SAINT OF THE DAY: 31 JANUARY, 2015

Saint John Bosco

Founder
(1815-1888)

Saint John Bosco

Saint John Bosco accomplished what many people considered an impossibility; he walked through the streets of Turin, Italy, looking for the dirtiest, roughest urchins he could find, then made good men of them.

His extraordinary success can be summed up in the words of his patron Saint, Francis de Sales: The measure of his love was that he loved without measure.

John’s knowledge of poverty was firsthand. He was born in 1815 in the village of Becchi in the Piedmont district of northern Italy, and reared on his parents’ small farm.

When his father died, Margaret Bosco and her three sons found it harder than ever to support themselves, and while John was still a small boy he had to join his brothers in the farm work.

Although his life was hard, he was a happy, imaginative child. Even as a boy, John found innocent fun compatible with religion.

To amuse his friends he learned how to juggle and walk a tightrope; but he would entertain them only on condition that each performance begin and end with a prayer.

As he grew older, John began to think of becoming a priest, but poverty and lack of education made this seem impossible.

A kindly priest recognized his intelligence, however, and gave him his first encouragement, teaching him to read and write.

By taking odd jobs in the village, and through the help of his mother and some charitable neighbors, John managed to get through school and find admittance to the diocesan seminary of nearby Turin.

As a seminarian he devoted his spare time to looking after the ragamuffins who roamed the slums of the city. Every Sunday he taught them catechism, supervised their games and entertained them with stories and tricks; before long his kindness had won their confidence, and his Sunday School became a ritual with them.

After his ordination in 1841, he became assistant to the chaplain of an orphanage at Valocco, on the outskirts of Turin.

This position was short-lived, for when he insisted that his Sunday-school boys be allowed to play on the orphanage grounds, they were turned away, and he resigned.

He began looking for a permanent home for them, but no decent neighborhood would accept the noisy crowd.

At last, in a rather tumbledown section of the city, where no one was likely to protest, the first oratory was established and named for Saint Francis de Sales.

At first the boys attended school elsewhere, but as more teachers volunteered their time, classes were held at the house.

Enrollment increased so rapidly that by 1849 there were three oratories in various places in the city.

For a long time Don Bosco had considered founding an Order to carry on his work, and this idea was supported by a notoriously anticlerical cabinet minister named Rattazzi. Rattazzi had seen the results of his work, and although an Italian law forbade the founding of religious communities at that time, he promised government support.

The founder-priest went to Rome in 1858 and, at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, drew up a Rule for his community, the Society of Saint Francis de Sales (Salesians).

Four years later he founded an Order for women, theDaughters of Mary, Help of Christians, to care for abandoned girls. Finally, to supplement the work of both congregations, he organized an association of lay people interested in aiding their work.

Exhausted from touring Europe to raise funds for a new church in Rome, Don Bosco died on January 31, 1888. He was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI.

The work of John Bosco continues today in over a thousand Salesian oratories throughout the world.

No modern Saint has captured the heart of the world more rapidly than this smiling peasant-priest from Turin, who believed that to give complete trust and love is the most effective way to nourish virtue in others.

(source: Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year. (Reprint of the work of John Gilmary Shea, with Appendix including recently canonized Saints) (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1955. Third Edition: Tan Books and Publishers: Rockford, Ill., 1995).)

READING OF THE DAY: 31 JANUARY, 2015

calmsthesea

“On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.”

Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him.

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.

They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm.

Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”” -Mark 4:35-41.

READING OF THE DAY: 30 JANUARY, 2015

faith

“Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.

Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it?

It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.

But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.

Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.” -Mark 4:26-34.

COMMENTARY FOR 29 JANUARY, 2015

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Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by :

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), founder of the Missionary Sisters of Charity
Something Beautiful for God

“The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you”

       Since Christ is invisible we can’t show him our love. But our neighbors are always visible and we can do for them what we would love to do for Christ, supposing he were visible.

Today it is the same Christ who is present in those for whom we have no need, whom we do not employ and do not tend, who are hungry, who are naked, who have no home.

They seem to be useless to both State and society; nobody has any time to pay attention to them.

It is we christians, you and I, worthy of Christ’s love provided ours is a true love: it is our responsibility to find them, to help them.

They are there so that we may find them.

To work for the sake of working: this is the danger that constantly threatens us.

It is here that respect and love and dedication intervene so that we can direct our work to God, to Christ.

And this is why we always try to do it as beautifully as possible.

READING OF THE DAY: 29 JANUARY, 2015

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“Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?

For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.

Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”

He also told them, “Take care what you hear.

The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.

To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”” -Mark 4:21-25.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 2 JANUARY, 2015

Saint Peter Nolasco

Founder
(1189-1256)

 Saint Peter Nolasco

In the early thirteenth century the Moors still held much of Spain, and in sudden raids from the sea they carried off thousands of Christians, holding them as slaves in Granada and in their citadels along the African coast.

A hero of these unfortunates was Saint Peter Nolasco, born about the year 1189 near Carcassonne in France. When he went to Barcelona to escape the heresy then rampant in southern France, he consecrated the fortune he had inherited to the redemption of the captives taken on the seas by the Saracens.

He was obsessed with the thought of their suffering, and desired to sell his own person to deliver his brethren and take their chains upon himself. God made it known to him how agreeable that desire was to Him.

Because of these large sums of money he expended, Peter became penniless.

He was without resources and powerless, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and said to him: Find for Me other men like yourself, an army of brave, generous, unselfish men, and send them into the lands where the children of the Faith are suffering.

Peter went at once to Saint Raymond of Pennafort, his confessor, who had had a similar revelation and used his influence with King James I of Aragon and with Berengarius, Archbishop of Barcelona, to obtain approbation and support for the new community.

On August 10, 1218, Peter and two companions were received as the first members of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom, dedicated to the recovery of Christian captives.

To the three traditional vows of religion, its members joined a fourth, that of delivering their own persons to the overlords, if necessary, to ransom Christians.

The Order spread rapidly. Peter and his comrades traveled throughout Christian Spain, recruiting new members and collecting funds to purchase the captives.

Then they began negotiations with the slave-owners.

They penetrated Andalusia, crossed the sea to Tunis and Morocco, and brought home cargo after cargo of Christians. Although Peter, as General of the Order, was occupied with its organization and administration, he made two trips to Africa where, besides liberating captives, he converted many Moors.

He died after a long illness on Christmas night of 1256; he was canonized by Pope Urban VIII in 1628.

His Order continues its religious services, now devoted to preaching and hospital service.

(SOURCE: 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); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2)

READING OF THE DAY: 28 JANUARY, 2015

Friar-with-bread-LT

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?

Can such faith save them?

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” -James 2:14-26