READING OF THE DAY: 16 NOVEMBER, 2014

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“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.

SAINT OF THE DAY (PART 2) : 16 NOVEMBER, 2014

Saint Gertrude

(1264-1334)

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Saint Gertrude  is the most celebrated of several Saints of the same name, and for this reason the ancient authors named her Gertrude the Great. She was born in the year 1264 of a noble Saxon family, and placed at the age of five for education with the Benedictines of Helfta.

She dwelt there as a simple religious, very mistrustful of herself, under the direction of an Abbess having the same name as herself.

The Abbess’ sister was Saint Mechtilde of Hackeborn; and she was the mistress and friend of the young Saint Gertrude, who consulted her excellent teacher whenever she was tempted by vain and useless thoughts, or troubled by doubts suggested by the ancient enemy.

Saint Gertrude learned Latin in her youth, as in those days was customary for persons of her sex who consecrated themselves to God, and she wrote Latin with unusual elegance and force.

She also had an uncommon knowledge of Holy Scripture and of all the branches of learning having religion as their object; but one day Our Lord reproached her with having too great a taste for her studies.

Afterwards she could find in them nothing but bitterness; but soon Our Lord came to instruct her Himself.

For many years she never lost His amiable Presence, save for eleven days when He decided to test her fidelity.

Prayer and contemplation were her principal exercise, and to those she consecrated the greater part of her time.

Zeal for the salvation of souls was ardent in the heart of Gertrude. Thinking of the souls of sinners, she would shed torrents of tears at the foot of the cross and before the Blessed Sacrament.

She especially loved to meditate on the Passion and the Eucharist, and at those times, too, could not restrain the tears that flowed in abundance from her eyes. When she spoke of Jesus Christ and His mysteries, she ravished those who heard her.

One day while in church the Sisters were singing, I have seen the Lord face to face, Saint Gertrude beheld what appeared to be the divine Face, brilliant in beauty; His eyes pierced her heart and filled her soul and flesh with inexpressible delights.

Divine love, ever the unique principle of her affections and her actions, was the principle by which she was crucified to the world and all its vanities.

She was the object of a great number of extraordinary graces; Jesus Christ engraved His wounds in the heart of His holy spouse, placed rings on her fingers, presented Himself to her in the company of His Mother, and in her spirit acted as though He had exchanged hearts with her.

All these astonishing graces only developed her love for suffering. It was impossible for her to live without some kind of pain; the time she spent without suffering seemed to her to be wasted.

During the long illness of five months from which she would die, she gave not the slightest sign of impatience or sadness; her joy, on the contrary, increased with her pains.

When the day of her death arrived in 1334, she saw the Most Blessed Virgin descend from heaven to assist her, and one of her Sisters perceived her soul going straight to the Heart of Jesus, which opened to receive it.

Saint Gertrude is one of the great mystics of the Church; the book of her Revelations, recorded out of obedience, remains celebrated.

In it she traces in words of indescribable beauty the intimate converse of her soul with Jesus and Mary.

She was gentle to all, most gentle to sinners; filled with devotion to the Saints of God, to the souls in purgatory, and above all to the Passion of Our Lord and to His Sacred Heart.

(SOURCE: Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950); 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).)

SAINT OF THE DAY (PART 1) : 16 NOVEMBER, 2014

Saint Margaret

Queen of Scotland
(1046-1093)

Saint Margaret, Queen of Scotland

Saint Margaret’s name signifies pearl, a fitting name, says Theodoric, her confessor and her first biographer, for one such as she.

Her soul was like a precious pearl; a life spent amidst the luxury of a royal court never dimmed its luster or estranged it from Him who had bought it with His blood.

She was the granddaughter of an English king; in 1070 she became the bride of Malcolm of Scotland, thereafter reigning as Queen until her death in 1093.

How did she become a Saint in a position where sanctity is so difficult? First, she burned with zeal for the house of God.

She built churches and monasteries; she occupied herself by making vestments; she could not rest until she saw the laws of God and His Church observed throughout her realm.

Next, amid a thousand cares, she found time to converse with God, ordering her piety with such sweetness and discretion that she won her husband to sanctity like her own. He would rise at night to pray with her; he loved to kiss the holy books she used, and sometimes would take them away with him, bringing them back later to his wife covered with jewels.

Lastly, despite Saint Margaret’s great virtue, she wept constantly over her sins and begged her confessor to correct her faults.

Saint Margaret did not neglect her duties in the world even if she was not of the world. God blessed this marriage with eight children, six princes and two princesses who did not fail to respond to their mother’s teaching and examples.

Never was there a better mother; she spared no pains in their education, and their sanctity was the fruit of her prudence and her zeal.

And never was there a better queen.

She was the most trusted counselor of her husband, who always found her counsels of great utility, and she labored with him for the spiritual and material improvement of the land.

Malcolm, after having pacified his domains for several years, saw to the building of the cathedral of Durham and founded a monastery at Dumfermlin.

Living in the midst of all the world’s pleasures, Saint Margaret sighed for the true homeland and viewed death as a release.

On her deathbed she learned that her husband and their eldest son had been slain in battle.

She thanked God for sending this last affliction as a penance for her sins.

After receiving Holy Viaticum, she repeated the prayer from the Missal, O Lord Jesus Christ, who by Thy death didst give life to the world, deliver me.

And at the words deliver me, says her biographer, her soul took flight to Christ, in 1093, in her forty-seventh year.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 6;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).)