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St. Patrick Unceasingly Thanked God

St. PatrickAfter watching hundreds of photos from friends on social media over the weekend celebrating St. Patrick’s Day I had to wonder if they know anything about St. Patrick. There were parties all about green and drinking. Lots of drinking from the looks of it. And already lots of eating corned beef and cabbage. But is that what the Commemoration Day for this holy man is all about?

Here’s what the Liturgy of the Hours says about St. Patrick:

Saint Patrick was born in Great Britain about the year 385. As a young man he was captured and sold as a slave in Ireland where he had to tend sheep. having escaped from slavery he chose to enter the priesthood, and later, as a bishop, he tirelessly preached the Gospel to the people of Ireland where he converted many to the faith and established the Church. He died in Down in 461.

In his Confession of Saint Patrick he says, “I give unceasing thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the day of my testing. Today I can offer him sacrifice with confidence, giving myself as a living victim to Christ, my Lord, who keep me safe through all my trials.”

I don’t know if he ever had a green beer but I could see him enjoying one. His sounds like the kind of spirit that found joy even in suffering and trial. I ask for his prayers as we celebrate him tomorrow!

Two Popes Become Saints

Cannonization of PopesIt’s official. We have two new Pope Saints in the Catholic Church. Saints John XXIII and John Paul II. May they please pray for us.

Pope Francis opened his homily during this morning’s Mass speaking of the wounds Jesus suffered on the cross.

Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side. They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy http://www.wildstarplatinums.com.

They were priests, and bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.

I could not stay awake to watch the ceremony and Mass but you can find lots of information about it online. Here’s the text of Pope Francis’s homily.

The Venerable Bishop Alvaro del Portillo!

Let’s celebrate another venerable man, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo. He was the first Prelate of Opus Dei and a close friend of founder St. Josemaría Escrivá. Pope Benedict has signed a decree that recognizes his “heroic virtues.” According to Rome Reports:

This step is actually key, as his beatification process goes further. It means, that Benedict XVI recognizes that “Don Alvaro” exemplified Christian virtues in his life.

Now, those working on his cause for beatification, must present a documented miracle to the Vatican. If it’s approved by experts, theologians and of course the Pope, his beatification could follow. Alvaro del Portillo was born in Madrid, Spain in 1914. His mother was Mexican, his father was Spanish. He studied Civil Engineering, Philosophy and Theology.

Find A Patron Saint

Chelsea pointed me to the Saint’s Name Generator created by Jennifer Fulwiler. If you don’t have a patron saint or would like to find a new one for the year then give it a try. I did and found St. Conrad of Piacenza. He is a patron saint against hernias. This seemed appropriate in light of the fact that we’re planning to move back to Florida this year and I’m betting there will be some heavy lifting.

If you don’t have a patron saint or haven’t ever studied the lives of saints I highly recommend it. Saints are part of the rich history of our Church and can not only be an inspiration but extremely helpful if you ask for their prayers. I feel very blessed to have a number of patron saints that include St. Charles Borromeo, St. Albert the Great, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Josemaria Escriva and others. Now I have St. Conrad of Piacenza too!

Pope John Paul II To Be Beatified May 1

Me With Pope John Paul IIIn case you haven’t hear yet, May 1 is the date for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II. I already ran the idea of going past Cindy and she can’t even stand the idea of dealing with the crowds. I could deal with it but the cost is also a factor. I did a quick look at flights and didn’t see anything less than about $980!

It would be awesome to attend this ceremony for the Pope I’ve personally met and who was such an inspiration in life and continues to be so in death. He met all of my family on a visit to the Vatican years ago and I know has touched all our lives for the better.

Reports are saying they expect about 2 million for the ceremony which is a million less than his funeral. They know how to deal with big crowds there and do a good job. I had the fortune to attend the Canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva and it was packed too.

Pope John Paul II has also been named the patron of the upcoming World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, which will be celebrated August 16-21.

St. Francis Pray For Us

St. Francis of AssisiToday would normally be the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, my confirmation saint.

But it’s a Sunday, the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time to be precise.

This is my statue of St. Francis that watches over my house and yard. So today I ask him to pray for me and my family and everyone.

You probably know that he’s the patron saint of, animals, Catholic Action, environment, merchants, Meycauayan, Italy, Brgy. San Francisco, San Pablo City, Philippines and stowaways.

That’s according to Wikipedia. You can also read more about him here.

Dominicans and Dalmatians

Today is the feast day of St. Dominic and on a visit to Portland, Oregon this week I learned something about Dominicans that I never knew – they have a thing for Dalmatians.

Dominican DalmatianThe Holy Rosary Church in Portland features stained-glass window depictions of the mysteries of the Rosary, which is pretty common. What was different about these is that they each had a little Dalmatian worked into the scene. It made me go and look up the connection.

According to the Mythology of Dogs by Loretta Hausman, the association of the Dalmatian and the Dominicans originates from a dream that St. Dominic’s mother had in which she saw a dog holding a flaming torch in its mouth, guiding her son to set a fire of truth to the world.

The Dominicans became associated with Dalmatians specifically because the colors correspond to the order’s colors of black and white for habits and hoods. Pope Honorius is said to have proclaimed Dominicans Domini canes, or the “watchdogs of the Lord.”

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of AssisiYesterday was the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. I chose him as my confirmation saint a long, long time ago. The picture is the statue of St. Francis under the deck to my house. I can look out my office door to see him when I need some inspiration.

Here’s some details about him from Wikipedia:

Francis of Assisi (Giovanni Francesco Bernardone; born 1181/1182 – October 3, 1226) was a friar and the founder of the Order of Friars Minor, more commonly known as the Franciscans. He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment and Italy.

Here’s an excerpt from the homily by Br. José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, Minister General of the , the order founded by St. Francis. He gave this during Mass yesterday:

This is the path which Francis points out to us, the path which he also travelled, because it was that chosen by the Son of God in order to become man. Christ Jesus, though “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are” (Phil 2,6f). This unlimited love of God for humanity, which led Him to strip Himself of His divinity in order to participate in the fate of man, even to die naked on the cross for us, is the love which Francis sought to live throughout his existence, up to the final instant when, right here, he wished to die, like his Lord, naked on the ground. Francis made himself little because he wished to imitate his Lord, who, to love him, had become so little as to be born as a defenceless child from the womb of the Virgin.

You can learn a lot more about St. Francis on this website.

The Little Flower on Little Flowers

nullJesus deigned to teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers.

And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus’ garden. he willed to create great souls comparable to Lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.

I understood, too, that Our Lord’s love is revealed as perfectly in the most simple soul who resists His grace in nothing as in the most excellent soul; in fact, since the nature of love is to humble oneself, if all souls resembled those of the holy Doctors who illumined the Church with the clarity of their teachings, it seems God would not descend so low when coming to their heart. But He created the child who knows only how to make his feeble cries heard; He has created the poor savage who has nothing but the natural law to guide him. It is to their hearts that God deigns to lower Himself. These are the wild flowers whose simplicity attracts Him. When coming down in this way, God manifests His infinite grandeur. Just as the sun shines simultaneously on the tall cedars and on each little flower as though it were alone on the earth, so Our Lord is occupied particularly with each soul as though there were no others like it. And just as in nature all the seasons are arranged in such a way as to make the humblest daisy bloom on a set day, in the same way, everything works out for the good of each soul.

~St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

In today’s Gospel reading our Lord encourages us to have childlike confidence in and dependence on God:

Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven (Mt. 18:3-4)

Not only did Christ tell us to enter the Kingdom of heaven as little children, he showed us the way by litterally becoming a little child himself – even an infant in the womb, completely dependent on His mother for everything.

nullThis is how St. Therese articules what she called her “Little Way” of spiritual childhood (from Story of a Soul):

I look upon myself as a weak little bird, with only a light down as covering. I am not an eagle, but I have only an eagle’s EYES AND HEART. In spite of my extreme littleness I still dare to gaze upon the Diving Sun, the Sun of Love, and my heart feels within it all the aspirations of an Eagle.

The little bird wills to fly toward the bright Sun that attracts its eye, imitating its brothers, the eagles, whom it sees climbing up toward the Divine Furnace of the Holy Trinity. But alas! the only thing it can do is raise its little wings; to fly is not within its little power!

What then will become of it? Will it die of sorrow at seeing itself so weak? Oh no! the little bird will not even be troubled. With bold surrender, it wishes to remain gazing upon its Diving Sun. Nothing will frighten it, neither wind nor rain, and if dark clouds come and hide the Star of Love, the little bird will not change its place because it knows that beyond the clouds its bright Sun still shines on and that its brightness is not eclipsed for a single instant…

Jesus, I am too little to perform great actions, and my own folly is this: to trust that Your Love will accept me as a victim. My folly consists in begging the eagles, my brothers, to obtain for me the favor of flying toward the Sun of Love with the Divine Eagle’s own wings!

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

St. AnthonyFrom a sermon by St. Anthony of Padua:

The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found no fruit but only leaves. Gregory says: “A law is laid upon the preacher to practice what he preaches”. It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.

But the apostles spoke as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech. Happy the man whose words issue from the Holy Spirit and not from himself! For some men speak as their own character dictates, but steal the words of others and present them as their own and claim the credit for them. The Lord refers to such men and others like them in Jeremiah: So, then, I have a quarrel with the prophets that steal my words from each other. I have a quarrel with the prophets, says the Lord, who have only to move their tongues to utter oracles. I have a quarrel with the prophets who make prophecies out of lying dreams, who recount them and lead my people astray with their lies and their pretensions. I certainly never sent them or commissioned them, and they serve no good purpose for this people, says the Lord.

We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. Our humble and sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfilment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner and by keeping the commandments. Likewise we shall request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith, so that our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendour of the saints and to look upon the triune God.