Saint Frances (Mother Cabrini)

November 12, 2009

The Beginnings of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart
Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal
Francesca was a good poker player. She never once showed her feelings. She told the bishop, “I will look for a house.” But we have to believe that her heart jumped a mile high when she was given this singular honor by the bishop. Possibly she jumped in the air as she left the bishop’s office, or waited until she got back to her quarters where the other seven sisters were waiting, before she exploded with joy. But we know what we know – she was excited. And now, as the mother superior of a religious community, which she named Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, she was given the title Mother Cabrini.

She found an abandoned convent in back of a Franciscan friary in Codogno which needed a lot of work. But this is where the Lord told her she and the sisters should be. The bishop gave his consent, and the sisters moved in the same day, before any of the badly needed repairs were done. It was as if she were afraid she would wake up to find this was all a dream, or that the bishop would change his mind, if she didn’t move in immediately. That day became the official date of the beginning of the Order.

She moved quickly, because she wanted papal approval of the order. She opened an orphanage, then a school in another town. She wanted to build credentials and numbers of sisters which she could present in Rome to open a convent in Rome. By 1887, she had five convents in the Lombardy region of Italy and anticipated missions all over the world. She asked permission from the Vicar General of Milan to go to Rome and was given it. In September 1887, she and another sister went to Rome to do whatever it would take to bring their little community to the attention of His Holiness and the Vatican.

I guess when the Lord wants something done, it becomes obvious by how quickly it gets accomplished. True, Mother Cabrini was a mover and shaker, but she was unknown in Rome. What was accomplished in a very short period of time without money, by the way, could only have been the work of the Lord. A Cardinal Parocchi told them not to even consider what they had in mind when he first met with them. However, on his second meeting with them just two weeks later, he not only gave them permission to open one convent, but two convents in Rome.

But a strong lesson is to be learned in the way the audience with the Cardinal went on this second visit. He pre-emptied his statement with a question: “Are you willing to obey?”

That might have been a difficult one for Mother Cabrini to swallow because she wanted this badly. But obedience had been a major virtue in her life, so her answer really came easily:

“Without a moment’s hesitation, your Eminence.”

That was all the Cardinal needed. He had a strong worker here who would do great things for God, but her most exceptional virtue, as far as he was concerned, was that of obedience. He replied, “Then, instead of opening one convent in Rome you will open two…”

Well, if you think she went into orbit when the bishop gave her permission to begin an order in 1880, this time she did everything but levitate. She had been given the opportunity, she and her community needed to allow her work to be known, where it had to be known, in the Vatican circles. Getting the work done, which would be the hardest goal to accomplish, was never a problem for Mother Cabrini. She just barreled ahead, not accepting any barriers which might be placed in her way, or the task at hand. She knew the Lord was asking something of her, and her answer was always a resounding yes!

The New Mission Fields in the West

She didn’t know was that she was playing right into the hands of the Lord. The Pope already knew the problem of the Italians in New York. So while it was not necessarily fair to Mother Cabrini, when she went to have her audience with the Pope, he was fully aware of the problem and was desperate to have people go there to alleviate the difficulty. The Lord had already told the Pope what He wanted.
His Holiness listened respectfully to Mother Cabrini as she shared her dilemma – She wanted to go to the missions in China, but she felt a great pull from various sources to begin working with the Italian immigrants in New York. She needed his help to make her decision. Our great Leo XIII looked at this zealot for the Faith, and smiled as he told her, “You must not go to the East, but to the West. Your mission will be in America to help the Italians and to make your country loved.” True to her vow of obedience, she accepted the Holy Father’s statement as the final word on the subject. She never once mentioned the Orient again.

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Saint Charles Borromeo – Nov 4

November 4, 2009

“Throughout the diocese, religion was little known or understood and religious practices were desecrated by gross abuses and disgraced by superstition. The Sacraments were neglected, for many of the clergy scarcely knew how to administer them, and were lazy, ignorant and debauched; monasteries were full of disorder.”

Saint Charles Borromeo minibook
He had to make a clean sweep, build a diocese from scratch, and he did. He instituted so many reforms, it doesn’t seem possible that one man could have done it all. And we must keep in mind that at this time, he was only twenty eight years old. It was pure Holy Spirit. He was responsible for the institution of some of the following:
1. Reorganization of Diocesan administration into a workable set of offices with separate, individual functions.

2. He called six different provincial councils and eleven diocesan councils to set policy and a working relationship by the people of the church with each other and with their bishop.
3. He began methodical and frequent visits to every part of his diocese.
[Author’s note: This may not sound like such a big accomplishment to us. Our bishop usually gets to every parish in the diocese at least once every year or so. Keep in mind, however, that this diocese, and most like it at that time, may not have ever seen a bishop in the lifetime of anyone in the parish. This particular diocese, Milan, had not had a bishop living in the diocese for over eighty years. The bishops pretty much stayed in Rome. Plus, even if the bishops wanted to embark on such a grand excursion, their means of transportation were pretty primitive by our standards. If a bishop began a journey to visit all the parishes in his diocese, using a stagecoach, he might never finish it in his lifetime. So you can see what an undertaking St. Charles had given himself.]
4. He opened up seminaries in the Archdiocese, first to the Jesuits, and then to the followers of St. Ambrose. Again, this may not seem like any big thing, but seminaries were not in existence prior to the Council of Trent. Actually, St. Charles was very instrumental in the creation of the seminary system during the Council. So actually, he was basing what he did as Archbishop of Milan on what he was partially responsible for putting into the Canons of the Council of Trent. He so believed in the need for formal education and training of priests that it was one of the first reforms he put into effect in his diocese.
5. CCD – Confraternity of Christian Doctrine – St. Charles created CCD in its original form. Actually, CCD was begun by St. Charles under the inspiration and leadership of Pope Pius IV, his uncle. This was done for the people of Rome. There was such a need for educating the people in the churches of Rome on the teachings of the Catechism that it was begun and promoted in 1560. When St. Charles left Rome after his uncle died in 1565, he brought the concept to Milan and put it into practice, according to the mandate made by Pope Pius IV.
6. He began a diocesan religious society, originally called the Oblates of Milan, which were subsequently named the Oblates of St. Charles. This was a reform of clergy which St. Charles began in 1579.
7. He opened up schools and cultural and social institutions within universities in Pavia and at the University of Brera in Milan.
8. He provided shelters for street people of his day: wanderers, the lost and neglected, reformed prostitutes and orphans. Today we would call them the marginalized and disenfranchised, battered women and abused children. The names change with the technology, but the situations remain the same.

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You have Friends in high places!

October 26, 2009

All Saints Day

You have friends in High Places

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The Saints have been speaking to us, vulnerably sharing their stories, to help us walk our path to the Father.  We pray they have touched you, as they have us.  Some of the  Saints we have written about, we had to write about them.  We felt a persistent gnawing inside to share their stories, their lives.

We have spent almost a lifetime studying about the glories of our Church.  We have gone on Pilgrimage at least once a year since 1976, and sometimes three or four times a year.  And it has been a glorious journey of faith.  We always tell young couples planning to marry, “First you have to meet the family; because your love is part of a whole.  Her/his life began centuries ago, with their families who are here and have gone before.”  And so it is with us Catholic Christians.  Our family dates back to the time of Jesus our Brother and Mary our Mother.  As one travels through our  history, they will surely find our cousins, the Saints who have gone before us, making our spiritual life what it is today.  They fought the good fight and we have a Church today!

We have had a love affair with Mother Church and all her children for the past thirty years, and it has grown to such a degree, we hunger to meet more and more of our ancestors, the Saints.  Over the past thirty years, we have lived from pilgrimage to pilgrimage, studying, preparing, journeying to lands across the seas to our heritage.  Once we began our journey, one journey grew into another and then another; and we were hooked.

At one point in our lives, Penny and I were driving down to San Diego, California, to call on some accounts, back when we were still in the world.  It was a long drive, over three hours, and we usually spent the time praying the Rosary.  However, on this one day, I was somewhat concerned.  All of our friends in Westlake Village were buying up real estate in Southern California.  It was a good investment.  We didn’t have any money to do that, because we spent most of what we had, each year, going on pilgrimage.

I remember saying to Penny, “You know, honey, we’re not putting anything away for a nest egg for ourselves, or for our grandson.  What are we leaving him?”  She didn’t answer me.  But that night, after we had finished calling on our accounts, I turned to Penny, “I know what we’re giving our grandson, as well as us and our Church.  We’re giving him heritage.  These Saints, whose lives we study, they’re our family.  They’re our brothers and sisters in Faith.  These are Role Models, whom he can fall back on.”

Super Saints

Going down memory lane, I recall how we came about coining the phrase “Super Saints.” It began with our teaching First Holy Communion Class at our parish in 1975.  One day I got the idea to tell the little ones a story each week on the Saint whose Feast Day it was.  We took the “S” of the Superman symbol, and added another big S to it, and wrote it on the blackboard.  Then we proceeded to tell the little people stories of the Saints.  We never thought they paid any attention to us or the stories.  They always seemed like they were not there with us.  But then at Parents Nights, their parents would tell us how the children had shared with them about St. Michael, or St. Francis or St. Anthony or one of the many Saints we had researched.

The Super Saints had gone over big with the little people!  And now, almost thirty years later, that is the title and concept of our most popular television series on EWTN, Super Saints.

We want to end this by sharing with you how important our family – the Saints, are to you and to me.  You are possibly just now beginning to realize how fortunate you and we are to be Catholic, to have these brothers and sisters, not only to fall back on as Role Models, but to tell your children about.  They want to be part of your life!  They want you to consider them as family, your family.  There is no situation in your lives that you may encounter, no problem, that you can’t dig into this collection of relatives the Lord has given you, and find one to whom you can relate your problem, and nine times out of ten, help you to resolve the problem.

Everyone needs a hero!  There are a whole series of Hero Saints for boys and girls.  There are Saints to help you with their studies, through a rough exam.  There are Saints who can help them with Chastity, with that rough time of growing up.

We are all called to become Saints! There are Saints for married couples, to model your relationship after.  There are even Saints to help you find the right husband or wife, or vocation.  We have Saints whom we can petition Jesus to intercede with the Father for conception and delivery of children.  There are even Saints to help us find lost objects and lost souls.

For us, the most exciting part of our lives is to be able to go to the places of the Saints, to relive their lives, to get inside of them, and feel their spirits.  The second most exciting part of our lives is to be able to bring the marvels of these beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ back to you, so that you too, can share a little of their lives in your life.  They are there for us; they are waiting for us.  We can ask for their help.  They know how to get to Jesus.  Remember, they are His very best friends.  You know how people ask for your intercessory prayer for any number of petitions they may have?  And you pray for them?  Just think about asking someone who is right up there with Jesus and Mary, in the in-club.  Make use of the power the Lord has given to the Saints.  Remember, you truly have friends in High Places. God bless you.  We love you!

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Heroines of our Church

August 19, 2009

Reference: Good Newsletter Fall 2009

(This is taken from the Epilog of our book, Saints and Powerful Women in our Church. These women, and many more like them about whom we’ve written, are true heroes.  Get to know them.  Be inspired by them.  Get the book.)

Each time Bob and I finished a chapter, we felt sadness at having to leave that special woman.  Then, when we’d begin writing of the next powerful woman in the Church our excitement would build again.  We developed such a unique relationship with these women; we didn’t want to let go of any of them.  We pray they have touched you the way they have touched us.

Now it’s over, at least Volume I is finished.  We know we will bring you Volume II, because there are so many women in our Church we can be proud of, whom we can embrace and after whom we can model our lives.

We told you about the thread that connected these women together.  It was and is the Eucharist, the strength Jesus gave them and gives us in times of struggle, adversity, and downright despair, His very Body and Blood.  It’s a Power Source we must plug into.  We can spin our wheels and go round in circles, trying to do the impossible, only to find that Jesus allows us to do these things with such ease, by energizing ourselves with the Eucharist.

In researching these sisters, as well as the many powerful men in the Church, we found without exception, a deep and committed devotion to Our Lady, Mother Mary.  We have not found anyone who truly loves Jesus, that does not revere His Mother as well.  They took the most direct route, to Jesus through Mary, having found that they could not really know the Son without knowing the Mother.

One is pride in those who came before us; the other is hope in those who will follow.

Two strong feelings have come out of this book for us.  One is pride in those who came before us; the other is hope in those who will follow.  We feel strength from those women of the Church who have fought against the powers of hell, and triumphed.  Because of them, we have hope for our Church and world of tomorrow.  We know the Lord will always raise up women like those in this book.

Who are the Powerful Women in the Church of tomorrow?  Right now, we know the Lord has placed you out there, in strategic positions, to glorify Him by your lives.  There are Teresas, Thereses, Bernadettes, Ritas, Catherines, Clares, Mother Angelicas, Briege McKennas,, and so many more the Lord would use in His Service.

You know who you are, Powerful Women of the future.  You can feel it.  When you read about one of your sisters, living or dead, a surge of pride went through you.  There was a familiarity, a kinship you felt, that could not be denied.  Your heart started beating a little faster as you related with their joys and struggles, their closeness to Jesus and Mary.  Our Church has always been under attack.  We may possibly be in the last days.  Every moment counts.  Your sisters before you have known of the urgency of the moment.  They lived their lives as if the second coming of Jesus was just around the corner.  And it may very well be!

Those who are true lovers of Christ are not worried about their own individual salvation.  That’s been assured. “Those whom God has chosen, He has justified; and those He has justified, He has glorified.” (Romans 8:28)  Theirs and our concern is for the brothers and sisters who may be left behind.  How will we turn the tide?  You must touch them, powerful woman in the Church!

In our talks, we tell people to forget the numbers, but to put faces on those who have left.

“If Jesus were to come tonight,” we ask them, “who do you know who would not be coming with us to the Kingdom?  Is there a brother or sister, a mother or father?  Perhaps you have a son or daughter, a grandson or granddaughter, a niece or nephew, a husband or wife?  When I mention these names, does a picture flash in your mind?  Those are the first ones you have to approach.  They have to know Jesus, so they don’t stay behind when He comes.  You have to bring them back!”

We’re told that there are six billion people on earth.  Two billion are Christian of some kind.  That means that 2/3 of the world do not know Jesus.  How can we reverse those figures?  You must teach them, powerful woman in the Church!  Whether you make your mark by praying in the cloister of the Convent, as did Therese, the Clares, and Bernadette; or reform the Church as did Catherine and Teresa; or go door-to-door; or minister to Priests and Bishops and Third World countries, as does Sister Briege; or proclaim the glory of God through space by means of television, radio and internet like Mother Angelica; or be faithful to your vocation as obedient daughter, wife, mother, and Religious, as did Rita; wherever the Lord calls.  You know who you are!  You know where you are!

This is not the time to sit in a circle and argue among ourselves about who did what to whom, as the enemy of Christ picks off Christians from behind.  We don’t have that luxury!  We don’t know how much time we do have.  We do know one thing.  You can do it, powerful woman in the Church!

Jesus loves you; Jesus needs you; Jesus wants you!

Saint Augustine – Road to conversion

August 13, 2009

Saints Augustine and his mother MonicaSt. Augustine meets St. Ambrose and all Heaven rejoices

St. Ambrose was the Bishop that would lead the stubborn, prideful Augustine to the Church.  Why did God allow St. Augustine the luxury of so much pain and near death to body and soul?  We believe, in our Ministry, that God works most powerfully and authoritatively, through our mistakes and our pain.  There is something, like with St. Augustine, that speaks louder than even the words, when we speak from our own falling and rising and falling again, the living words being, “Well, here I am, by the Grace of God.”

St. Ambrose was born a Roman in 334 A.D. and died April 4, 397.  When Augustine met St. Ambrose, he was about fifty years old and had been a Bishop over ten years.  They had more than a little in common.  Although born of a Christian family, St. Ambrose, too, had not been baptized at birth.  Having lost his father, young, he, like Augustine, was most influenced by his mother.

At thirty-five years of age, St. Ambrose was asked to become Bishop.  He declined, at first, objecting he had not, as yet, been baptized.  Within one week’s time, he received the Sacraments of Baptism, Penance, First Holy Communion, Confirmation and Ordination.

This is the man who was to bring the treasure of Augustine into Christ’s Church.  It appears, Augustine is always in the midst of turmoil, either by his will, life’s circumstance, or God’s design.  And so, here he was in Milan.  It was being torn apart by dissensions between Catholics and Arians.  Surprise you?  Arianism had been gaining a foothold in the East and had spread to Milan.  Bishop Ambrose had the difficult and unpopular mission of maintaining unity within the Church and peace in the city, and all this, without compromising the Faith.

Augustine first went to hear St. Ambrose preach because he thought he could absorb some of the renowned man’s gifts of Rhetoric.  St. Augustine writes,

“Yet along with the words, which I admired, there also came into my mind the subject-matter, to which I attached no importance.  I could not separate them.  And while I was opening my heart to learn how eloquently he spoke, I came to feel, though only gradually, how truly he spoke.”

A glimmer of hope cut through the clouds in Augustine’s mind, as Ambrose’s preaching began to dispel some of the doubts that had plagued him.  He began to find the Catholic Faith understandable, plausible, simple for the ordinary man, yet not too simple for the intelligent man.  This was an important step in his walk toward the Father.  Others would follow, but like a baby taking his first steps, it would not be easy for Augustine.  Wanting to do it his own way, he would continue to lose his balance and fall, until he accepted the guiding hand of his Mother Church.

The word Mother was not just a word to Augustine.  He loved his mother with the fervor with which he loved life.  So, when he finally gave his heart to this Mother Church, it was with this same ardor.  Unlike the picture we may have of him, Augustine could never be considered a cold, intellectual, way above our heads, Saint.  Augustine passionately loved and sought the truth, even before he recognized the truth he longed for, was the Truth, was God.

Augustine decided he would return to Church, only as a catechumen (as he had been as a child), until he was enlightened to do otherwise.  As a catechumen, he was required to leave after the Liturgy of the Word.  It didn’t seem to bother him.  Not knowing Who he was missing, he did not hunger for more.  Or did he know, in his heart of hearts, that once he knew the Lord in the Eucharist, he would be helplessly in love!  As he departed from the church, he could not wait to return the next day, to hear Scripture and the Bishop’s homily.  He found himself more and more excited by what he was learning.  This would have to suffice, for now.  God would use this to draw him to Him.  If this is what would color Augustine’s decision to continue attending Mass, well, God was not past wooing him that way.

Monica joins Augustine in Milan

It is most likely that St. Augustine called his mother to join him in Milan.  Whatever the case, we know she left Tagaste, probably departing from Carthage in the year 385 A.D.  Did all the fallen angels, in their fury, attack the ship, knowing the part Monica was playing in Augustine’s life?  Didn’t they know the power was in her prayers, more than in her physical presence?  Nevertheless, as they crossed the ocean, the sea became violent; the ship tossed and pitched from side to side.  Even the most seasoned sailors knew they were going to perish.  Monica never gave up hope, trusting in the word the Bishop had given her, she would see her son a Catholic before she died.  That was enough for her!

The storm over, Monica stepped on Italian soil, and into her beloved son’s open arms.  Did Augustine try to hide the delight and need he had for his mother?  We believe they hugged and cried, their special love surpassing language.  As they walked away from the shore, Augustine excitedly shared what he knew Monica wanted to hear most: he was a practicing catechumen and no longer part of the Manichaeans.

To his bewilderment, that did not surprise or satisfy her.  Monica wanted him to be a part of the Church, Baptized and Confirmed; nothing but him being a professed member of the Mystical Body of Christ would satisfy her.  Her hopes and expectations, the extent of her prayers for him were, he would marry within the Church.  Little did she envision or suspect, for one moment, he would, one day, be consecrated to the Lord as a Priest.

Monica did not stop with the bone her son handed her; she went to see Bishop Ambrose.  He listened kindly and attentively to this holy mother.  He could see how very much she loved her son.  Strengthened by his kindness, she expressed concern that the Bishop was doing little, personally, to encourage Augustine to be baptized.  We wouldn’t be surprised if she told him, respectfully, that when Augustine came to see him, eager to unburden his soul, Ambrose appeared to be indifferent.  Was he ignoring him, never once looking up from what he was reading?  Both Monica and Augustine recognized Ambrose’s Holiness.  She was not really questioning his actions.  Monica was trying to move mountains!  But, she was also trying to be obedient to the Will of God.  So, she prayed!

Ambrose probably told the mother, it was not enough for Augustine to accept the Faith intellectually, with his head; he must live the Faith, with his heart.  As Augustine was living with a companion, outside the Sacrament of Matrimony, this did not appear feasible.  You never discover, from Augustine’s writings, the earthly reason he could not take this girl, he loved and lived with for many years, as his wife.  But he could not!

Augustine and the girl loved one another.  They had been faithful to one another for fifteen years; but without the blessing of Almighty God, it was hopeless from the beginning.  Their happiness was overcast by torment, the agony of trying to build a house without a foundation.  Christ, the Cornerstone was missing in their relationship.  Instead, their bedfellows were the fallen angels of jealousy, suspicion, fear, anger, and dissension.  They were not bad people, only victims of the world and its lies.

The young woman had given Augustine a son.  Years later, as he grieved over the death of this son, he called him, “the son of my sin;” but the young father, puffed up with pride, called his son Adeodatus, “God-given.”

The young mother left Augustine and their son, after he converted, although she loved them very deeply.  Following her lover’s example, she, too, had converted.  She joined a convent and spent the rest of her life loving and being loved by her one and only True God.  Had He been looking after her, brushing off her knees, as He had Mary Magdalene, telling her she was beautiful and needed to sin no more?

Putting two and two together, reasoning that had been why Ambrose had hesitated to talk to her son, Monica prayed to God, only now, in thanksgiving, and planned.  Knowing Augustine was not disposed to the life of a celibate, Monica set out to find a suitable wife for him.  The young wife-to-be, chosen, was too young, and they had to wait two years to marry.  Augustine missed his former companion.  As he had in no way renounced his desires of the flesh, he took to himself another mistress.  There was no mutual love between the two, and so they quickly tired of one another.  He sent her packing.

(Author’s note: After much pain in his life, brother Joseph said that he only found peace, after he accepted the Lord’s plan for him, as a celibate!  He shared, “When God wants you, you will never have the gift of the right woman to be your mate, for He has chosen you for Himself.”)

Augustine was in the midst of self-made hell, again.  He lived as if all that mattered in life was pleasure, and outside of pleasure there was nothing.  But there was that rumbling inside of him, that war being waged between all he had learned as a child, and the Sodom and Gomorrah of his adult life.

Plato leads Augustine to the Catholic Faith

No matter where he goes, or what he does, the road to Jesus looms up in front of Augustine; and although he keeps walking the other way, he finds himself right back where he began.  Augustine sees signs on the path, those leading directly to the Father, but that’s too simple.  It can’t be right for him.  So he follows other signs.  Imagine the frustration when he discovers that although he’s followed a road that was leading him away, he’s back, at the door of his mother’s Church, again.

Again, God is dealing with his son Augustine as He knows he will respond, from a book.  Again, a book from a pagan will point Augustine to the Truth.  Or is it that the Truth cannot be hidden, that all must reveal It even if they try to hide it?  For us, the Lord has always been the Revealer, opening our eyes that we might see good and detest evil.  The devil, on the other hand, the concealer, tries to hide wrong and block good.  But, as with St. Augustine, God never gives up, never lets us stray far from His Saving Reach.

Augustine came across the books of Plato, translated by a recent convert to Christianity, Victorinus.  What fascinated Augustine about Plato was how he reached beyond the materialism of the world, soaring toward concepts only explainable in the Light of God.  Although this philosopher wrote before the days Christ walked the earth, his works pointed Augustine to the doctrine of the Word.

When Augustine was nineteen, Cicero set his mind and heart on fire.  Now, at thirty-two, God was using another philosopher, Plato to call him to Himself.  Augustine’s problem was the same, always, the war between the spirit and the flesh.  As he read Plato, he found he was really presenting the Word, in the light of St. John the Evangelist. He was confirming the teachings of the Catholic Church!  Are you beginning to suspect that possibly the Faith was so much a part of Augustine, so ingrained, that when he read, he read with the light of this Church of his childhood?

He soon fell out of love with Plato, realizing he had been merely the bridge, for him to walk over, to John’s Gospel.  Nowhere, in Plato’s works, did he find the words which burned in Augustine’s heart,

“The Word became Flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)

Plato, born before the time of the Spotless Lamb Who would save the world, knew and wrote nothing of the fall of man through the sin of Adam and Eve.  Missing was God’s Plan for our salvation.  Nowhere was there, the Incarnation of the Word, God becoming Man, and That Man, our Lord, dying on the Cross, that we might live.

Though Augustine did not understand all these truths, he heard a voice persisting, crying out in the desert of his soul,

“Courage!  I am the Food of the strong.  And you will eat Me.  But it is not I Who shall be changed into you, for you will be changed into Me!”

These words that spoke not to his mind, were received within the deep recesses of his heart.  He wrote,

“There was from that moment no ground of doubt in me: I would have doubted my own life than have doubted that truth.”

St. Augustine meets himself in St. Paul

St. John spoke to Augustine’s heart, calling him to a higher Love.  He was now ready to turn to the city boy, St. Paul.  In Paul’s letters, Augustine saw how St. Paul laid bare man’s inner struggles, that ongoing war being waged inside of everyone of us, that battle between, as St. Paul says,

“What happens is that I do, not the good I will to do, but the evil I do not intend…This means that even though I want to do what is right, a law that leads to wrongdoing is always at hand…”

St. Paul’s writings became a fountain from which Augustine would continue to drink the water of Salvation. Through them, he would quench the dryness of his soul.  He would, as well, meet himself in St. Paul’s tears of confession, later writing his own.  Nowhere, was St. Augustine to relate, so personally, to his own struggles, discouragements, hopes and failures, that of running the race and seeing no victory, as in St. Paul’s writings.  He knew, through Paul, he, too, was on the road to Damascus and Jesus was pleading,

“Why do you persecute Me, Augustine?”

Now, the real battle would begin.  He knew the Lover and he would never be satisfied with any less.  He knew the price he was being asked to pay.  Maybe, he wanted to say yes; but did it have to be today?  He wrote,

“Come, Lord, work upon us, call us back, set us on fire and clasp us close, be fragrant to us, draw us to Your loveliness: let us love, let us run to You.”

But his new self had not beaten his old self and so, as he cried,

“Lord, heal me, but not yet!  Soon, but give me just a little while.”

St. Ambrose, not only a man of his word but of his life

St. Augustine, in case you have not discovered this, as yet, was a romanticist.  The Church was in danger.  The forces of hell were being waged against her, and she was calling upon our Lord for a Saint.  That Saint was, at this time and in this place, St. Ambrose.

Our precious Church was being split in two by schism, and was bleeding.  Empress Justine, who once belonged to the Arian sect, demanded that Bishop Ambrose turn the church, attended by Catholics (believed to be the Cathedral of Milan), over to the Arians.  St. Ambrose refused!  The Empress sent in troops to forcibly take over the Cathedral.  She and they were not ready for what they encountered; St. Ambrose was preaching to a church full of worshipers.  As some would leave to go home to their families, they were quickly replaced by others.

Tribunes came with a summons for the Bishop to relinquish the Church to them.  His important reply was a lesson to Augustine and to us,

“If the emperor demanded what belonged to me, even though everything I own belongs to the poor, I would not refuse.  But the things of God are not mine.  If anyone wants my patrimony (legacy), let him take it!  If anyone wants my body, let him seize it!  Do you want to put me in chains and lead me to death?  I shall obey, and shall not allow my people to defend me.  I shall not kiss the altar, begging for life.  I prefer to be immolated on the altar.”

Nothing shook Ambrose.  He sang the Psalms with his people and order was maintained.  As Ambrose fought so gallantly for the Church, God was doing battle, as usual, for Augustine.

This profession of faith,  by Ambrose, only set Augustine more on fire.  He admired and wanted to emulate him in every way, except one, he couldn’t handle celibacy. His words, “…only his celibacy seemed to me a heavy burden.”

Let it be now!  Let it be now!

Reference: “Saints and Other Powerful Men in the Church”

Saint Dominic – Watchdog for God

July 29, 2009
Saint Dominic

Saint Dominic

Feast day August 8

At 25 years old, Dominic realized his walk was not as a secular priest but as a religious. At that time, Dominic’s bishop Martin Bazan voiced a desire to bring about reform; he wanted the canons of his cathedral to live a shared life as religious, as part of a community. He and the new prior of the canons, Don Diego de Asevedo, had heard of Dominic’s piety and wisdom, and his desire to be a religious. Their hope was that he could convince these self-absorbed, strong-willed clerics into coming together and join the Canons Regular; they summoned Dominic! So after he was ordained a priest, Dominic was vested in the habit of the Canons Regular of Osma, made his profession to that Order, and for the next nine years faithfully followed the Rule of St. Augustine. One of his companions said of him, at this time,

“Now it was that he began to appear among his brethren like a bright burning torch, the first in holiness, the last in humility, spreading about him an odor of life which gave life, and a perfume like the sweetness of summer days. Day and night he was in the church praying without ceasing. God gave him the Grace to weep for sinners and for the afflicted; he bore their sorrows in an inner sanctuary of compassion which pressed on his heart, flowed out and escaped in tears. It was his custom to spend his nights in prayer and to speak to God behind closed doors.” Dominic consecrated himself, dedicating his life to the salvation of souls for Christ. He was happy! He thought this was where God had placed him, but that was to come to an end, when Don Diego, now Bishop of Osma, chose him to accompany him on a mission to Denmark, which would be the first leg of a long journey of suffering, pain and torment.

As they traveled through southern France, Dominic’s heart felt like it would bleed to death, as he encountered the enormous suffering brought about by a new threat against the Church and her children – the Albigensian Heresy. The churches were empty; the bells no longer tolled; Sunday you could see people working in the fields. There was a funereal spirit over the villages, as if God Himself was moaning over the death of His children’s souls. They were like men, women and children walking in their sleep through a dark cloud shutting out all sun.

Tired and downcast, Dominic and the bishop stopped at an inn in Toulouse, only to discover that the innkeeper was a heretic. Dominic could not go peacefully to sleep, while there was the danger that a soul could be lost. He talked to the man throughout the night, showing him the error of this heresy and the long-range effects disobedience has first on one soul and then on those he encounters. Dominic, clarifying the errors put forth by the heretics, and bringing him the true teachings of the Faith, when dawn came peeking into the dark of night, the innkeeper’s heart and soul were filled with the same light which flooded the room; he renounced the heresy and pledged to follow the true teachings of Mother Church.

Was it here that the seed to start a religious Order, dedicated to defending the Church, correcting errors and bringing the Truth to the faithful, was planted in Dominic’s heart?

For more information on Saint Dominic Click here

Saint Rose of Viterbo

July 23, 2009

Saint and Sinner – St. Rose of Viterbo

Saint Rose of Viterbo

Saint Rose of Viterbo

We are in the days of the greatest Saints and the most deadly of Sinners.  As at no other time in our lives, we need to look at the Saints and Sinners who have come before us.  St Rose of Viterbo is one of those Saints God has left us to inspire us, to guide us, to speak to us at this time of our lives.  People are asking us, Why?  Why are we learning now about the Saints, some of which we have never heard about before?

This is the story of a Saint and a Sinner.  This story, another part of our 2000 year journey as a Church and a people of God, is about Rose who was raised to Sainthood and Frederick the sinner who God would use to raise her to that height of piety and virtue which forms a Saint.

What brought us to Saint Rose of Viterbo, initially?  She was a Saint whose body the Lord left incorrupt on earth, as one of the signs of her sanctity.  A body which has not decomposed, and is miraculously preserved, is one, only one of the signs which the Lord gives us to recognize someone’s holiness; it is not what makes one a Saint.  This particular sign is strictly a gift to the Saint verifying the Lord’s miraculous intervention, and a gift to us of God’s power and love; what will He not do to bring us closer to Him, through faith!  Consequently, he leaves us signs, or gifts to help us in our journey toward Him and Heaven.

Once again, the world is in turmoil and the Church is under attack.  Without Compromise! Our Lord Jesus would not compromise and they crucified Him.  His loyal Vicars would not compromise, and they along with Mother Church, over our 2000 year history, have been nailed to the Cross!  Knowing this, our Popes, His Vicars, chosen as they are by and through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, live and die for their spotless spouse, the Church.

A Sinner, a Saint, and a Pope without compromise

We are in the days of conquests and greed.  Greed desiring more, requiring more; and then requiring more, conquering more.  Out of necessity, to feed this voracious appetite, conquests begot conquests; and so the freedom St. Paul spoke of, we no longer slaves, was once again set aside, the sacrifice of the many for the power of the few.

To set the stage, we will begin with the sinner, Frederick II, his grandfather Frederick I Barbarossa (a Holy Roman Emperor dating back to the Twelfth Century), and his father Emperor Henry VI.  As with all monsters, Hitler in the Twentieth Century and Frederick I, the Red Beard[1] in the Twelfth, we the foolish, believe we can coexist with them.  So did the papacy in the Twelfth Century with Frederick I!  We will show you how the Holy See again and again attempts to coexist with one after the other, first Frederick I, then Frederick I’s son, Henry VI and his heir apparent Frederick II, who would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.

What began as cooperation between the Papacy and his grandfather Frederick I would turn into Frederick I’s greed overcoming his good judgment, as he went about trying to reestablish the Carolingian rule of the Ninth Century and the Ottonian rule of the Tenth Century in Italy, which gave the Emperors the royal right to take over the Church and all the papal states, not only choosing prelates and making the bishopric a part of the Empire, but requiring all bishops be friends of the Emperor, taking all their orders from him.

Upon his father Frederick’s death, Henry VI was crowned King of Germany in 1169, King of Italy in 1189, and then King of Sicily in 1191; he was also crowned Emperor that year.  Unlike his father, Henry was not very charismatic; he lacked his father’s warmth, the charm that won so many over to his father.  But what Henry lacked in personality, he surpassed his father in knowledge and love of the Catholic Faith, that which he probably received from his strong Catholic mother, Queen Beatrice.  During his brief rule, he had three aims:

one to gain the approval of the German princes, as he came to the throne through hereditary succession, his father being from the Hohenstaufen family;

two to arrange an agreeable territorial agreement with the Papacy;

and three to lead a Crusade to the Holy Land, completing what his father had started – the deliverance of Jerusalem and all the Shrines of the Holy Land from the hands of the Saracens.

Poor Henry VI’s first aim was to fail in that the German princes, while they did not hesitate to elect Henry’s infant son King, they did reject the doctrine of automatic succession to the throne by virtue of royal birthright, in this case, the Hohenstaufen family.  The second aim failed, as the new Pope Clement III was wary of dealing with Henry, who had too much power and was a decided threat to the Papacy, not only as King of Germany but through marriage,[2] as King of Sicily.  His third aim to lead a Crusade to the Holy Land was blessed by the Pope; it received great acclaim by the German citizens, but alas it too was to fail; Henry died the night he was to leave for the Holy Land, resulting in his troops returning and abandoning the Crusades.

The Empire was divided between Henry’s brother Philip of Swabia and his infant son Frederick II.

We have heard the age-old adage, “Like father, like son,” well maybe because of Henry VI’s sudden death and  division of the empire, great catastrophes were averted and he was not able to fulfill his father’s dream, like conquerors before and after him, of world domination.  But the adage would become a prophecy, only, “Like grandfather, like grandson;” for a second Frederick would rise from the ashes of his grandfather’s failure and become a pawn for the greedy seeking that which is not theirs.

Before she died, His mother, the Empress entrusted Frederick II to Pope Innocent III.  When Emperor Otto I (who had feigned loyalty to the Pope) turned against the Papacy, the Pope supported his loyal ward, Frederick II, to rule over Italy.      Through this, Innocent III prevented Otto I from gaining supremacy over Italy and the confiscation of not only Italian principalities but papal lands, as well.  Frederick II, was victorious blocking  the takeover of Italy by Otto I.

When Frederick II took over principality after principality in Italy, it was without incident.  He was welcomed not only by the Italians but Pope Honorius[3] who placed the Imperial crown on his head.  At that time, Frederick II pledged his loyalty to the Cross and the Papacy.  But things got strained between the Pope and Frederick II, as his ambitious appetites for more and more power, grew more and more ravenous.  The renewed threats to the Papacy and the northern states resulted in doubt, disbelief, distrust, fear and ultimately bitterness.  Frederick II, thirst for power never fully quenched, went about not only unifying Italy under himself (of course), but waging a campaign for her reentry into the Roman Empire, with him as Emperor.

His borders of influence dangerously kept expanding.  The papal states, seeing the danger in the progressively unrestrained inordinate power Frederick was amassing, in the world, feared the Church would be next.  Sure enough, in 1231 Frederick made unbridled demands on the northern part of Italy, including the confiscation of lands belonging to the Papacy.  The new Pope Gregory IX condemned Frederick, accusing him of desecrating, looting and pillaging Church property and charged him with heresy!  Frederick’s ambition to found an Empire, on the strength of his takeover of all Italy, was forestalled by the Pope’s action.

A rose will bloom in the desert

For the second time Frederick II was excommunicated; he retaliated by attacking the papal states, and this is where Rose of Viterbo came in.  In 1240, Frederick II decided to occupy Viterbo!  The Lord always with us, in time of need, sent into this world of hopelessness and helplessness, a baby!  A few years before the frightening entry of Frederick II into the sweet, serene village of Viterbo, there was an entry that would inflame the populace with new courage and hope, a child was born!  Little Rose, who was named when she was baptized, would let out a cry that would grow and grow until it awakened the people to a new consciousness that they could make a difference.

Her parents were not of noble birth, but had instead the gifts needed by a future Saint, holiness, virtue, piety, humility and charity.  From her earliest years, Rose showed an alive, unending, overflowing love for the Church, for Jesus, the Blessed Mother, the Angels and the Saints.  When she was just eight years old, she had a vision of the Blessed Mother in which Mother Mary told Rose she would be clothed in the habit of St. Francis.[4] She was not to become a cloistered Nun, but a tertiary, part of the third order, remaining at home, giving witness to her family and neighbors by word and action of Jesus in her life.

She later became ill.  But the Lord having too much for her to do, she soon recovered and donned the habit of the lay penitents of St. Francis.  When she began, to contemplate Jesus’ suffering, and how wounded He was by the ingratitude of His children, Rose went to the people of Viterbo, preaching in the streets, knocking on doors, going from house to house, berating her neighbors for their complacency and apathy toward the freedom they had lost at the hands of Frederick II.

She told them they could be free; all they had to do was overthrow the Ghibelline[5] garrison.  She was all of age twelve! But her age did not deter the populace from listening, their hearts on fire!  It had been so long since anyone had spoken of the beauty of Italy, of the promise the Lord made to His children not to leave them orphans.  She told them they were not born to be slaves, but free!  They listened!  And miracles came about!  Everywhere she went, she was greeted warmly; citizens having heard of her and the marvels surrounding her speechmaking, gathered to hear the Good News!  Men who no longer had the will to get up in the morning were plowing their land, once more; after all, it was their land, little Rose had said so.  And so, new life came into the ancient village of Viterbo.

Crowds began to gather; her father became nervous; soon, the authorities would hear of her and they would all be punished.  What was wrong with her; after all, they had food on their table!  He scolded; he pleaded; he berated her; he cajoled her; finally, she leaving him no recourse, he threatened to beat her if she did not stay home and cease her preaching.  Rose replied, “If Jesus could be beaten for me, I can be beaten for Him.  I do what He has told me to do, and I must not disobey Him.”

Father and daughter seemed at loggerheads, when the local parish priest intervened; he urged her father to cease restraining Rose from doing her Divinely appointed duty.  He withdrew his objections and Rose was free to preach; and preach she did, tirelessly rising early in the morning, retiring late at night, as if one driven, knowing time was short.  This sounds like the urgency Jesus had with three short years to reach the children of God.  This sounds like the time of Jesus; it sounds like today, with the few speaking out, the John Baptists of our day crying out in the desert, Repent and be saved! And the many…..?

She was free to preach for two years!  Standing on the street corners of the town, crowds gathering, clamoring for more, her voice crying out, theirs joining in, they were a people to be reckoned with, she was uniting them, rallying support for the Pope and the Church.  They took up the cry, Defend the Pontiff’s cause!  Then, some villagers who had sold their souls to the Emperor for land and position became alarmed and began clamoring for her execution as an enemy of the Empire.

The mayor of the town would hear nothing of it, protesting the girl was innocent.  He had a few reasons for his defense of Rose; he was a fair and just man, but also a prudent and wise man.  He feared for his life, for by this time, Rose had become a little Joan of Arc.  The townspeople had been resigned to the carnage of their existence; Rose brought them reason for hope and rejoicing.  There was a light at the end of the dark tunnel they had been journeying through, and the mayor pitied anyone trying to put out that light.

What was the wisest course?  Banish Rose and her parents from the village.  And so he ordered them escorted out of town!  The little family settled in Soriano; and it was there that Rose prophesied, announcing to all, the forthcoming death of Frederick II looming in the near future.  He died in Apulia, on the thirteenth of that month.  The papal party was reinstated in Viterbo; the citizens of Viterbo were slaves no more; free, at last.

Their little heroine was also now free, to return to her beloved village; but not before she was to go through a test by fire, truly fire!  A citizen of Soriano, loyal to the Emperor and the royal Hohenstaufen family, threatened Rose with burning to death at the stake, if she did not renounce the Pope; Rose responded by asking her to be quick about it, thanking her for the privilege of dying a martyr’s death for the Faith.  Having completely confounded her adversary, she not only disarmed her, she won her over for Christ and His vicar, the Pope.

Rose returned to Viterbo with her parents.  It was time to go to the Convent of St. Mary of the Roses in Viterbo and ask for entrance as a postulant.  As her parents were not able to supply the necessary dowry, the abbess refused her entry.  Rose prophetically responded, “You will not have me now, but perhaps you will be more willing when I am dead.”

Seeing the piety in the little missionary who had brought so much light into everyone’s life, the parish priest had a chapel built with an adjoining house, near the convent of St. Mary of the Roses.  There Rose and a small company  of young women could follow a life of the religious.  But the company of Nuns received an order from the Holy See to close down the convent as it was too close to the other convent.[6]

Rose returned to her parents’ home.  There she died on March 6th, 1252.  She was seventeen years old.  They buried her in the Church of Santa Maria in Podio.  But six years later, her body was transferred to the Church of the Convent of Saint Mary of the Roses, just as she had prophesied!  Although this church was burned down in 1357, her body was intact and is preserved miraculously till this day, incorrupt.  Each year her body is carried in solemn procession through the streets of Viterbo.  Upon her death, Pope Innocent IV, the same Pope who had refused to allow her to have a  convent near the other convent in Viterbo, ordered an investigation to commence into the virtues and sanctity of Rose of Viterbo.  However it was not to happen in his pontificate; but one hundred years later, in 1457.

As with many Saints of the past, the faithful proclaimed Rose Saint before the official canonization, because of the virtuous life she shared with them when she was alive and because of the miracles, the Lord gave them, through her intercession, before and after she died.

Pope John Paul II told the Youth of the world at a Youth Conference in Denver, Colorado, they are the Church of Today!  Rose began defending her Pope and her Church when she was twelve.  What is the Lord asking of you?  Why are you reading this account?  Pray!  The Lord has such an exciting plan for those who say Yes!

For more information about Saint Rose of Viterbo click here

[1]Barbarossa in Italian means Red Beard

[2]His wife’s father was Roger II, King of Sicily

[3]who succeeded Innocent III

[4]Now it was just about fifteen years since St. Francis had died.

[5]or Hohenstaufen barracks, soldiers under the command of Frederick II

[6]This is difficult for us to understand, possibly, because we are not living in those times.  Cloistered Nuns, as they all were, subsisted solely on begging and the generosity of the villagers.  To have two convents, close by in the same village, could be a burden to the townspeople, they reasoned, or worse could cause the two convents to suffer.

Saints Anne and Joaquim

July 21, 2009

Grandparents of Jesus – Feast Day August 26

Saints Anne and JoaquimWhen the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, she was praying.  Anne had kept her word to the Lord; she never forgot the promise she had made.  She had consecrated this child to the Temple because of His generous miraculous gift to her; she had filled this child of her golden age with the traditions and hopes of  her people, the coming of the Messiah.  So although it was Mary who said yes to the Angel, it was her Mother Anne’s teaching and grooming which prepared Mary to receive this messenger from God and say yes!Grandparents are the story tellers!  As Grandma Anne related to her grandchild Jesus the stories of their people, the Jews, did her heart tremble as she realized that this young shoot of Jesse’s tree would someday die for the salvation of the world?  Did Simeon’s words: He will be responsible for the rise and fall of many, trouble her as she saw Him growing into manhood?  Could she foresee His climb up the infamous steps that became holy because He walked upon them?  Or had God in His infinite mercy spared her from this piercing wound, the crucifixion of her most precious grandchild?

How did Anne feel when Mary unfolded the happenings in Bethlehem, the shepherds who had followed the star to where the Angels told them the King of the world was to be born?  What were Anne’s thoughts as Mary excitedly told her of the Magi and their reverence, and what were Anne’s misgivings when she saw Myrrh, the ointment of death, as one of the gifts?  Or was she enjoying the gift  of being grandparents too much, and chose to shut all fear out of her heart, at least for this priceless moment?

Jesus performed His first miracle through the intercession of His Mother Mary, at Cana.  She had intervened on behalf of a newly married couple; to some a small matter, but to Mary it was important to them and so it was important to her and her Son.  When Jesus spoke to Mary, telling her it was not His time, Mary cared so very much for her children she encouraged him to perform this miracle which pivoted Him to the Cross.

When Jesus said yes, He showed His love and deep regard for His Mother; when His Mother said yes, over and over again, she showed her love for the children He would give her, in the biggest and the smallest moments of their lives.

Jesus loved His Mother; it only stands to reason that Jesus, perfect Son, was also perfect Grandson and being Love itself loved His Grandmother.  As Love never dies, that Love did not die, and you can see it in the faith of these 100s of thousands of pilgrims who come to seek the intercession of St. Anne, Grandma, knowing He listens and cares.

A little background on Joachim and Anne.  We know that he was privileged to offer sacrifice in the Temple, and that he was a generous giver to the Temple and to the poor.  We also know that Joachim and Anne are related to Elizabeth and Zechariah, and it is believed that their son John the Baptist and his parents were Essenes, a tribe that left Jerusalem to settle out in the desert, away from the distractions of that bustling city.  The Essenes were responsible for the scrolls containing the book of Isaiah that were found in Qumran, in the Holy Land.  So, it is obvious that when God has a plan, He puts all his knights in place and great Chess Player that He is sets out to win, in His case – souls!  Joachim and Anne knew their Faith, loved their God and looked forward to the fulfillment of His Promise of a Savior.  As Jesus was sent to a spotless virgin, conceived immaculately; so it stands to reason, His Mother would be sent to extraordinary parents who would care for her, protect and guide her.

Humble and gentle Saints, so like St. Joseph – Jesus’ foster father, Joachim and Anne Jesus’ grandparents are in the background, as they would desire.  But we all know, especially as we begin to mature, that we are a sum of all our ancestors who came before us.

For more information about Saints Anne and Joaquim click here

Father Leopold, Apostle of the Confessional

July 19, 2009

Father Leopold, Apostle of the Confessional
Saint Leopold MandicWhen Leopold had dreamed of the priesthood, his eyes traveled over the Adriatic Sea to far-off lands to bring the Gospel of Hope to brothers and sisters starving and thirsting for this Lord Who died for them. He was not to even travel from village to village, like Father Francis and Saint Anthony (Saint of Padua), proclaiming the Good News. He was not even called to prepare others for this mission, by founding institutions or teaching in seminaries. Instead the Lord placed him in a tiny pulpit, a tiny room with no window to the outside world, with no air or light, freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer.
Unlike the thrones of kings, this future Saint sat hours upon hours ministering to God’s subjects in an old broken down chair that was as feeble as the body it held on its lap. A simple kneeler is still beside the rickety armchair, awaiting the contrite. Our Lord Crucified hanging on a wooden cross is above the prie-dieu,[1] a reminder of that God Who loved us so, He asked His Father, with His last words, to forgive us our sins. And then in this small cell looking down lovingly, on priest and penitent, there is a picture of Our Lady, the Mother of God who interceded at Cana and continues to intercede for Her children on earth with Her Beloved Son Jesus. As our Mother we can still see Her there, ready to help all seeking forgiveness, to reconcile with God the Father and Jesus Her Son.
In this tiny cell, for most of forty years, spending more than twelve hours of love per day, he waited and received thousands of penitents, streaming in without interruption, one after another to receive the Sacrament of Penance. Here there was no class distinction; the poor asked for forgiveness kneeling on the same prie-dieu as the rich; the famous turned to God for His Salvific Mercy, alongside the infamous; priests, bishops and religious confessed to Father Leopold (fifty priests the day before he died); professors lined up beside their students – all children of God seeking forgiveness.
The hardest hearts of stone were converted into hearts for Christ alone. Conversions came about through this little friar who was not eloquent, his voice at times hardly audible. His compassion transformed even those most hardened by years of unrepentant sinning; they began the long road to changing their lives, as they became convinced, through this humble messenger, that God loved them even when they were sinning. Upon discovering this unconditional love of the Lord, a love they had never known, true healing came about; they received the fullness of the compassionate gift of Reconciliation, and then the Life-eternal Gift of Our Lord truly Present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Oh, if only our priests would remember how great is the gift they have received, the gift of administering the Sacraments to the faithful! If only we, the Mystical Body of Christ, knew the priceless treasures Jesus left us, those Seven Sacraments we receive through the consecrated hands of these Ambassadors of Christ, then we truly would be one as Jesus prayed to the Father.[2]
[2]cf Jn 17:20-23

For more information about Saint Leopold Mandic click here

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