READING OF THE DAY: 29 SEPTEMBER, 2015

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“As I watched : Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took his throne.

His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on his head as white as wool ; His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire.

A surging stream of fire flowed out from where he sat; Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him, and myriads upon myriads attended him.

The court was convened, and the books were opened.

As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven;

When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him,

He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.” – Daniel 7:9-10.13-14.

…I DARE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU TO ACCEPT!….

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THE ANNUAL ‘FRIAR JEFF CHALLENGE’ IS HERE!!! …so…beginning this week (Friday) I will start buying 2 cans of dog food, 2 cans of cat food, and a bag of bunny kibble (weekly cost: LESS THAN $10!!!) and as the pile grows, I will be posting pictures of this…once it gets the second/third week of December I will be taking this HOARD of food to Mrs. Murray’s Cat and Dog Rescue Shelter…(yes, they also put up bunnies for adoption…S’where we got BILLY!)….so….WHO IS GOING TO JOIN ME IN THIS CHALLENGE???

I believe in being the type of Cleric who LEADS BY EXAMPLE!

My Master said “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

He will put 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; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,

I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

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

When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

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

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,

I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” – Matthew 25:31-45

I see companions in shelters…rescues….and I see those same establishments STRUGGLING to make ends meet….so… while everyone else will be buying expensive gifts for EACH OTHER, I will be feeding my Master’s “Least of these”…not for praise, for that belongs to my Master….not for MY Glory, but for HIS…not for recognition, for I shun that as everyone knows…

Come on…just $5 in food a week….set it aside…heck, you can even go to the DOLLAR STORE and get a LOAD of goods for pets on that…treats…blankets…food…toys!

If pets are not your thing, then donate to the local HUMAN shelter…canned food, gloves, scarves, hats…ALL of these things can be gotten at the dollar store…and come Christmas, when they sing His praises, YOUR name will be in their hearts as they thank HIM for helping…

Since God is a bit busy with things like gravity, air, and making sure things grow, it is up to US to HELP OUT…come on…BE THE HAND OF GOD and help out either those in need, those in want, or those who cannot speak for themselves!!!

SAINT OF THE DAY: 28 SEPTEMBER, 2015

Saint Wenceslas

Martyr
(† 938)

Saint Wenceslas

Wenceslas, born towards the end of the ninth century, was the son of a Christian Duke of Bohemia, but his mother was a harsh and cruel pagan.

His holy grandmother, Ludmilla, seeing the danger to the future king, asked to bring him up. Wenceslas was educated by her good offices in the true faith, and under her tutelage acquired an exceptional devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

At the death of his father, however, he was still a minor, and his mother assumed the government and passed a series of persecuting laws.

In the interests of the Faith, Wenceslas, encouraged by his grandmother, claimed and obtained through the support of the people, a large portion of the country as his own kingdom.

Soon afterwards his grandmother was martyred, out of hatred of her faith and services to her country, while making her thanksgiving after Holy Communion.

His mother secured the apostasy and alliance of her second son, Boleslas, who became henceforth her ally against the Christians.

Wenceslas in the meantime ruled as the brave and pious king of Bohemia. When his kingdom was attacked, the prince of the invading army, which had been called in by certain seditious individuals, was approaching with a lance to slay him.

This prince, named Radislas, saw two celestial spirits beside him; he had already seen him make the sign of the cross and then heard a voice saying not to strike him.

These marvels so astonished him that he descended from his horse, knelt at the feet of Wenceslas and asked his pardon.

Peace was then reestablished in the land.

In the service of God Saint Wenceslas was constant, planting with his own hands the wheat and pressing the grapes for Holy Mass, at which he never failed to assist each day.

He provided for the poor and himself took what they needed to them at night, to spare them the shame they might incur if their poverty became public knowledge.

He desired to introduce the Benedictine Order into his kingdom, but was struck down by a violent death before he could do so and himself enter a monastery, as he wished to do.

His piety provided the occasion for his death.

After a banquet at his brother’s palace, to which he had been treacherously invited and where he manifested great gentleness towards his brother and mother, he went to pray at night before the tabernacle, as he was accustomed to do.

There, at midnight on the feast of the Angels in the year 938, he received the crown of martyrdom by the sword, at the hand of his own brother.

(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. 11)

READING OF THE DAY: 27 SEPTEMBER, 2015

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“John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”

Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.

For whoever is not against us is for us.

Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.

Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'” – Mark 9:38-43.45.47-48.

READING OF THE DAY: 26 SEPTEMBER, 2015

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“After this I, John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.

They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.”

All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures.

They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: “Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”

I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”

He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple.

The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.

They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them.

For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water,and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”’ – Revelation 7, 9-17

SAINT OF THE DAY: 24 SEPTEMBER, 2015

Our Lady of Ransom or of Mercy

(Her Order’s establishment 1218)

Our Lady of Ransom or of Mercy

The story of Our Lady of Ransom is, at its outset, that of Saint Peter Nolasco, born in Languedoc about 1189. At the age of twenty-five he took a vow of chastity and made over his vast estates to the Church.

After making a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Montserrat, he went to Barcelona where he began to practice various works of charity. He conceived the idea of establishing an Order for the redemption of captives seized by the Moors on the seas and in Spain itself; they were being cruelly tormented in their African prisons to make them deny their faith.

He spoke of it to the king of Aragon, James I, who knew him well and already respected him as a Saint; for the king had already asked for his prayers when he sent out his armies to combat the Moors, and he attributed his victories to those prayers.

In effect all the Christians of Europe, and above all of Spain, were praying a great deal to obtain from God the remedy for the great evil that had befallen them.

The divine Will was soon manifested.

On the same night, August 1, 1218, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Peter, to his confessor, Raymund of Pennafort, and to the king, and through these three servants of God established a work of the most perfect charity, the redemption of captives.

On that night, while the Church was celebrating the feast of Saint Peter in Chains, the Virgin Mary came from heaven and appeared first to Saint Peter, saying that She indeed desired the establishment of a religious Order bearing the name of Her mercy.

Its members would undertake to deliver Christian captives and offer themselves, if necessary, as a gage. Word of the miracle soon spread over the entire kingdom; and on August 10th the king went to the cathedral for a Mass celebrated by the bishop of Barcelona.

Saint Raymund went up into the pulpit and narrated his vision, with admirable eloquence and fervor.

The king besought the blessing of the bishop for the heaven-sent plan, and the bishop bestowed the habit on Saint Peter, who emitted the solemn vow to give himself as a hostage if necessary.

The Order, thus solemnly established in Spain, was approved by Gregory IX under the name of Our Lady of Mercy.

By the grace of God and under the protection of His Virgin Mother, the Order spread rapidly. Its growth was increased as the charity and piety of its members was observed; they very often followed Her directive to give themselves up to voluntary slavery when necessary, to aid the good work.

It was to return thanks to God and the Blessed Virgin that a feast day was instituted and observed on September 24th, first in this Order of Our Lady, then everywhere in Spain and France.

It was finally extended to the entire Church by Innocent XII.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 11;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: 24 SEPTEMBER, 2015

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“On the first day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius, The word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak:

Thus says the LORD of hosts: This people says: “Not now has the time come to rebuild the house of the LORD.”

(Then this word of the LORD came through Haggai, the prophet:)

Is it time for you to dwell in your own panelled houses, while this house lies in ruins?

Now thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways!

You have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;

You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated; have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed; and he who earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways!

Go up into the hill country; bring timber, and build the house that I may take pleasure in it and receive my glory, says the LORD.” – Book of Haggai 1:1-8.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 23 SEPTEMBER, 2015

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PADRE PIO DA PIETRELCINA
Capuchin priest
(1887-1968)

“Far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14).

        Like the Apostle Paul, Padre Pio da Pietrelcina placed at the centre of his life and apostolic work the Cross of his Lord as his strength, his wisdom and his glory. Inflamed by love of Jesus Christ, he became like him in the sacrifice of himself for the salvation of the world. In his following and imitation of the Crucified Christ he was so generous and perfect that he could have said: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). And the treasures of grace which God had granted him so lavishly and unceasingly he passed on through his ministry, serving the men and women who came to him in ever greater numbers, and bringing to birth an immense host of spiritual sons and daughters.

This worthy follower of Saint Francis of Assisi was born on 25 May 1887 at Pietrelcina in the Archdiocese of Benevento, the son of Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa De Nunzio. He was baptized the next day and given the name Francesco. At the age of twelve he received the Sacrament of Confirmation and made his First Holy Communion.

On 6 January 1903, at the age of sixteen, he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at Morcone, where on 22 January he took the Franciscan habit and the name Brother Pio. At the end of his novitiate year he took simple vows, and on 27 January 1907 made his solemn profession.

After he was ordained priest on 10 August 1910 at Benevento, he stayed at home with his family until 1916 for health reasons. In September of that year he was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo and remained there until his death.

Filled with love of God and love of neighbour, Padre Pio lived to the full his vocation to work for the redemption of man, in accordance with the special mission which marked his entire life and which he exercised through the spiritual direction of the faithful: the sacramental reconciliation of penitents and the celebration of the Eucharist. The pinnacle of his apostolic activity was the celebration of Holy Mass. The faithful who took part witnessed the summit and fullness of his spirituality.

On the level of social charity, he committed himself to relieving the pain and suffering of many families, chiefly through the foundation of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (House for the Relief of Suffering), opened on 5 May 1956.

For Padre Pio, faith was life: he willed everything and did everything in the light of faith. He was assiduously devoted to prayer. He passed the day and a large part of the night in conversation with God. He would say: “In books we seek God, in prayer we find him. Prayer is the key which opens God’s heart”. Faith led him always to accept God’s mysterious will.

He was always immersed in supernatural realities. Not only was he himself a man of hope and total trust in God, but by word and example he communicated these virtues to all who approached him.

The love of God filled him, and satisfied his every desire; charity was the chief inspiration of his day: to love God and to help others to love him. His special concern was to grow in charity and to lead others to do so.

He demonstrated to the full his love of neighbour by welcoming, for more than fifty years, countless people who had recourse to his ministry and his confessional, his counsel and his consolation. He was almost besieged: they sought him in church, in the sacristy, in the friary. And he gave himself to everyone, rekindling faith, dispensing grace, bringing light. But especially in the poor, the suffering and the sick he saw the image of Christ, and he gave himself particularly to them.

He exercised to an exemplary degree the virtue of prudence, acting and counselling in the light of God.

His concern was the glory of God and the good of souls. He treated everyone with justice, frankness and great respect.

The virtue of fortitude shone in him. He understood very early in life that his would be the way of the Cross, and he accepted it at once with courage and out of love. For many years, he experienced spiritual sufferings. For years he endured the pains of his wounds with admirable serenity.

When he had to submit to investigations and restrictions in his priestly ministry, he accepted everything with profound humility and resignation. In the face of unjust accusations and calumnies he remained silent, trusting always in the judgement of God, of his immediate superiors and of his own conscience.

He habitually practised mortification in order to gain the virtue of temperance, in keeping with the Franciscan style. He was temperate in his attitude and in his way of life.

Conscious of the commitments which he had undertaken when he entered the consecrated life, he observed with generosity the vows he had professed. He was obedient in all things to the commands of his Superiors, even when they were burdensome. His obedience was supernatural in intention, universal in its scope and complete in its execution. He lived the spirit of poverty with total detachment from self, from earthly goods, from his own comfort and from honours. He always had a great love for the virtue of chastity. His behaviour was modest in all situations and with all people.

He sincerely thought of himself as useless, unworthy of God’s gifts, full of weakness and infirmity, and at the same time blessed with divine favours. Amid so much admiration around him, he would say: “I only want to be a poor friar who prays”.

From his youth, his health was not very robust, and especially in the last years of his life it declined rapidly. Sister Death took him well-prepared and serene on 23 September 1968 at the age of eighty-one. An extraordinary gathering of people attended his funeral.

On 20 February 1971, barely three years after the death of Padre Pio, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the Superiors of the Capuchin Order, said of him: “Look what fame he had, what a worldwide following gathered around him! But why? Perhaps because he was a philosopher? Because he was wise? Because he had resources at his disposal? Because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to dusk and was – it is not easy to say it – one who bore the wounds of our Lord. He was a man of prayer and suffering”.

Even during his lifetime, he enjoyed a vast reputation for sanctity, because of his virtues, his spirit of prayer, sacrifice and total dedication to the good of souls.

In the years following his death, his reputation for sanctity and miracles grew steadily, and became established in the Church, all over the world and among all kinds of people. (…)

On 2 May 1999, in the course of a solemn concelebrated Mass in St Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II by his apostolic authority beatified the Venerable Servant of God Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, naming 23 September as the date of his liturgical feast. (…)

On 20 December, in the presence of John Paul II, the Decree on the miracle was promulgated. Finally, on 28 February 2002 the Decree of Canonization was promulgated.


Homily at the canonization of St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (16 June 2002)

1. “For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Mt 11: 30).

Jesus’ words to his disciples, which we just heard, help us to understand the most important message of this solemn celebration. Indeed, in a certain sense, we can consider them as a magnificent summary of the whole life of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, today proclaimed a saint.

The evangelical image of the “yoke” recalls the many trials that the humble Capuchin of San Giovanni Rotondo had to face. Today we contemplate in him how gentle the “yoke” of Christ is, and how truly light is his burden when it is borne with faithful love. The life and mission of Padre Pio prove that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted out of love, are transformed into a privileged way of holiness, which opens onto the horizons of a greater good, known only to the Lord.

2. “But may I never boast except in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6,14).

Is it not, precisely, the “glory of the Cross” that shines above all in Padre Pio? How timely is the spirituality of the Cross lived by the humble Capuchin of Pietrelcina. Our time needs to rediscover the value of the Cross in order to open the heart to hope.

Throughout his life, he always sought greater conformity with the Crucified, since he was very conscious of having been called to collaborate in a special way in the work of redemption. His holiness cannot be understood without this constant reference to the Cross.

In God’s plan, the Cross constitutes the true instrument of salvation for the whole of humanity and the way clearly offered by the Lord to those who wish to follow him (cf. Mk 16,24). The Holy Franciscan of the Gargano understood this well, when on the Feast of the Assumption in 1914, he wrote: “In order to succeed in reaching our ultimate end we must follow the divine Head, who does not wish to lead the chosen soul on any way other than the one he followed; by that, I say, of abnegation and the Cross” (Epistolario II, p. 155).

3. “I am the Lord who acts with mercy” (Jer 9,23).

Padre Pio was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making himself available to all by welcoming them, by spiritual direction and, especially, by the administration of the sacrament of Penance. I also had the privilege, during my young years, of benefitting from his availability for penitents. The ministry of the confessional, which is one of the distinctive traits of his apostolate, attracted great crowds of the faithful to the monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo. Even when that unusual confessor treated pilgrims with apparent severity, the latter, becoming conscious of the gravity of sins and sincerely repentant, almost always came back for the peaceful embrace of sacramental forgiveness. May his example encourage priests to carry out with joy and zeal this ministry which is so important today (…).

4. “You, Lord, are my only good”.

This is what we sang in the responsorial psalm. Through these words, the new Saint invites us to place God above everything, to consider him our sole and highest good.

In fact, the ultimate reason for the apostolic effectiveness of Padre Pio, the profound root of so much spiritual fruitfulness can be found in that intimate and constant union with God, attested to by his long hours spent in prayer and in the confessional. He loved to repeat, “I am a poor Franciscan who prays” convinced that “prayer is the best weapon we have, a key that opens the heart of God”.

This fundamental characteristic of his spirituality continues in the “Prayer Groups” that he founded, which offer to the Church and to society the wonderful contribution of incessant and confident prayer. To prayer, Padre Pio joined an intense charitable activity, of which the “Home for the Relief of Suffering” is an extraordinary expression. Prayer and charity, this is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio’s teaching, which today is offered to everyone.

5. “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because … these things … you have revealed to little ones” (Mt 11,25).

How appropriate are these words of Jesus, when we think of them as applied to you, humble and beloved Padre Pio.

Teach us, we ask you, humility of heart so we may be counted among the little ones of the Gospel, to whom the Father promised to reveal the mysteries of his Kingdom.

Help us to pray without ceasing, certain that God knows what we need even before we ask him.
Obtain for us the eyes of faith that will be able to recognize right away in the poor and suffering the face of Jesus.

Sustain us in the hour of the combat and of the trial and, if we fall, make us experience the joy of the sacrament of forgiveness.

Grant us your tender devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother.

Accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage toward the blessed homeland, where we hope to arrive in order to contemplate forever the glory of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(SOURCE: Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

 

READING OF THE DAY: 23 SEPTEMBER, 2015

Jesus-and-disciples

“Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.

Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.

And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”

Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.” – Luke 9:1-6.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 22 SEPTEMBER, 2015

Saint Maurice and the Theban Legion

Soldiers and Martyrs
(† 286)

Saint Maurice and the Theban Legion

The Roman legion of Christians, called the Theban Legion, under the presidency of their General, Maurice, numbered more than six thousand men.

They marched from the East into Gaul, which was in revolt.

They were camped near the Lake of Geneva, when they received orders to join with the others in a solemn sacrifice to the gods.

They retired a little farther away, to a site today called Saint Maurice d’Augaune, in order to abstain, but were told to return and join in the festival with the others.

They found themselves in the sad necessity of disobeying the command. It was not an act of felony for these brave soldiers, who had already fought many battles, but of heroic loyalty.

Nonetheless, the barbaric prince gave the order to decimate the Legion. It would seem the emperor’s messengers might have feared a forced resistance, but the disciples of Jesus Christ hoped for nothing but a peaceful victory over the world and the demon, with all his false gods.

The names of the soldiers were written on papers and placed in the caps of the centurions, for 600 were destined to perish as examples.

These embraced their comrades, who encouraged them and even envied their fate.

The plain soon flowed with the blood of the martyrs.

The survivors persisted in declaring themselves Christians, and the butchery began again; the blood of another 600 reddened the waters of the Rhone.

The others all persevered in their faith, and Saint Maurice sent to the tyrant an admirable letter, saying: Emperor, we are your soldiers; we are ready to combat the enemies of the empire, but we are also Christians, and we owe fidelity to the true God.

We are not rebels, but we prefer to die, innocent, rather than to live, guilty.

The Emperor, seeing himself defeated, ordered them all to be massacred.

As the massacre began, these generous soldiers deposed their weapons, offered their necks to the sword, and suffered themselves to be butchered in silence.

Reflection: Thank God for every slight or insult you have to bear. An injury borne in meekness and silence is a true victory. It is the proof that we are good soldiers of Jesus Christ, disciples of that heavenly wisdom which is both pure and peaceable.

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