READING OF THE DAY: 23 FEBRUARY, 2015

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“Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.

And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.

Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’

He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’

And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”” -Matthew 25:31-46.

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SAINT OF THE DAY: 22 FEBRUARY, 2015

Saint Margaret of Cortona

Franciscan tertiary, penitent
(1247-1297)

Saint Margaret of Cortona

It is not strange that the world feels drawn to the Augustines and Magdalenes of every age.

The world knows its guilt and is ashamed.

With the lives of such saints placed warmly and tactfully before us, it is impossible to abandon hope.

From the tumbleweed of sin many saints have grown.

Margaret was born at Laviano, in Tuscany, Italy, about 1247, of poor farm people.

Her mother died when she was only seven years old, and two years later her father married again. His new wife was a strong, masterful woman, who had little sympathy for her pleasure-loving stepdaughter.

Margaret had always yearned for love and it was always denied her at home. It is not hard to understand, then, how the pretty young girl fell prey to the prospect of love and luxury offered her by a rich young cavalier (whose name she never divulged) from a neighboring village.

She went away with him one night and lived with him as his mistress for the next nine years, during which time she gave birth to a son.

During all those years Margaret remained faithful to her lover, even though she was an object of scorn to the townspeople, who regarded her as a depraved woman.

The sudden and brutal murder of her lover brought Margaret to the realization of God’s grace.

Ashamed and horrified by her own behavior, she went immediately to her father’s house to beg forgiveness.

Although he was willing to accept her, her stepmother for a second time turned Margaret away from the love she needed so badly.

She had heard of the Friars Minor (Franciscans) and of their reputation for gentleness and patience with sinners. By this time, utterly depressed, she traveled to Cortona, where she begged admittance into the Third Order as a penitent.

For the first three years of her conversion she was guided in the spiritual life by Fra Giunta Bevegnati, her confessor. It is to him we are indebted for the story of her life.

Margaret began to earn her living by nursing the ladies of the city, but soon gave it up in order to devote herself to caring for the sick poor, depending on alms for her existence.

She persuaded the leading citizen of Cortona to aid her in starting the hospital of Our Lady of Mercy, staffed by Franciscans tertiaries whom Margaret formed into a congregation called Poverelle.

She also founded the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy, which was pledged to support the hospital and to search out and assist the poor. Her son was sent to school at Arezzo, and he later became a Franciscan friar.

As Margaret continued to advance in holiness, Christ became the dominating feature in her life. She was favored with visions in which Christ spoke to her and addressed her as the third light granted to the Order of my beloved Francis, that is, exceeded in glory only by Saint Francis and Saint Clare.

Margaret was also favored with visions of her guardian angel.

The people of Cortona had observed the holiness of Margaret’s life, and they sought her payers in 1279, when Charles of Anjou, king of Sicily, threatened to invade Tuscany.

After fervent prayer it was revealed to her that an armistice had been arranged and peace would follow.

Toward the latter part of her life our Lord said to her: Show now that thou art converted; cry out and call others to repentance. Margaret was obedient to the call and saw that she must lead a more active life.

She carried on this new mission successfully, drawing many lapsed Catholics back to the Church, and she was called on many times to perform miraculous cures.

The day and hour of her death were revealed to her, and she died at the age of fifty in 1297.

Her fame is mostly confined to Tuscany, where the people of Cortona refer to their patron as the lily of the valley.

(SOURCE: The Catholic Press, The Lives of the Saints for every day of the year)

READING OF THE DAY: 22 FEBRUARY, 2015

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“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.

He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.

The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”” -Mark 1:12-15.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 21 FEBRUARY, 2015

Blessed Brother Didace Pelletier

Confessor
(1657-1699)

Blessed Brother Didace Pelletier

Brother Didace was the first child born at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, or at least the first child whose baptismal certificate is inscribed in the parish register; he was also the first Canadian-born Lay Brother of the first missionaries in New France, the Recollets (French Franciscans), and the first Canadian who left a reputation of sanctity on Canadian soil after his death.

Such are the titles of Blessed Brother Didace, originally Claude Pelletier.

Blessed Brother Didace was born on June 28, 1657; his parents were Georges Pelletier and Catherine Vanier, from Dieppe, France. His life was not eventful exteriorly, and can be summarized in a few words.

As a little boy, he was sent to the apprentices’ school established by Bishop de Laval at Saint Joachim, not far from Sainte Anne de Beaupré.

There he learned the carpenter’s trade, in which he excelled.

After a childhood and youth spent in labor, piety and love of innocence, he entered the Recollets at Quebec City in the autumn of 1678, at the age of twenty-one.

He was clothed with the Franciscan habit in 1679, and received the name Didace in honor of a Spanish Saint, the patron of Lay Brothers; he made his religious vows one year later, in 1680.

Brother Didace lived at Our Lady of the Angels mission in Quebec City for another three or four years. Because of his talent as a carpenter, he had a large part in the construction work which the Recollets of that time were undertaking.

He was sent to Ile Percé and Ile Bonaventure in the Gaspesie, or eastern shore of the peninsula (1683-1689), to Plaisance, in Newfoundland (1689-1692), to Montreal (1692-1696), and finally to Three Rivers, Quebec (1696-1699).

It was in this last city, while doing carpentry work at the Recollets’ church, that he contracted a fatal case of pleurisy.

Brother Didace was rushed to the Ursulines’ hospital; there he requested the last Sacraments, despite the opinion of a doctor who declared him in no immediate danger.

After participating in the prayers for the dying, he expired on the evening of February 21, 1699, a Saturday.

He was forty-one years old; his last twenty years had been spent with the Recollets.

SOURCE: Magnificat magazine, No. 4, April 1991 (Editions Magnificat: St. Jovite).)

READING OF THE DAY: 21 FEBRUARY, 2015

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“Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, «Follow me.»

And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.

Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them.

The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.

I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”” -Luke 5:27-32.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 19 FEBRUARY, 2015

Saint Conrad of Piacenza

Hermit
(† 1351)

Saint Conrad of Piacenza

Saint Conrad was living peacefully as a nobleman of Piacenza.

He had married when quite young and led a virtuous and God-fearing life.

One day, when engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to set fire to some brushwood where game had taken refuge.

The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated was accused of being the author; he was imprisoned, tried and condemned to death.

As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, declared the man innocent and confessed his own guilt openly. In order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, as he then volunteered to do, he was obliged to sell all his possessions.

He repaid his neighbors for all the losses they had suffered, then retired to a distant region where he took the Third Order habit of Saint Francis, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares.

After visiting the holy places in Rome, he went to Sicily and dwelt for forty years in strict penance, sleeping on the bare ground with a stone for pillow, and with dry bread and raw herbs for food.

God rewarded his great virtue by the gift of prophecy and the grace of miracles.

He died while praying on his knees in 1351, surrounded by a bright light, in the presence of his confessor, who was unaware for some time of his death because of his position. He is invoked especially for the cure of hernias.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2; The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908).)

READING OF THE DAY: 19 FEBRUARY, 2015

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“Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”” -Luke 9:22-25.