READING OF THE DAY: 31 JULY, 2O13

treasure_field

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.

When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it”. -Matthew 13:44-46.

Advertisements

SAINT OF THE DAY: 31 JULY, 2013

saint_germanus_of_auxerre

Saint Germanus
Bishop of Auxerre
(† 450)

Germanus, according to appearances, was not of outstanding piety during his youth, though of noble birth; his forebears were lords of the county of Auxerre in Gaul in the 5th century.

He studied eloquence and civil law in Rome, and practiced law there with distinction. He married a Roman noblewoman and became known to the emperor Honorius, who made him general of the imperial troops for his native province.

Returning then to Auxerre, he indulged his passion for hunting, and when advised by Saint Amator, the bishop of Auxerre, that his habits were not edifying, paid no attention to the admonition.

But God made known to this holy bishop his forthcoming death, and that Germanus was destined to succeed him. Saint Amator therefore went to see the Prefect of Gaul and asked his permission to have this soldier as a member of his clergy; and the permission was granted.

He then tonsured Germanus and clothed him with the ecclesiastical habit, taking him by surprise during an assembly of the faithful, and informing him there that he was destined to be his successor.

Germanus dared not resist, fearing to oppose the Will of God. He was consecrated soon afterwards, in the year 418.

He immediately became another man, and making over his lands to the Church, he adopted a life of humble penance. He rapidly attained high perfection, and the gift of miracles was given him.

He attempted to conceal it, but it became known when he obliged the demon, during a public exorcism, to reveal the place where stolen money was concealed.

Afterwards there was never a time when all the roads leading to his residence were not filled with crowds of sick persons, waiting to address the bishop and beg his assistance. Many possessed persons were also delivered.

Invariably his modesty caused him to attribute the multiplying prodigies to the relics of Saints which he wore around his neck, or to the sign of the Cross, or to the holy water he sometimes used, or to oil which he blessed.

The furious demons tormented him with temptations and terrifying apparitions, but found themselves powerless to disturb his peace.

At that time the Pelagian heresy was laying waste the British Isles, and Germanus was chosen by the reigning Pontiff to go and deliver the Britons from the snare of Satan.

With Saint Lupus he preached in the fields and highways throughout the land. Eventually he met the heretics face to face in a public conference, where each party was given an opportunity to speak.

When the heretics had defended their position, the two holy bishops answered with such force that their adversaries were reduced to silence, and the faithful rejoiced in the triumph of the Catholic faith.

He also led the British people to their famous alleluia victory over the Saxons.

Germanus visited England a second time to combat the Pelagian heresy which was still sowing its errors. On this visit he established public schools in Great Britain, which afterwards alleviated the ignorance of the people and preserved them from error.

He ordained priests and established an archbishop, and many Saints were formed in the schools which his successors continued to found.

After pursuing his good works on behalf of the peoples of both his adopted and his native land, he died while in Italy, where he had succeeded in appeasing the anger of the emperor against some rebels in Britain.

Miracles had accompanied him all along the route of his journey.

His holy death occurred at Ravenna in the year 450, the 31st of his episcopal office.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9)

READING OF THE DAY: 30 JULY, 2013

sower

“Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.

The weeds are the children of the evil one,and the enemy who sows them is the devil.

The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

Just as weeds are collected and burned (up) with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.

They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

Whoever has ears ought to hear.” -Matthew 13:36-43.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 30 JULY, 2013

abdon_sennen

Saints Abdon and Sennen
Persian Martyrs at Rome
(† 254)

The emperor Decius, enemy of Christians, had defeated the king of Persia and become master of several countries over which he reigned.

He had already condemned to torture and death Saint Polychrome, with five members of his clergy. Saint Abdon and Saint Sennen, illustrious Persian dignitaries of the third century whom the king of Persia had highly honored, were secretly Christian; it was they who had taken up the body of the martyred bishop, which had been cast contemptuously before a temple of Saturn, to bury it at night, with honor.

The two royal officials, now fallen under the domination of Rome, were grieved to witness the emperor’s cruelty towards the faithful, and believed it their duty to make known their love for Jesus Christ; thus, without fear of their new sovereign, they undertook by all possible means to spread and fortify the faith, to encourage the confessors and bury the martyrs.

Decius, learning of their dedication, was extremely irritated. He sent for the two brothers to appear before his tribunal, and attempted to win them over to sacrifice to the gods, by appealing to his recent victory as a sign of their favor.

The Saints replied, however, that this victory was not at all a proof of such power, since the unique true God, Creator of heaven and earth with His Son, Jesus Christ, gives victory to some and defeat to others, for reasons hidden in the designs of His providence.

They said they could never adore any but Him, and Decius imprisoned them. Soon afterwards, when he learned of the death of the viceroy he had left to govern in his place at Rome, he returned to Rome and took his two captives with him to serve as splendid trophies of his Persian victory.

In effect, these magistrates were wearing jewels and rich fabrics under their chains.

He arraigned them before the Senate, in whose presence they again testified to the divinity of Christ, saying they could adore no other.

The next day they were flogged in the amphitheater; then two lions and four bears were released to devour them. But the beasts lay down at their feet and became their guardians, and no one dared approach for a time.

Finally the prefect sent out gladiators to slay them with the sword, which with the permission of God was done.

Their bodies remained three days without burial, but a subdeacon, who afterwards wrote their history, took them up and buried them on his own terrain.

Under Constantine the Great, their tombs were discovered by divine revelation and their relics reburied in the Pontian cemetery, which afterwards was called by their names.

We see them in a picture of the catacombs, crowned by Our Lord Himself.

Their glorious martyrdom occurred in the year 254.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9)

READING OF THE DAY: 29 JULY, 2013

mary and martha

“Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

(But) even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.”

Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this?”

She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” -John 11:19-27.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 29 JULY, 2013

saint_seraphia_and_saint_sabina

Saint Seraphia
Virgin and Martyr († ca. 126)
and Saint Sabina
Martyr († ca. 127)

Saint Seraphia was born at Antioch in the late first century, of Christian parents who, fleeing the persecution of Adrian, went to Italy and settled there. When her parents died, Seraphia was sought in marriage by many, but having resolved to consecrate herself to God alone, she sold all her possessions and distributed the proceeds to the poor.

And then she sold herself into a voluntary slavery, and entered the service of a Roman noblewoman named Sabina.

The piety of Seraphia, her love of work, and her charity soon gained the heart of her mistress, who became a Christian.

Seraphia was denounced as a follower of Christ and condemned to die. She was first placed over a burning pile, but remained uninjured by the flames.

The prefect ordered her to be beheaded, and in that way she received the crown she so richly merited. Her mistress buried her with every mark of respect.

That noble Roman matron, Saint Sabina, was also denounced to the prefect Helpidius a year later. Christ is my God, I adore Him and serve Him; to Him alone I must sacrifice, she said when questioned. Her humble confession of faith obtained for her the grace of martyrdom; she was beheaded and all her goods confiscated.

She was buried in the tomb she herself had had built in Rome, and where she had interred her beloved servant, Seraphia.

In the year 425 a church was built at the site of the martyrdom of the two holy women, on Mount Aventino.

The Church of Saint Sabina was given to Saint Dominic in the 13th century by Pope Honorius III, and still today one venerates, under the main altar there, the bodies of the two holy Martyrs.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 28 JULY, 2013

San_Pedro_Poveda_Castroverde_B

Saint Pedro Poveda Castroverde
Priest and Martyr, Founder of the Teresian Association
(1874-1936)

Pedro Poveda was born on 3 December 1874 in Linares, Spain, to a solidly Christian family. From early childhood he felt called to become a priest, and in 1889 he entered the diocesan seminary in Jaén.

Because of financial difficulties, he transferred to the Diocese of Guadix, Grenada, where the Bishop had offered him a scholarship. He was ordained a priest on 17 April 1897.

After ordination Fr Poveda taught in the seminary and served the diocese in many other ways. In 1900 he completed a licentiate in theology at Seville and later began an apostolate among the “cave-dwellers”, those who lived in dugouts in the hills outside of Guadix.

Here he built a school for children and workshops for adults that provided professional training and Christian formation. He was misunderstood, however, and had to leave this special ministry.

So Fr Poveda headed for the solitude of Covadonga, in the mountains of northern Spain, where, in 1906, he was appointed canon of the Basilica of Covadonga in Asturias, where the Blessed Virgin is venerated under this title.

In Covadonga, he devoted much time to prayer and reflected particularly on the problem of education in Spain. He understood that the Lord was inviting him to open new paths in the Church and in the society of his time.

He began to published articles and pamphlets on the question of the professional formation of teachers and was also in contact with other persons who felt the need for the presence and action of Christians in society.

The opposition between faith and science was becoming more and more evident in the culture of his day, which carried with it a de-Christianization of the public education system.

Fr Poveda, after his apostolic experience in Guadix and his years of reflection and prayer in Covadonga, understood better the need to provide Christian formation for teachers who work in the State school system. He believed that a solid faith and professional qualifications were both needed to keep the Gospel message alive.

In 1911 he opened the St Teresa of Avila Academy as a residence for students and the starting point of the Teresian Association, dedicated to the spiritual and pastoral formation of teachers.

The following year he joined the Apostolic Union of Secular Priests and started new pedagogical centres and some periodicals.

To further his work Fr Poveda moved to Jaén, where he taught in the seminary, served as spiritual director of Los Operarios Catechetical Centre, and worked at the Teacher Training College. In 1914 he opened Spain’s first university residence for women in Madrid.

Meanwhile, the Teresian Association continued to develop, spreading to various groups and areas, and leading to its ecclesiastical and civil approval in Jaén.

Fr Poveda offered the Teresian Association as a new path of Christian life and evangelization created with and for lay persons, forming them to be witnesses of the Gospel, according to his expression: “To believe firmly and to keep silent is not possible”. He wanted the adherents to be ready to give their lives for the faith and in fact, expressed the same desire himself.

In 1921 Fr Poveda moved to Madrid and was appoined a chaplain of the Royal Palace. A year later he was named a member of the Central Board against illiteracy, but most of his time was devoted to the Teresian Association, which received papal approval in 1924.

Although he did not direct the Association, as its founder he worked to consolidate and promote the various dimensions of its mission as it spread to Chile and later to Italy (1934).

It was during the religious persecution in Spain that Fr Poveda would be called to the martyrdom he so desired. At dawn on 28 July 1936, when told by his persecutors to identify himself, he said, “I am a priest of Christ”.

He died a martyr for the faith, and was beatified on 10 October 1993 and canonized on 3 May by Pope John Paul II.

(SOURCE: Libreria Editrice Vaticana….YES, THE VATICAN LIBRARY….)