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 Jerome: "The Three Fountains of the Church: The Mystery of the Trinity"

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 30, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Jerome (347-419), Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church. One of the great spiritual and theological minds of the faith, Saint Jerome has inspired countless saints and scholars, among them, Saint Augustine of Hippo who said: “What Jerome is ignorant of, no man has ever known.” The writings of Saint Jerome continue to unlock the meaning of the Scriptures for the faithful today, and the lessons from his life remind us that the Lord uses us each in our own way to glorify His name!

Below, a sermon delivered by Saint Jerome on Psalm 41 on the mysteries of the Holy Trinity.


Like a deer that longs for springs of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. Now just as those deer long for springs of water, so do our deer. Fleeing Egypt – that is, fleeing worldly things – they have killed Pharaoh and drowned all his army in the waters of baptism. Now, after the devil has been killed, they long for the springs of the Church: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We can find the Father described as a spring in Jeremiah: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, to dig themselves leaky cisterns that cannot hold water. About the Son we read somewhere: They have forsaken the fountain of wisdom. Finally, of the Holy Spirit: Anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will have a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life. Here the evangelist is saying that the words of the Saviour come from the Holy Spirit. So you see it very clearly confirmed that the springs that water the Church are the mystery of the Trinity.

These are the springs that believers long for. These are the springs that the souls of the baptized seek, saying My soul thirsts for God, the living God. The soul does not just feel like seeing God, it longs for him fervently, it is on fire with thirst for him. Before they received baptism, the catechumens spoke to each other and said, When shall I come and stand before the face of God? What they asked for has now been given them: they have come and stood before the face of God. They have come before the altar and been confronted by the mystery of the Savior.

Welcomed into the body of Christ and reborn in the springs of life, they confidently say: I will go up to your glorious dwelling-place and into the house of God. The house of God is the Church, the ‘dwelling-place’ where dwells the sound of joy and thanksgiving, the crowds at the festival.

So then, you who have followed our lead and robed yourselves in Christ, let the words of God lift you out of this turbulent age as a net lifts the little fishes out of the water. In us the laws of nature are turned upside down – for fish, taken out of the water, die; but the Apostles have fished us out of the sea that is this world not to kill us but to bring us from death to life. As long as we were in the world, our eyes were peering into the depths and we led our lives in the mud. Now we have been torn from the waves, we begin to see the true light. Moved by overwhelming joy, we say to our souls: Put your hope in the Lord, I will praise him still, my savior and my God.

Saint Jerome: On Repentance

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 30, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Jerome (347-419), Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church. One of the great spiritual and theological minds of the faith, Saint Jerome has inspired countless saints and scholars, among them, Saint Augustine of Hippo who said: “What Jerome is ignorant of, no man has ever known.” The writings of Saint Jerome continue to unlock the meaning of the Scriptures for the faithful today, and the lessons from his life remind us that the Lord uses us each in our own way to glorify His name!

Below, an excerpt from Saint Jerome’s commentary on the book of Joel, in which he describes the grace of true repentance.


Return to me with all your heart and show a spirit of repentance with fasting, weeping and mourning; so that while you fast now, later you may be satisfied, while you weep now, later you may laugh, while you mourn now, you may some day enjoy consolation. It is customary for those in sorrow or adversity to tear their garments. The gospel records that the high priest did this to exaggerate the charge against our Lord and Savior; and we read that Paul and Barnabas did so when they heard words of blasphemy. I bid you not to tear your garments but rather to rend your hearts which are laden with sin. Like wine skins, unless they have been cut open, they will burst of their own accord. After you have done this, return to the Lord your God, from whom you had been alienated by your sins. Do not despair of his mercy, no matter how great your sins, for great mercy will take away great sins.


For the Lord is gracious and merciful and prefers the conversion of a sinner rather than his death. Patient and generous in his mercy, he does not give in to human impatience but is willing to wait a long time for our repentance. So extraordinary is the Lord’s mercy in the face of evil, that if we do penance for our sins, he regrets his own threat and does not carry out against us the sanctions he had threatened. So by the changing of our attitude, he himself is changed. But in this passage we should interpret “evil” to mean, not the opposite of virtue, but affliction, as we read in another place: Sufficient for the day are its own evils. And, again: If there is evil in the city, God did not create it.


In like manner, given all that we have said above – that God is kind and merciful, patient, generous with his forgiveness, and extraordinary in his mercy toward evil – lest the magnitude of his clemency make us lax and negligent, he adds this word through his prophet: Who knows whether he will not turn and repent and leave behind him a blessing? In other words, he says: “I exhort you to repentance, because it is my duty, and I know that God is inexhaustibly merciful, as David says: Have mercy on me, God, according to your great mercy, and in the depths of your compassion, blot out all my iniquities. But since we cannot know the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and knowledge of God, I will temper my statement, expressing a wish rather than taking anything for granted, and I will say: Who knows whether he will not turn and repent? “ Since he says, Who, it must be understood that it is impossible or difficult to know for sure.


To these words the prophet adds: Offerings and tribulations for the Lord our God. What he is saying to us in other words is that, God having blessed us and forgiven us our sins, we will then be able to offer sacrifice to God.

Saint Jerome: "Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ"

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 30, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Jerome (347-419), Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church. One of the great spiritual and theological minds of the faith, Saint Jerome has inspired countless saints and scholars, among them, Saint Augustine of Hippo who said: “What Jerome is ignorant of, no man has ever known.” The writings of Saint Jerome continue to unlock the meaning of the Scriptures for the faithful today, and the lessons from his life remind us that the Lord uses us each in our own way to glorify His name!

Below, Saint Jerome’s commentary on Isaiah, in which he asserts “Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ.”


 I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find. Christ will not say to me what he said to the Jews: You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God. For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

Therefore, I will imitate the head of a household who brings out of his storehouse things both new and old, and says to his spouse in the Song of Songs: I have kept for you things new and old, my beloved. In this way permit me to explain Isaiah, showing that he was not only a prophet, but an evangelist and an apostle as well. For he says about himself and the other evangelists: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news, of those who announce peace. And God speaks to him as if he were an apostle: Whom shall I send, who will go to my people? And he answers: Here I am; send me.

No one should think that I mean to explain the entire subject matter of this great book of Scripture in one brief sermon, since it contains all the mysteries of the Lord. It prophesies that Emmanuel is to be born of a virgin and accomplish marvelous works and signs. It predicts his death, burial and resurrection from the dead as the Savior of all men. I need say nothing about the natural sciences, ethics and logic. Whatever is proper to holy Scripture, whatever can be expressed in human language and understood by the human mind, is contained in the book of Isaiah. Of these mysteries the author himself testifies when he writes: You will be given a vision of all things, like words in a sealed scroll. When they give the writings to a wise man, they will say: Read this. And he will reply: I cannot, for it is sealed. And when the scroll is given to an uneducated man and he is told: Read this, he will reply: I do not know how to read.

Should this argument appear weak to anyone, let him listen to the Apostle: Let two or three prophets speak, and let others interpret; if, however, a revelation should come to one of those who are seated there, let the first one be quiet. How can they be silent, since it depends on the Spirit who speaks through his prophets whether they remain silent or speak? If they understood what they were saying, all things would be full of wisdom and knowledge. But it was not the air vibrating with the human voice that reached their ears , but rather it was God speaking within the soul of the prophets, just as another prophet says: It is an angel who spoke in me; and again, Crying out in our hearts, Abba, Father’, and I shall listen to what the Lord God says within me.

September 30: Saint Jerome, Doctor of the Church

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 30, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Jerome (347-419), Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church.  One of the great spiritual and theological minds of the faith, Saint Jerome has inspired countless saints and scholars, among them, Saint Augustine of Hippo who said: “What Jerome is ignorant of, no man has ever known.”  The writings of Saint Jerome continue to unlock the meaning of the Scriptures for the faithful today, and the lessons from his life remind us that the Lord uses us each in our own way to glorify His name!


Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius, was the was born at Stridonius, a small town at the head of the Adriatic, near the episcopal city of Aquileia. His father, a wealthy and well-respected Christian, took care that his son was well instructed at home, then sent him to Rome, where the young man's teachers were the famous pagan grammarian Donatus and Victorinus, a Christian rhetorician. In Rome, Saint Jerome read classical literature with great voracity, and became fluent in Latin and Greek. His aptitude for oratory was such that he may have considered law as a career. He acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to check his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home. Yet in spite of the pagan and hedonistic influences around him, and the dissolute lifestyle he had embraced, Jerome was baptized by Pope Liberius at the age of 19. Drawn to Church history, he frequently spent time in the tombs and catacombs, deciphering the descriptions that adorned holy men and women’s’ tombs. He recorded, "it was my custom on Sundays to visit, with friends of my own age and tastes, the tombs of the martyrs and Apostles, going down into those subterranean galleries whose walls on both sides preserve the relics of the dead."

Shortly after his baptism, he journeyed to Trier in Gaul and to Aquileia in Italy, where he began to cultivate his theological interests in company with others who, like himself, were ascetically inclined. In Antioch, where he was warmly received, he continued to pursue his humanist and monastic studies. He also had a profound spiritual experience, dreaming that he was accused of being "a Ciceronian, not a Christian." In his dream, Jerome was standing before the tribunal of Christ. "Thou a Christian?" said the judge skeptically. "Thou art a Ciceronian. Where thy treasure is, there thy heart is also."

Deeply shaken, Jerome determined to devote himself exclusively to the Bible and theology. Jerome moved to the desert of Chalcis, spending time in Palestine and marking with devotion each spot important to the life of Christ. While in the desert, he devoted himself to penance, and while practicing more rigorous austerities, pursued his studies, including the learning of Hebrew. In the Syrian desert, he lived for years as a hermit, and is reported to have removed a thorn from a lion’s paw. As holy legend tells us, the creature stayed loyal to Saint Jerome, living by his side for years.

In the desert of Chalcis Saint Jerome also experienced many attacks of illness, but suffered still more from temptation. "In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert," he wrote years afterwards to Saint Eustochium, "burnt up with the heat of the sun, so scorching that it frightens even the monks who live there, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome.... In this exile and prison to which through fear of Hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, with no other company but scorpions and wild beasts, I many times imagined myself watching the dancing of Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them. My face was pallid with fasting, yet my will felt the assaults of desire. In my cold body and my parched flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion was still able to live. Alone with the enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, though I grieve that I am not now what I then was."

On his return to Antioch in 378 he entered the priesthood, under the direction of Saint Gregory of Nazianzan.Upon ordination, Jerome returned to Rome, and was appointed the personal and confidential secretary and librarian to Pope Damasus I. Saint Jerome was tasked with translating the Bible into Latin, and was working obediently on his task when Damasus passed away. Jerome returned to the east, settling in Bethlehem in a monastery appointed by a group of wealthy Roman women (Saints Paula and Marcella). It was there, in Bethlehem, that the majority of his writing—including the completion of his Biblical translation (known as the Vulgate translation)—were completed. Jerome remained at the monastery for 34 years, until his death. The remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome.

Saint Jerome’s incorporation of science, philosophy, geography, and archeology into his scriptural exegesis raised the teachings of the Church to greater scholarship. His correspondence with noted saints and scholars—among them Saint Augustine of Hippo—are rich in encouragement and faith. Known for his difficult demeanor and oftentimes hot-temper, his scholarly contributions are all the more surprising. Despite these shortcomings, Saint Jerome’s love for God and his Son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense: anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.

Jerome was a strong, outspoken man. He was a fearless critic of the immorality of man, while simultaneously acknowledging his own sins. He was no admirer of moderation-- whether in virtue or against evil. He was swift to anger, but also swift to feel remorse, even more severe on his own shortcomings than on those of others. A pope is said to have remarked, on seeing a picture of Jerome striking his breast with a stone, "You do well to carry that stone, for without it the Church would never have canonized you."

Saint Jerome contributed significantly to the doctrinal formation of the Church’s teachings. An active adversary to heresies rampant during the time, he successfully defended the faith, contributing to the solid foundation which we still profess today. The life and writings of Saint Jerome remind us that each of us has areas to improve upon, and yet, even with our flaws, the Lord continues to grace us with gifts and talents beyond our comprehension. Today, on the feast of Saint Jerome, we lift a prayer of thanksgiving to our generous and gracious Lord!


Prayer for Christ’s Mercy (written by Saint Jerome)
O Lord, show your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid, I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with your will. Let me dwell in your house all the days of my life and praise you for ever and ever with those who are there.



Selected Writings of Saint Jerome:

From a letter of Saint Jerome to Saint Eustochium: “In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert, burnt up with the heat of the scorching sun so that it frightens even the monks that inhabit it, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome. In exile and prison to which for the fear of hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, I many times imagined myself witnessing the dancing of the Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them: in my cold body and in my parched-up flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion able to live. Alone with this enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and I tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, but I grieve that I am not now what I then was.”

“The measure of our advancement in the spiritual life should be taken from the progress we make in the virtue of mortification; for it should be held as certain that the greater violence we shall do ourselves in mortification, the greater advance we shall make in perfection.”

“You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard…. But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?”

“I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: “Search the Scriptures,” and “Seek and you shall find.” For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. No one should think that I mean to explain the entire subject matter of this great book of the prophet Isaiah in one brief sermon, since it contains all the mysteries of the lord. It prophesies that Emmanuel is to be born of a virgin and accomplish marvelous works and signs. It predicts his death, burial and resurrection from the dead as the Savior of all men. Whatever is proper to holy Scripture, whatever can be expressed in human language and understood by the human mind, is contained in the book of Isaiah.”



Day 273 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Spiritual and intellectual understanding of Scripture.
Requested Intentions: Successful outcome of court case and employment (L); For guidance and righteous love (K); Restoration of a relationship (H); For successful employment (I); For a daughter’s successful relationship (M); For a relationship sanctified by God (M); For health of father; For canonization of Pope John Paul II (A); For the conversion of a family (L); For the ill (A); For the health of a family (I); For a father’s successful surgery and recovery (G); For those who are ill, and their caretakers (D); For the safety of a sister who is traveling (A); Recovery of mother with cancer (R); Successful acquisition of a visa (T); 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); 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).

Pope Saint Gregory the Great: On the Archangels

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 29, we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael. The liturgy celebrates the feast of these three archangels who are venerated in the tradition of the Church. Michael was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil. Gabriel announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, "Hail, full of grace," is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people. Raphael is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.


Below, a homily delivered by Pope Saint Gregory the Great on the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.


You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.


Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy”.


Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.


So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle. Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.

September 29: Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael

Posted by Jacob

“You should be aware that the word "angel" denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.”
From a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great.

Today, September 29, we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael. The liturgy celebrates the feast of these three archangels who are venerated in the tradition of the Church. Michael was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil. Gabriel announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, "Hail, full of grace," is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people. Raphael is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.



From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.


Saint Augustine says: ‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit;’ from what they do, ‘angel.’ With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they ‘always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven’ they are the ‘might ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word.”


As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.”

Angels are the servants and messengers of God -- in fact, this is what the word "angel" means. Several different kinds (or ranks) of angels are mentioned in the Bible: angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, choirs, dominions, principalities, and powers.

The feast of Saint Michael, one of the seven archangels of Scripture, originated in the sixth century. More recently, two other of the archangels named in scripture, Gabriel and Raphael, are also honored on this day.

Saint Michael the archangel, whose name in Hebrew means "Who is like God?,” is revered as the leader of the angelic army who will conquer Satan and his armies of demons, and is considered the defender of the Church. Michael is more often represented in art than any other angelic being. He is often shown wearing armor, in the act of slaying the great Dragon of the Apocalypse [Satan] in Revelation 12:7-9.

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world -- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)

The name Michael is the war cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against Satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes Saint Michael as “one of the chief princes,” and leader of the forces of heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. He has been especially honored and invoked as patron and protector by the Church from the time of the Apostles

Pope John Paul II recommended that the “Saint Michael 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.”‘

St. 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 thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the divine power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl around the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.



The Archangel Gabriel, whose name in Hebrew means "Strength of God,” appears throughout the Bible. He first fulfils his role as messenger of the Lord in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament, announcing to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. Gabriel was the angel who appeared to Zachariah to announce the birth of Saint John the Baptist. Finally, he announced to Our Blessed Mother that she would bear a Son Who would be conceived of the Holy Spirit, Son of the Most High, and Savior of the world. His address to her, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (the "angelic salutation") is familiar to all who say the Rosary.

Blessed Saint Gabriel, Archangel
We beseech thee to intercede for us at the throne of divine mercy:
As thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation,
so through thy prayers may we receive strength of faith and
courage of spirit, and thus find favor with God and redemption through Christ Our Lord.
May we sing the praise of God our Savior with the angels and saints in heaven
forever and ever. Amen.


The Archangel Raphael, whose name means “Medicine of God,” is mentioned by name in the Old Testament book of Tobit (Tobias), whom the angel aided by healing him of blindness and guiding him on his travels. Saint Raphael is one of the seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord in Heaven. He was sent by God to help Tobit, Tobiah and Sarah. At the time, Tobit was blind and Tobiah’s betrothed, Sarah, had had seven bridegrooms perish on the night of their weddings. Raphael accompanied Tobiah into Media disguised as a man named Azariah. Raphael helped him through his difficulties and taught him how to safely enter marriage with Sarah. Tobiah said that Raphael caused him to have his wife and that he gave joy to Sarah’s parents for driving out the evil spirit in her. He also gave Raphael credit for his father’s seeing the light of heaven and for receiving all good things through his intercession

Blessed Saint Raphael, Archangel,
We beseech thee to help us in all our needs and trials of this life,
as thou, through the power of God, didst restore sight and give guidance to young Tobit.
We humbly seek thine aid and intercession,
that our souls may be healed,
our bodies protected from all ills,
and that through divine grace we may be made fit
to dwell in the eternal Glory of God in heaven. Amen.



Devotion to the Holy Angels gives rise to a certain form of the Christian life which is characterized by devout gratitude to God for having placed these heavenly spirits of great sanctity and dignity at the service of man; and an attitude of devotion deriving from the knowledge of living constantly in the presence of the Holy Angels of God. On this day, the feast of the Archangels, we are filled with serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels.

Pope Benedict XVI reminded the faithful to keep the Archangels present in our minds, during his address on their feast day in 2007:
... the Feast of the three Archangels who are mentioned by name in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. This reminds us that in the ancient Church - already in the Book of Revelation - Bishops were described as "angels" of their Church, thereby expressing a close connection between the Bishop's ministry and the Angel's mission. From the Angel's task it is possible to understand the Bishop's service. But what is an Angel? Sacred Scripture and the Church's tradition enable us to discern two aspects. On the one hand, the Angel is a creature who stands before God, oriented to God with his whole being. All three names of the Archangels end with the word "El", which means "God". God is inscribed in their names, in their nature. Their true nature is existing in his sight and for him. In this very way the second aspect that characterizes Angels is also explained: they are God's messengers. They bring God to men, they open heaven and thus open earth. Precisely because they are with God, they can also be very close to man. Indeed, God is closer to each one of us than we ourselves are. The Angels speak to man of what constitutes his true being, of what in his life is so often concealed and buried. They bring him back to himself, touching him on God's behalf. In this sense, we human beings must also always return to being angels to one another - angels who turn people away from erroneous ways and direct them always, ever anew, to God. If the ancient Church called Bishops "Angels" of their Church, she meant precisely this: Bishops themselves must be men of God, they must live oriented to God. "Multum orat pro populo."


God our Father,
in a wonderful way you guide the work of angels and men.
May those who serve you constantly in heaven
keep our lives safe from all harm on earth.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.




Day 272 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Guidance and protection of the Lord; Assistance in times of difficulty from His army of angels.
Requested Intentions: Successful outcome of court case and employment (L); For guidance and righteous love (K); Restoration of a relationship (H); For successful employment (I); For a daughter’s successful relationship (M); For a relationship sanctified by God (M); For health of father; For canonization of Pope John Paul II (A); For the conversion of a family (L); For the ill (A); For the health of a family (I); For a father’s successful surgery and recovery (G); For those who are ill, and their caretakers (D); For the safety of a sister who is traveling (A); Recovery of mother with cancer (R); Successful acquisition of a visa (T); 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); 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).

September 28: Saint Wenceslaus, the "Good King"

Posted by Jacob

Good King Wenceslaus looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,

When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night, tho’ the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath’ring winter fuel.

“Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know’st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”


“Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.”
Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;
Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.


“Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blow stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, my good page. Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage freeze thy blood less coldly.”


In his master’s steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.


Today, September 28, we celebrate the feast of Saint Wenceslaus (907-929), inspiration of the famed Christmas carol, Duke, King, and Martyr of the Church. Saint Wenceslaus, remembered for his Christian charity and fair ruling of Bohemia, is the Patron Saint of that region of the world.

Wenceslaus, Duke of Bohemia (modern day Czechoslovakia), was born of a Christian father, Wratislaus, and a pagan mother, Drahomira. After his father’s death, Wenceslaus was raised in piety by his grandmother, Saint Ludmilla. Under her care, he was adorned with every virtue and with the utmost care preserved his virginity unspotted throughout his life. As his mother was violently against the Christian faith, Saint Wenceslaus studied and prayed at night, secretly receiving the Sacraments. He would, throughout his life, embark on Christian missions of charity and good works throughout the dark hours of the evening—a habit learned and practiced during his devout childhood.

Drahomira, his mother, was a wicked woman, who eventually plotted to have Saint Ludmilla killed, and herself seized the reigns of government for herself and Wenceslaus’ younger brother, Boleslaus. The nobles, weary of her behavior, and worried about her tyrannical and impious rule, overthrew her government. They proclaimed Wenceslaus—despite being on eighteen years old—as King.

Wenceslaus had been well-taught by Saint Ludmilla, and ruled his kingdom with kindness, rather than with authority (which was far more common in that time). He enacted social programs of charity, assisting orphans, widows, and all the poor. With his page, he sometimes even carried wood on his shoulders by night, to those in need. He frequently assisted at the funerals of poor persons, liberated captives, and often visited prisoners during the night, assisting them with gifts and advice. It caused great sorrow to his tender heart to condemn even the guilty to death. He had the greatest reverence for priests, calling them out of exile, and opening the country to Christian missionaries. Entirely devoted to the Holy Eucharist, he would sow the wheat and prepare the wine to be used in the Sacrifice of the Mass with his own hands. At night he used visit each of the region’s churches barefoot, through ice and snow, while his bloodstained footprints miraculously warmed the ground.

Frequently accompanied by angels, he was protected in battles by his heavenly guard, and that protection extended to his soldiers. In order to spare their lives, he undertook to fight in single combat with Radislaus, Duke of Gurima. However, the duel never occurred as when the latter saw Angels arming Saint Wenceslaus, and heard them forbidding him to strike, he was terrified and fell at the Saint’s feet begging his forgiveness. On one occasion, when Wenceslaus had traveled to Germany, Emperor Otto I, at his approach, saw two Angels adorning him with a golden Cross; whereupon, rising from his throne, he embraced the Saint, bestowed on him the regal insignia, and presented him with the arm of Saint Vitus.

Despite the fact that Wenceslaus was a pious and just ruler, his wicked brother and mother conspired to have him killed. They invited him to a banquet, during which time he acknowledged the feast of the Archangels to be held the following day, saying: “In honor of the Archangel Saint Michael, let us drink this cup, and let us beseech him to lead our souls into the peace of eternal happiness.”

Following the banquet, Saint Wenceslaus was praying at the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian (as their feast day had been earlier that week), preparing for a death he was sure was swiftly coming. As predicted, his brother, along with some supporters, murdered him while he prayed. His blood is still visible today on the walls of the church. Virtually from the moment of his death, Wenceslaus was considered a martyr and venerated as a saint. Miracles were reported at his tomb, and his remains were translated to the church of Saint Vitus in Prague which became a major pilgrimage site.


From an old Slavic legend about Saint Wenceslaus:

At the death of Vratislaus, the people of Bohemia made his son Wenceslaus their king. He was by God’s grace a man of utmost faith. He was charitable to the poor, and he would clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and offer hospitality to travelers according to the summons of the Gospel. He would not allow widows to be treated unjustly; he loved all his people, both rich and poor; he also provided for the servants of God, and he adorned many churches. The men of Bohemia, however, became arrogant and prevailed upon Boleslaus, his younger brother. They told him, “Your brother Wenceslaus is conspiring with his mother and his men to kill you.” On the feasts of the dedication of the churches in various cities, Wenceslaus was in the habit of paying them a visit. One Sunday he entered the city of Boleslaus, on the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, and after hearing Mass, he planned to return to Prague. But Boleslaus, with his wicked plan in mind, detained him with the words, “Why are you leaving brother?” The next morning when they rang the bell for matins, Wenceslaus, on hearing the sound, said, “Praise to you, Lord; you have allowed me to live to this morning.” And so he rose and went to matins. Immediately Boleslaus followed him to the church door. Wenceslaus looked back at him and said, “Brother, you were a good subject to me yesterday.” But the devil had already blocked the ears of Boleslaus, and perverted his heart. Drawing his sword, Boleslaus replied, “And now I intend to be a better one!” With these words, he struck his brother’s head with his sword. But Wenceslaus turned and said, “Brother, what are you trying to do?” And with that he seized Boleslaus and threw him to the ground. But one of Boleslaus’ counselors ran up and stabbed Wenceslaus in the hand. With his hand wounded, he let go of his brother and took refuge in the church. But two evil men struck him down at the church door; and then another rushed up and ran him through with a sword. Thereupon, Wenceslaus died with the words, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”



Lord,
You taught your martyr Wenceslaus
to prefer the kingdom of heaven
to all that the earth has to offer.
May his prayers free us from our self-seeking
and help us to serve You with all our hearts.


We ask 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.



Day 271 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Righteousness; Justice; Charity to those in need.
Requested Intentions: Successful outcome of court case and employment (L); For guidance and righteous love (K); Restoration of a relationship (H); For successful employment (I); For a daughter’s successful relationship (M); For a relationship sanctified by God (M); For health of father; For canonization of Pope John Paul II (A); For the conversion of a family (L); For the ill (A); For the health of a family (I); For a father’s successful surgery and recovery (G); For those who are ill, and their caretakers (D); For the safety of a sister who is traveling (A); Recovery of mother with cancer (R); Successful acquisition of a visa (T); 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); 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).