SAINT OF THE DAY: 31 MARCH, 2015

Saint Nicholas of Flue

Hermit
(1417-1487)

Saint Nicholas of Flue

Saint Nicholas of Flue was born in Switzerland of pious parents. One day, when he saw an arrow launched on a neighboring mountain, he was filled with a desire for Heaven and with love for solitude.

He married, to obey the formal will of his parents; he and his wife Dorothy became the parents of ten children. His merit and virtue caused him to be chosen by his fellow citizens to exercise very honorable public functions.

He was fifty years old when an interior voice said to him: Leave everything you love, and God will take care of you. He had to undergo a distressing combat, but decided finally to leave everything — wife, children, house, lands — to serve God.

He left, barefooted, clothed in a long robe of coarse fabric, in his hand a rosary, without money or provisions, casting a final tender and prolonged gaze on his loved ones.

His habitual prayer was this: My Lord and my God, remove from me all that can prevent me from going to You. My Lord and my God, give me all that can draw me to You.

One night God penetrated the hermit with a brilliant light, and from that time on he never again experienced hunger, thirst or cold. Having found a wild and solitary place, he dwelt there for a time in a hut of leaves, later in a cabin built with stones.

The news of his presence, when it spread, brought him a great influx of visitors. Distinguished persons came to him for counsel in matters of great importance.

It may seem incredible that the holy hermit lived for nineteen years only by the Holy Eucharist; the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, startled by this fact, had his cabin surveyed and verified this fact as being beyond question.

When Switzerland for a moment was divided and threatened with civil war in 1480, Saint Nicholas of Flue, venerated by all, was chosen as arbiter, to prevent the shedding of blood. He spoke so wisely that a union was reached, to the joy of all concerned, and the nation was saved.

Bells were set ringing all over the country, and the concerted jubilation echoed across the lakes, mountains and valleys, from the most humble cottage to the largest cities.

At the age of 70, Saint Nicholas fell ill with a very painful sickness which tormented him for eight days and nights without overcoming his patience.

He was beatified in 1669 by Pope Clement IX, canonized in 1947, by Pope Pius XII.

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

READING OF THE DAY: 31 MARCH, 2015

the_passion_of_the_christ_profilelarge

“Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, «Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.»

The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.

One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side.

So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.

He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and (took it and) handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot.

After he took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
(Now) none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.

Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor.

So he took the morsel and left at once.

And it was night.
When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
(If God is glorified in him,) God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once.

My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.

You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”

Jesus answered (him), “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.”

Peter said to him, “Master, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?

Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”” -John 13:21-33.36-38.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 30 MARCH, 2015

Saint John Climacus

Abbot
(525-605)

Saint John Climacus

Saint John, whose national origin remains unknown, was called Climacus because of a treatise he wrote called The Ladder (Climax) of Paradise.

He made such progress in learning as a disciple of Saint Gregory Nazianzen that while still young, he was called the Scholastic.

At the age of sixteen he turned from the brilliant future which lay before him, and retired to Mount Sinai, where he was placed under the direction of a holy monk named Martyrius.

Once that religious journeyed to Antioch and took the young John with him; they visited Saint Anastasius, a future Patriarch of Antioch, and the Saint asked Martyrius who it was who had given the habit to this novice?

Hearing that it was Martyrius himself, he replied, And who would have said that you gave the habit to an Abbot of Mount Sinai?

Another religious, a solitary, made the same prediction on a similar visit, and washed the feet of the one who would some day be Abbot of Mount Sinai.

Never was there a novice more fervent, more unrelenting in his efforts for self-mastery. On the death of his director, when John was about thirty-five years old, he withdrew into a deeper solitude, where he studied the lives and writings of the Saints and was raised to an unusual height of contemplation.

There he remained for forty years, making, however, a visit to the solitaries of Egypt for his instruction and inspiration.

The fame of his holiness and practical wisdom drew crowds around him for advice and consolation.

In the year 600, when he had reached the age of seventy-five, he was chosen as Abbot of Mount Sinai by a unanimous vote of the Sinai religious, who said they had placed the light upon its lampstand.

On the day of his installation, six hundred pilgrims came to Saint Catherine’s Monastery, and he performed all the offices of an excellent hotel-master; but at the hour of dinner, he could not be found to share the meal with them.

For four years, said his biographer, a monk of the monastery of Raithe, he dwelt on the mountain of God, and drew from the splendid treasure of his heart priceless riches of doctrine which he poured forth with wondrous abundance and benediction.

He was induced by a brother abbot to write the rules by which he had guided his life; and the book which he had already begun, The Ladder, detailing thirty degrees of advancement in the pursuit of perfection, has been prized in all ages for its wisdom, clearness, and unction.

At the end of that time, he retired again to his solitude, where he died the following year, as he had foretold.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 4)

READING OF THE DAY: 30 MARCH, 2015

7dc103cdac1af4a9ee8913a122e7d29f

“Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.

Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

Then Judas the Iscariot, one (of) his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?

He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.

So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial.

You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

(The) large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.” -John 12:1-11.

READING OF THE DAY: 28 MARCH, 2015

pharisees

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him.

But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.

If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.”

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing,nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.”

He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.

So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves.

They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?”” -John 11:45-56.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 27 MARCH, 2015

saint_john_damascene

Saint John Damascene

Doctor of the Church
(676-780)

Saint John was born in the late 7th century, and is the most remarkable of the Greek writers of the 8th century. His father was a civil authority who was Christian amid the Saracens of Damascus, whose caliph made him his minister. This enlightened man found in the public square one day, amid a group of sad Christian captives, a priest of Italian origin who had been condemned to slavery; he ransomed him and assigned him to his young son to be his tutor.

Young John made extraordinary progress in grammar, dialectic, mathematics, music, poetry, astronomy, but above all in theology, the discipline imparting knowledge of God. John became famous for his encyclopedic knowledge and theological method, later a source of inspiration to Saint Thomas Aquinas.

When his father died, the caliph made of him his principal counselor, his Grand Vizier. Thus it was through Saint John Damascene that the advanced sciences made their apparition among the Arab Moslems, who had burnt the library of Alexandria in Egypt; it was not the Moslems who instructed the Christians, as was believed for some time in Europe.

Saint John vigorously opposed the ferocious Iconoclast persecution instigated by the Emperor of Constantinople, Leo the Isaurian. He distinguished himself, with Saint Germain, Patriarch of Constantinople, in the defense of the veneration of sacred images.

The Emperor, irritated, himself conjured up a plot against him. A letter was forged, signed with Saint John’s name, and addressed to himself, the Emperor of Constantinople, offering to deliver up the city of Damascus to him. That letter was then transmitted by the Emperor to the Caliph of Damascus, advising him as a good neighbor should do, that he had a traitor for minister.

Although Saint John vigorously defended himself against the charge, he was condemned by the Caliph to have his right hand cut off. The severed hand, by order of the Caliph, was attached to a post in a public square. But Saint John obtained the hand afterwards, and invoked the Blessed Virgin in a prayer which has been preserved; he prayed to be able to continue to write the praises of Her Son and Herself.

The next morning when he awoke, he found his hand joined again to the arm, leaving no trace of pain, but only a fine red line like a bracelet, marking the site of the miracle.

The Saint was reinstated afterwards to the favor of the local prince, but he believed that heaven had made it clear he was destined to serve the Church by his writings.

He therefore distributed his property and retired soon thereafter to the monastery of Saint Sabas near Jerusalem, where he spent most of his remaining years in apologetic writings and prayer.

Occasionally he left to console the Christians of Syria and Palestine and strengthen them, even going to Constantinople in the hope of obtaining martyrdom there.

However, he was able to return to his monastery.

There he died in peace at the age of 104, and was buried near the door of the monastery church, in the year 780.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 5; The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908).)

READING OF THE DAY: 27 MARCH, 2015

jesus rocks

“The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.

Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.

For which of these are you trying to stone me?”

The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.”

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”‘?

If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize (and understand) that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

(Then) they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.

Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.”

And many there began to believe in him.” -John 10:31-42.