READING OF THE DAY: 31 AUGUST, 2013

talents

“Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.

To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one– to each according to his ability.

Then he went away.

Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five.

Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.

The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five.

He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’

His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’

(Then) the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’

His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’

Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter;

so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’

His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter?

Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?

Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’” -Matthew 25:14-30.

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SAINT OF THE DAY: 31 AUGUST, 2013

saint_raymund_nonnatus

Saint Raymund Nonnatus
Religious of Our Lady of Mercy and Cardinal
(1204-1240)

Saint Raymund Nonnatus was born in Catalonia, Spain, in the year 1204.

Motherless from infancy, in his childhood he seemed to find pleasure only in his devotions and serious duties. He chose the Blessed Virgin for his mother, almost as soon as the light of reason made this choice available to him.

His father, perceiving in him an inclination to the religious state and unwilling to give up his son, took him from school and sent him to take care of a farm which he owned in the country.

Raymund readily obeyed, and, in order to enjoy holy solitude, kept the sheep himself and spent his time in the mountains and forests in holy meditation and prayer.

He found there an ancient hermitage containing a portrait of his Blessed Mother, and made this his asylum. There the devil found him and, assuming the disguise of a shepherd, attempted to turn him away from his devotions; but Raymund turned his back on his visitor and called Mary to his assistance.

The sole name of the Mother of God caused the demon to disappear, and the hermit prostrated himself and blessed Her for Her assistance.

Some time afterward, he joined the new Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the redemption of captives, and was admitted to profession at Barcelona by the holy founder, Saint Peter Nolasco.

Within two or three years after his profession, he was sent into Barbary with a considerable sum of money; in Algiers he purchased the liberty of a great number of slaves.

When all his treasure was exhausted, he gave himself up as a hostage for the ransom of others, according to the Rule of his Order.

This magnanimous sacrifice served only to exasperate the Moslems, who treated him with uncommon barbarity, until they began to fear that if he died in their hands, they would lose the ransom which had been asked for his deliverance.

A crier announced in the streets that anyone who mistreated him would answer for it, if he died.

Therefore he was permitted to go abroad in the streets, which liberty he utilized to comfort and encourage the Christians in chains, and to convert and baptize certain Moslems.

Learning of this, their pasha, furious, condemned him to be impaled, but his barbarous sentence was commuted at the insistence of those who had an interest in the ransom payments for the slaves he was replacing.

He underwent instead a cruel bastinade, but that torment did not daunt his courage. So long as he saw souls in danger of perishing eternally, he thought he had yet done nothing.

Saint Raymund had no more money to employ in releasing poor captives; and to converse with those of the local beliefs on the subject of religion meant death.

He enjoyed sufficient liberty nonetheless to continue the same endeavors, and he did so, hoping either for success or martyrdom.

The governor, enraged, ordered our Saint to have his lips pierced and padlocked, then to be imprisoned until his ransom would be brought by members of his Order.

He remained in jail for eight months before his brethren arrived with the required sum, sent by Saint Peter Nolasco.

Upon his return to Spain, he was nominated Cardinal by Pope Gregory IX, and the Pope called him to Rome.

The Saint was on his way, but had gone no farther than Cardona when he was seized with a violent fever.

He died on August 31, 1240, in his thirty-seventh year.

His face in death became beautiful and radiant like that of Moses when he descended from the mountaintop, where he had spoken with God.

A heavenly fragrance surrounded his body, and cures were effected on behalf of those who came and touched him.

READING OF THE DAY: 30 AUGUST, 2013

Five-Wise-and-Five-Foolish-Virgins

“Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Five of them were foolish and five were wise.

The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.

Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.

Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’

While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.

Then the door was locked.

Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’

But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” -Matthew 25:1-13.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 30 AUGUST, 2013

saint_fiaker

Saint Fiaker
Prince of Scotland and Anchorite
(† 670)

Saint Fiaker was the eldest son of Eugene IV, king of Scotland, born in the early sixth century heir to the throne of Scotland.

He was educated under the care of a bishop of eminent sanctity, Conan, Bishop of Soder or the Western Islands.

Considering all worldly advantages as dross, the young prince, accompanied by his sister, left country and friends when in the flower of his age, and sailed to France.

The prince intended to seek a solitude to which they might retire and devote themselves to God, unknown to the rest of the world. Divine Providence conducted them to Saint Faro, Bishop of Meaux, eminent for his sanctity.

When Saint Fiaker addressed himself to him, the prelate, charmed with the marks of extraordinary virtue and abilities which he discerned in this stranger, gave him a solitary dwelling in a forest called Breuil, two leagues from Meaux.

He placed the princess Sira in the Faremoutier monastery for women, of which his own sister was Abbess, and in that convent the young Christian found the enduring peace of Christ.

The holy anchorite Fiaker cleared the ground of trees and briers, made himself a cell and cultivated a small garden.

He built an oratory in honor of the Blessed Virgin, where he spent the greater part of the days and nights in devout prayer, laboring also with his own hands for his subsistence.

The life he led was very austere, and only necessity or charity ever interrupted his exercises of prayer and heavenly contemplation.

Many resorted to him for advice, and the poor sought relief at his door. Saint Chillen, or Kilian, an Irishman of high birth, on his return from Rome visited Saint Fiaker, who was his kinsman.

After spending some time under his discipline, this other budding Saint was directed by Fiaker’s advice and with the authority of the bishops, to preach in the nearby dioceses as well as in that of Saint Faro.

This commission he executed with admirable sanctity and fruit, and his relics were later placed in the same coffer as those of his eminent relative, the saintly hermit.

Saint Fiaker died in the year 670, on the 30th of August; he is the patron of gardeners.

READING OF THE DAY: 29 AUGUST, 2013

t19530-salome-with-the-head-of-st-john-the-andrea-solari

“Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.

John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.

Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody.

When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.

She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.

Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.

The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”

He even swore (many things) to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”

She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”

The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”

The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.

So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head.

He went off and beheaded him in the prison.

He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.

The girl in turn gave it to her mother.

When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.” -Mark 6:17-29.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 29 AUGUST, 2013

johnbaptist

The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist
(† 31)

Saint John the Baptist was called by God to be the precursor of His divine Son.

In order to preserve his innocence spotless, and to improve upon the extraordinary graces which he had received in his earliest infancy, he was directed by the Holy Spirit to lead an austere and contemplative life in the wilderness.

There he devoted himself to the continuous exercise of devout prayer and penance.

When Saint John was thirty years old, the faithful minister of the Lord began to discharge his mission.

Clothed with the garments of penance, he announced to all men the obligation weighing upon them of washing away their iniquities with the tears of sincere compunction.

He proclaimed the Messiah, who was of his own age but whom he had never seen, when one day Jesus came to be baptized by him in the Jordan.

Saint John was received by the poor folk 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. Souls were exhorted by him to prepare themselves to reap the benefit of the mercy offered them.

When the tetrarch Herod Antipas, in defiance of all laws divine and human, married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip who was yet living, Saint John the Baptist boldly reprimanded the tetrarch and his accomplice for so scandalous an adultery.

Herod, motivated by his lust and his anger, cast the Saint into prison. About a year after Saint John had been made a prisoner, Herod gave a splendid entertainment to the official world of Galilee.

Salome, a daughter of Herodias by her lawful husband, pleased Herod by her dancing, to the point that he made her the foolish promise of granting whatever she might ask.

Salome consulted with her mother as to what to ask, and that immoral woman instructed her daughter to demand the death of John the Baptist, and that the head of the prisoner should be immediately brought to her on a platter.

This barbaric request startled the tyrant himself; but governed by human respect he assented and sent a soldier of his guard to behead the Saint in prison.

Thus died the great forerunner of our blessed Saviour, some two years after his entrance upon his public ministry, and a year before the death of the One he announced.

READING OF THE DAY: 28 AUGUST, 2013

tissot_pharisees_610x300

“Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.

You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.

Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.

You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous,and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’

Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out!” -Matthew 23:27-32.