Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop

la_charite_de_saint_martin

From the Office of Readings:

Martin knew long in advance the time of his death and he told his brethren that it was near. Meanwhile, he found himself obliged to make a visitation of the parish of Candes. The clergy of that church were quarrelling, and he wished to reconcile them. Although he knew that his days on earth were few, he did not refuse to undertake the journey for such a purpose, for he believed that he would bring his virtuous life to a good end if by his efforts peace was restored in the church.
He spent some time in Candes, or rather in its church, where he stayed. Peace was restored, and he was planning to return to his monastery when suddenly he began to lose his strength. He summoned his brethren and told them he was dying. All who heard this were overcome with grief. In their sorrow they cried to him with one voice: “Father, why are you deserting us? Who will care for us when you are gone? Savage wolves will attack your flock, and who will save us from their bite when our shepherd is struck down? We know you long to be with Christ, but your reward is certain and will not be any less for being delayed. You will do better to show pity for us, rather than forsake us.”
Thereupon he broke into tears, for he was a man in whom the compassion of our Lord was continually revealed. Turning to our Lord, he made this reply to their pleading: “Lord, if your people still need me, I am ready for the task; your will be done.”
Here was a man words cannot describe. Death could not defeat him nor toil dismay him. He was quite without a preference of his own; he neither feared to die nor refused to live. With eyes and hands always raised to heaven he never withdrew his unconquered spirit from prayer. It happened that some priests who had gathered at his bedside suggested that he should give his poor body some relief by lying on his other side. He answered: “Allow me, brothers, to look toward heaven rather than at the earth, so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord.” As he spoke these words, he saw the devil standing near. “Why do you stand there, you bloodthirsty brute?” he cried. “Murderer, you will not have me for your prey. Abraham is welcoming me into his embrace.”
With these words, he gave up his spirit to heaven. Filled with joy, Martin was welcomed by Abraham. Thus he left this life a poor and lowly man and entered heaven rich in God’s favour.

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque


From a book I authored entitled The Church’s Most Powerful Novenas:

Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn named the fifth of their seven children Margaret on the day of her birth, July 22, 1647. Margaret, born in Lauthecourt, France, would barely get to know her father before he would die of pneumonia when she was eight. A short time after his death, Margaret was sent away to a convent school where she excelled until, at the age of eleven, she contracted rheumatic fever and then spent the next four years bedridden.

Returning to the family home, Margaret found that her family had fallen on hard times since the death of her father. Claude’s relatives now ran the household and treated Philiberte and her children like servants. This sad situation lasted until the eldest of Philiberte’s sons finally became of legal age and control of the estate reverted back to Philiberte’s family.

Margaret had a deep love for Jesus throughout her childhood. Her strong love for Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament, led her, at age twenty-two, to enter the community of nuns founded by St. Francis de Sales called the Order of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial. This community was founded on principles of humility and selflessness for which Margaret’s earlier experiences at the hands of her relatives had prepared her well. Upon her profession, she was given the name Mary, which was added to her given name, Margaret.

On December 27, 1673, the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, Margaret Mary had a unique experience while praying in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. It seemed to her that she no longer existed as a separate entity. In the midst of this experience, she felt as though Jesus wished for her to take the place of the Beloved Disciple at the Last Supper. She imagined laying her head against the Lord’s breast so that she might hear the beat of his heart and know how great was the love that Jesus had for the human race. Jesus shared with Margaret Mary his sadness at how indifferent people were to his love.

Her superior did not take Margaret Mary’s prayer experiences seriously. But when Margaret insisted on the validity of them, her superior appointed several theologians to listen to Margaret’s story. They concluded that Margaret Mary suffered from delusions. Thus Margaret suffered silently until Father Claude de La Colombière, a Jesuit, was appointed as her spiritual director; only then did she find someone who believed her experiences were indeed genuine.

Margaret Mary continued to experience visions of Jesus. He revealed his heart, pierced after the crucifixion, to Margaret and told her that it symbolized his love. The heart was aflame with love, and the Lord wanted Margaret Mary to make known this love to all the world.

Jesus told her that he wished for a feast celebrating his love on the Friday after the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Feast of the Body and Blood or Our Lord; literal translation from Latin: “Body of Christ”). He also made known his wish for a special devotion of the reception of Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month in reparation for the ingratitude of humanity. Margaret Mary relayed all this to her spiritual director, Father de La Colombière, who is largely responsible for the spread of the devotion. Margaret Mary died on October 17, 1690. After a vigorous scrutiny of her life and visions, she was beatified in 1864 and canonized in 1920.

The modern devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus spread from Paray-le-Monial in 1907 by Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SSCC. The movement urged people to enthrone an image of the Sacred Heart in their homes, to consecrate themselves to the love that Jesus had for them, and to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion for nine consecutive first Fridays as Jesus had instructed St. Margaret Mary. Jesus promised that those who did so would be blessed with the grace of final perseverance and would not die without the opportunity to receive the Last Sacraments of the Church. (The Last Sacraments, or Rites, are actually a number of sacramental rites, including the celebration of the Rite of Reconciliation, Viaticum [Holy Communion “for the journey”], and the Rite of the Anointing of the Sick.)

For more books by Michael Dubruiel about prayer and the Mass, go here. 

Our Lady of the Rosary

 

One of my favorite books, co-authored with Amy, shortly after Pope John Paul II added the luminous mysteries. It is written according to his suggestions that he laid out in his Apostolic Letter on the rosary.Praying the Rosary: With the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries

Saint Bruno

Founder of the Carthusians, of whom a great book and great DVD have been the subject. The bookAn Infinity of Little Hours: Five Young Men and Their Trial of Faith in the Western World’s Most Austere Monastic Order details the lives of five novices entering the Carthusians in the 1960’s–it is well written and gripping. I’d recommend reading the book and then seeing Into Great Silence (Two-Disc Set), which is what I did–and in a great testimony to the fine writing of An Infinity of Hours–it all looked just as I had imagined it.

Guardian Angels


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.202 “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.”203 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God. 

St. Therese of Liseux

 

I ask her intercession on just about everything (right now praying for our house in IN to sell). Learn more about why she is so many people’s favorite intercessor. From a Shower of Roses by Therese J. Borchard:

I owe my life to St. Therese of Lisieux. A few times over.

This Carmelite nun–dubbed the “greatest saint of modern times” by Pope Pius X–declared on her deathbed that she would spend her time in heaven “doing good upon earth,” and that she would “let fall from heaven a shower of roses.”I was ten years old when I first witnessed the power of St. Therese’s novena, in the form of a literal shower of the roses she had promised. Named after the Little Flower myself, I could see my mother grasping for something that would heal the wound inside her when my father left. She went to prayer group once a week, said a rosary every morning, and hung an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our kitchen.

But I especially remember her novena prayer to St. Therese: “St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore [state intention here], and tell him I will love him each day more and more.” Tradition holds that if you say the novena prayer, followed by five Our Fathers, five Hail Marys, and five Glory Be’s each day for five days, you will receive a shower of roses on the fifth day.

Roses for My Mother

Around the time my dad left, I knew my mom was particularly desperate and in need of a sign from heaven that she could raise her four daughters by herself, despite her hurt. On the fifth day of her novena, our neighbor Mr. Miller, who kept an impeccable garden, was pruning his rose bushes. As he trimmed off the fully blossomed flowers to make room for the tender buds, he noticed my twin sister playing soccer in the backyard.

“Give these to your mom,” he said. There must have been eight dozen roses of all different shades. With the skill of an artist, my sister went back and forth, from his garden to our kitchen, arranging all the roses until she ran out of vases and counter space.

Later, my mom came into the kitchen exhausted from a long day’s work to find what looked and smelled like a rose garden on our kitchen counter. Remembering it was the fifth day of her novena, she cried tears of hope.

The Little Flower’s petals have fallen onto my path at every major milestone in my life when I’ve begged her for a sign that I was headed in the right direction. In high school, when I decided to give up booze, a florist came to the door with three red roses sent by my religion teacher, who knew I was struggling with alcohol. When I freaked out three weeks before my wedding, my mom called to tell me that the rose bush I had planted in her front yard, which had produced only three or four buds in the last five years, was blossoming with over two hundred roses. And when I went into premature labor with my second child, I received so many roses dropped off by visitors that my husband and I named our baby Katherine Rose.

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael


From Our Lady’s Warriors:

On Sunday April 24th 1994, Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said:

“May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”‘

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do  O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the  Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

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