Friday, August 21, 2020
Thursday, August 13, 2020
These words from Pope St. Paul VI proclaim the holiness of today’s saint, St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet, as well as the mission she embarked upon. St. Teresa was born in 1843 in Spain and co-founded a religious order in 1873 that was completely dedicated to helping the elderly poor, the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly. Her order spread throughout Spain to include more than one hundred houses by the time she died in 1897. She spent the rest of her life tending their needs. Today over 200 houses exist in Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
Although St. Teresa’s Little Sisters are not the same as the Little Sisters of the Poor being persecuted in the United States, there are similarities. Both were founded by women in Europe in the 19th century, one in France, the other in Spain, to serve the elderly poor. Both have spread out throughout the world with over 2,000 sisters. The Spanish government was anti-clerical and kept St. Teresa from becoming a religious in 1868. However, it did not succeed in stopping her. The American government had demanded that the Little Sisters of the Poor provide health insurance to their employees that included contraceptives and abortion coverage. As of this writing, the American government has not succeeded. We pray for those who give their lives to Jesus in our elderly poor.
Friday, August 7, 2020
Missionaries are the first to bring Christianity to new peoples, but their work needs to be supported. In Europe, much of that support was given through rulers. St. Stephen of Hungary brought about the Christianization of Hungary, which also helped maintain Hungary’s culture. Christianization does not impose an outside colonialization but brings out the best of the native culture through the glory of God. Catholics are members of a universal Church embodied in a specific culture and people. Thus, we can say, “God bless America!”
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Two men, both Christian but opposed to each other; one a pope for only five years, the other an anti-pope for 18 years; both arrested and sent to Sardinia to die a “living death” in the mines around 235/236. However, both are saints. St. Pontian was pope from 230-235 and, when arrested to be exiled, resigned his office as pope, the first to do so. St. Hippolytus entered into schism with St. Pontian’s predecessors on the grounds that the pope did not condemn a heresy strongly enough. He was then elected pope by his followers, the first anti-pope. However, in Sardinia he became reconciled with the Church. St. Hippolytus is also known for his theological and liturgical writings.
Monday, July 27, 2020
Benedict also wrote: “Just like the Apostles, for whom Jesus prayed at his Last Supper, the Pastors and faithful of the Church ‘are of the world’ (Jn 17: 11), but not ‘in the world’. Therefore, Pastors, Eusebius said, must urge the faithful not to consider the cities of the world as their permanent dwelling place but to seek the future city, the definitive heavenly Jerusalem. This ‘eschatological reserve’ enables Pastors and faithful to preserve the proper scale of values without ever submitting to the fashions of the moment and the unjust claims of the current political power.” Our home is heaven, but we must try to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven here: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!”
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Reparation of sins is a holy purpose of prayer. Jesus made reparation for our sins through his death, but we can also make reparation for the sins of others through our prayers and sufferings.
The Morning Offering prayer states:
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,
for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians,
and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month.
Monday, July 13, 2020
If at first, you don’t succeed… well you know the rest. But what about attempting the conversion of others? What about facing continued rejection, intimidation, and even threats of persecution and death? Are we required to share our faith with others who hate us and hate what we believe? Are we called to bring Christ to them, or should we leave them be? Afterall, Jesus did say, “Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet” (Mt. 10:14) and “When they persecute you in one town, flee to another” (Mt. 10:23).
This may have been in the mind of today’s saint, Apollinaris. According to legend, he was sent by St. Peter to the city of Ravenna, Italy. With the working of miracles, he attracted attention and converts, but also enemies, who beat him and drove him out. He was found and hidden by Christians, but then captured, compelled to walk on coals and again expelled. He stayed in the area and preached, but later returned a third time to Ravenna. “Again he was captured, hacked with knives, had scalding water poured over his wounds, was beaten in the mouth with stones, … was flung into a horrible dungeon to starve to death;” but then put on a ship to Greece. After four years he returned to Ravenna a fourth time, staying hidden, but was discovered and, again, savagely beaten, after which he died.
What compelled him to keep returning when he knew what would happen to him? It may be, that as bishop he wanted to be with his flock. Whatever his reasons, he faced death for the sake of the Gospel. We may not be called to die for the faith, but we are called to witness.