Archive for the ‘Saints’ Category

Five Lessons from Saint Joseph – From The Integrated Catholic Life

  1. Saint Joseph was obedient.  Joseph was obedient to God’s Will throughout his life.  Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord explain the virgin birth in a dream and then took Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:20-24).  He was obedient when he led his family to Egypt to escape Herod’s infanticide in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:13-15).  Joseph obeyed the angel’s later commands to return to Israel (Matthew 2:19-20) and settle in Nazareth with Mary and Jesus (Matthew 2:22-23).  How often does our pride and willfulness get in the way of our obedience to God?
  2. Saint Joseph was selfless.  In the limited knowledge we have about Joseph, we see a man who only thought of serving Mary and Jesus, never himself.  What many may see as sacrifices on his part, were actually acts of selfless love.  His devotion to his family is a model for fathers today who may be allowing disordered attachments to the things of this world distort their focus and hinder their vocations.
  3. Saint Joseph led by example.  None of his words are written in Scripture, but we can clearly see by his actions that he was a just, loving and faithful man.  We often think that we primarily influence others by what we say, when so often we are watched for our actions.  Every recorded decision and action made by this great saint is the standard for men to follow today.
  4. Saint Joseph was a worker.  He was a simple craftsman who served his neighbors through his handiwork.  He taught his foster son Jesus the value of hard work.  It is likely that the humility Joseph exhibited in recorded Scripture spilled over into the simple approach he took to his work and providing for the Holy Family.  We can all learn a great lesson from Saint Joseph, who is also the patron saint of workers, on the value of our daily work and how it should exist to glorify God, support our families and contribute to society.
  5. Saint Joseph was a leader.  But, not in the way we may view leadership today.  He led as a loving husband when he improvised to find a stable for Mary to give birth to Jesus, after being turned away from the Bethlehem inn.  He led as a man of faith when he obeyed God in all things, took the pregnant Mary as his wife and later brought the Holy Family safely to Egypt.  He led as the family provider by working long hours in his workshop to make sure they had enough to eat and a roof over their heads.  He led as a teacher by teaching Jesus his trade and how to live and work as a man.

 

Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God.

All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.

– Composed by St. Pius X

St. Joseph the Worker

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

St. Faustina Kowalska, a recently canonized Polish nun, received messages from Jesus in the early 20th century. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was given to her from Our Lord to promote Jesus’ attribute of unfathomable Mercy. Recited on Rosary beads, this devotion promises to bring salvation at the hour of death to those who trust in His  Divine Mercy, and to supplicate God the Father on our behalf.

How to Recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

The Chaplet of Mercy is recited using ordinary rosary beads of five decades. At the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts the Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.

Optional Opening Prayers

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!

Begin with the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Apostle’s Creed:

Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

The Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Then, on the large bead before each decade:

Eternal Father,
I offer you the Body and Blood,
Soul and Divinity,
of Your Dearly Beloved Son,
Our Lord, Jesus Christ,
in atonement for our sins
and those of the whole world.

On the ten small beads of each decade, say:

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Conclude with (Say 3 Times):

Holy God,
Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us
and on the whole world.

Optional Closing Prayer

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

Our Lord said to Saint Faustina:

Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you … Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death … When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between my Father and the dying person, not as the Just Judge but as the Merciful Savior … Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from my infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy … Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.

St. Benedict Medal

St. Benedict was a monk living in Italy during the 6th century. He founded 12 religious communities in his lifetime, and has the honor of being the patron saint of Europe and students.

The St. Benedict of Nursia Medal, made in his name, is one of the most powerful Catholic Sacramental’s in existence. It’s purpose is to ward off evil and grant protection, but not in a superstitious way. Since the 17th century, wearers of this medal have sought and gained protection in spiritual warfare and in times of temptation. It may be attached to your Scapular or Rosary. Placing it above the entry doors to the house, also serves as protection. The medal has been known to convert sinners, alleviate bodily suffering and grant domesticated animals healing from illness.

On the face of the medal is the image of Saint Benedict. In his right hand he holds the cross, the Christian’s symbol of salvation. The cross reminds us of the zealous work of evangelizing and civilizing England and Europe carried out mainly by the Benedictine monks and nuns, especially for the sixth to the ninth/tenth centuries.

Rule and Raven

In St. Benedict’s left hand is his Rule for Monasteries that could well be summed up in the words of the Prolog exhorting us to “walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide.”

On a pedestal to the right of St. Benedict is the poisoned cup, shattered when he made the sign of the cross over it. On a pedestal to the left is a raven about to carry away a loaf of poisoned bread that a jealous enemy had sent to St. Benedict.

C. S. P. B.

Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our holy father Benedict). On the margin of the medal, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the Latin words: Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death!). Benedictines have always regarded St. Benedict as a special patron of a happy death. He himself died in the chapel at Montecassino while standing with his arms raised up to heaven, supported by the brothers of the monastery, shortly after St. Benedict had received Holy Communion.

Monte Cassino

Below Benedict we read: ex SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880). This is the medal struck to commemorate the 1400th anniversaryof the birth of Saint Benedict.

Reverse Side of the Medal

Crux mihi lux

On the back of the medal, the cross is dominant. On the arms of the cross are the initial letters of a rhythmic Latin prayer: Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux! (May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my guide!).

In the angles of the cross, the letters C S P B stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The cross of our holy father Benedict).

Peace

Above the cross is the word pax (peace), that has been a Benedictine motto for centuries. Around the margin of the back of the medal, the letters V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B are the initial letters, as mentioned above, of a Latin prayer of exorcism against Satan: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!)

Use of the Medal

There is no special way prescribed for carrying or wearing the Medal of St. Benedict. It can be worn on a chain around the neck, attached to one’s rosary, kept in one’s pocket or purse, or placed in one’s car or home. The medal is often put into the foundations of houses and building, on the walls of barns and sheds, or in one’s place of business.

The purpose of using the medal in any of the above ways is to call down God’s blessing and protection upon us, wherever we are, and upon our homes and possessions, especially through the intercession of St. Benedict. By the conscious and devout use of the medal, it becomes, as it were, a constant silent prayer and reminder to us of our dignity as followers of Christ.

The medal is a prayer of exorcism against Satan, a prayer for strength in time of temptation, a prayer for peace among ourselves and among the nations of the world, a prayer that the Cross of Christ be our light and guide, a prayer of firm rejection of all that is evil, a prayer of petition that we may with Christian courage “walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide,” as St. Benedict urges us.

A profitable spiritual experience can be ours if we but take the time to study the array of inscriptions and representations found on the two sides of the medal. The lessons found there can be pondered over and over to bring true peace of mind and heart into our lives as we struggle to overcome the weaknesses of our human nature and realize that our human condition is not perfect, but that with the help of God and the intercession of the saints our condition can become better.

The Medal of St. Benedict can serve as a constant reminder of the need for us to take up our cross daily and “follow the true King, Christ our Lord,” and thus learn “to share in his heavenly kingdom,” as St. Benedict urges us in the Prolog of his Rule.

St. Benedict Medal

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Posted: July 4, 2013 in Saints

Want to wish all of you a wonderful Independence Day and also share a little about one of my favorite saints! Also known as a “Man of the Beatitudes”!

Pier Giorgio Frassati was born in Turin, Italy on Holy Saturday, 6 April 1901, to Alfredo Frassati and Adelaide Ametis. In 1895 at age 36, Alfredo Frassati founded the Italian newspaper, La Stamp. Adelaide Ametis was a well-known painter.

According to the biography written by his sister, Luciana Frassati, as a child Pier Giorgio once answered the door of the family home to find a mother begging; her son, shoeless, was with her. Pier Giorgio gave the boy his own shoes.

In 1918 Pier Giorgio joined the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. By that time, he had decided to study to become a mining engineer in order, in his words, “to serve Christ better among the miners.”

At graduation from school, his father presented him with a choice of money or a car. Pier Giorgio chose money and then distributed the gift to the poor. In other acts of charity, for an old woman evicted from a tenement he found a place to stay, he provided a bed for a tuberculosis sufferer, and he supported three children of a widow who was ill. These things and others became known to his sister because he kept a detailed record of his funds and, on his deathbed, gave instructions to her about how to continue caring for those who depended on his help.

Pier Giorgio was an avid mountain climber and, like other offspring of the well-to-do in Turin, he frequented theater and museums. He could quote passages of Dante.

In 1922 he became a member of the Third Order of the Dominicans taking as his name Girolamo, the Domincan preacher and reformer. Along with his own direct service to the poor, he was active in causes for political reform. He said, “Charity is not enough: we need social reform.” To this end, he helped to establish the Catholic daily newspaper Momento, which was based on Rerum Novarum, the encyclical in which St Leo XIII articulated principles of social and economic justice.

In late June, 1925, Pier Giorgio became acutely ill with poliomyelitis. In addition to instructions he gave his sister as he lay dying, he also wrote a note to a Saint Vincent de Paul Society friend regarding their Friday visits. He died on July 4, 1925 at the age of 24. Thousands of residents of Turin, knowing of his seven years of service to the poor, stood in the streets to pay respects as the cortege passed. These were the people who petitioned for his canonization; a cause was opened in 1932 and he was beatified by John Paul II on May 20, 1990.

Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati