of that period she died, and was buried by Pope Urban and his deacons.

Source: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=34

Prayer to St. Cecila:

Dear Saint Cecilia,

One thing we know for certain is that you became a heroic martyr in fidelity to your divine Bridegroom.

We do not know if you were a musician, but we are told taht you heard Angels sing.

Inspire musicians to gladden the hearts of people by filling the air with God’s gift of music and reminding them of the divine Musician who created all beauty.

Amen

Source: https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/StCecilia.htm

“Give Your Peace to My Soul”

November 13, 2017

On this, the Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, I offer a prayer attributed to her:

Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul, that I may be free from all needless anxiety, solicitude and worry.

Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to You so that Your will may be my will.

Amen

Source: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=1705

St. Charles Borromeo

November 4, 2017 – Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo

Some information on St. Charles Borromeo:

Charles took the initiative in giving a good example. He allotted most of his income to charity, forbade himself all luxury, and imposed severe penances upon himself. He sacrificed wealth, high honors, esteem, and influence to become poor. During the plague and famine of 1576, Borromeo tried to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people daily. To do this he borrowed large sums of money that required years to repay. Whereas the civil authorities fled at the height of the plague, he stayed in the city, where he ministered to the sick and the dying, helping those in want.

Work and the heavy burdens of his high office began to affect Archbishop Borromeo’s health, leading to his death at the age of 46.


Reflection

Saint Charles Borromeo made his own the words of Christ: “…I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25:35-36). Borromeo saw Christ in his neighbor, and knew that charity done for the least of his flock was charity done for Christ.

Source: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-charles-borromeo/

 

Don’t Be an “Easy Going” Christian

October 29, 2017

The following comes from a Pope Francis homily from a daily Mass last week:

“Jesus calls us to change our lives, to change paths. He calls us to conversion.” And this means fighting against evil, even in our own hearts, “a struggle that does not give you ease, but gives you peace.”

Inspired by the day’s Gospel, Pope Francis explained that this is the “fire” that Jesus sets on earth – a fire, he said, that calls for change:

“Changing our way of thinking, changing our way of feeling. Your heart, which was worldly, pagan, now becomes Christian with the strength of Christ: to change, this is conversion. And changing your manner of acting: your works must change.”

It is, he continued, a conversion that “involves everything, body and soul, everything.” Pope Francis emphasized:

“It is a change, but it is not a change that is made with make-up. It is a change that the Holy Spirit makes, within. And I have to make it mine so that the Holy Spirit can act. And this means a battle, fighting!”

“Easy-going Christians, who don’t fight, don’t exist,” the Pope added. “Those are not Christians, they are lukewarm.” The tranquility necessary for sleep can be found “even with a pill,” he said, “but there are no pills” for inner peace. “Only the Holy Spirit,” can give “that peace of the soul that gives strength to Christians.” And, he said, “we must help the Holy Spirit,” by “making space in our hearts.” A daily examination of conscience “can help us in this,” the Pope said. It can help us “to fight against the maladies the enemy sows,” which he called “maladies of worldliness.”

“The fight Jesus wages against the devil, against evil, is not something old, it is a modern thing, a thing of today, of all days,” Pope Francis said, because “the fire that Jesus has come to bring us is in our hearts.” And so we must allow Him to enter, and must “ask ourselves, each day: how have I passed from worldliness, from sin, to grace? Have I made room for the Holy Spirit, so that He could act?”

“The difficulties in our lives are not resolved by watering down the truth. The truth is this: Jesus has brought fire, and struggle. What am I going to do?”

For conversion, Pope Francis concluded, “a generous and faithful heart” is needed: “generosity that always comes from love,” and “is faithful, faithful to the Word of God.”

Source: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/10/26/pope_at_daily_mass_easy-going_christians_dont_exist/1345300

 

The Beauty of the Christian Faith

October 28, 2017

Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles

From a General Audience of Pope Benedict XVI, St. Peter’s Square, October 2006:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, let us examine two of the Twelve Apostles: Simon the Cananaean and Jude Thaddaeus (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot). Let us look at them together, not only because they are always placed next to each other in the lists of the Twelve, but also because there is very little information about them, apart from the fact that the New Testament Canon preserves one Letter attributed to Jude Thaddaeus.

Simon is given a nickname that varies in the four lists: while Matthew and Mark describe him as a “Cananaean”, Luke instead describes him as a “Zealot”.

Thus, it is highly likely that even if this Simon was not exactly a member of the nationalist movement of Zealots, he was at least marked by passionate attachment to his Jewish identity, hence, for God, his People and divine Law.

If this was the case, Simon was worlds apart from Matthew, who, on the contrary, had an activity behind him as a tax collector that was frowned upon as entirely impure. This shows that Jesus called his disciples and collaborators, without exception, from the most varied social and religious backgrounds. Continue reading