Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?


Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."


As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."


Saint Augustine of Hippo: "One Mediator between God and Man: The Man Jesus Christ"

Posted by Jacob

We continue our reflections on the writings of Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), whose feast day we celebrated on August 28. Bishop, confessor, Doctor of the Church, and one of the Four Great Fathers of the Latin Church, Augustine is one of the most influential thinkers and writers of Catholicism. His legacy in written works numbers at over 100 books, and 5,000,000 words! Within those words, the philosophy and virtues of our faith are revealed, inspiring us to a closer relationship with the Lord.


Today, we read an excerpt from the Confessions, in which Augustine reflects on the fact that only Jesus Christ can bridge the gap between our sinfulness and the perfection of the Lord.


One Mediator between God and Man: The Man Jesus Christ

In your unfathomable mercy you first gave the humble certain pointers to the true Mediator, and then sent him, so that by his example they might learn even a humility like his. This Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, appeared to stand between mortal sinners and the God who is immortal and just: like us he was mortal, but like God he was just. Now the wage due to justice is life and peace; and so, through the justice whereby he was one with God, he broke the power of death over malefactors and by that act rendered them just, using that very mortality which he had himself chosen to share with them.


How you loved us, O good Father, who spared not even your only Son, but gave him up for us evil-doers! How you loved us, for whose sake he who deemed it no robbery to be your equal was made subservient even to the point of dying on the cross! Alone of all, he was free among the dead, for he had power to lay down his life and power to retrieve it. For our sake he stood to you as both victor and victim, and victor because victim; for us he stood to you as priest and sacrifice, and priest because sacrifice, making us your children instead of your servants by being born of you in order to serve us.


There is good reason for my solid hope in him, because you will heal all my infirmities through him who sits at your right hand and intercedes for us. Were it not so, I should despair; for many and grave are those infirmities, many and grave; but wider-reaching is your healing power. We might have despaired of ourselves, thinking your Word remote from any conjunction with mankind, had he not become flesh and made his dwelling among us. Filled with terror by my sins and my load of misery, I had been turning over in my mind a plan to flee into solitude; but you forbade me, and strengthened me by your words: To this end Christ died for all, that they who are alive might live not for themselves but for him who died for them.


See, then, Lord: I cast my care upon you so that I may live, and I will contemplate the wonders you have revealed. You know how stupid and weak I am: teach me and heal me. Your only Son, in whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge, has redeemed me with his blood. Let not the proud disparage me, for I am mindful of my ransom. I eat it, I drink it, I dispense it to others, and as a poor man I long to be filled with it among those who are fed and feasted. And then, let those who seek him praise the Lord.

August 31: Saint Raymond Nonnatus

Posted by Jacob

Today, August 31, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Raymond Nonnatus (San Ramon Nonato, 1202-1240), patron saint of childbirth, children, and pregnant women. Saint Raymond suffered tragedy in his childhood, but was nourished by the Lord, and went on to fill his brief life with preaching, devotion to Our Blessed Mother, and the care and conversion of many souls.


During his birth in Catalonia, Spain, his mother experienced significant delivery complications, and a Caesarian section was performed. While Raymond survived, his mother died before he was removed from her body (thus, “Nonnatus”, “never born”), and he turned to Our Blessed Mother for comfort. His father, recognizing Raymond’s pleasure in devotions, prayers, and service to others, grew worried that Raymond would chose to enter a religious order—something that would prevent him from earning money to help support the struggling family. In response, he sent his son to a farm in the country, where he obediently spent his days tending sheep in solitude.

While tending the sheep, he spent the majority of his days in deep prayer and meditation. He was ministered to by angels who made sure that he was fed and cared for, as he was young and living by himself. While exploring the fields, Raymond discovered an ancient hermitage, hidden in the mountains, containing a beautiful portrait of Our Blessed Mother. There, before her portrait, he made his home. One evening, as holy legend tells us, while praying before her picture, the Devil appeared to Raymond in the guise of a shepherd and attempted to draw him away from his devotions. Raymond, not to be swayed, turned his back on the visitor and sought assistance from the Blessed Virgin. The moment he spoke her name aloud, the Devil disappeared, and Raymond re-committed himself to her service.

It was not long afterwards that he left the solitary life of the shepherd and joined the Order of Our Lady of Mercy—an order dedicated to the redemption of captives, and founded by Saints Raymond of PeƱafort and Peter Nolasco. Admitted to the order by Saint Peter Nolasco himself, Raymond was soon sent into Moorish lands in North Africa (first Barbary, and later Algiers) with a great sum of money, set aside to purchase the ransom of Christians held enslaved. There he preached and brought many to Christ—captives and captors alike. When his supply of money ran dry, he gave himself up as a hostage to free others, according to the Rule of his order.

The Muslim captors were not quite sure what to do with Saint Raymond Nonnatus. His exchange of his own liberty for the freedom of others was exasperating, and as a result, they treated him with cruelty. He was subjected to daily beatings and tortures, until they began to fear that he might die—and they would lose the handsome ransom they had requested for his freedom.

Because of this fear, he was able to walk the streets freely, awaiting the arrival of his ransom, and using his time and liberty to comfort and encourage the Christians in chains, and to continue converting and baptizing their Muslim captors. The pasha, learning of the conversions, grew angry, and ordered him executed by impaling, but Saint Raymond again was spared due to what was sure to be a large ransom en route. Instead of death, he was subjected to a horrible torture, beaten with sticks until he could no longer stand. He never lost courage, however, looking instead to the work of the Lord being done in him. Everywhere Raymond looked he saw souls in danger of eternal damnation, and that kept him motivated to continue his work!

Following his torture, he was forbidden to preach Christianity by the local government. However, he was unable to stop the word of God from flowing from within him, and as a result, he was punished by having his lips pierced with a red-hot poker and padlocked together, and then imprisoned. He remained in jail for eight months before Saint Peter Nolasco arrived, ransom in hand. Only obedience to his superior could convince Raymond to leave his dungeon and the country of his zealous endeavors, and he begged God to accept his tears, humbly believing he was not worthy to shed his blood for the souls of his neighbors. Together, they returned to Spain where he was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Gregory IX.

Saint Raymond died shortly thereafter, at the young age of 37, victim to the years of torture and imprisonment. On the way to Rome to visit the pope, he was taken by fever. Witnesses recounted that his face became beautiful and radiant in his death, and a heavenly fragrance surrounded his body. Numerous miracles and cures were reported by those who touched him. Having died in Cardova, the local government claimed his body. However, The Order of Mercy also claimed the Saint’s body. As they were arguing, it was entrusted to Divine Providence on the harness of a blind mule. Without anyone leading it, the mule accompanied by a crowd, trotted to Saint Nicholas hermitage where the venerable body was buried.

The life of Saint Raymond Nonnatus reminds us of the living Word of God in our lives. Saint Raymond, following the teachings of Christ, was literally ready to give his life to set captives free, much as Christ did to free us all from the chains of sin. How might we increase our freedom, shaking off the fetters of sinfulness? Today, how might we bring the Word of God to life—on our lives and in the lives of those we encounter?


O Blessed Saint Raymond Nonnatus, so loving to all your devotees, I being last of them all, I am happy to know that through the infinite goodness of God, He has deigned to make you a Saint, adorned thee with special graces and help, for which I am most thankful. On the Most Holy Trinity, and you my adorable patron saint, through your merits and those of the blood poured by our Savior Jesus Christ, and through the Immaculate Conception of Mary, I most humbly beg thee, deign to intercede from the most sublime God, protection for the holy Mother Church, that through your prayers, God's wrath be taken away, see the progress of true faith, defeat the wrong doctrines, the peace and understanding of all Christians, peace of the whole country and the redemption of the Christian captives.


I am humbly begging you my devoted saint, that you be may be my intercessor. Since for many hours you did not die of the womb of your dead mother an you were successfully delivered from her side, to be the joy of the world, and that my soul may live in grace in this earthly world, may I imitate your live and exemplary holiness, so that when the hour of my death comes, I may detest all evil thoughts and temporary wealth of this world, so that with the burning love for God, my soul may reach heaven and together with you and the angels and all the saints, praise God Almighty forever.


I firmly believe most amiable father that you will be my protection since you are merciful to any one imploring thy help. But if the favor I am asking will not be for the glory of God and the good of my soul, then beg from God that I will be resigned to his Divine Will, so that I may have the peace of soul while I live, till the hour of my death and that I enjoy true happiness in heaven. Amen.



Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.

Psalm: Psalm 128: The Happy Home of the Just Man

1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
5 May the LORD bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
6 and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel.



Day 243 of 365
Prayer Intentions: For all mothers, pregnant women, parents awaiting adoption, and children.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of a marriage (A); For employment and health of mother (G); Successful employment (M); Restoration of a family, End to brother's addiction, Successful marriage (R); Employment (I); Successful recovery of a mother; for all stroke victims (D); Improved relationship with daughter (P); Restoration of health and successful marriage (A); Health and employment for a friend (G); Restoration of health (M); Answers to prayers (A); Conversion of son and family (S); Successful business, home purchase, health of brother (SJ); Successful delivery of a baby girl (U); Successful return to the faith (A); Emotional, physical, and financial healing (D); Diagnosis and recovery (A); For a successful relationship (J); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 128: The Happy Home of the Just Man

Saint Augustine of Hippo: "Lord, You Know Me"

Posted by Jacob

We continue our reflections on the writings of Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), whose feast day we celebrated yesterday. Bishop, confessor, Doctor of the Church, and one of the Four Great Fathers of the Latin Church, Augustine is one of the most influential thinkers and writers of Catholicism. His legacy in written works numbers at over 100 books, and 5,000,000 words! Within those words, the philosophy and virtues of our faith are revealed, inspiring us to a closer relationship with the Lord.


Today, we read an excerpt from the Confessions, in which Augustine touches on themes of suffering, and a meditation on the Book of Job-- "Lord, You Know Me."


Let me know you, O you who know me; then shall I know even as I am known. You are the strength of my soul; make your way in and shape it to yourself, that it may be yours to have and to hold, free from stain or wrinkle. I speak because this is my hope, and whenever my joy springs from that hope it is joy well founded. As for the rest of this life’s experiences, the more tears are shed over them the less they are worth weeping over, and the more truly worth lamenting the less do we bewail them while mired in them. You love the truth because anyone who “does truth” comes to the light. Truth it is that I want to do, in my heart by confession in your presence, and with my pen before many witnesses.



But the abyss of the human conscience lies naked to your eyes, O Lord, so would anything be secret even if I were unwilling to confess to you? I would be hiding you from myself, but not myself from you. But now that my groans bear witness that I find no pleasure in myself, you shed light upon me and give me joy, you offer yourself, lovable and longed for, that I may thrust myself away in disgust and choose you, and be pleasing no more either to you or to myself except in what I have from you.


To you, then, Lord, I lie exposed, exactly as I am. I have spoken of what I hope to gain by confessing to you. My confession to you is made not with words of tongue and voice, but with the words of my soul and the clamour of my thought, to which your ear is attuned; for when I am bad, confession to you is simply disgust with myself, but when I am good, confession to you consists in not attributing my goodness to myself, because though you, Lord, bless the person who is just, it is only because you have first made him just when he was sinful. This is why, O Lord, my confession in your presence is silent, yet not altogether silent: there is no noise to it, but it shouts by love.


For it is you, Lord, who judge me. No-one knows what he himself is made of, except his own spirit within him, yet there is still some part of him which remains hidden even from his own spirit; but you, Lord, know everything about a human being because you have made him. And though in your sight I may despise myself and reckon myself dust and ashes, I know something about you which I do not know about myself.


It is true that we now see only a tantalizing reflection in a mirror, and so it is that while I am on pilgrimage far from you I am more present to myself than to you; yet I do know that you cannot be defiled in any way whatever, whereas I do not know which temptations I may have the strength to resist, and to which ones I shall succumb. Our hope is that, because you are trustworthy, you do not allow us to be tempted more fiercely than we can bear, but along with the temptation you ordain the outcome of it, so that we can endure.


Let me, then, confess what I know about myself, and confess too what I do not know, because what I know of myself I know only because you shed light on me, and what I do not know I shall remain ignorant about until my darkness becomes like bright noon before your face.

Saint Rose of Lima: "The Beauty of Divine Grace"

Posted by Jacob

Today, August 30, we celebrate the feast of the first canonized saint of the Americas, Saint Rose of Lima (1586-1617). A beautiful flower of the saints of the Church, Satin Rose is remembered for her inexhaustible love for the Lord, her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother, and her life of harsh penances and mortifications. Once having said, “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart,” Saint Rose lived a life of difficulty and suffering on the earth, receiving the crown of sainthood in heaven.


Below, an excerpt from her writings, entitled, “The Beauty of Divine Grace.”


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 of 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”.

August 30: Saint Rose of Lima

Posted by Jacob

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”


Today, August 30, we celebrate the feast of the first canonized saint of the Americas, Saint Rose of Lima (1586-1617). A beautiful flower of the saints of the Church, Satin Rose is remembered for her inexhaustible love for the Lord, her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother, and her life of harsh penances and mortifications. Once having said, “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart,” Saint Rose lived a life of difficulty and suffering on the earth, receiving the crown of sainthood in heaven.

Born Isabella de Flores, Saint Rose was the daughter of a Spanish immigrant father and a Peruvian mother. She was personally confirmed by the Archbishop of Lima, Saint Turibius de Mongrovejo, and took the name Rose. Her family and friends had been calling her “Rosa,” as when she was still an infant, one of the family’s servants had seen her face miraculously transform into the vision of a mystical Rose.

Her childhood was spent in spiritual pursuits, having demonstrated great piety and love for the Lord at a young age. She emulated Saint Catherine of Siena, whom she had read about, and began fasting three times a week. Rose also implemented severe, but secret, penances, so as not to upset her parents. Her mother, quite proud of her beautiful daughter, would frequently adorn her with garlands of flowers. Rose, however, did not want to be admired by others, as she did not want to contribute to the sinfulness of the world. Afraid that she would become beautiful, which would lead to the sins of others, Rose cut off her hair and purposefully disfigured her face by rubbing pepper and lye against her skin. Her daily fasting evolved into perpetual abstinence from meat.

Saint Rose spent the majority of her days undertaking acts of charity and industry, directed especially toward the indigenous people of Peru who were horribly mistreated by the conquering Spaniards. Along with Saint Turibius, and Saint Martin de Porres, Rose helped the sick and hungry of Lima. Not content to leave them suffering in the squalid slums of the city, Rose would bring the poor, orphans, elderly, and sick to her home, personally taking care of them—the beginning of social services in Peru. She worked tirelessly day and night, hand crafting exquisite lace and needlework, and growing beautiful flowers—both of which she took to market to sell, supporting not only her family, but the poor as well.

Saint Rose spent every night in prayer, in a small grotto that she had built. She spent many hours contemplating the Blessed Sacrament, which she received daily. She determined to take a vow of virginity in opposition to her parents, who wished her to marry. Humble, she obeyed them (and supported them) in every command, except the command to marry. Her love of Jesus was so great that when she talked about Him, her face glowed and her eyes sparkled, and she could not turn from her perpetual pledge to Him.

At age 20, Rose was so attracted to the Dominican Order, and through her good works had attracted their attention as well, that she was permitted to enter a Third Order Dominican convent in 1602 without payment of the usual dowry. In her twentieth year she donned the habit and took a vow of perpetual virginity. Following her taking of the veil, she increased her mortification. She wore coarse clothing, and a garland of silver (hidden by flowers) which had sharp spikes that penetrated her scalp. She would fast so long and hard that she would find it impossible to stand, upon which she would lay down on shards of broken glass and pottery. More than once, when she shuddered at the prospect of a night of torture, a voice said, "My Cross was yet more painful," giving her the spiritual strength to go on.

As a result of her exterior mortification, she had interior mystical experiences and ecstasies, as well as long periods of darkness and desolation. For fifteen years, she was tormented by the Devil, and the feelings that the Lord had abandoned her, or was too far away to reach. In response to this "dark night of the soul" she continued her prayer and penance, and was forcefully cheerful to those she encountered lest they be troubled by her sadness.

For eleven years, Saint Rose continued to serve the community, and devote herself to penance and the Blessed Sacrament. Her harsh self-martyrdom continued without relaxation, but not without consolation. Our Lord revealed Himself to her frequently, flooding her soul with such inexpressible peace and joy as to leave her in ecstasy for hours. At these times she offered to Him all her mortifications and penances in expiation for offences against Him, for idolatry, for the conversion of sinners, and for the souls in Purgatory. She was graced with visions of her guardian angel, Our Blessed Mother, and the Infant Jesus. Both her mortifications and ecstasies continued until she died at the young age of 31, having prophesied the date of her death exactly. Her funeral was attended by all the public authorities of Lima, who took turns carrying her coffin through the streets of the city for public veneration. The archbishop pronounced her eulogy in the cathedral.

Saint Rose of Lima is the first Catholic in the Americas to be declared a saint. Her shrine is located inside the convent of Saint Dominic in Lima, and many miracles have been attributed to her intercession—both while she was alive and after her death.

Saint Rose of Lima lived a life of extreme penances. What might be considered eccentric or odd by others was transformed by the love of the Lord from the inside out. Her penance and mortification was surpassed by only one thing—her consuming love of God, a love so strong and so beautiful it withstood mockery, suffering, lengthy sickness, and temptations from the Devil. We pray today for the strength of a similar love for the Lord—a love which will enable us to create change in the world, starting with ourselves!



God our Father,
for love of you
Saint Rose gave up everything
to devote herself to a life of penance.
By the help of her prayers
may we imitate her selfless way of life on earth
and enjoy the fullness of your blessings in heaven.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.





Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.


Psalm: Psalm 127: The Need of God’s Blessing: His Gift of Sons
1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to [a] those he loves.
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Day 242 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Charity, Service to others, Social Justice.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of a marriage (A); For employment and health of mother (G); Successful employment (M); Restoration of a family, End to brother's addiction, Successful marriage (R); Employment (I); Successful recovery of a mother; for all stroke victims (D); Improved relationship with daughter (P); Restoration of health and successful marriage (A); Health and employment for a friend (G); Restoration of health (M); Answers to prayers (A); Conversion of son and family (S); Successful business, home purchase, health of brother (SJ); Successful delivery of a baby girl (U); Successful return to the faith (A); Emotional, physical, and financial healing (D); Diagnosis and recovery (A); For a successful relationship (J); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 127: The Need of God’s Blessing: His Gift of Sons

Saint Augustine of Hippo: "Late Have I Loved You"

Posted by Jacob

We continue our reflections on the writings of Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), whose feast day we celebrated yesterday. Bishop, confessor, Doctor of the Church, and one of the Four Great Fathers of the Latin Church, Augustine is one of the most influential thinkers and writers of Catholicism. His legacy in written works numbers at over 100 books, and 5,000,000 words! Within those words, the philosophy and virtues of our faith are revealed, inspiring us to a closer relationship with the Lord.


Today, we read an excerpt from the Confessions, in which Augustine touches on themes of suffering, adversity, trial, and sorrow—those emotions present in times of trouble, when we feel separated from Our Lord.


Where did I find you in order to make your acquaintance in the first place? You could not have been in my memory before I learned to know you. Where then could I have found you in order to learn of you, if not in yourself, far above me? “Place” has here no meaning: further away from you or toward you we may travel, but place there is none. O Truth, you hold sovereign sway over all who turn to you for counsel, and to all of them you respond at the same time, however diverse their pleas.


Clear is your response, but not all hear it clearly. They all appeal to you about what they want, but do not always hear what they want to hear. Your best servant is the one who is less intent on hearing from you what accords with his own will, and more on embracing with his will what he has heard from you.


Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!


Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.

You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.


You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.


When at last I cling to you with my whole being there will be no more anguish or labor for me, and my life will be alive indeed, alive because filled with you. But now it is very different. Anyone whom you fill you also uplift; but I am not full of you, and so I am a burden to myself. Joys over which I ought to weep do battle with sorrows that should be matter for joy, and I do not know which will be victorious. But I also see griefs that are evil at war in me with joys that are good, and I do not know which will win the day. This is agony, Lord, have pity on me! It is agony! See, I do not hide my wounds; you are the physician and I am sick; you are merciful, I in need of mercy.


Is not human life on earth a time of testing? Who would choose troubles and hardships? You command us to endure them, but not to love them. No-one loves what he has to endure, even if he loves the endurance, for although he may rejoice in his power to endure, he would prefer to have nothing that demands endurance. In adverse circumstances I long for prosperity, and in times of prosperity I dread adversity. What middle ground is there, between these two, where human life might be free from trial? Woe betide worldly prosperity, and woe again, from fear of disaster and evanescent joy! But woe, woe, and woe again upon worldly adversity, from envy of better fortune, the hardship of adversity itself, and the fear that endurance may falter. Is not human life on earth a time of testing without respite?


On your exceedingly great mercy, and on that alone, rests all my hope.

Saint Augustine of Hippo: "His Death is Our Hope"

Posted by Jacob

We continue our reflections on the writings of Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), whose feast day we celebrated yesterday. Bishop, confessor, Doctor of the Church, and one of the Four Great Fathers of the Latin Church, Augustine is one of the most influential thinkers and writers of Catholicism. His legacy in written works numbers at over 100 books, and 5,000,000 words! Within those words, the philosophy and virtues of our faith are revealed, inspiring us to a closer relationship with the Lord.


Today, we read an excerpt from a homily delivered by Saint Augustine, reflecting on the glory of the cross of Christ.



The passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the hope of glory and a lesson in patience.


What may not the hearts of believers promise themselves as the gift of God’s grace, when for their sake God’s only Son, co-eternal with the Father, was not content only to be born as man from human stock but even died at the hands of the men he had created?


It is a great thing that we are promised by the Lord, but far greater is what has already been done for us, and which we now commemorate. Where were the sinners, what were they, when Christ died for them? When Christ has already given us the gift of his death, who is to doubt that he will give the saints the gift of his own life? Why does our human frailty hesitate to believe that mankind will one day live with God?


Who is Christ if not the Word of God: in the beginning was the Word, and the Words was with God, and the Word was God? This Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us. He had no power of himself to die for us: he had to take from us our mortal flesh. This was the way in which, though immortal, he was able to die; the way in which he chose to give life to mortal men: he would first share with us, and then enable us to share with him. Of ourselves we had no power to live, nor did he of himself have the power to die.


In other words, he performed the most wonderful exchange with us. Through us, he died; through him, we shall live.


The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves.


He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness? How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself?


Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory.


The apostle Paul saw Christ, and extolled his claim to glory. He had many great and inspired things to say about Christ, but he did not say that he boasted in Christ’s wonderful works: in creating the world, since he was God with the Father, or in ruling the world, though he was also a man like us. Rather, he said: Let me not boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

August 29: The Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist, Precursor to Christ

Posted by Jacob

11I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matthew 11:11)



Today, August 29, we celebrate the Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist, the Precursor of Christ, the forerunner of the Son of Justice, the minister of baptism of Jesus. His birth prepared the way for the coming of Our Lord and Savior, for the coming of salvation for all. His death reminds us that the promise of heaven is real, as is the struggle and suffering of this world.

From the Roman Martyrology:

The memorial of the suffering and death of St. John the Baptist, whom King Herod Antipas held in the prison in the citadel of Macheron and, on his birthday, since the daughter of Herodias was making the request, ordered to be beheaded; thus, the Precursor of the Lord, like a bright shining lantern, gave witness to the truth in death as much as he did in life.


I have written about the life of Saint John the Baptist, my confirmation saint, here. He was the cousin of Jesus, son of Zachary and Elizabeth. Saint John began his ministry around age 27, wearing a leather belt and tunic of camel hair, living off locusts and wild honey in the desert. He preached a message of repentance and of anticipation of Christ, and converted and baptized many in the River Jordan. Saint John was the minister of baptism to Jesus, during which the skies opened and Our Heavenly Father proclaimed the Son of God.

Following his baptism of Jesus, John instructed his disciples to follow Christ, and with great humility directed all attention to the Son of God. This period of John’s ministry was of short duration, as he was soon arrested and imprisoned by the Galiliean King, Herod (the son of Herod the Great, who had ordered the slaughter of the Bethlehem infants).

Herod feared John, as he considered him a great prophet, and knew the people revered him. However, his wife, Herodias, wanted John killed. True to the teachings of the Church, Saint John had publicly condemned Herod for marrying his brother’s wife, despite the fact that his brother was still alive. Herodias was incensed by this public condemnation, and insisted the king kill him. To appease her, Herod had John imprisoned, but let him out to preach—himself listening with admiration, and beginning to act upon his words.

Saint John’s imprisonment lasted approximately on year, until Herod through a lavish banquet to celebrate his birthday. Salome, the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of Herod, also came to this banquet. She danced for Herod, which pleased him and his guests.

As Saint Mark wrote in his Gospel:

17For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married. 18For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." 19So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.


21Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.


The king said to the girl, "Ask me for anything you want, and I'll give it to you." 23And he promised her with an oath, "Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom."


24She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?"


"The head of John the Baptist," she answered.


25At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: "I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter."


26The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29On hearing of this, John's disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. (Mark 6: 17-29)


Saint John the Baptist was the last prophet of the Old Testament, pointing to the coming Christ. He was also the first prophet of the New Testament, pointing to Christ and proclaiming that Jesus was the Savior. He preached a message of repentance and proclaimed Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. For all the times Herod listened to John preaching, he completely missed the point! Rather, for Herod, John was an entertaining distraction whose words were acceptable when convenient, but became burdensome when challenging him to change. We, too, fall victim to this manner of thinking from time to time—knowing what we should do, but finding it too difficult or inconvenient. The martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist, who endured “temporal agonies for the sake of truth” reminds us that we are called to the full redemption of Christ, and as such, are challenged to live in the truth.


Venerable Saint Bede on the Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist (for full text of homily, previously posted, visit here):

There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: “I am the truth”? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ. Through his birth, preaching and baptizing, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer. Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men. He was locked away in the darkness of prison, through he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ. To endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather is was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward. Since death was ever at hand, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: “You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake.” He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”



God our Father,
You called John the Baptist
to be the herald of Your Son's birth and death.
As he gave his life in witness to truth and justice,
so may we strive to profess our faith in Your gospel.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


For the Litany to Saint John the Baptist, previous posted, visit here.









Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.

Psalm: Psalm 126: The People’s Prayer for Full Restoration

1 When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.


Day 241 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Lives of Truth.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of a marriage (A); For employment and health of mother (G); Successful employment (M); Restoration of a family, End to brother's addiction, Successful marriage (R); Employment (I); Successful recovery of a mother; for all stroke victims (D); Improved relationship with daughter (P); Restoration of health and successful marriage (A); Health and employment for a friend (G); Restoration of health (M); Answers to prayers (A); Conversion of son and family (S); Successful business, home purchase, health of brother (SJ); Successful delivery of a baby girl (U); Successful return to the faith (A); Emotional, physical, and financial healing (D); Diagnosis and recovery (A); For a successful relationship (J); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 126: The People’s Prayer for Full Restoration