The Beheading of Saint John

St. John help us to testify to the Truth !

St. John help us to testify to the Truth !

St. John the Baptist was called by God to be the forerunner of His divine Son. In order to preserve his innocence spotless, and to improve the extraordinary graces which he had received, he was directed by the Holy Ghost to lead an austere and contemplative life in the wilderness, in the continual exercises of devout prayer and penance, from his infancy till he was thirty years of age.

At this age the faithful minister began to discharge his mission. Clothed with the weeds of penance, be announced to all men the obligation they lay under of washing away their iniquities with the tears of sincere compunction; and proclaimed the Messiah, Who was then coming to make His appearance among them. He was received by the people as the true herald of the Most High God, and his voice was, as it were, a trumpet sounding from heaven to summon all men to avert the divine judgments, and to prepare themselves to reap the benefit of the mercy that was offered them.

The tetrarch Herod Antipas having, in defiance of all laws divine and human, married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, who was yet living, St. John the Baptist boldly reprehended the tetrarch and his accomplice for so scandalous an incest and adultery, and Herod, urged on by lust and anger, cast the Saint into prison. About a year after St. John had been made a prisoner, Herod gave a splendid entertainment to the nobility of Galilee.

Salome, a daughter of Herodias by her lawful husband, pleased Herod by her dancing, insomuch that he promised her to grant whatever she asked. On this, Salome consulted with her mother what to ask. Herodias instructed her daughter to demand the death of John the Baptist, and persuaded the young damsel to make it part of her petition that the head of the prisoner should be forthwith brought to her in a dish.

This strange request startled the tyrant himself; he assented, however, and sent a soldier of his guard to behead the Saint in prison, with an order to bring his head in a platter and present it to Salome, who delivered it to her mother.

St. Jerome relates that the furious Herodias made it her inhuman pastime to prick the sacred tongue with a hairpin. Thus died the great forerunner of our blessed Saviour, about two years and three months after his entrance upon his public ministry, about a year before the death of our blessed Redeemer.

The Saint of the Day courtesy of Butler’s Lives of the Saints, 1894 Edition.

Reflection: Truth hurts many says. And this is true. Our very life could be at stake when we stand in truth. We must not regret in standing for what is true, for Christ is the truth himself. We must pray for Christians who are suffering from the  terrors of blood-thirsting men who are quenched by Christian blood and blinded by religious fanaticism.

Prayer: O God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death, grant that, as he died a Martyr for truth and justice, we, too, may fight hard for the confession of what you teach. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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St. Monica, Holy Woman

Kawsa Ni Maria:

May all mothers follow the example of Saint Monica in her tenderness and meekness in order to win others for Christ especially our own family, our very neighbor.

Originally posted on The Holy Ones:

St. Monica, pray for us! St. Monica, pray for us!

St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in North Africa, who was much older than she, and although generous, was also violent tempered. His mother Lived with them and was equally difficult, which proved a constant challenge to St. Monica. She had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith in 370. He died a year later. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life. St. Augustine was much more difficult, as she had to pray for him for 17 years, begging the prayers of priests who, for a while, tried to avoid her because of her persistence at this seemingly hopeless endeavor. One priest did console her by saying, “it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.” This thought, coupled with a vision that she had received strengthened her…

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St. Elizabeth Bichier, Foundress

St. Elizabeth, pray for us !

St. Elizabeth, pray for us !

St. Elizabeth was born in France and came from a very good family. Then during the time of the French Revolution, Elizabeth’s family lost everything they owned. This was because the republicans were taking property from the nobility.

But this intelligent young woman of nineteen studied law so she could fight her family’s case in court. Being a good lawyer, she won the case and was able to save her family. The village shoemaker exclaimed: “All you have to do now is marry a good republican!”

But Elizabeth had no intention of marrying anyone republican or noble. On the back of a picture of Our Lady, she had written: “I dedicate and consecrate myself to Jesus and Mary forever.”

St. Elizabeth soon joined the convent and became a nun, with the help of St. Andrew Fournet, she started a new religious order called the Daughters of the Cross.

As a little girl, her favorite game was building castles in the sand. Many years later, this holy French woman had to take charge of building many convents for the Daughters of the Cross. “I guess building was meant to be my business,” she joked, “since I started it so young!”

This new order taught children and cared for the sick. Elizabeth would face any danger to help people. Once she found a tramp lying sick in a barn. She brought him to the convent hospital and did all she could for him until he died. The next morning the police chief came to tell her she could be arrested for sheltering a man who was a criminal.

Elizabeth was unafraid. “I only did what you yourself would have done, sir,” she said. “I found this poor sick man, and took care of him until he died. I am ready to tell the judge just what happened.”

` Of course, the saint’s honesty and charity won her great respect. People admired her straight, clear answers. By 1830, Elizabeth had opened over sixty convents.

The order’s co-founder, St. Andrew Fournet, died in 1834. St. Elizabeth wrote to the sisters, “This is our greatest and most sad loss.” Then four years later St. Elizabeth died on August 26, 1838.

Reflection: Bravery and courage is not lacking in the Christian heart. This springs up from the radical answer to the Gospel. We have to stand for Christ who is very much present in our neighbor especially the least, the lost and the last. Our dignity as Christian lies in loving one another even the criminals. Showing to them Christian charity means making God alive in the midst of a chaotic world.

Prayer: O God, by whose gift blessed Elizabeth Bichier persevered in imitating Christ, poor and lowly, grant us through her intercession that, faithfully walking in our own vocation, we may reach the perfection you have set before us in your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

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St. Louis of France

St. Louis IX, pray for us !

St. Louis IX, pray for us !

St. Louis was born in France and was the son of King Louis VIII of France and Queen Blanche.

When Prince Louis was small, his mother hugged him tightly and said, “I love you very, very much, my dear son. But I would rather see you dead at my feet than ever to have you commit a mortal sin.”

Louis never forgot those words. He grew to treasure his Catholic faith. When he was twelve, his father died and he became the king. Queen Blanche ruled until her son was twenty-one.

Louis became a remarkable king. He married Margaret, the daughter of a count. They loved each other very much. They had eleven children. Louis was a good husband and father. And as long as his mother, Queen Blanche lived, he showed her great respect.

Busy as he was, the king found time for daily Mass and the recitation of the Divine Office. He was a Third Order Franciscan and lived a simple lifestyle as a good Catholic. He was generous and fair. He ruled his people with wisdom, charity and true Christian principles.

He knew how to settle arguments and disputes. He listened to the poor and the needy. He had time for everybody, not only for rich and important people. He supported Catholic education and built monasteries.

King Louis never used bad language and did not allow anyone in the castle to use it either.

St. Louis felt it was his duty to help the suffering Christians in the Holy Land. He wanted to be part of the Crusades and protect them.

Twice he led an army against the Turks. The first time, he was taken prisoner. But even in jail, he behaved as a true Christian knight. He was unafraid and noble in all his ways.

He was freed and returned to take care of his kingdom in France. Yet as soon as he could, he returned to fight the enemies of the faith again. But on the way, this greatly loved king became sick with typhoid fever. A few hours before he died, he prayed, “Lord, I will enter into your house, worship in your holy temple, and give glory to your name.”

St. Louis died at the age of 56, on August 25, 1270.

Reflection: It may be true that wealth could drag us to the pit of hell but not in the case of St. Louis of France. If we know how to manage our wealth especially in charitable works then we are assure of salvation. Charity excuses multiple of sins and it is by our charity that we are judged. This what Our  Blessed Lord tells us in the Gospel, to give alms, to pray and to fast. And all of these, St. Louis lovingly follow. Heaven is for everyone, for those who did the Father’s Will.

Prayer: O God, who brought Saint Louis from the cares of earthly rule to the glory of a heavenly realm, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that, by fulfilling our duties on earth, we may seek out your eternal Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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St. Bartholomew, Apostle

st. Bartholomew, pray for us !

st. Bartholomew, pray for us !

“Bartholomew” was one of the first followers of Jesus. This apostle’s other name was Nathaniel. He came from Cana in Galilee and became a disciple of Jesus when his friend Philip invited him to come and meet the Lord.

Nathaniel received high praise from Jesus, who said, as soon as he saw him, “Here is a man in whom there is no guile.” Jesus meant that Nathaniel was an honest, sincere man who would never cheat anyone.

Nathaniel was very surprised to hear those words from Jesus. “How do you know me?” he asked. “Before Philip called you,” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree.” That was a favorite place that Nathaniel used for prayer.

Nathaniel must have realized then that Jesus had read his heart as he prayed. “Master!” he cried. “You are the Son of God, the King of Israel.” And Nathaniel became one of the Lord’s faithful apostles.

Like the other apostles, Nathaniel, or Bartholomew, preached the Gospel of Jesus even though his life was in danger. He went to India, Armenia and other lands and preached with great feeling, until he gave his life for the faith.

And so, to the reward of an apostle, St. Bartholomew added the martyr’s crown

Reflection: Let us be ready in offering our lives to the Master. We should not be afraid to stand for the truth. May our lives be a pleasing oblation to God and “be without guile” as St. Bartholomew.

Prayer: Strengthen in us, O Lord, the faith, by which the blessed Apostle Bartholomew clung wholeheartedly to your Son, and grant that through the help of his prayers your Church may become for all the nations the sacrament of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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St. Jane Frances De Chantal, Holy Woman

St. jane Frances de Chantal, pray for us !

St. jane Frances de Chantal, pray for us !

St. Jane was born in Dijon, in France. Her father who was a devout man brought up his children well after the death of his wife.

Jane, whom he dearly loved, married Christopher, the Baron de Chantal. Jane and Christopher loved each other very much. God blessed them with six children, four of whom lived. Jane showed her love for God by loving her husband and children with her whole heart.

Then, suddenly, that happy home suddenly became sad. Baron Christopher was accidentally shot by a friend who had gone hunting with him. When he died, Jane was heart-broken. She forgave the man who had caused his death and even became his child’s godmother.

St. Jane asked the Lord to send a holy priest into her life to guide her. In the meantime, she prayed and brought up her children in the love of God. She visited the poor and the sick and comforted the dying.

When she met St. Francis de Sales, she knew this was the holy man God had sent to guide her. We celebrate his feast on January 24.

Under his guidance, Jane and three other young women started the order of the Visitation. But first, she had to make sure that her children, although older, were settled.

Although she had other responsibilities and challenges, Jane tried to follow God’s plan as she saw it, no matter how difficult. St. Jane faced all the difficulties with courage. She opened up many convents and prayed to God for help when she was tempted to do wrong.

St. Vincent de Paul, wrote “Despite all her suffering, her face never lost its peaceful look. And she was always faithful to God. So I consider her one of the holiest souls I have ever met.” St. Jane died on December 13, 1641.

Reflection: Profit by the successive trials to gain the strength and courage of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, and they will become stepping-stones from earth to heaven.

Prayer: O God, who made Saint Jane Frances de Chantal radiant with outstanding merits in different walks of life, grant us, through her intercession, that walking faithfully in our vocation, we may constantly be examples of shining light. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

St. Maximilian, help us to love the Immaculata in highest possible way !

St. Maximilian, help us to love the Immaculata in the highest possible way !

St. Maximilian, born Raymond Kolbe in Poland, Jan. 8, 1894. In 1910, he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order. He was sent to study in Rome where he was ordained a priest in 1918.

Father Maximilian returned to Poland in 1919 and began spreading his Militia of the Immaculata movement of Marian consecration (whose members are also called MIs), which he founded on October 16, 1917. In 1927, he established an evangelization center near Warsaw called Niepokalanow, the “City of the Immaculata.” By 1939, the City had expanded from eighteen friars to an incredible 650, making it the largest Catholic religious house in the world.

To better “win the world for the Immaculata,” the friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques. This enabled them to publish countless catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million. Maximilian started a shortwave radio station and planned to build a motion picture studio–he was a true “apostle of the mass media.” He established a City of the Immaculata in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1930, and envisioned missionary centers worldwide.

Maximilian was a ground-breaking theologian. His insights into the Immaculate Conception anticipated the Marian theology of the Second Vatican Council and further developed the Church’s understanding of Mary as “Mediatrix” of all the graces of the Trinity, and as “Advocate” for God’s people.

In 1941, the Nazis imprisoned Father Maximilian in the Auschwitz death camp. There he offered his life for another prisoner and was condemned to slow death in a starvation bunker. On August 14, 1941, his impatient captors ended his life with a fatal injection. Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a “martyr of charity” in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is considered a patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement and the chemically addicted.

Reflection: “Pro amorem nos que ad victimam!” (To love even to the point of victimhood! )

Prayer: O God, who filled the Priest and Martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe with a burning love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with zeal for souls and love of neighbor, graciously grant, through his intercession, that striving for your glory by eagerly serving others, we may be conformed, even until death, to your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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