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

Archive for November, 2011

St. Andrew Christmas Novena to Obtain Favors

Infant Jesus

The St. Andrew Christmas Novena is named for the date on which it begins every year –  the Feast of St. Andrew the apostle, November 30. It is a petition to God in honor of the birth of His Son, Jesus, Our Savior. It is piously believed that whoever faithfully recites this novena 15 times per day from November 30 until Christmas Day will obtain a request that is asked.

This novena was given the Imprimatur by Michael Augustine, Archbishop of New York, 1897

 

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Prayer to Obtain Favors:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment

In which the Son of God was born

Of the most pure Virgin Mary,

At midnight, in Bethlehem,

In the piercing cold.

In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God

To hear my prayer and grant my desires,

Through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ,

And of His Blessed Mother.

Amen.

 

For Reflection: Advent is the season to prepare for the coming of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is very fitting that we praise and bless the moment of the birth of Jesus – the most holy of all moments in the history of mankind, with this special prayer every day of Advent until Christmas. And, as we commemorate this special moment of the birth of Jesus in prayer daily, we humbly hope that God will answer our petition. As you pray this Christmas Novena in petition and as a commemoration of the birth of Jesus how wonderful to look upon a beautiful Infant Jesus figurine.

 

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Advent – Preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ, Our Savior, and The Holy Family

Advent is the time in the liturgical season when we are given the opportunity once again to prepare our hearts and our souls to receive Jesus Christ, Our Savior. It is a time to open our hearts to the great potential of love that we were given when we were baptized into the Catholic faith, and joined the body of The Church and communion of the saints. We prepare for the rebirth and renewal of Jesus into our hearts as we commemorate and celebrate that first Nativity over 2000 years ago. The infant Jesus calls us now to give our hearts in love and humility as the shepherds did when they came to adore their King and Savior. We experience this love in humility as servants when we give to the poor, visit the sick and elderly, contribute our time in service to the church, and spend more time with our family and friends. It is common to hear this loving action described during this time as “the spirit of Christmas”.  But, as Christians we know that this loving action of service is “the spirit of God living in us –  The Holy Spirit”. And, The Holy Spirit is within us every day of our lives as long as we are free from mortal sin, not just during the Christmas season.

For Reflection: How have we grown in our love for Jesus during this year? What will we do to prepare to greet the infant Jesus again this Christmas morning? Have we been more generous with the gifts that He has given us? Have we spent time in prayer – giving praise and thanksgiving to God, and listening to Him as He speaks to us during our day? Advent is a wonderful time to prepare ourselves by doing good works and spending more time in prayer. We honor Jesus and The Holy Family as we celebrate the first Nativity in praise and thanksgiving each year. You can express your honor and devotion to Jesus and The Holy Family as you display a beautiful Holy Family figurine and invoke their intercession in prayer.

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Mary – Our Lady of Grace

 The History and Origin of The Title of Mary As Our Lady of Grace

– by Marianne Buzzelli

“Our Lady of Grace” is one of the most popular titles given to The Blessed Mother. And, this title is rightly given to Mary as we hear it proclaimed in the Gospel of Luke when the Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will be the mother of the Messiah. Gabriel says “Hail Mary, full of grace” (the Latin translation for “gratia plena”) or “Hail Mary, one completely graced” (the Greek translation for “kecharitomene”.)

We acknowledge this title for Mary as she was the mother of Jesus, Our Savior and the source of all grace. In this role as mother of Jesus, Mary carried the source of all grace in her womb. It therefore, reasonably follows that Mary would continue to be the vessel or mediator of grace from Jesus to us, her children.

The image and title of Mary as “Our Lady of Grace” originated with the appearance of Mary to St. Catherine of Laboure in France in 1830. Mary appeared with bright beaming rays coming from her fingers. Mary told St. Catherine that the rays symbolize the graces which flow from her to any of her children on earth that ask for them. Mary asked St. Catherine to have a medal made with this image of her on it. And, anyone that would wear this medal with great faith would be granted special graces. The medal is called “The Miraculous Medal”.  The Blessed Mother Mary promised great graces to those that pray the rosary, attend Mass, and go to confession frequently.

For Reflection: Our Blessed Mother Mary wants to bring all of her children to heaven. She intercedes for us in prayer to her Son, Jesus. Mary’s intercession for us is a wonderful gift, as are the graces she offers to all that love Jesus and come in faith asking her for grace. Let us respond to the request of Mary to pray the rosary with a beautiful Our Lady of Grace Rosary.

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St. Leo The Great

Feast Day:      November 10

St. Leo the Great was Pope from 440 – 461. He was born and lived in the city of Tuscany, Italy. During this period Europe and the Catholic Church were under attack both physically and spiritually. The great Roman Empire was now being attacked and overrun by Attila the Hun. After conquering and destroying much of northern Italy, Attila marched toward Rome expecting to conquer that city as well. However, he was met by Pope St. Leo the Great who persuaded him to withdraw and leave the city of Rome unharmed. And, 2 years later Pope St. Leo was able to negotiate and prevent another attack by vandals and protect the city of Rome.

Beyond his leadership and negotiation skills, the greatest accomplishments by St. Leo the Great were the many wonderful writings he contributed as one of the early Church Fathers: 143 letters and 96 sermons.  The most popular of these was the Tome which declared the doctrine of Incarnation, defining at the Council of Chalcedon, in 451, that Jesus Christ is one Divine Person with two complete natures – a human nature and a divine nature.

He was named declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV. And, he actively fought against heresies which were threatening The Church of the 5th century, among them was the heresy of Pelagianism which denied original sin and Christian grace. It was through his great writings and his leadership that he was able to significantly impact the direction and acknowledgement of the role of the papacy as head of the Church.

For Reflection:  St. Leo the Great exemplifies the response of a holy person to the call which God gives to each of us at Baptism – to know God, love God, and serve God. We know God as we see and hear Him in His Word (the written Word of The Gospel and The Word made flesh in Jesus, His Son). We love God in His creation – every person and creature. We serve God as we love and serve His creatures –  everyone we encounter each day (our family, friends, neighbors, strangers, the poor, homeless). And, God asks us to proclaim His Word and His love to all the world.

You can express your love and devotion to your Christian faith, the saints, and St. Leo the Great as you wear a lovely   St. Leo saint medal.

Bio: Marianne Buzzelli is a Catholic Secular Franciscan, writer, and entrepreneur, dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ and to the love of Jesus, Mary, our saints, and The Church.

 

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St. Timothy – the Disciple

Lived 17-80 AD

Feast Day – January 26

St. Timothy was a disciple of St. Paul, the one of whom he spoke as “his beloved son”. He was a convert to Christianity born of a Jewish mother and pagan father. He was from Lystra, a city in Asia Minor where St. Paul preached the Gospel. After hearing St. Paul, Timothy was converted to Christianity along with his mother and grandmother. He was  strong in his faith and even from his early childhood he spent much time in reading the Scriptures. He was very devout and fervent in his Christian faith and was eager to follow St. Paul. He devoted a great deal of his time in reading and studying Scriptures. When he grew to be a man he was recognized for his kind heart and for his knowledge and zeal for preaching the Gospel. St. Paul loved Timothy and had him accompany him on his journeys throughout Asia Minor and Greece. St. Timothy was ordained the first Bishop of Ephesus by St. Paul in the year 65 AD. He was bishop for 15 years. It was in Ephesus that Timothy received the two Epistles written by St. Paul, one which St. Paul wrote while he was in Macedonia, and the second while he was in prison in Rome. One of the most memorable legacies of the teachings of St. Timothy was in the importance of spending time reading and studying the Scriptures. He warned against gossip and profanity and exhorted Christians to be good examples in speech and action in proclaiming the Word of The Lord. St. Timothy was martyred in Ephesus for attempting to stop a pagan procession.  He was stoned to death.

For Reflection:  St. Timothy grew in holiness as he spent much of his time reading and studying the Gospel. And, as a result of him knowing God through His Word, he developed a great zeal to share his love of God and evangelize. We are all called to be saints. And, as St. Timothy admonishes us, we should concentrate our time on being good Christian examples of Christi in speech and action. What a wonderful way to express our Christian devotion and love for this great disciple of Christ as we wear a St. Timothy medal.

 

Bio: Marianne Buzzelli is a Catholic writer and owner of Holy Cross Necklaces which sells fine cross necklaces, saint medals, beautiful rosaries, and Christian rings and bracelets

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Prayer to The Holy Trinity

 

By Marianne Buzzelli, (Sr. Mary Joseph, SFO)

Sterling silver four-way medal

 

Dear Holy Trinity, open my eyes, my ears, my mind, and my heart

to recognize God’s Holy Will for my life;

to recognize the face of Christ in everyone,

and to be the heart, the hands, and the feet of Christ to everyone.

Give me the wisdom, courage, strength, patience, and humility

to love and serve God and all The Church

with my whole heart, whole mind, and whole strength

in all my daily prayers, words, and actions.

Continue to form me in Christ’s image

so that I may be a worthy servant

and saint of His Holy Church and His heavenly Kingdom.   Amen

 

I offered this prayer request to The Holy Trinity during my profession to The Secular Franciscan Order. You may express your love and devotion to The Holy Trinity in prayer as you wear this beautiful sterling silver four-way medal pendant with The Holy Spirit.

 

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St. Martin de Porres

- by Marianne Buzzelli

 

 

Feast Day Nov 3

1579 – 1639,

St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru as a son of a Spanish father and mother from Panama of Black or American Indian descent. At the age of 12 his mother sent him to be an apprentice as a barber-surgeon, which was a common tradition of barbers during that time. In their practice as barbers they also were able to care for wounds, draw blood, and give medicines as treatment for illnesses.

It was in this role that St. Martin began his care for the sick and poor. And, in addition to his love for the poor, his love for God lead him to seek entrance into the Dominican Order. In his great humility, St. Martin had thought of entering the order as a lay person to help treat the sick. He served and studied and spent much time in prayer and penance. And, with great humility, compassion, generosity, and love for the poor and sick, the religious members of his order asked to have St. Martin de Porres be professed as a Dominican brother. He cared for all people of every race, color, and social status with great love and compassion.

Among his accomplishments were assisting in founding an orphanage, raising money for poor girls as dowry for marriage or religious life, caring from slaves brought from Africa, and collected alms for the poor.  He is the patron saint of the poor and social justice

Among the miracles performed by St. Martin de Porres were bilocation and curing of the sick. Much like St. Francis of Assisi who referred to himself as a poor servant, St. Martin de Porres referred to himself as a “poor slave”. Surely this wonderful saint is an example of the virtues that God asks us to develop of humility, love, and generosity with the poor. What a wonderful way to express your respect and devotion to this saint as you wear this lovely sterling silver St. Martin de Porres saint medal.

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All Souls Day – History And Meaning

– by Marianne Buzzelli

 

Feast Day – November 2

On All Souls Day the Catholic Church commemorates all of the faithful departed, the souls who are in a state of purgation (purgatory) awaiting their place in heaven. We pray for the faithful departed during every Mass, as we pray for those “…who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and… who sleep in Christ”.

What a marvelous thought of “sleeping in Christ”.  For, we know that if we live in Christ we will also die in Christ. And, after death, all holy souls prior to their entrance in heaven will also be sleeping “in Christ”. As Christians we believe that as Christ died, rose, and ascended into heaven, we too, if we are in a state of grace, will have a place in heaven after our death. St. Paul speaks of this promise and hope as he writes “God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep” (1Thes 4:13-14).

In our prayer for the dead we display our faith and hope in eternal life and participate as The Church Militant on earth as members of The Communion of Saints in requesting intercession for the faithful departed. The basis for this practice of prayer for the faithful departed is in our belief that we are all united in The Mystical Body of Christ and The Communion of Saints – The Church Militant on earth, The Church Triumphant in heaven, and The Church Suffering in Purgatory. We invoke the intercession of the glorious saints of The Church Triumphant as we do penance and pray for all those on earth, The Church Militant, and the holy souls in purgatory, The Church Suffering.

Prayer for the dead was recognized in the earliest writings of The Church. Early Church Fathers note the use of diptychs or tablets in which Christians would record the death of Christians. St. Cyprian in the third century and St. John Chrysostom in the fourth century write about these recorded deaths in diptychs. The dead were remembered with prayers and works of penance. Benedictine monks offered commemoration services for the dead during the sixth century. And, in 998 St. Odilo, the fifth Abbot of Cluny, implemented the annual commemoration of the faithful departed among all monasteries which spread among all Benedictines, and throughout the Church. Blessed John Paul II recognized the millennium commemoration of All Souls Day in his 1998 address. He cites this beautiful passage from Lumen Gentium: “Intercession for the dead, just as the life of those living according to the divine commandments, obtains the merits that serve the full attainment of salvation. It is an expression of the fraternal charity of the one family of God, by which “we are faithful to the Church’s deepest vocation” (Lumen gentium, n. 51)

It is thus, on this special feast day that we look with special love and devotion to all of the faithful departed, our family, friends, and those who have no one to pray for them. The entire month of November is dedicated to all souls in purgatory. Let us “express our fraternal charity within the one family of God” as we pray for the faithful departed and also as we invoke the intercession of Our Dear Blessed Mother as we pray on a beautiful Pearl Our Lady of Guadalupe Rosary.

 

 

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