Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Augustine

"A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience.
There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love.

Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism.

In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9)." From "Saint A Day."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

St. Monica

Being a mother, one of my favorite saints is St. Monica. I admire her for her unceasing prayer for her wayward son and her husband. St. Monica's prayers, by God's grace changed hearts. Her tears were redemptive and her prayers powerful. Every faithful mother's prayer is powerful. We need to believe that the words that were spoken to St. Monica by her Bishop when she pleaded through tears for help from him for her wayward son, Augustine are words that are meant for every faithful Christian mother. We must believe, trust, and never give up on hope!

From my new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book:

Dear St. Monica, your devotion as a mother and wife and your commitment to your family, especially in your prayer for them, sets a powerful and timely example for us all. Please pray to the Blessed Trinity for me, my family, and all I hold dear so that we will be open to the graces that Our Lord in His great mercy wants to shed upon us. Help mothers and wives everywhere to know that Our Lord never turns His ear away from a mother's faithful prayers for her family. St. Monica, pray for us and for all who invoke your aid. If it is in God's holy will, please grant me (here mention your request). Amen.

From Fr. James's blog:

"Saint Monica (331-387) was the mother of one of the most celebrated converts in the history of the Catholic Church. Augustine was spiritually lost for many years and his mother shed many tears. St. Ambrose was approached one day by Monica after Mass with tears in her eyes begging the the famous bishop of Milan that he pray for the conversion of her son. "God will never deny the tears of a mother", were his consoling words to the troubled mother of the wayward son. Eventually Augustine did leave behind his life of sin and was baptized. Moreover, he became a priest and then a bishop. He is known was one of the most famous theologians of the Catholic Church.

I have been a Catholic priest for almost 21 years. Almost every family that I have known as a priest has worries and concerns about wayward children that have lost the Faith or are living immoral lives. Like Ambrose, I have seen many tears shed by many mothers and even many fathers. Parents must look to the example of St. Monica and never give up on their wayward children. Let us remember our best weapons for the conversion of sinners: prayer and penance. I am sure that Monica's struggle with Augustine gave her plenty of opportunities to become the great saint that she became."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

St Rose of Lima

Yesterday was the feast of St. Rose of Lima

From the writings of St. Rose of Lima:

"Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: 'Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.'

When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: "Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness lf soul."

That same force strongly urged me to proclaim the beauty of divine grace. It pressed me so that my breath came slow and forced me to sweat and pant. I felt as if my soul could no longer be kept in the prison of the body, but that it had burst its chains and was free and alone and was going very swiftly through the whole world saying: 'If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains and afflictions. All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace. This is the reward and the final gain of patience. No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men.'"

HT to Fr. James

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Queenship of Mary

"Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.” As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.
In the fourth century St. Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen” and Church Fathers and Doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.

The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power" (from "Saint a Day").

Monday, August 4, 2008

Review: Catholic Saints Prayer Book

This is from "Building the Ark"

"As much as I loved Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's first book, I wondered if the second book could be as inspiring and engaging. Well, I am happy to report that this gifted mother and writer did not disappoint!

Again, the size and succinctness of the Catholic Saints Prayer Book is a big plus in this busy mom's life. In the midst of my day, if I'm looking for a quick biography of one of the many well-loved and well-known saints, I can easily find it in her book.

It's a little like having an address book for the soul. At a moment's notice, a quick glance down the table of contents is all you need to find the page number of the saint you want to *call*. (Oh, if only there really were phone numbers! ) Then, with her beautiful written prose, a prayer for calling on each saint for intercession.

And being a wee bit biased on all things Irish, I was thrilled to find both the male patron of Ireland--St. Patrick and his not-as-well-known female counterpart St. Brigid. This is a wonderful book to keep in a classroom or family prayer area, in your pocketbook for easy access or to loan out to a friend. Just a warning, though, if you decide to lend it out; buy a second one as a back-up because it may be a while before your friend is ready to give it and all its beauty back!

Thanks again, Donna-Marie! It's always a pleasure!"


Thank you very much, Jane for your very kind words. I'm glad that you are enjoying this book!

God bless and hugs,


Friday, August 1, 2008

Miracle in Chili attributed to Nicola D'Onofrio?

Santiago, Aug 1, 2008 / 10:23 am (CNA).- Maria Mercedes Correa Maldonado, a 23 year-old Chilean woman who in explicably “woke up” from cerebral palsy when she was 18, is now pregnant, in what could be the second miracle attributed to Italian seminarian Nicola D’Onofrio (1943-1964), whose cause of beatification is open in the Diocese of Rome.

Maria Mercedes suffered from grave cerebral palsy but on a March afternoon on 2003, after her mother had incessantly prayed to the Italian seminarian for his intercession, she woke up in her hospital bed in Puataendo, sat up and said, “I’m hungry.”

Inexplicable from a medical point of view, the case drew the attention of the Sons of St. Camillus, who are following D’Onofrio’s beatification process in Rome, which began in 2000.

Now, five years after her miraculous recovery, Maria Mercedes says she is experiencing a new miracle from D’Onofrio, as she has become pregnant despite doctors’ diagnoses that it would be impossible. “All the specialists who examined her came to the conclusion that she could never have any children. But now she is pregnant. It is a new miracle,” her mother said... (Continued here).