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Cross to Saint
This is a Catholic Blog on The Cross of Christ, Mary, and the Saints

Archive for October, 2011

Saints Simon And Jude

 

Feast Day : October 28

We hear in the Gospel of Luke (6:12-16) how Jesus went up to the mountain to pray and upon coming down from the mountain he chose his 12 apostles who would follow him and be his representatives and evangelists to the world. Among these were Simon, the zealot, and (Jude) Thaddeus. We celebrate the feast day of these two saints, martyrs, and apostles on October 28.

 St. Jude is known in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark as Thaddeus (Mt 10:3 and Mk 3:18) and as Judas, son of James in Luke (Lk 6:16; Acts 1:13). He was the brother of James the Less. St. Simon is named in the Gospels as “Simon, the zealot”.

 In his audience in St. Peter’s Square in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI speaks about the significance of these two apostles and their service to The Church. He describes the characteristic of a “zealot” as being one who is like God in his zeal and devotion for the Gospel. And, as he stated likewise St. Simon can be described as one who was likely very zealous and passionate about his love and devotion to God, God’s people, and The Church.

 Additionally, we can see the great zeal of St. Jude Thaddeus in the words of his epistle.  Pope Benedict points to how St. Jude warned the people to beware of those who seem to teach in God’s name but, lead men astray and can destroy The Church by causing division. But, St. Jude gives this instruction to members of The Church as he says to them : “But you, beloved” –( he is speaking to all of us ), “build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt…” (vv. 20-22).  Indeed, we see the great zeal of St. Jude Thaddeus for preaching the Gospel to the early Church.

 The Gospel of John describes this discourse between Jude Thaddeus and Jesus following the Last Supper. Thaddeus says to Jesus : “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?”.  And, Our Lord responds in very profound words and Jesus says to him : “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (Jn 14: 22-23).  We see in this passage addressed to St. Jude Thaddeus, Jesus telling us the importance of having God live in our hearts, but we must be open to the grace to receive Good in our hearts to abide in us. And, a prerequisite to this relationship is that we keep His Word – His commandments.  

Early Church Fathers also point out that these 2 apostles, St. Jude and St. Simon, were witnesses to Jesus: on earth as members of his chosen 12 apostles, witnesses to Jesus crucified, and witnesses to Jesus risen. And, they continued to be witnesses for Jesus as they devoted their lives to go out and preach The Gospel to all of the world.

 Let us follow the example of these 2 saints and apostles of Christ as we proclaim The Word of God. We can express our Christian devotion and love for Jesus, His Church, and St. Jude as we wear this St. Jude saint medal.

 

 

 

 

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Prayer to Mary to Place Everyone in Her Immaculate Heart

My dear Blessed Mother

I place myself in the beautiful garden of your Immaculate Heart,

With all my family, relatives, friends,

And everyone I work with, play with, pray with,

And everyone you have placed in my life that I have spiritually adopted.

Please protect us from the evil one.

And, let us have health of mind, body, and soul,

That we may be united with Jesus, God Our Father, and The Holy Spirit.

I ask this and all things in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

What a wonderful way to express your love and devotion to Mary,

Our dear Blessed Mother as you wear this beautiful Gold and Blue Miraculous Medal.

 

 

 

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Prayer to The Holy Spirit

I often pray to the Holy Spirit for an increase in virutes and holiness, especially for more patience, kindness, understanding, and wisdom.

I pray this prayer to The Holy Spirit:

“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thYour faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created and You shall renew the face of the earth. Amen”

You too can show your devotion and love for the Holy Spirit as you pray for the intercession of the Holy Spirit and wear this beautiful gold Holy Spirit Pendant.

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St. Luke The Evangelist

Feast day – October 18

St Luke the Evangelist St. Luke was the author of the Gospel of St. Luke and The Acts of The Apostles. His identity as author of these books of the Bible has been confirmed by the early Church Fathers, St. Jerome, and Eusebius. He was a disciple and companion of the apostle St. Paul and accompanied him until St. Paul’s martyrdom. He has been identified inSt. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians (Col4:14) as “Luke, the beloved physician”. St. Luke was not a Jew. He was a gentile. And, therefore was able to write and communicate with the gentiles based on their tradition and customs. He lived in the Greek city of Antioch which is ancientSyria.

 He was a very well educated man and a physician by trade. He was also a very talented artist and painter. St. Luke is said to be the first painter of Christian icons. Among the icons painted by St Luke are pictures of The Blessed Mother Mary – Our Lady of Czestochowa and Our Lady of Vladimir, St. Peter,St. Paul, and other icons of Jesus and Mary.

 The Gospel of St. Luke contains many of the most well known and loved parables preached by Jesus to instruct us on our path to holiness. Among them are:

  • The Parable of The Good Samaritan which describes the charity of a stranger
  • The Parable of The Prodigal Son which describes the all merciful love of a father
  • The Parable of The Lost Sheep explains how Jesus as the shepherd seeks the lost sinners and brings them back to his fold
  • The Conversion of the repentant sinner on the cross illustrates God’s mercy and forgiveness
  • The Conversion of Mary Magdalene, the repentant sinner and sister of Lazarus again illustrated God’s mercy and forgiveness

 Of all of the four gospels, we find in the Gospel of Luke a focus on the infancy of Jesus. We hear a most beautiful description of the birth of Jesus in the manger at Bethlehem surrounded by Mary, Joseph, and the barn animals. And, Luke tells us of how the shepherds were called by the angels and told of the great birth of the Messiah.

 The Gospel of Luke also shows us the great love of Mary, the mother of Jesus. In this Gospel we see the love St. Luke had for Mary and it is believed that he received the information about Mary found in his Gospel directly from Mary.

 St. Luke is the patron saint of physicians, surgeons, artists, and painters. His writing and art have provided wonderful contributions to our knowledge of the life of Jesus, Mary, and the early Church. We can express our devotion and appreciation to this wonderful saint as we wear a beautiful St. Luke saint medal.

 

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Saint Francis and His Life of Prayer

St. Francis exhorts his Franciscan brothers and sisters to have “prayer and contemplation be the soul of all we are and all we do”.  So how do we accomplish this?

St. Thomas of Celano, St. Bonaventure, and Julian of Speyer describe Francis’ great zeal for prayer and how Francis would go off to be alone in his prayer to a cave or other solitary place in the wilderness, just as Jesus often did during his ministry. And, Francis would pray without intermission to keep himself in the continual presence of Christ, his beloved in his desire to know and live totally within the Divine Providence of God.

 The Franciscan brothers asked Francis to teach them how to pray, because at that time they had not learned the prayers of the Divine Office and did not own books from which they could pray. So, Francis told them, “ When you pray say, “ Our Father…”and he taught them the Lord’s Prayer, and he told them to pray this beautiful prayer we say during benediction and Good Friday services:

We adore you, O Christ, in all your churches throughout the world , and we bless You, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.”

 Thomas of Celano, the first biographer of St. Francis, said this about Francis and his life of prayer: “He does not so much pray, as he becomes himself a prayer”.

 Let us ask the Holy Spirit to follow the example of St. Francis in conforming ourselves to Jesus in such a way that we too may not only have a life of deep prayer, but become a living prayer. As we remember St. Francis in our intercession we can wear a beautiful St. Francis sterling silver medal.

 

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Our Lady of Fatima – The Miracle of The Sun

October 13, 1917.  Today is the 94th Anniversary.

 Our Blessed Mother appeared to three children in Fatimaon the 13th day of 6 consecutive months, beginning on May 13, 1917. The children were Lucia Santo and her cousins, Jacinta and Francesco Marto. The apparition of Mary followed months of apparitions by an angel that had prepared the children for the special vision of Our Blessed Mother by teaching them to spend much time in prayer.

During the apparition on May 13 and all of the apparitions by Our Lady in Fatima, Mary asked the children to say the rosary daily for peace and for an end to war. (This occurred during the time of World War I).

During the June apparition, Mary asked the children to pray for the souls in purgatory and to say this prayer at the end of each decade of the rosary with the intention of saving souls, “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.”

On July 13, 1917 Our Lady of Fatima revealed to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francesco the three secrets involving hell and a prophecy about Russia. Again Our Blessed Mother asked the children to make sacrifices in reparation for sinners and for devotion to her Immaculate Heart. Mary asked them to recite this prayer: “O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

When Mary appeared to the children on August 13, 1917, she requested a shrine and chapel to be built in honor of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and for a procession in which a statue of Mary would be carried to the chapel. Again she requested prayers and rosaries offered especially for the souls in purgatory. She told them that many souls are lost because no one prays for them.

When Our Lady appeared on September 13, she again asked the children to pray the rosary and continue to offer sacrifice for sinners. She promised that when she appeared in October that Jesus and St. Joseph would appear to them and bless the world. She also promised that a great miracle would appear.

Finally, on October 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima appeared in the midst of a great crowd of almost 100,000 people on a hill in a large field in the city of Fatima in Portugal. The crowd of people was gathered in the pouring rain under umbrellas as they looked toward the children in great anticipation. There were reporters and photographers among them. Then, as the rain stopped, the sun began to spin around in the sky, change colors, pulse like a heart, and seem to be falling to the earth. Witnesses described the sun as “dancing in the sky”. All eyes were on the miraculous view, looking toward the skies. When the children asked the beautiful lady her name she said she was Our Lady of the Rosary. After Our Lady disappeared the children saw the Child Jesus with St. Joseph in the sky as they blessed the world, making the sign of the cross. Then they saw Mary appear again when she asked for a chapel to be built in Fatima for devotion to the rosary.

The significance of the apparitions atFatima and the miracle of the sun was to promote the message which Our Lady has always given us to lead us to heaven. She asks us to pray often, especially the prayer of the rosary and to offer sacrifice and do penance for peace in the world, the salvation of sinners, and the souls in purgatory. Let us respond to the requests of our dear Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Fatima, by praying the rosary and carrying a beautiful Swarovski crystal rosary with us daily.

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Our Lady of The Holy Rosary

Feast day – October 7

Our Lady of The Holy Rosary and the Saints of the Rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary is one of the titles given to the Blessed Mother related to her intercession accomplished through the recitation of the rosary. Many miracles have been reported to be due to Mary’s intercession at the time of danger. The early records of this miraculous intercession are noted with major wars or battles in European history following the devotion of faithful Catholics in praying the rosary to the Blessed Mother.

The first of these reported military victories was onOctober 7, 1571at the Battle of Lepanto.  Christian troops defeated Turkish invaders. Prior to the battle members of the Rosary Confraternity in St. Peter’s square inRomeled a procession and prayed the rosary. Crew members on more than 200 ships and Christians throughoutEuropeprayed the rosary in response to the encouragement of the pope. In acknowledgment of Our Blessed Mother’s intercession, Pope St. Pius V ordered the faithful of the Church to commemorate the rosary on that date in October, naming the feast “Our Lady of Victory”. In 1573 Pope Gregory XII allowed the feast day to be celebrated in any church which had an altar dedicated to the Holy Rosary. He renamed the feast “Feast of the Holy Rosary”. Then, in 1671 Pope Clement X extended the feast to all of the country ofSpain. OnAugust 6, 1716, the octave of the Assumption of Mary, the feast was extended to the whole Catholic Church by Pope Clement XI, following a military victory inHungary. It was also added to the calendar of the saints during that year, celebrated on the first Sunday of October. The feast was moved to its current date of October 7 by Pope Pius X.

The rosary is an excellent form of mental and vocal prayer, which brings God’s blessings on the faithful of the Church through the intercession of Mary. It is inspired by the bible and is centered on the mysteries of Christ’s life. Mary promised great blessings to all those that pray the rosary.

As faithful Christians we often call on the intercession of our loving Blessed Mother at times of difficulties in our lives. We ask her to keep our loved ones wrapped in the mantle of her protection and guide us on our journey to heaven. Let us offer this day to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and honor Mary as we pray to her holding a beautiful mother of pearl rosary.

 

 

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Franciscan Saints and Blessed

 

Franciscan Saints and Blessed

 As we recall them in the Litany of Franciscan saints and blessed we pray to them to intercede for us:  

 

St. Francis, holy seraphic father of the Franciscan Order 

Holy martyrs of the Franciscan Order:

Sts. Bernard, Accursius, Adjutus, Otto, & Peter, first martyrs of the Franciscan Order

Sts. Daniel Angelo, Domnus, Hugolinus, Leo, Nicholas, & Samuel, martyrs inAfrica

St. Peter Baptista & his twenty-five companions, martyrs inNagasaki

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, martyr, tireless in the spreading of the faith

St. Thomas More, faithful servant and martyr inEngland

Blessed Apollinaris Franco & companions, martyrs inJapan

Blessed Apollinaris of Fribourg, martyr of the French Revolution

Blessed Engelbert Kolland who called his murderer “friend”

St. Maximilian Kolbe who gave his life for his brother in Christ at Auschwitz

 

All the Saints and blessed men of the Franciscan Family:

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, marked with the stigmata of Jesus

St. John Mary Vianney, inspired by the Good Shepherd

Blessed John Duns Scotus, defender of the Kingship of Jesus Christ and the  Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Blessed John of Parma, “angel of peace,” fierce protector of the Holy Rule

St. Anthony of Padua, powerful teacher of the Gospel life

St. Ferdinand, King ofCastile

St. Louis, strong in faith

St. Bonaventure, teacher of the Seraphic Order

St. Roch, helper in times of the plague

St. Bernardine of Siena, great preacher, unifier of east and west

St. John Capistrano, peacemaker and apostle of charity

St. Joseph Cafasso, man of limitless patience

St. Conrad of Parzhan, mediator of divine mercy

St. Pius X, full of apostolic zeal to renew everything in Christ

St. Paschal Baylon, patron of Eucharistic congresses and Eucharistic associations

Blessed John XXIII, humble and beloved pope

Blessed Luchesius, first confessor of the Secular Franciscan Order

Blessed Giles of Assisi, third companion of St. Francis

Blessed Contardo Ferrini, lay helper in a student community

Blessed Joseph Freinademetz, example of missionary poverty inChina

Blessed Pope John II

Venerable Solanus Casey, Priest, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin

 

Blessed and holy women of the Franciscan Family:

St. Clare, mother of the Poor Ladies of St. Damiano

St. Elizabeth ofHungary, mother of the poor and joyful in persecution

St. Rose of Viterbo, model of perfection at the age of 18 years

St. Agnes of Assisi, filled with the Seraphic spirit

St. Margaret of Cortona, great penitent

St. Elizabeth of Portugal, exemplary mother and promoter of peace

St. Bridget of Sweden, gifted with extraordinary love for the Crucified

St Colette, great reformer with the Spirit of prayer

St. Angela Merici, caring and wise educator of youths

Blessed Mother Thesesa of Calcutta

 

The wonderful Francisan saints and blessed are models of holiness for us all. Let us remember them as we wear a beautiful image of the Franciscans – a Franciscan Tau Cross ring.

 

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St. Francis of Assisi

 

Lived 1181-1226

Feast day – October 4, 2011

Francis was born Giovanni Francesco Bernardone in the Italianvillage ofAssisi. He was the son of a wealthy merchant. His early years were spent living in luxury, known as a joyful young man who loved to entertain. He was a soldier who dreamed of being a great victorious knight. But, on one of his first military missions he was captured.  He spent one year in captivity during which time he began a spiritual conversion. This was the first of the heavenly calls to Francis. He feared that he was dying and thought of how he spent his life on frivolous things. However, after his health returned Francis returned to his life of wealth and parties with his friends and the dream of becoming a victorious soldier.  But, now he it wasn’t as appealing to him. He began to find this way of life very empty, and he was drawn to the needs of the poor.

 One day on his return fromRomeand still as a soldier, Francis had stopped at a little chapel of St. Damien’s outside the city ofAssisito pray. As he looked up to the old crucifix he heard the voice of Jesus tell him three times,  “Go, Francis and rebuild my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.”. Francis interpreted this message to be a request to rebuild the physical church building which was in ruins. So he went off to rebuild the old church building stone by stone. He did not at this time understand the meaning of the message. Jesus was actually pleading with Francis to reform and rekindle the “spirit of the Church”  by rekindling the love of God in the hearts of men.

 Then onMay 14, 1209Francis was praying at the little chapel of Our Lady of Angels and the Gospel of St Matthew, chapter 10, 7-19 was read. In these verses where Jesus told his disciples ,… “And going, preach, saying The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand…. Freely have you received, freely give. Take neither gold nor silver nor brass in your purses . . . nor two coats nor shoes nor a staff…. Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves….”  Francis understood these words as his new directive. He knew he was to live a life of simplicity and poverty in his total service to Christ. This was the manner in which he instructed his followers – the brothers (friars) as well.

 St. Francis taught his brothers to see Christ in everyone, especially the poor, ill, elderly, and lonely. And, in his final years his brothers related that Francis not only imitated Christ but, he seemed to be totally united to Him. When people saw St. Francis, they saw in him the loving face of Christ. It is no wonder then that of all of the saints that Christ would chose St. Francis to be the first to receive the stigmata – the wounds of Christ – on his hands and feet. Francis found great joy in sharing the suffering of Christ in his heart, in his poverty, and in assisting the suffering brothers and sisters in Christ that he encountered any day of his life.  He spent most of his time in prayer and solitude when he was not preaching.

 St. Francis started the Franciscan Order which consisted of three orders: the Friars Minor, The Poor (Ladies) Clares, and the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. They are known today as the First, Second, and Third Orders of St. Francis. The Third Order of St.Francis,  now called the Secular Order of Franciscans, wear the Franciscan Tau Cross as their habit.

 St. Francis saw God in all of God’s creation and loved all creatures as being one with God. As we attempt to see Christ in everyone as St. Francis did we ask St. Francis to intercede for us to Jesus. And, we can express our devotion to this dear saint as we lovingly wear the gold St. Francis saint medal

 

 

 

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The Transitus of St Francis ofAssisi

On October 3, the date of the death of St. Francis of Assisi, Franciscans of the first, second, and third orders celebrate a ritual service to remember the passing of St. Francis from life on earth to his place with God. It is the goal of this commemorative service that Franciscans remember the teachings of St. Francis as seen through the words of St. Thomas of Celano and St. Bonaventure.

St. Francis lived to serve God. And, he instructed not only all of his followers, but all creatures to so as well. For St. Francis did indeed see all creatures through the eyes of God with great love and affection. Even death itself was welcomed by St. Francis as he saw it as a way to praise God. He went joyfully in his final hours to meet what he called, “my sister death”.

When the hour of his death had approached, St. Francis called all of the Franciscan brothers to his side and addressed them with great fatherly love. He reminded them of the value of poverty, humility, patience, living the Gospel, following Christ, and remaining faithful to the Holy Church. Then, at the moment of his death he stretched out his arms in the form of a cross and gave all his brothers, those present and those absent, a blessing in the name of Christ crucified. He told them that he was on his way to God and he commended them to the favor of God. Then he asked his brothers to read the passage in the Gospel of John describing Jesus washing the feet of his apostles at the Last Supper. It is this final image of humility which he shared with his dearly beloved Franciscan brothers. At this, St. Francis fell asleep in Christ and his soul was taken to God.

As we look at the life of St. Francis as a great model of living the Gospel and being Jesus  Christ to the world we ask Francis to bless us and assist us to be Jesus Christ to the world. And, we can remember St. Francis daily as we wear a beautiful gold St. Francis saint medal or Franciscan Tau cross medal.

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