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SAINT MOTHER THEODORE GUERIN 2 Maccabees, Chapter 15, Verse 18 They were not so much concerned about wives and children, or family an...

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

FEAST OF ST. JAMES

2 Maccabees, Chapter 8, Verse 16
Maccabeus assembled his forces, six thousand strong, and exhorted them not to be panic-stricken before the enemy, nor to fear the very large number of Gentiles unjustly attacking them, but to fight nobly.

Judas sums up their theological position before the battle succinctly: Our opponents trust in weapons and strategy, whereas we simply trust in an all-powerful God.[1]

Fight or die[2]

One of the greatest temptations in the Catholic life is that of complacency. We go through the motions, attending Mass on Sunday and maybe going to a parish program or two, but the Faith never really penetrates deep into our souls. It remains a superficial reality; just another thing to do in our comfortable, civilized lives. We love to complain about the problems in the Church—rending our garments over this bad bishop or this corrupt priest. We ask: Where are the saints of the modern Church? Where are the holy men and women who can be shining lights in this dark world? We lament the state of things, never realizing that it is that God has called us to be saints. It is we who must strive for sanctity as if our lives depended on it—because they do.

Fight for the Crown of Eternal Life

Jesus Christ is calling you and me to rise above satisfaction and mediocrity and to pursue greatness. He does not want us to muddle through the Christian life. He wants us to fight nobly for the crown of eternal life. “Fight your way in at the narrow door,” he tells us, “There are many who will try and will not be able to enter.” Now, realize that this spiritual combat does not necessarily mean grandiose outward actions. Most of us are not meant to found a religious order or to convert a far flung nation. The saints constantly tell us that holiness is found in sanctifying our everyday actions, however small they may be. Even so the point is, no one coasts into heaven effortlessly. It doesn’t work that way. We have a powerful enemy who works day and night to destroy us. Every day we encounter temptations internal and external that, if consented to, will destroy our souls. Men, a survey has revealed that 50%—that is 1 in 2—Christian men are addicted to pornography. If you think I am exaggerating the spiritual dangers, you are wrong. There is a war for your soul, and if you are not watchful, if you are not vigilant, if you are not intensely focused on the pursuit of holiness, you will fall away.

Choose Today Who You Will Serve

Holiness begins with a choice: God or the world. Whom will you serve? You can’t have it both ways. As with any war, there is no middle ground. You either fight or die. “You cannot please both God and the world at the same time,” says St. John Vianney, “They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions.” In other words, you can’t pursue the world’s values and ideals while calling yourself a Christian and a Catholic. You can’t hold on to pet sins, abusing God’s mercy by asking his forgiveness, all the while having no real intention to change.

Take up Your Cross

Christ is calling you to take up your Cross and follow him. Doing so will bring you more happiness and more joy than you can possibly imagine. But it will also cost you the comfort and ease the world promises. “You are like crusaders united to fight against the world,” said St. Louis de Montfort, “not like Religious who retreat from the world; lest they be overcome, but like brave and valiant warriors on the battlefield, who refuse to retreat or even yield an inch. Be brave and fight courageously.” Men, if you’ve been mediocre, if you’ve been comfortably complacent, I challenge you today to follow Christ passionately, with all that you are and have. Clothe yourselves in the armor of God and take up the weapons of prayer and penance, calling on the powerful intercession of Our Lady, Help of Christians. Resolve in your heart to do battle, for eternal life, and then “Be brave and fight courageously.” Your soul depends on it.

Feast of St James the Greater, Apostle[3]

JAMES, by birth a Galilean, a son of Zebedee and Salome, was brother to St. John the apostle, with whom he was called by Jesus to follow Him. He was present at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor, at the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead, and other like miracles, and at the bloody sweat in the Garden. After the sending of the Holy Ghost he preached the doctrines of Jesus in Judea, Samaria, and in Jerusalem, where Herod caused him to be beheaded in the year 44. His body was brought to Compostella, in Spain, where it is venerated by vast numbers of the faithful, who make pilgrimages to his grave. St. James was the first of the apostles who shed his blood for Christ.

The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela[4]

The history of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela stretches back more than 1000 years to the discovery of the body of St. James during the reign of King Alfonso II (792-842). St. James was already believed to have been the great evangelist of Spain and for many hundreds of years there had been a scholarly and literary tradition supporting this belief. The discovery of the relics of St. James then became a focal point for pilgrims. Though a few pilgrims to Santiago are recorded in the 10th century, and many more in the 11th, it was in the early 12th century, and particularly under the energetic promotion of Archbishop Diego Gelmírez (1100-1140), that Santiago came to rank with Rome and Jerusalem as one of the great destinations of medieval pilgrimage. The first Cathedral was built over the site of the tomb, and gradually houses were established, for example by monks from Cluny in Burgundy and from Aurillac in Cantal, France, along the developing pilgrimage route.
The 12th and 13th centuries are considered to have been the golden age of the pilgrimage to Santiago. Subsequently the years of the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe led to a decrease in the number of pilgrims. However pilgrims still made their way to Santiago throughout the centuries. In 1884, following academic and medical research, Pope Leon XIII issued the Bull, Deus Omnipotens, which proclaimed that the relics in Santiago were those of St. James. This is recognized as the start of the modern development of the pilgrimage. It was thought that in the 20th Century the growth of mechanized means of transport such as cars and airplanes might lead to a reduction in the number of pilgrims travelling to Santiago on foot or on horseback. This was not to be the case and in the last 30 years in particular there has been a huge growth in interest and in the number of pilgrims travelling on foot, on horseback or by bicycle. Pilgrims were encouraged by the visits by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and in 1989 when World Youth Day was held in Santiago. The number of pilgrims continues to grow. In 1985 1,245 pilgrims arrived in Santiago. In the 2010 Holy Year 272,703 pilgrims qualified for the Compostela.

Bearer of Christ[5]

St. Christopher's feast day is still July 25, and the proper of the Mass in his honor is found in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal still authorized for the Tridentine Mass. The confusion over whether St. Christopher is still a saint arose when Pope Paul VI revised the Liturgical Calendar, which includes the feast days of saints that are commemorated at Mass. Due to the proliferation of the number of feast days over the centuries, the Second Vatican Council in its "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" proposed, "Lest the feasts of the saints should take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation, many of them should be left to be celebrated by a particular Church, or nation, or family of religious. Only those should be extended to the universal Church which commemorate saints who are truly of universal importance" (No. 111). With this in mind, a special commission — Consilium — examined the calendar and removed those saints whose historical base was more grounded on tradition than provable fact, changed the feast days to coincide with the anniversary of a saint's death or martyrdom whenever possible, and added saints that were recently canonized and had universal Church appeal. Moreover, local conferences of bishops could add to the universal calendar those saints important to the faithful in their own country. In no way did the Church "de-canonize" St. Christopher or anyone else, despite the lack of historical evidence surrounding their lives. St. Christopher is still worthy of our devotion and prayers, and each of us should be mindful that he too is called to be a "bearer of Christ."


Daily Devotions/Prayers
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Novena of St. Ann-Day 9

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