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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

FEAST OF ST. ANN

2 Maccabees, Chapter 9, Verse 29
His foster brother Philip brought the body home; but fearing Antiochus’ son, he later withdrew into Egypt, to Ptolemy Philometor.

God punishes Antiochus IV and after a horrible demise he dies. Philip then skedaddles back to safe turf after dumping the body off. Can anyone really find peace without God?

Peace[1]

"Peace" is a biblical term. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for peace is shalôm. Literally, it means "to be complete or whole". Shalôm is used in many different ways in the Old Testament. It can mean general prosperity or well-being, safety or success, harmony among friends and family members; and harmony among nations. When used as a greeting or as a blessing it conveys the notion that one is wishing all good things to the person addressed. When the Hebrew of the Old Testament came in contact with the Greek world after Alexander the Great, the text was translated into a version of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint. As with many biblical terms, the merging of Hebrew and Greek words and ideas provided a rich vocabulary for the sacred authors to express the word of God. Many Greek words were used in an attempt to capture the richness of the Hebrew concept of shalôm, but the most common was eirene. In classical Greek, this term denotes the state that is the opposite of war or civil disturbance. Eirene also was used to speak of an inner peace, in which a person had no conflicts or hostile feelings. Under the influence of Jewish religion and Greek philosophy, the term evolved to refer to ethical goodness. So Christians who were native speakers of Greek began to use eirene when speaking of the "the good that comes from God either in this age or the age of salvation". The richness of the word as we use it today can be traced back to this understanding. Because peace is so important for individuals and for society, we must know how to achieve and maintain peace. But to achieve each kind of peace requires that we understand the methods proper to each. Psychologists can help a person achieve inner harmony and may be able to offer advice on family dynamics and difficulties, but they are not usually the best source for spiritual guidance, and they certainly are not the frontline defenders of the civic order. In the same way, we must not believe that friendly feelings towards the people of another country will suffice to keep us at peace with them. When it comes to achieving and maintaining peace, like in many things in life, it is vital to use the right "tool" for the right job. Two examples should help illustrate this point. The first has to do with maintaining peace with God. The second has to do with establishing peace among nations. Peace with God is God’s gift to us. God alone can place us in right relationship with him. This teaching is clear in both the Old and the New Testaments. God initiated the covenant with man, restored it when we fell, and fulfilled it in Jesus Christ. With Gideon we can say that "the Lord is our peace". As Christians, we know that God dwells in us making us temples of the Holy Spirit. He promised us that he would provide for all our needs and that "all things would work together for good for those that love God and are called according to his purposes". We are told that without him we can do nothing, but that, in him, we are "more than conquerors". Thus, for those who have accepted Christ, if we put these teachings together, we recognize that nothing ought to rob us of our peace. This is the main point of Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart, a book written by Fr. Jacques Philippe, a French priest working in Rome. It is the type of essay one can return to again and again for solace and motivation. In it, Fr. Philippe boldly proclaims, "The reasons why we lose our peace are always bad reasons" because God gives his peace as a gift to those who entrust themselves to him. Jesus told his disciples: "Peace I leave with you, my own peace I give you; a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid". This peace is no superficial freedom from conflicts or difficulties, but a deep, abiding inner peace that comes from union with and confidence in God.
Feast of Saint Ann, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary[2]

ALL that we know of St. Ann is that she was married to St. Joachim of the tribe of David, and lived with him in all virtue and piety, but for a long time was childless. This she bore with all patience, till at last the Lord heard her supplications, and made her the mother of the most blessed Virgin. This distinction on the part of God is praise enough for her. On this account the faithful have always shown great veneration for her, and continually invoke her intercession. “Let us all rejoice in the Lord, keeping festival in honor of St. Ann, on whose solemnity the angels rejoice, and with one voice praise the Son of God. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my works to the King.”

The Mysterious Relics of Saint Anne[3]

On Easter AD 792, Charlemagne discovered the relics of Saint Anne. Below is the account, preserved in the correspondence of Pope Saint Leo III, concerning the mysterious discovery of the relics of Saint Anne.

Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, Saint Mary Magdalen, Saint Martha, Saint Lazarus, and the others of the little band of Christians who were piled into a boat without sails or oars and pushed out to sea to perish — in the persecution of the Christians by the Jews of Jerusalem — were careful to carry with them the tenderly loved body of Our Lady’s mother. They feared lest it be profaned in the destruction, which Jesus had told them was to come upon Jerusalem. When, by the power of God, their boat survived and finally drifted to the shores of France, the little company of saints buried Saint Anne’s body in a cave, in a place called Apt, in the south of France. The church, which was later built over the spot, fell into decay because of wars and religious persecutions, and as the centuries passed, the place of Saint Anne’s tomb was forgotten. The long years of peace, which Charlemagne’s wise rule gave to southern France, enabled the people to build a magnificent new church on the site of the old chapel at Apt. Extraordinary and painstaking labor went into the building of the great structure, and when the day of its consecration arrived, the beloved Charlemagne, little suspecting what was in store for him, declared himself happy indeed to have journeyed so many miles to be present for the holy occasion. At the most solemn part of the ceremonies, a boy of fourteen, blind, deaf and dumb from birth — and usually quiet and impassive — to the amazement of those who knew him, completely distracted the attention of the entire congregation by becoming suddenly tremendously excited. He rose from his seat, walked up the aisle to the altar steps, and to the consternation of the whole church, struck his stick resoundingly again and again upon a single step. His embarrassed family tried to lead him out, but he would not budge. He continued frantically to pound the step, straining with his poor muted senses to impart a knowledge sealed hopelessly within him. The eyes of the people turned upon the emperor, and he, apparently inspired by God, took the matter into his own hands. He called for workmen to remove the steps. A subterranean passage was revealed directly below the spot, which the boy’s stick had indicated. Into this passage the blind lad jumped, to be followed by the emperor, the priests, and the workmen. They made their way in the dim light of candles, and when, farther along the passage, they came upon a wall that blocked further advance, the boy signed that this also should be removed. When the wall fell, there was brought to view still another long, dark corridor. At the end of this, the searchers found a crypt, upon which, to their profound wonderment, a vigil lamp, alight and burning in a little walled recess, cast a heavenly radiance. As Charlemagne and his afflicted small guide, with their companions, stood before the lamp, its light went out. And at the same moment, the boy, blind and deaf and dumb from birth, felt sight and hearing and speech flood into his young eyes, his ears, and his tongue. “It is she! It is she!” he cried out. The great emperor, not knowing what he meant, nevertheless repeated the words after him. The call was taken up by the crowds in the church above, as the people sank to their knees, bowed in the realization of the presence of something celestial and holy. The crypt at last was opened, and a casket was found within it. In the casket was a winding sheet, and in the sheet were relics, and upon the relics was an inscription that read, “Here lies the body of Saint Anne, mother of the glorious Virgin Mary.” The winding sheet, it was noted, was of eastern design and texture. Charlemagne, overwhelmed, venerated with profound gratitude the relics of the mother of Heaven’s Queen.

Daily Devotions/Prayers
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Novena to the Holy Face-Day 1




[1]https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/a-primer-on-peace
[2] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

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