SAINT OF THE DAY: 30 JUNE, 2015

The Commemoration of Saint Paul

Apostle
(† 67)

The Commemoration of Saint Paul

Saint Paul was originally Saul of Tarsus, born in that city of Cilicia of Jewish parents, two or three years after the Saviour was born in Bethlehem of Judea.

He studied in Jerusalem at the feet of the famous teacher Gamaliel, who later would be converted and listed among the Saints.

While still a young man, Saul was present to oversee, as commanding officer, the stoning of the proto-martyr Stephen. In his restless zeal he pressed on to Damascus, breathing threats and slaughter against the disciples of Christ,intending to drag them from their houses and imprison them.

But on the road a light from heaven struck him to the earth.

He heard a voice which said, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.

He asked who was speaking, and astonished on hearing His Name, inquired what Jesus wanted of him. And then, struck blind, for three days he saw nothing more.

But he had been told what to do. He was led by the hand to Damascus, where he remained in the house of a Christian until, three days later, he rose for his baptism by a Christian leader of that city.

Then he saw the light of day again, and the brilliance of the full truth for the first time, as another man, a new creature in Jesus Christ.

He left Damascus for a long retreat in Arabia, before he set out at the call of God, and carried the Gospel to the uttermost limits of the known western world, for years living and laboring with no thought but that of Christ crucified, no desire but to dispense himself for Him. He became the Apostle to the Gentiles, whom he had been taught to hate.

But he would gladly have been anathema if he could thereby have saved his own countrymen from condemnation, though they sought his life. Perils by land and sea could not dampen his courage, nor sufferings and age dull the tenderness of his heart.

When finally he knew that his hour had come to be dissolved and to be with Christ, as he had long desired, he wrote during his second imprisonment to his spiritual son Timothy, that he had fought the good fight, finished his course, kept the faith”, and that there remained for him to receive the crown of justice which His Lord was preparing for him on the final day.

With Saint Peter in his final year he consecrated Rome, the new holy city, by his martyrdom.

Saint Paul has left to the Church fourteen Epistles, which have been a fountainhead of doctrine, elucidating the most basic truths taught by Christ, and constituting the consolation and delight of her greatest Saints.

His interior life, insofar as words can express it, lies open before us in these divine writings; it is the life of one who has died forever to himself, and risen again in Christ Jesus.

Saint John Chrysostom, his imitator, wrote: The heart of Paul is the Heart of Christ! Nor will his labor cease while the race of man continues. Even now, like a chivalrous knight, he stands alive in our midst, and captivates each of his readers to the obedience of Christ.

(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).)

READING OF THE DAY: 30 JUNE, 2015

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“As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.

Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep.

They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”

Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.

The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”” -Matthew 8:23-27.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 27 JUNE, 2015

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

(1863)

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The image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help measures around 50 centimeters (25 inches) high. It is in the Byzantine style, painted on wood with a gold leaf background.

The Virgin is there with Her divine Child; each of them has a golden halo.

Two Angels, one on the right and the other on the left, present the instruments of the Passion to the Child Jesus who is frightened, whereas the Blessed Virgin looks at the pathetic scene with calm, resigned sorrow.

The image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help had long been venerated on the Isle of Crete.

The inhabitants of that island, fleeing a Turkish invasion, took it with them to Rome.

By the invocation of Mary under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the ship transporting Her holy image was saved from a terrible storm.

On March 27, 1499, the portrait of the Virgin of Perpetual Help was carried in triumph through the streets of Rome.

Preceded by the clergy and followed by the people, it was placed over the main altar of St. Matthew’s church, near St. Mary Major.

Thanks to the care of the Augustinian friars, the holy image became the object of a very popular devotion which God rewarded for several centuries with many miracles.

During the disturbances of the French Revolution (1789-1793), the French troops occupying Rome destroyed St. Matthew’s church.

One of the friars serving in that sanctuary had the time to secretly remove the miraculous Madonna.

He hid it so well that for sixty years, no one knew what had become of the famous painting.

God permitted a concourse of providential circumstances which led to rediscovery of the venerated image. In 1865, in order to return the holy picture to the same spot it had been prayed to before, Pius IX gave orders to have it taken to the Esquiline Hill, in St. Alphonsus Liguori’s church, built on the site of old St. Matthew’s.

On April 26, 1866, the Redemptorists solemnly enthroned Our Lady of Perpetual Help in their chapel.

From that time on, thanks to the zeal of the sons of Saint Alphonsus and the countless miracles obtained in their pious sanctuary, devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help has had an extraordinary development.

To acknowledge and perpetuate the remembrances of these precious favors, the Vatican Chapter crowned the holy image in great pomp on June 23, 1867.

In 1876, Pope Pius IX erected an Archconfraternity in St. Alphonsus’ church under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Today the Blessed Virgin is invoked by this name throughout the Western Church.

(SOURCE: Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, Mame: Tours, 1950, pp. 463-464 – Brothers of Christian Schools, 1932 ed., p. 483)

COMMENTARY FOR 25 JUNE, 2015

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Commentary on The reading of the day provided by :

Philoxenes of Mabbug (?-c.523),

Bishop in Syria
Homily 1, 4-8

“Awake, O sleeper!” (Eph 5:14)

      “Anyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house on rock.”

So according to what our Master says, we must apply ourselves not only to listening to the word of God, but also to conforming our lives to it… Listening to the law is a good thing, for it incites us to virtuous actions.

We are right when we read and meditate the Scriptures, for that is how we purify our deepest soul of bad thoughts.

But assiduously reading, listening to and meditating on the word of God without putting it into practice is a fault, which the Spirit of God condemned in advance…

He even forbade the person with such a disposition to take the holy book into his hands.

God says to the wicked: “Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?” (Ps 50:16-17) …

The person who assiduously reads the Scriptures without putting them into practice is accused by his reading; he deserves all the more serious condemnation because every day he despises and scorns what he hears every day.

He is like a dead person, a corpse without a soul.

You can blow thousands of trumpets and horns next to the ears of a dead person, he won’t hear them.

In the same way, the soul that is dead in sin, the heart which has lost the memory of God, does not hear the sound or the cries of the divine words, and the trumpet and the spiritual word make no impression on him.

That soul is plunged in the sleep of death…

Thus, God’s disciple must have anchored in his soul the memory of his Master, Jesus Christ, and he must think of him day and night.

READING OF THE DAY: 25 JUNE, 2015

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“Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?

Did we not drive out demons in your name?

Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’

Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house.

But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.

And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand.

The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house.

And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” -Matthew 7:21-29.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 23 JUNE, 2015

Saint Etheldreda

Queen and Abbess
(† 679)

Saint Etheldreda

Born the daughter of a king in about 630 in Northumbria, Saint Etheldreda, sometimes called Audrey, was brought up in the fear of God. Her mother and three sisters are also numbered among the Saints.

Etheldreda had but one aim in life, to devote herself to His service in the religious state. Her parents, however, had other views for her, and, in spite of her tears and prayers, she was compelled to become the wife of a certain prince named Tonbert.

She lived with him as a virgin for three years, and at his death retired to the isle of Ely which she had inherited, that she might apply herself wholly to heavenly things.

This happiness was but short-lived; for the powerful King of Northumbria pressed his suit with such insistence that she was forced into a second marriage.

Her life at his court was that of an ascetic rather than a queen; she lived with him not as a wife, but as a sister, and devoted her time to works of mercy and love, while observing a scrupulous regularity of discipline.

After twelve years, she retired with her husband’s consent to Coldingham Abbey, then under the rule of Saint Ebba, and received the veil from the hands of Saint Wilfrid, who had been for many years her spiritual guide and protector.

As soon as Etheldreda had left the court of her spouse, he repented of having consented to her departure, and followed her, meaning to bring her back by force.

She took refuge on a headland on the southern coast near Coldingham; and here a miracle took place, for the waters forced a passage and hemmed in the hill with morasses, barring the further advance of the king.

The Saint remained in this island refuge for seven days, until her royal spouse, recognizing the divine will, agreed to leave her in peace.

In 672 she returned to Ely and founded there a double monastery.

She governed the convent herself, and by her example was a living rule of perfection to her Sisters.

Some time after her death in 679, her body was found incorrupt, and Saint Bede records many miracles wrought by her relics.

(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. 7)

READING OF THE DAY: 23 JUNE, 2015

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“Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.

This is the law and the prophets.”

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.

And those who find it are few.”” -Matthew 7:6.12-14.