Monday, May 22, 2023
Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
ST. RITA OF CASSIA-BIO Day
Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, Verse 21-22
21 Should you say to yourselves, “How can we recognize that a word is one the LORD has not spoken?”, 22 if a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD but the word does not come true, it is a word the LORD did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not FEAR him.
Even saints at times may have spoken presumptuously. Let us meditate on the words of Padre Pio, “Love and fear must go united together, fear without love becomes cowardice. Love without fear becomes presumption. When there is love without fear, love runs without prudence and without restraint, without taking care where it is going.”
This is the great beauty of the Holy Spirit for it tells us when even a very holy person speaks not every word they speak comes from God. We error sometimes in this way, making men into gods; but a heart that is filled with the spirit of God is filled with quiet joy and even if the person were to be imprisoned, they can find true freedom; because of the inner security of the heart. Let us never forget that Satan does his utmost to destroy mankind. In a thousand ways he plots and wars against God and tries to usurp His throne. On this subject, the following instruction given by Our Blessed Mother to Venerable Mary d' Agreda, is worth quoting: "My daughter," she says, "by no power of human words wilt thou in this mortal life ever succeed in describing the evil of Lucifer and his demons against men, or the malice, astuteness, deceits and ruses, with which, in his wrath, he seeks to bring them into sin and later on to eternal torments. He tries to hinder all good works . . . All the malice of which his own mind is capable, he attempts to inject into souls. Against these attacks, God provides admirable protection if men will only co-operate and correspond on their part." Among the means provided by God for our protection, is the ready recourse we may have at all times to the strengthening Blood of Christ. "This Blood," declares St. John Chrysostom, "has the power to drive away the evil spirits and to draw to our side the good angels, aye, the King of Angels, and to blazen the way to Heaven." Fortified by the Precious Blood, let us place ourselves under the leadership of St. Michael and unfurl everywhere the banner of our Faith, without fear of godlessness. If Satan tries to induce us to sin, and promises honors, riches, happiness on conditions that we omit a good work, or commit an evil deed, let us ever oppose the tempter with the energetic words: Who is like unto God? God is my only treasure, my highest Good, His Blood is upon me, and "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil." If in time of temptation, we have the courage to rebuke the evil one and call upon the assistance of our leader, St. Michael, the enemy will surely be put to flight. But if we wish to enjoy the great Archangel's protection, we must also imitate his virtues, particularly his humility and his zeal for God's glory.
"O great St. Michael, take us 'neath thy shield, Thy mighty power in our favor wield!"
Preparing for Battle Know Your Weapons
The weapon of Sacred Sacraments
· Baptism. Baptism is a sacrament of liberation and deliverance from Satan and his realm.
· Reconciliation. Each time we sin, the Devil strengthens his grip on us; that is why it’s so important to go to sacramental Confession regularly.
· The Eucharist. Mass is a great defense against the assault of the Devil. Before Him the all-conquering power, the demons must flee. “We must return from that Table like lions breathing fire, having become terrifying to the Devil!”
· Confirmation. To confirm means to make strong.
· Anointing of the Sick. Illness, especially serious illness, can be a trial in which Satan comes to tempt us to be overcome by fear, discouragement, doubt, and even despair.
· Matrimony. The Devil’s first attack on the human race was focused on a married couple. The home must become a sanctuary, a holy place, a fortress against Satan’s assaults.
· Holy Orders. The sacrament through which Christ’s mission for the Church continues to be exercised until the end of the world.
St. Rita of Cassia
Rita's childhood was one of happiness to her parents. To satisfy her desire of a life of union with God by prayer, her parents fitted up a little room in their home as an oratory, where she spent all her spare moments. At the age of twelve, however, she desired to consecrate herself to God in the religious state. Pious though her parents were, their tearful pleadings to postpone her noble purpose prevailed on Rita, and they gave her in marriage, at the age of eighteen, to an impulsive, irascible young man, who was well fitted to try the patience and virtue of the holy girl.
Two sons were born to them, each inheriting their father's quarrelsome temperament. Rita continued her accustomed devotions, and her sanctity and prayers finally won her husband's heart so that he willingly consented that she continue her acts of devotion. Eighteen years had elapsed since her marriage, when her husband was murdered by an old enemy; both of her sons died shortly after. Rita's former desire to consecrate herself to God again took possession of her.
Three times she sought admittance among the Augustinian Nuns in Cascia, but her request was refused each time, and she returned to her home in Rocca Porrena. God Himself, however, supported her cause. One night as Rita was praying earnestly in her humble home, she heard herself called by name, while someone knocked at the door. In a miraculous way she was conducted to the monastic enclosure, no entrance having been opened. Astonished at the miracle, the Nuns received Rita, and soon enrolled her among their number.
St. Rita's hidden, simple life in religion was distinguished by obedience and charity; she performed many extreme penances. After hearing a sermon on the Passion of Christ she returned to her cell; kneeling before her crucifix, she implored: "Let me, my Jesus share in Thy suffering, at least of one of Thy thorns". Her prayer was answered. Suddenly one of the thorns detached and fastened itself in her forehead so deeply that she could not remove it. The wound became worse, and gangrene set in. Because of the foul odor emanating from the wound, she was denied the companionship of the other Sisters, and this for fifteen years. Miraculous power was soon recognized in Rita. When Pope Nicholas IV proclaimed a jubilee at Rome, Rita desired to attend. Permission was granted on condition that her wound would be healed. This came about only for the duration of the trip. Upon her return to the monastery the wound from the thorn reappeared and remained until her death. As St. Rita was dying, she requested a relative to bring her a rose from her old home at Rocca Porrena. Although it was not the season for roses, the relative went and found a rose in full bloom. For this reason, roses are blessed in the Saint's honor.
After St. Rita's death, in 1457, her face became beautifully radiant, while the odor from her wound was as fragrant as that of the roses she loved so much. The sweet odor spread through the convent and into the church, where it has continued ever since. Her body has remained incorrupt to this day; the face is beautiful and well preserved. When St. Rita died the lowly cell was aglow with heavenly light, while the great bell of the monastery rang of itself. A relative with a paralyzed arm, upon touching the sacred remains, was cured. A carpenter, who had known the Saint, offered to make the coffin. Immediately he recovered the use of his long-stiffened hands.
As one of the solemn acts of his jubilee, Pope Leo XIII canonized St. Rita on the Feast of the Ascension, May 24, 1900.
Patron: Abuse victims; against loneliness; against sterility; bodily ills; DESPERATE CAUSES; difficult marriages; forgotten causes; IMPOSSIBLE CAUSES; infertility; lost causes; parenthood; sick people; sickness; sterility; victims of physical spouse abuse; widows; wounds.
Things to Do:
- From the Catholic Culture library: St. Rita of Cascia and A Life of Heroic Humility and Obedience.
- Visit the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cassia and read this life of St. Rita
- Watch this videos of St. Rita's life here and here
- Visit the Shrine of Santa Rita in the Desert in Vail, Arizona
International Day for Biological Diversity
The International Day for Biological Diversity aims to raise awareness and understanding of biological diversity and issues surrounding it. The day also serves to highlight possible strategies to protect biodiversity, which refers to the variety of life on the planet. Today, habitats are degrading and leading to a reduction in biodiversity, a problem that directly affects human well-being, poverty reduction and global sustainable development. The International Day for Biological Diversity was proclaimed in December of 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is celebrated annually on May 22, a day that commemorates the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992.
International Day for Biological Diversity Facts & Quotes
· According to the UN, more than 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods and 1.6 billion people rely on forests and non-timber forest products for their livelihoods.
· Habitat degradation and the loss of biodiversity are currently threatening the livelihood of over 1 billion people who live in dry and subhumid climates.
· Over 50% of the world’s plant species and 42% of all terrestrial vertebrate species are native to a specific country and do not naturally exist elsewhere.
· We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity. – E. O. Wilson, American biologist, researcher, theorist and author.
Day for Biological Diversity Top Events and Things to Do
· Watch a movie or documentary on the importance and irreplaceability of the world’s biodiversity. Some suggestions are: The Cove, Oceans, Plastic Planet and the 11th hour.
· Spread awareness on social media by using the hashtags #InternationalDayForBiologicalDiversity, #IDBD and #BiologicalDiversity.
· Join the international Day for Biological Diversity Google Hangout where you can video stream yourself and with other people to discuss biological diversity with like-minded individuals.
· Organize or participate in a local cleanup effort. Biodiversity is very negatively impacted by human trash and pollution.
· Donate to the center for biological diversity. All funds are put towards securing a future for all species hovering on the brink of extinction with a focus on protecting lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. Consider funds like WWF, the Animal Project and Defenders of Wildlife.
· Visit Biosphere 2 is an American Earth system science research facility located in Oracle, Arizona.
Why should Catholics care?
The Church’s social teaching calls on Catholics to uphold the life and dignity of every human person, to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters worldwide, and to care for God’s creation. Since the extraction of oil, gas, minerals, and timber affects the poor most acutely, the Church has been addressing issues related to extractive industries around the world. Catholic agencies and affected people have been engaged in advocacy with their own governments, international financial institutions, and extractives companies, urging them to become more transparent, to reduce the negative impacts of resource extraction on people and the environment, and to increase benefits for the poor most especially.
In the U.S. bishops’ first statement on environmental matters, renewing the Earth (1991), they draw attention to the ethical dimensions of the ecological crisis, exploring the link between ecology and poverty and the implications for human life and dignity. Bishops of every part of the world have expressed concern regarding extractive industries. Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI, expanding on the issue of the environment in Caritas in Veritate, stated: Let us hope that the international community and individual governments will succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment. It is likewise incumbent upon the competent authorities to make every effort to ensure that the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations: the protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate obliges all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet (No. 50).
Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most
Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Hold Nothing Back from Christ
30. In the Sequence “Lauda Sion Salvatorem” for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Saint Thomas Aquinas invites us to hold back nothing as the most appropriate response to the gift of Jesus Himself in the Eucharist: “Quantum potes, tantum aude, quia maior omni laude nec laudare sufficis. Dare as much as you can: because He is greater than any praise, nor can you praise him enough.” “Quantum potes” means “however much you can” and “tantum aude”, which means “as much as you dare.” This is the most appropriate response to such an awesome gift, to go all out in our response to Jesus’ most extravagant gift of Himself.
31. In response to this great gift, many missionaries throughout history have given up everything, even having a family of their own and left their homeland to bring the message of God’s love and the Eucharist to so many parts of the world. In response, many men and women religious have consecrated their lives to adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament within the four walls of their convent and monastery. In response, countless martyrs throughout the centuries, like the ones of early third-century persecution at Abitina in Tunisia, were willing to submit to tortures and death rather than deny the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. And in response, many believers, even those of today, have made a commitment to come to daily Mass and even to adoration to be with Jesus in the Eucharist. The question we must ask ourselves is: What is our response?
32. “Quantum potes, tantum aude, quia maior omni laude nec laudare sufficis”. Indeed, we are to hold back nothing, but in turn, give ourselves completely to the Lord who has given Himself entirely to us in the Eucharist. The only appropriate response to this great gift is to order our whole life, first, on receiving the gift and then imitating it, offering our own body and blood, our sweat and tears, our whole heart, all we have and are to Jesus in the service and love for our brothers and sisters as Jesus has done for us.
Devotions for Holy Communion
SHORTER ACTS BEFORE COMMUNION.
My beloved Jesus, true Son of God, Who didst die for me on the cross in a sea of sorrows and ignominy, I firmly believe that Thou art present in the Most Holy Sacrament; and for this faith I am ready to give up my life.
My dear Redeemer, I hope by Thy goodness, and through the merits of Thy blood, that when Thou dost come to me this morning Thou wilt inflame me with Thy holy love, and wilt give me all those graces which I need to keep me obedient and faithful to Thee till death.
Ah, my God, true and only lover of my soul, what couldst Thou do more to oblige me to love Thee? Thou wast not satisfied, my Love, with dying for me, but Thou wouldst also institute the Most Holy Sacrament, making Thyself my food, and giving Thyself all to me, thus uniting Thyself most closely to such a miserable and ungrateful creature. Thou dost Thyself invite me to receive Thee, and dost greatly desire that I should receive Thee. O infinite love! A God gives Himself all to me! O my God, O Infinite Love, worthy of infinite love, I love Thee above all things; I love Thee with all my heart; I love Thee more than myself, more than my life; I love Thee because Thou art worthy of being loved; and I love Thee also to please Thee, since Thou dost desire my love. Depart from my soul, all ye earthly affections; to Thee alone, my Jesus, my treasure, my all, will I give all my love. This morning Thou dost give Thyself all to me, and I give myself all to Thee. Permit me to love Thee; for I desire none but Thee, and nothing but what is pleasing to Thee. I love Thee, O my Savior, and I unite my poor love to the love of all the angels and saints, and of Thy Mother Mary, and the love of Thy Eternal Father. Oh, that I could see Thee loved by all! Oh, that I could make Thee loved by all men, and loved as much as Thou dost deserve!
Behold, O my Jesus, I am now about to draw near to feed on Thy most sacred flesh! Ah, my God, who am I? and "Who art Thou? Thou art a Lord of infinite goodness, and I am a loathsome worm, defiled by so many sins, and who have driven Thee out of my soul so often.
Lord, I am not worthy to remain in Thy presence; I ought to be in hell forever, far away, and abandoned by Thee. But out of Thy goodness Thou callest me to receive Thee; behold, I come, I come humbled and in confusion for the great displeasure I have given Thee, but trusting entirely to Thy mercy and to the love Thou hast for me. I am exceedingly sorry, O my loving Redeemer, for having so often offended Thee in time past. Thou didst even give Thy life for me; and I have so often despised Thy grace and Thy love, and have exchanged Thee for nothing. I repent, and am sorry with all my heart for every offence which I have offered Thee, whether grievous or light, because it was an offence against Thee, "Who art infinite goodness. I hope Thou hast already pardoned me; but if Thou hast not yet forgiven me, pardon me, my Jesus, before I receive Thee. Ah, receive me quickly into Thy grace, since it is Thy will soon to come and dwell within me.
Come, then, my Jesus, come into my soul, which sighs after Thee. My only and infinite good, my life, my love, my all, I would desire to receive Thee this morning with the same love with which those souls who love Thee most have received Thee, and with the same fervor with which Thy most holy Mother received Thee; to her communions I wish to unite this one of mine. O Blessed Virgin and my Mother Mary, give me thy Son; I intend to receive Him from thy hands! Tell Him that I am thy servant, and thus will He press me more lovingly to His heart, now that He is coming to me.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
"I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"
CHAPTER ONE-MAN'S CAPACITY FOR GOD
IV. How Can We Speak about God?
39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.
40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.
41 All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. the manifold perfections of creatures - their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures" perfections as our starting point, "for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator".
42 God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, imagebound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God --"the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable"-- with our human representations. Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.
43 Admittedly, in speaking about God like this, our language is using human modes of expression; nevertheless it really does attain to God himself, though unable to express him in his infinite simplicity. Likewise, we must recall that "between Creator and creature no similitude can be expressed without implying an even greater dissimilitude"; and that "concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him."
>>>Today is Day 5 of the Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit.<<<
· Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Increase of Vocations to the Holy Priesthood.
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
· Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus
· Monday: Litany of Humility
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.
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