READING OF THE DAY: 28 FEBRUARY, 2014

man-praying (2)

“Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.

Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered.

You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because “the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation.” -James 5:9-12.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 28 FEBRUARY, 2014

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Blessed Daniel Brottier
Priest
(1876-1936)

Blessed Daniel Brottier was a French Spiritan born in France in 1876 and ordained priest 1899. His zeal for spreading the Gospel beyond the classroom or the confines of France made him to join the Spiritan Congregation.

He was sent to Senegal, West Africa. After eight years there, his health suffered and he went back to France where he helped raise funds for the construction of a new cathedral in Senegal.

At the outbreak of World War I Daniel became a volunteer chaplain. He attributed his survival on the front lines to the intercession of Saint Therese of Lisieux, and built a chapel for her at Auteuil when she was canonized.

After the war he established a project for orphans and abandoned children “the Orphan Apprentices of Auteuil” in the suburb of Paris.

He gave up his soul to God on the 28th of February, 1936 and was beatified only 48 years later in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 27 FEBRUARY, 2014

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Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
Passionist
(1838-1862)

Saint Gabriel was born at Assisi in 1838. He was guided by Our Lady into the Passionist Order founded by Saint Paul of the Cross, and became a veritable Apostle of Her Sorrows.

He was a very great and truly contemplative soul, whose only preoccupation was to unite himself to God at all times.

He allowed no distractions to enter his spirit, and even though Italy, his country, was in a state of ferment when he entered religion, he wanted to know nothing of it.

The way to attain union with our Saviour and our God was, for Saint Gabriel, as for Saint Louis de Montfort, his Heavenly Mother.

He wrote home to his father, from the first month of his noviciate, Believe your son, whose heart is speaking by his lips; no, I would not exchange one single quarter of an hour spent near the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, our consolatrix, our protectress and our hope, for a year or several years spent in the diversions and spectacles of the earth.

Among his resolutions was that of visiting Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament each day, and praying for the gift of a tender and efficacious devotion to His Most Holy Mother.

He wrote a beautiful Credo, worthy to be printed in letters of gold, expressing all that he believed of the Mother of God.

At twenty-four years of age Saint Gabriel died of tuberculosis, having already attained heroic sanctity by a life of self-denial and great devotion to our Lord’s Passion and the Compassion of His Mother.

Although his life was without any miraculous event, after his death in 1862 many miracles occurred at his tomb in Isola di Gran Sasso, Italy.

He was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920, and his feast was extended to the entire church by Pope Pius XI in 1932.

He is the patron of youth, and especially of young religious.

*On leap years, the feast day of this Saint is celebrated on February 28.

(SOURCE: Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O. Cist., Ph.D. (Catholic Book Publishing Co.: New York, 1951-1955))

READING OF THE DAY: 27 FEBRUARY, 2014

cold water

“Jesus said to his disciples: «Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.

It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off.

It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.

Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

Everyone will be salted with fire.

Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor?

Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.” -Mark 9:41-50.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 25 FEBRUARY, 2014

saint_mechtildis_of_hackeborn

Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn
Abbess
(1240-1298)

Saint Mechtildis, born in 1240 in Saxony, was the younger sister of the illustrious Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn.

She was so attracted to religious life at the age of seven, after a visit to her sister in the monastery of Rodardsdoft, that she begged to be allowed to enter the monastic school there.

Her gifts caused her to make great progress both in virtue and learning.

Ten years later, when her sister had transferred the monastery to an estate at Helfta offered by their brothers, Mechtildis went with her. She was already distinguished for her virtues, and while still very young became the valuable Assistant to Abbess Gertrude.

One of the children who in the monastic school were committed to her care, was the child of five who later became known as Saint Gertrude the Great.

Saint Mechtildis was gifted with a beautiful voice, and was choir mistress of the nuns all her life. Divine praise, it has been said, was the keynote of her life, as also of her famous book, The Book of Special Grace.

When she learned, at the age of fifty, that two of her nuns had written down all the favors and words of their Abbess, which she had become, she was troubled, but Our Lord in a vision assured her that all this has been committed to writing by My will and inspiration, and therefore you have no cause to be troubled over it.

He added that the diffusion of the revelations He had given her would cause many to increase in His love.

She immediately accepted the Lord’s bidding, and the book became extremely popular in Italy after her death.

Its influence on the poet Dante’s Purgatorio is undeniable, for she had described the place of purification after death under the same figure of a seven-terraced mountain.

The Donna Matelda of his Purgatorio, who guides him at one point in his vision, is Saint Mechtildis as she represents mystical theology.

She died in 1298 at the monastery of Helfta.

*On leap years, the feast day of this Saint is celebrated on February 27.

(SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908); Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)

READING OF THE DAY: 25 FEBRUARY, 2014

behold_lamb_god

“Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it.

He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.”

But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”

But they remained silent.

They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.

Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them,

Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me.” -Mark 9:30-37.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 24 FEBRUARY, 2014

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Blessed Robert of Arbrissel
Abbot
(1045-1117)

Blessed Robert, one of the principal historical figures of his time and one of the most astonishing Saints of the Church, was born at Arbrissel, now Arbressec, a short distance from Rennes, in about 1045. He studied in Paris, sustained in his poverty by the assistance of charitable benefactors, and became there a celebrated doctor in the sacred sciences.

His remarkable gifts were everywhere appreciated. It is supposed that he was ordained a priest in Paris, before the bishop of his native diocese of Rennes recalled him in 1085 to assist him in reforming his flock.

There in Brittany, as archpriest, Robert devoted himself to the healing of feuds, the suppression of simony, lay investiture, clerical concubinage and irregular marriages.

He was compelled, by the hostility his reforming zeal had caused, to leave the diocese when his bishop died in 1093.

After teaching theology for a time in Angers, in 1095 he became a hermit near Laval with several others, two of whom later founded monasteries, as he himself did in 1096, at the site where they were then dwelling in the forest of Craon near Roe.

The reputation of the solitaries had attracted many to visit them, and the piety, kindness, eloquence and strong personality of Robert in particular drew many followers; it is said that the forest of Craon became the dwelling-place of a multitude of anchorites, as once the deserts of Egypt were.

Blessed Robert was summoned by Pope Urban II to go to Angers to preach for the dedication of a church; the Pope sent him out from there as apostolic missionary, on a preaching tour of the various provinces. He left his abbacy in the region of Roe and taught abandonment of the world and evangelical poverty all over western France.

His gifts of grace and nature attracted crowds and effected countless conversions. His disciples were of all ages and conditions, including lepers; even whole families followed him everywhere.

Thus was founded his famous monastery of Fontevrault, not far from Cannes, to lodge these flocks of determined followers of the Gospel.

The men dwelt in a separate region from the women; each group had its chapel, and the lepers their quarters apart.

Charity, silence, modesty and meekness characterized these establishments, which were sustained by the products of the earth and the alms offered by the neighboring populations.

Until the death of the holy patriarch in 1117, he continued to preach everywhere in western France.

The enemy of souls could not remain indifferent to all of this Christian sanctity.

Persecuted by certain heretics and others during his life, Blessed Robert was accused of exaggeration and calumniated after his death, but the accusatory writings were eventually declared to be forgeries.

A calumniatory letter, attributed falsely to an abbot of western France, who had in other situations shown a vindictive spirit, was definitely proved not to be from his hand, but written by the heretic Roscelin and containing pure fabrications.

Blessed Robert is remembered for his ideal of perfect poverty, both exterior and interior, according to the words of Our Lord, His first beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit.

He was buried at Fontevrault, as he had desired to be, but his remains were later transferred to a house of the Order, restored in 1806 after the revolution, at Chemillé in the diocese of Angers.

The first biography of Blessed Robert was written by Baudri, Archbishop of Dol in Brittany, his intimate friend, at the request of Venerable Petronilla of Chemillé, widow, and first Abbess of this immense and celebrated monastery, who was named by Blessed Robert to replace him at his death as Superior General of the Order of Fontevrault.

The feast of Venerable Petronilla (1149) was celebrated by the Order of Fontevrault on April 24th.

The Bollandists remark: Her existence was marked by many contradictions, but she had the courage to pass beyond the judgment of human beings and to walk without deviating on the path to heaven.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 3; The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908).)

READING OF THE DAY: 24 FEBRUARY, 2014

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“As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John and approached the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.

Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed.

They ran up to him and greeted him.

He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”

Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.

Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.

I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”

He said to them in reply, “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?

How long will I endure you?

Bring him to me.”

They brought the boy to him.

And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.

As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth.

Then he questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”

He replied, “Since childhood.

It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.

But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus said to him, ” ‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”

Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”

Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!”

Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.

He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”

But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.

When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why could we not drive it out?”

He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.” -Mark 9:14-29.

READING OF THE DAY: 23 FEBRUARY, 2014

openhands

“Jesus said to his disciples: «You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.

When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.

If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.

Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.

Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?

Do not the tax collectors do the same?

And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that?

Do not the pagans do the same?

So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” -Matthew 5:38-48.