"Charity is not just giving, rather removing the need of those who receive charity and liberating them from it when possible."
Today, September 22, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Thomas of Villanueva (1488-1555), Augustinian bishop of Valencia, educator, philanthropist, and confessor. Saint Thomas is referred to as “the almsgiver” and “the father of the poor” given his charity and mercy toward those in need.
Born Tomás García Martínez, this future saint grew up in Villanueva de los Infantes, in the province of Ciudad Real, Spain. His parent, who were the owners of a prosperous estate, were well known and well-connected in the area. Thomas, even as an infant, demonstrated great concern and care for the poor, using his family’s wealth to provide for others. Despite his parents repeatedly giving him the finest of clothes, he could often be found wearing rags, having given away his things to the poor children of the area. He further gave away the food from their storerooms and the animals from their farm.
"Brethren, I beg your pardon. I have a weak heart and I feel ashamed of being so often overcome on these occasions. I will try to repair my faults."
“Wonderful beneficence! God promises us Heaven for the recompense of His love. Is not His love itself the greatest reward, the most desirable, the most lovely, and the most sweet blessing? Yet a further recompense, and so immense a recompense, waits upon it. Wonderful goodness! Thou givest thy love, and for this thy love thou bestowest on us Paradise.”
O God, who didst endue blessed Thomas, thy bishop, with wondrous gifts of mercy to the poor : we humbly beseech thee ; that, at his intercession, thou wouldest pour forth on all who call upon thee the abundant riches of thy mercy. We pray through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Year 2: Day 265 of 365
Prayer Intentions: True charity and concern for others.
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."