ST. GREGORY THE GREAT-SKYSCRAPER DAY
2 Maccabees, Chapter 8, Verse 12-13
When Judas learned of Nicanor’s advance and informed his companions about the approach of the army, 13 those who were FEARFUL and those who lacked faith in God’s justice deserted and got away.
Nicanor had plans to after the defeat of Judas to enslave the Jews as a tribute to be paid to the Romans. The slave traders follow Nicanor like vultures in wait for a meal. Judas’ troops were outnumbered by 3 to 1 due to some of Judas’ army deserted in advance of the enemy selling whatever property that is left but the faithful prepared for battle.
Before our Blessed Lord began his public work, He went into the desert to pray and fast for 40 days. Before He endured His passion and death on the cross, He was in the Garden of Gethsemane consumed in prayer. The example of Christ is clear. Repeatedly the scriptures point out that Jesus prayed constantly. If, He who is the Son of God took prayer so seriously and made it a necessity, then who are we to not see the importance of this powerful connection with God. Prayer is essential to be prepared for the battles we face in this world. It is essential in order for us to have the strength to stand up against the forces that seek to destroy the Catholic Church and/or anything that is ordered, true and holy. One of the most important forms of prayer for every warrior of Christ is the ROSARY. Over and over again we hear from popes, saints and even the Blessed Mother herself (in Church approved apparitions), to make the ROSARY a disciplined part of our daily life.
"Get my weapon." - St. Padre Pio, speaking about the rosary
MEDITATIONS FOR THE FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH.
At the hour of our death, when life, like a false friend, is about to forsake us, we must, in a special manner, increase our confidence in the Heart of Jesus. It is said that Our Lord appeared one day to a holy soul who had conjured Him to grant to a pious person a happy passage from this life, and addressed to her these consoling words:
(My daughter, where is the pilot who, having brought into port a vessel laden with precious stones, sinks it in the sea at the moment of his arrival? Can you suppose that, after having granted so many graces to this soul in the course of her life, I shall abandon her at the end thereof?
Let us lean on the heart of Jesus; and driven on the stormy sea of this world, under the protection which He grants to those who love Him, we shall one day triumphantly enter the desired port, and enjoy the eternal blessings of that holy guidance. Death was always precious in the sight of God, for Jesus was to pass through its portal; it is precious to Him still, for Jesus has died. No one who is devout to the heart of Jesus will fail to find at the moment of his death more excellent and abundant treasures than he had ever expected to receive. Death, precious to Himself, will not Our Lord render it also inexpressibly so to us?
Faith cannot mistake the proofs of His tenderness. If we may venture to say so, the exile of the being He created is a sorrow to Him as much as to the soul itself; for, like a tender father, God desires that His children should be with Him in His kingdom. Of all the hours of life this is the one which is the most precious in the sight of God, exerts the greatest power over His love, and for this very reason has such a mighty influence over His mercy and justice. In order to receive the fulness of the new life to be merited by repentance through the divine reparation every man must undergo the terrible suffering of death; but is not this suffering, caused by sin, like all other trials, a token of love on the part of God?
Without death life could not attain to its end; without death how could the soul ever reach eternal life? The rebel angel escaped the sentence of death, but for him there was no resurrection. It is decreed that man should die, or, rather, the soul, cleansed by the blood of Our Lord, and vivified by His love, passes into eternity before the body which it shall one day glorify; united together they are called by Jesus to reign in heaven in a state so exalted that it could not have been won by primeval innocence.
Even in this world, without awaiting the eternal glorifying of humanity, the most beloved amongst the friends of God experience through their whole being a marvelous transformation which robs death of its terrors, and wholly disengages them from this transitory world. The interior light by which they are led is no longer human, but divine, through Jesus; and a supernatural love is substituted for that natural love which they made their law; and not only are their criminal affections destroyed, but the love of God above all things gives them, even in this life, a foretaste of heaven. They feel no longer an engrossing care for the preservation of the body, but sigh after death, crying incessantly to God, with St. Paul, " I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. They exult when they hear the clock strike, at the thought that one hour less remains for them to pass in this exile; death is no longer a passage of sorrow, but the desired way by which they shall go to the Lord; they sigh after it, they desire it, and would fain hasten the moment of its approach by the ardor of their desire for the enjoyment of a never-ending eternity. One single thing restrains them: it is when the perfection of love imposes on them a law of charity yet stronger, which would detain them in this world for the glory of God and the good of their brethren; "for," says St. Teresa, "thus do souls arrive at a strict union with Jesus."
Thus ardently they have desired to die in order to enjoy the presence of Our Lord; this is their martyrdom that their exile is prolonged; yet they are so inflamed with the desire of knowing Him, of making His name hallowed, of being useful to the souls of others, that far from sighing after death they would wish to live for many years, even amidst the greatest sufferings, too happy in being able to add to the glory of their divine Master.
Perfect submission in death is an act of entire adoration, a magnificent profession of faith and praise; its beauty consists in the cheerful and ready sacrifice which the creature makes to the Creator of the life which He had given, shadowing forth God’s power in all its grandeur. Death beholds the soul already in adoration annihilated at the thought of the near approach of eternity; this, we may well imagine, is the kind of death the angels love to contemplate. The soul takes to itself no merit, places no trust on the way in which it has served God, and de sires to possess even the smallest consolation the Church can be stow. It is specially attracted by the sanctity of God, which makes it aspire to become pure, pure almost beyond conception, in order to appear before the inviolable majesty of God; relying only on His mercy; never losing its confidence in the greatness of the divine compassion, but fearing lest its offences may be beyond the reach of pardon; dying the death of a child, with its eyes fixed on the countenance of its tender Father. Why, then, when in a state of grace, should we entertain a fear of death?
"Whosoever dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God abides in him." He who loves God is then sure of His grace, and dying in this state is certain of enjoying forever the sovereign good in the habitations of the elect. And can such a one fear death?
David has, however, said that no living man is entirely pure in the sight of God. Thus no one should have the presumption to hope for salvation through his own merits; for, except Jesus and Mary, no one was ever exempt from sin. But we need not fear death when we have a true sorrow for our faults, and place our confidence in the merits of Jesus, Who came on this earth in order to redeem and save sinners, for whom He shed His blood, for whom He died. The blood of Jesus Christ," says the Apostle, cries more loudly in favor of sinners than the blood of Abel for vengeance against Cain."
Grace transforms into a brilliant light that which by its nature was plunged in darkness and obscurity, and the plaintive cry of our misery is changed into a song of triumph; for the fetters which yet separate the soul of the dying from the heavenly Jerusalem are so near being severed asunder that the triumphant alleluias of heaven mingle with the lamentations of earth, and the last gaze of repentant love is tenderly fixed on the crucifix till earth fades from view. The transit of the creature from time to eternity is dear to the Creator; for precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
"Let us throw aside, then, those vain fears of death, and regard it as a tribute which all must pay to nature. Let us be ready cheerfully to leave this world when Our Lord shall call us to the land where the saints await us, and where we shall meet those who have instructed us in the faith, and whose victory will in some measure supply for the negligence with which we have performed our own duties toward our heavenly Father. Let us unite ourselves to those glorious troops of blessed spirits who are seated in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; into which the good thief entered in triumph after a life of sin, and now enjoys, in the company of the elect, the ineffable delights of paradise; where there is no darkness nor storms, no intense heat, excessive cold, sickness, or sorrow; and where there is no need of the light of the sun, because the Sun of justice alone enlightens the heavenly Jerusalem.
We read the following touching account in the life of St. Gertrude: The saint once heard a preacher insist strongly on the strict obligation of a dying person to love God above all things, and to entertain for his sins a contrition founded on love. She believed this to be an exaggerated doctrine, and that if pure love was necessary very few persons would die in the proper dispositions. She became interiorly disturbed, and a cloud obscured her mind; but Our Lord Himself vouchsafed to dispel her fears, telling her " that in the last struggle, if the dying person had during life sought to please Him, and to lead a Christian life, He would so mercifully reveal Himself that His love would penetrate into the inmost folding’s of the heart, causing it by His presence to make acts of the most perfect contrition"; and, added Our Lord, " I would have My elect to know with what a great desire I wish them to be united to Me at that important moment. Let this be made known, so that men may rely no less on this last merciful grace than on all the others which My love has lavished upon them." Let us propagate this consoling truth, so well calculated to inflame our hearts with the most lively love for so merciful a God.
Let us pray to the agonizing heart of Jesus for the one hundred fifty thousand persons who, it is computed, die daily in this world.
O sweet Jesus! grant that I may die the death of those de voted to Thy divine heart.
[His Holiness Pius IX., by a brief dated 29th September, 1859, granted an indulgence of three hundred days, extended afterwards by a new re script to three years, and a plenary indulgence once a month, on the usual conditions, to the recital of the following prayers. They are applicable to the faithful departed. Intentions to be made during Mass, either at the offertory, immediately after the consecration, or at the communion of the priest.]
Eternal Father, I offer to Thee the sacrifice which Thy divine Son made of Himself on the cross, which sacrifice He now renews on our altars. I offer it in the name of all mankind, with the Masses which are now being celebrated, and which will be celebrated throughout the world, in order to adore Thee and render Thee all possible honor and glory; to thank Thee for Thy innumerable benefits; to appease Thy justice, provoked by our sins; to give Thee the satisfaction Thou dost expect, also to obtain grace for myself, for Thy Church, and for the whole world, as also for the souls in purgatory. O Lord, I offer Thee the Masses which are being said throughout the world, in the name of all mankind, for Thy glory and the salvation and benefit of Thy creatures. O Lord, I desire to offer up myself to Thee for all the intentions for which Thou now offerest Thyself to God Thy Father.
St. Gregory the Great’s 30 Masses
The history of the “Thirty Mass” practice goes back to the year 590 A.D. in St. Andrew’s Monastery in Rome, founded by St. Gregory the Great in his own family villa around 570. It is now known as the Monastery of St. Gregory the Great. The account of the incident which gave rise to it is recounted by St. Gregory himself in his Dialogues.
After his election as Pope in 590, one of the monks, Justus by name, became ill. So he admitted to a lay friend, Copiosus, that he had hidden three gold pieces among his medications years before, when he was professed a monk. Both, in fact, were former physicians. And sure enough, the other monks found the gold when seeking the medication for Justus.
The founder and former abbot of the monastery, now Pope Gregory, hearing of this scandalous sin against the monastic Rule, called in the new Abbot of his beloved monastery, and ordered the penalty of solitary confinement for Justus, even though he was dying, and ordered that his burial not be in the cemetery but in the garbage dump. Copiosus told his wretched friend of this decision. Moreover, the community were to recite over his dreadful grave the words of St. Peter to Simon the Magician: “May your money perish with you” (Acts 8:20).
Let us pray here for all the Bishops
and Priest who chose Gold over the Eucharist in response to the COVID 19.
The Pope’s desired result was achieved: Justus made a serious repentance, and all the monks a serious examination of conscience. Justus then died, but the matter did not, for thirty days later Pope Gregory returned to the monastery filled with concern for Justus, who would now be suffering the grim temporal punishment of Purgatory’s fire for his sins. “We must,” said Gregory to the Abbot, “come by charity to his aid, and as far as possible help him to escape this chastisement. Go and arrange thirty Masses for his soul, so that for thirty consecutive days the Saving Victim is immolated for him without fail.” And so, it was done.
Some days later, the deceased monk, Justus, appeared in a vision to his friend Copiosus and said, “I have just received the Communion pardon and release from Purgatory because of the Masses said for me.” The monks did a calculation, and noted that it was exactly thirty days since the thirty Masses had begun for Justus. They shared this great consolation with each other, with their Abbott and with Pope Gregory. The Pope included a full account of this episode.
The construction of tall buildings has become so commonplace in cities around the globe that the general public gives little thought to the visionaries responsible for creating a city’s unique skyline. Skyscraper day provides the opportunity to learn more about the architects who commit a dream to paper and the construction crews that make it reality. Whoever it was that first considered placing dwellings on top of each other instead of side-by-side would be astounded at how modern buildings literally seem to touch the sky. What they may also find interesting is the status that is often attached to living or working at the highest level. Although this analogy is obvious there is another to be drawn from the consequences of a power failure. These are just a few aspects to ponder on a day that is set aside to reflect on man’s apparent conquest of upper space.
Recognizing that God the Father created man on Friday the 6th day I propose in this blog to have an entry that shares on how to recreate and renew yourself in strength, mind, soul and heart.
Be smart when sunbathing
· Everyone knows that a nice tan gives a healthy glow, so as soon as summer comes, we rush to enjoy sunbathing. However, the research show that excessive and irresponsible sunbathing can cause skin problems including skin cancer. Despite all potential threats to enjoy the sun, sunbathing can be healthy if you take all measures to protect your skin from harmful sun rays. Here are some tips for you when and how to enjoy the sun in order to get a healthy tan without any trouble.
· Every time when you face the sun use a sunscreen with SPF protection. Apply a sunscreen all over your body and face at least 30 minutes before sunbathing so that your skin could absorb the cream. When you are in the sun reapply sunscreen every 30 minutes. Also, don’t forget a sunscreen to your lips as they are very sensitive to the sun.
· First time you shouldn’t stay in the sun for more than 15 minutes. Let your skin to get used to the sun. Then you can gradually increase the time you spend in the sun for 5-10 minutes every time.
· Stay in the sun before the noon or just after 3 p.m. Time from 12 a.m. to 3 p.m. is the most dangerous because the sun causes the most damage at this time.
· Don’t forget to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Make sure to wear sunglasses as the sun can violate your retina.
your skin after sunbathing. The best moisturizers contain aloe vera which has
soothing properties and helps to restore moisture balance of skin cells.
35 Promises of God cont.
surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare
and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
- Unite yourself in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: The Pope
The Collegeville Bible Commentary, 1986.