Wednesday, August 14, 2019


ST. MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE


Judith, Chapter 11, Verse 17
Your servant is, indeed, a God-fearing woman, serving the God of heaven night and day. Now I will remain with you, my lord; but each night your servant will go out into the valley and pray to God. He will tell me when they have committed their offenses.

Holofernes and his servants respond to Judith by marveling at her beauty and at her wisdom. Judith is calm and posed while confronting evil in its lair. She like John the baptizer confronts evil yet in the story of Judith; Holofernes will lose his head, while John for the greater glory of God loses his.

John is the greatest of the prophets and arguably the least confused and wisest of Christ's disciples, John has the distinction of being the only other person besides the Blessed Virgin and our Lord whose birthday is celebrated by the Church.[1]

Resting with your Cross[2]

William Johnson a Jesuit writer suggests that we must stay with our painful experiences and summit ourselves to the “Prayer of the Suffering.” He suggests one must simply sit and accept one’s cross, accept it totally, unreservedly whether it is physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. It is the prayer of silent acceptance. The pain is not a distraction but the substance of our prayer. One unites one’s suffering with that of Jesus on the cross: for the salvation of the world or for particular people. The cross may arise from the ache of loneliness, the torment of betrayal, failure, fear of dying or the loss of one’s good name. Whatever the cause; Sit with it, don’t run away; don’t try to escape. Don’t fight. Sit with your cross.

St. Maximillian Kolbe[3]

Born Raymond Kolbe in Poland, Jan. 8, 1894, he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order where he was ordained a priest in 1918. Father Maximilian returned to Poland in 1919 and began spreading his Militia of the Immaculata movement of Marian consecration (whose members are also called MIs), which he founded on October 16, 1917. In 1927, he established an evangelization center near Warsaw called Niepokalanow, the "City of the Immaculata." By 1939, the City had expanded from eighteen friars to an incredible 650, making it the largest Catholic religious house in the world. To better "win the world for the Immaculata," the friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques. This enabled them to publish countless catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million. Maximilian started a shortwave radio station and planned to build a motion picture studio--he was a true "apostle of the mass media." He established a City of the Immaculata in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1930, and envisioned missionary centers worldwide. Maximilian was a ground-breaking theologian. His insights into the Immaculate Conception anticipated the Marian theology of the Second Vatican Council and further developed the Church's understanding of Mary as "Mediatrix" of all the graces of the Trinity, and as "Advocate" for God's people. In 1941, the Nazis imprisoned Father Maximilian in the Auschwitz death camp. There he offered his life for another prisoner and was condemned to slow death in a starvation bunker. On August 14, 1941, his impatient captors ended his life with a fatal injection. Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a "martyr of charity" in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is considered a patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement and the chemically addicted.

Militia of the Immaculata


Things to Do:

·         From the Catholic Culture library, read The Holy Spirit and Mary, an explanation of St. Maximillian's Marian theology and Maximillian Kolbe, Apostle of Mary by Fr. John Hardon.
·         Offer a Mass.
·         Say a rosary for those who suffer in the world today from man's inhumanity.
·         Pray for an end to abortion, our nation's own holocaust.
·         Read about Auschwitz and ponder the modern gas chambers (abortion, euthanasia, public school, cnn) in every state of our Union and resolve to do all that you can to end the killing.

Blessing of Herbs and Fruits[4]

The Church "baptized" an old pre-Christian belief in the great healing power of herbs picked in August by instituting a ritual for the blessing of herbs and fruits on the Feast of the Assumption. Since that time, Christians from both East and West have blessed herbs and fruit on the Feast of the Assumption in the belief that these sacramentals provide protection against harm and danger. But this custom also hearkens back to the Hebrew observance of the harvest, and more importantly, it teaches us something about our Lady's role in the economy of salvation. Eve foolishly used herbs (fig leaves) to hide and aggravate her sin, thereby bringing about a disorder of body and soul (Gen. 3.7). By contrast, Mary, the new Eve whose soul and body are untouched by sin or the decay of death (as we celebrate on this day), foreshadows a healing of our corporeal frailties, a healing represented by herbs. Likewise, fruits are an appropriate symbol for the new Eve because she never ate of the forbidden fruit but brought forth only the fruit of good works and, most importantly, the Fruit of her womb, Jesus Christ. The blessed fruit thus betokens the fruit of a holy and generous life which we are called to enjoy from our Lord through the patronage of His mother. In any case the solemn blessing of herbs and fruits on this day became so popular that in central Europe August 15 was simply called Our Lady's Herb Day. Usually these blessings would take place before Mass and would involve whatever was brought by the congregation to the church. Afterwards the herbs would be kept for medicinal use while the fruit would be served at dinner. The following is one of the special blessings from the Roman ritual that is used for herbs and fruits on Assumption Day:


O God, who by Moses Thy servant didst command the children of Israel to carry their sheaves of new fruits to the priests for a blessing, to take the finest fruits of the orchards, and to make merry before Thee, the Lord their God: Kindly hear our supplications, and pour forth the abundance of Thy blessing upon us and upon these sheaves of new grain, new herbs, and assortment of fruits, which we gratefully present to Thee and which we bless on this feast in Thy name. And grant that men, cattle, sheep, and beasts of burden may find in them a remedy against sickness, pestilence, sores, injuries, spells, the poison of snakes, and the bites of other venomous and nonvenomous creatures. And may they bring protection against diabolical illusions, machinations, and deceptions wherever they are kept or carried, or with whatever arrangement is made of them: that with sheaves of good works and through the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Feast of the Assumption we celebrate, we may deserve to be lifted up to heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God unto endless ages. Amen.

The blessing of herbs and fruits has also led to the lovely custom of giving and receiving baskets of fruit on the Feast of the Assumption, a custom which was especially popular in Sicily.


Blessing of Nature[5]

August 15th is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and just as Mary's assumption into heaven signifies her purity of body and soul, so too does it remind us of her freedom from the curses of the Fall, such as having to live by the sweat of one's brow on a land that yields only thorns and thistles (Gen. 3.18,19). It is perhaps for this reason that the Feast or the Octave of the Assumption was a favorite time for blessing the scene of man's labors, especially those related to the production of food. In Western Europe, for example, fields would often be blessed by the parish priest, while in America and Latin countries Assumption Day is traditionally the occasion for blessing the fishing fleets of coastal towns. Also tying into this theme of nature is the German and Austrian time Mary is invoked for assistance or thanked for the autumn harvest of grains. This period lasts from Assumption Day until September 15, the Feast of the Seven custom of Our Lady's Thirty Days (Frauendreissiger), during which Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin. Legend states that nature is particularly benign during this time: snakes do not bite, wild animals do not attack, and food picked within the thirty days is especially wholesome. Finally, parts of England and Ireland observe Our Lady's Health Bathing, where bathing in rivers, lakes, the ocean, or any natural body of water is considered particularly good for one's health.


Be generous and plan a trip with friends and family for a little of our Lady’s Health Bathing.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood




[2] Max Olivia, The Masculine Spirit, 1997.
[3]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2017-08-14

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