NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

NINE-MONTH NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Start March 12 to December 12

Tuesday, July 25, 2023



LET’S SOAR LIKE EAGLES! NOVENA FOR OUR NATION: AUGUST 15 – OCTOBER 7

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.
(Isaiah 40:31)

Throughout salvation history, there have been times when forces who lust for power (and who oppose God) will rise up and seize control. What is it that has signaled to these evil tyrannical power mongers that their time has come to move in and take control? It has always been times when the faith of Christians has grown weak.

There is no doubt we are currently living in diabolically influenced times. This, while Godless leaders in our nation have usurped the phrase, “This is a battle for the soul of America.” Yes, they seek to seize the soul of America as they seek to enact a plethora of laws and norms that oppose God, such as unrestricted abortion up to birth; as they refuse to protect life even at birth; as they war against the nuclear family; as they seek the expansion of euthanasia; as they espouse a complete denial of God’s creation of male and female which is based upon biological fact and natural law; as they seek the indoctrination of our children in our schools and libraries; as they seek to remove our religious freedoms.

Those who wish to evangelize (indoctrinate) the world into their pagan counter-religion – that greatly resembles the days of worshiping Baal – know that they must secure the levers of power and influence in order to succeed. In our times, finding little to no resistance, virtually all levers of power and influence have been captured by this radical pagan counter-religion.

So aggressive is this campaign, that we are seeing very open and hostile verbal, legal and even physical attacks on those who oppose this pagan counter-religion based upon millennia of biblically based religious beliefs. Believers in God’s absolute and undeniable Truth are under attack as never before, even from many religious leaders. No longer is religious persecution something that happens only in other countries; it is being manifested in our own nation. 

It’s Time for Heroes to Rise Up in Hope and Soar Like Eagles!

Yes!! This is a battle for the soul of America!! How easy it can be for us to collapse in despair in the face of this brutal historic tyranny. No!! It’s time for us to renew our strength and courageously rise up in hope! It’s time for us to accept our call to be heroes in our time. It’s time to soar like eagles!!

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.
(Isaiah 40:31)

So, what can or should we do?

In Hope, let’s unite with tens of thousands of prayer warriors!

In Hope, let’s lean into our spiritual strength training! We cannot do this under our own strength, we can only do this under supernatural strength.

In Hope, let’s do everything we can to restore this great country of ours as “One Nation Under God” once again!

Please Join Novena for Our Nation!!

So, we are calling all HOPEFUL Catholics to join in a powerful campaign of spiritual warfare entitled, “Novena for Our Nation” – August 15 to October 7. We have prayed this miraculous 54-day rosary novena every year at this time since 2016, and we have witnessed countless miracles.

We will also be including the very powerful “Lorica of St. Patrick” prayer to increase our supernatural strength and to counter spiritual attacks.

Also, in a spirit of hope, we will pray a 9-day Novena to St. Jude in the days leading up to the feast of St. Jude (October 28), which also coincides with the conclusion of the “Synod on Synodality.” St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Hope and impossible causes.

Enlist in the United States Grace Force!!

Novena for Our Nation has since formed the United States Grace Force which has grown to nearly 80,000 Special Forces Prayer Warriors, and we want to get larger and stronger!!

The motto for the United States Grace Force is Per Virtutem Pax (Peace through Strength). The Grace Force adheres to this ancient maxim:

“We maintain the peace through our strength;
weakness only invites aggression.”

This 54-day prayer campaign is also a Basic Training in Holiness. Each day, along with praying your rosary, holiness trainees will be provided with a 1-2 minute reflection on the qualities of excellence. The first 27 days, trainees will read from passages in scripture, quotes from saints and the catechism on one of the following: Theological Virtues, Cardinal Virtues, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. The second 27 days will be excerpts from the book entitled, Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ.

The daily reflections for this prayer and training campaign can be found in multiple places.

1) You can sign up to receive the 54 Day Rosary prayers with daily reflection in your email. Click Here to Sign Up.

2) You can join the United State Grace Force Facebook group HERE, to receive the reflections each day.

I’M GOING IN!

ENLIST IN THE UNITED STATES GRACE FORCE
(Please recruit family and friends to enlist!)

Click on the medallion (just below) to JOIN
Novena for Our Nation!

Cardinal Burke has joined in calling us all to get in the fight …

“There is no question that we are living in the most troubled times. Fundamental truths about human life about marriage and the family and about the conscience are being called into question by threatening the lives of individuals and of our society. But we are full of courage because we know that our Lord is with us. He’s called us to be His soldiers on the ground, working with Him for the salvation of the world. 

There is a 54 day Novena beginning on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which will be completed on October 7. Your prayer would be even more efficacious if you would also take part in that 54 day Novena.”




FEAST OF ST. JAMES THE APOSTLE-ST CHRISTOPHER

 

1 Samuel, Chapter 23, Verse 17

He said to him: “Have no FEAR, my father Saul shall not lay a hand to you. You shall be king of Israel and I shall be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.”

 

This is the last statement of Jonathan to David where he openly acknowledges that David will be king. Jonathan does not live to see David made king. Jonathan’s visit strengthens David and attests to the hidden care of the Lord for him. During this time David is in his wilderness strongholds.

Q: There are those who say that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship to justify the modern homosexual agenda.

Father Edart[1]: The account in 1 Samuel 18:1-5 shows gestures and words that express a profound attachment between Jonathan and David. Although the terms used describe a real affective bond, their usual use in the Old Testament in no way allows for seeing a homosexual relationship there. For an example you can see Jacob and his son Benjamin in Genesis 44:30-31. The expression "to love as oneself" — as his soul — is frequent — Leviticus 19:18.34. The verb "to love," in a context of alliance, takes on a political dimension, the beneficiary being considered as partner or superior. Moreover, the gift that Jonathan made to David of his weapons illustrates the transfer of his prerogatives, among which was the right of succession to his father's throne. It's a political gesture. In the account, nonetheless, David ends up replacing Jonathan — 1 Samuel 23:17. Other passages, developed by Innocent Himbaza in our book, illustrate the friendship between Jonathan and David. All the gestures posed between these two men, however, can take place between parents and children — Jacob and Benjamin; between brothers — Joseph and his brothers; between father-in-law and son-in-law — Jethro and Moses; between close friends — Jonathan and David; between warriors — Saul and David, Jonathan and David; and between brothers and sisters in the faith — Paul and the Ephesians. We risk interpreting the latter asked here, but these are actually normal and usual gestures for people who feel close to one another. We can affirm that nothing in the texts we are faced with allows for seeing any homosexuality between David and Jonathan, not even implicitly. If at times an expression is ambiguous for a modern spirit, reading it in context removes that possibility.

Q: The Church preaches love of neighbor but is often reproached for wanting to put "barriers" to love, for not understanding every person's profound need to love. If the Church does not approve homosexuality, what message of hope can she give to a person who finds in homosexuality the means to give himself and to love?

Father Edart: The suffering of a homosexual person can be very great and not accessible to people who do not experience this situation. Indeed, our whole world is marked by this fundamental fact of heterosexual love. Even the Chinese civilization, hardly susceptible to having been shaped by Judeo-Christian culture, also lives this reality. In that civilization, homosexuality is also perceived as outside the norm. The homosexual person experiences an internal suffering, attested by psychological studies, but he also suffers from his confrontation with a world that very often will judge and condemn him. This rejection will often even be violent. In fact, everybody passes a phase in their psychological development of ambiguity on the sexual plane in adolescence. A person might be, for some time, attracted by persons of the same sex, without being for all that a homosexual! If this stage of growth is badly lived or unfinished, it results in psychic suffering. Subsequently, every confrontation with homosexuality will trigger this suffering, which will be translated in violent behavior. To learn to consider a homosexual person without reducing him to his sexual orientation can be difficult and lead to recognizing one's personal poverty. In the face of this situation, the Church, in fidelity to the Bible, recognizing that active homosexuality cannot be a good for the person, forcefully affirms, in the same fidelity to the word of God, that every person, regardless of his sexual orientation, has the same dignity and in no way must be the object of unjust discrimination. As every baptized person, homosexual persons are called to holiness and to live here and now a living relationship with Christ in the Church. The message of the Gospel is a source of hope for these persons and the Church witnesses to this. Christian communities can be places where people see their personal suffering accepted and understood. The latter will then be able, with the support of these communities, to seek to correspond to God's call. The development of friendly and fraternal relations lived in chastity is an important place of psychological and spiritual healing. Friendship with Christ is certainly the principal support and guide on this path. He is the best of friends. This friendship is nourished in the life of faith, prayer and the sacraments. The homosexual person desirous of progressing toward Christ will find an indispensable support there. He wants to be in alliance with each one by meeting the person just as he is and to conduct him to himself gradually with the continuous and unconditional support of his mercy. It's a long and difficult but possible path. It is certain that the development of homosexuality in our Western society is an appeal to Christians to create new places to help those who are wounded in their sexuality.

Marriage: The Gift of Love and Life[2]

C.S. Lewis once wisely observed: “When everyone is rushing headlong towards the precipice, anyone going in the opposite direction would appear to be mad.” In July of 1968, the world at large thought Pope Paul VI had lost his mind. For in that month, he issued his long-awaited encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25, 1968), which reiterated the Church’s age-old ban on every form of contraception. A tidal wave of angry dissent erupted over the pope’s decision. Catholic and non-Catholic alike berated “the celibate old man in the Vatican” for hindering the Church’s full entry into the modern era. As we approach the fortieth anniversary of that historic document, I wish to emphasize its importance for our times.  As a backdrop for my remarks, I would like to place it in the context of its time. In the same year that Pope Paul issued Humanae Vitae, another Paul—Paul Ehrlich— published a book entitled, The Population Bomb. In that 1968 bestseller, Ehrlich made some stark predictions. For example: 

·       “The battle to feed humanity is over.  In the 1970s the world will undergo famines …hundreds of millions of people (including Americans) are going to starve to death…” 

o   Fact: Food production worldwide is well ahead of population growth, and obesity now kills 300,000 Americans a year.

·       “India couldn’t possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980.” 

o   Fact: Since 1968 India has doubled its population by half a billion and is still self-sufficient in food.

·       Comparing population explosion to a cancerous tumor, Ehrlich prescribed “cutting out the cancer [too many people]” as the only remedy to save humanity.

o   Fact: Today Europe is dying, with most countries fluctuating around the 60% replacement level.    

Against this foreboding background, the reaction to Pope Paul’s encyclical came as no surprise, even though it only restated what the Church has taught for 2,000 years. Namely:

“There is an inseparable link between the two meanings of the marriage act: the unitive meaning [making love] and the procreative meaning [making babies].  This connection was established by God himself, and man is not permitted to break it on his own initiative.” (H.V, no. 12)      In Deuteronomy 18:21 we learn how to tell an authentic prophet from a false one: Has the prophecy materialized or not? Judged by that benchmark, Paul Ehrlich is a false prophet.  What about Paul VI?

Pope Paul predicted four dire consequences if the use of contraception escalated:

1) increased marital infidelity.

2) a general lowering of morality, especially among the young.

3) husbands viewing their wives as mere sex objects; and

4) governments forcing massive birth control programs on their people.

Forty years later the moral landscape is strewn with the following stark reality:

1) The divorce rate has more than tripled. 

2) Sexually transmitted diseases have increased from six to fifty.

3) Pornography—especially on the Internet—is a plague, addicting millions annually. 

4) Sterilization is forced on women in third world countries, with China’s one-child policy in the vanguard.

In the waning years of his life, St. Augustine wrote his mammoth work, The City of God. According to Augustine, the whole world is comprised of two communities: The City of God and the City of Man. Citizens of each city are determined not by one’s birthplace or residence, but rather by the object of one’s love: placing the love of God above self, or the love of self above God. The two cities are still with us. Paul Ehrlich and Paul VI could well serve as icons of each city. In one case, death and darkness prevail—in the other, life and light. Death or life? The choice is ours!

The Transmission of Human Life Is a Most Serious Role[3]

Married people must collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships. The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings. The changes that have taken place are of considerable importance and varied in nature. In the first place there is the rapid increase in population which has made many fear that world population is going to grow faster than available resources, with the consequence that many families and developing countries would be faced with greater hardships. This can easily induce public authorities to be tempted to take even harsher measures to avert this danger. There is also the fact that not only working and housing conditions, but the greater demands made both in the economic and educational field pose a living situation in which it is frequently difficult these days to provide properly for a large family. Also noteworthy is a new understanding of the dignity of woman and her place in society, of the value of conjugal love in marriage and the relationship of conjugal acts to this love. But the most remarkable development of all is to be seen in man's stupendous progress in the domination and rational organization of the forces of nature to the point that he is endeavoring to extend this control over every aspect of his own life—over his body, over his mind and emotions, over his social life, and even over the laws that regulate the transmission of life.

Unlawful Birth Control Methods

·       We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary.

·       Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.

·       Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong

Feast of St James the Greater, Apostle[4] 

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 Introit of the Mass is as follows:  To me Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable; their principality is exceedingly strengthened. Lord, Thou hast proved me and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down and my rising up. 

Prayer. 

Be Thou, O Lord, the sanctifier and guardian of Thy people, that, defended by the protection of Thy apostle James, they may please Thee by their conduct, and serve Thee with secure minds.  

EPISTLE, i. Cor. iv. 9-15. 

Brethren: I think that God hath set forth us apostles the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ: we are weak, but you are strong: you are honorable, but we without honor. Even unto this hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode, and we labor working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless: we are persecuted, and we suffer it. We are blasphemed, and we entreat: we are made as the refuse of this world, the off-scouring of all even until now. I write not these things to confound you: but I admonish you as my dearest children: for if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus by the Gospel I have begotten you. 

GOSPEL. Matt. xx. 20-23. 

At that time: There came to Jesus the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of Him. Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to Him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left, in Thy kingdom. But Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to Him: We can. He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink: but to sit on My right or left hand is not Mine to give to you but to them for whom it is prepared by My Father. Explanation. From this gospel we learn that if we wish to become partakers with Christ of the kingdom of heaven. 

Prayer to St. James. 

O heroic apostle, who first of all didst, after the example of Jesus, drink of the chalice of suffering, but now, in the kingdom of His Father, livest upon the holy mountain of Sion, obtain for me, I beseech thee, from Jesus the grace not to shrink from the chalice of suffering and tribulation, but patiently to accept whatever the hand of God may present to me, whether agreeable or disagreeable, and thereby to become worthy one day to be inebriated with the streams of heavenly joy.

The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela[5]

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.

Things to Do[6]

·        Learn more about St. James.

·        It is traditional in Spain to make a yearly pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela on July 24. Read more about this custom. From Catholic Culture's Library: Pilgrimage To The Stars and Cycling through time on the Camino de Santiago.

·        Read about Santiago de Compostela, the third largest shrine in all of Christendom.

·        Learn more about the pilgrimage to St. James.

·        Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and final destination of the famous pilgrimage way is certainly among Spain's most beautiful cities. You can take a virtual tour and learn all about this area of the world here.

·        Watch this Spanish news broadcast of the faithful bringing flowers for Our Lady of the Pillar on October 12 during the celebration of the feast at the cathedral, notice the open devotion and enthusiasm offered to Our Lady. Tradition says that Mary appeared to St. James before her Assumption. Read more about the apparition here.

·        Plan your own pilgrimage to a nearby shrine. Pope John Paul II said, "To go in a spirit of prayer from one place to another, from one city to another, in the area marked especially by God's intervention, helps us not only to live our life as a journey, but also gives us a vivid sense of a God who has gone before us and leads us on, who himself set out on man's path, a God who does not look down on us from on high, but who became our traveling companion." Read this letter and try to incorporate its spirit into your pilgrimage.

Way of St. James[7]

Hikers travel the trail across the Castilian plateau. It’s a long walk to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James), but the Christian faithful have made the pilgrimage since the bones of St. James the Apostle were unearthed here in the 9th century, spreading the cultural rebirth of Europe. The apparition of St. James was said to aid Christian armies in battles with the Moors, so Spaniards adopted Santiago Matamoros (aka St. James, the Moor-slayer) as their patron saint. Modern hikers follow in the footsteps of El Cid, Louis VII of France, and St. Francis of Assisi to this pilgrimage destination that’s on a par with Rome and Jerusalem. Whether their motives are spiritual or not, the experience of the walk lingers. Most travelers follow a variant of the French Route, which begins in the Basque village of Roncesvalles, in the Pyrenees at the French-Spanish border, and trek 500 miles through the Rioja wine country (see here) and the former kingdoms of northern Spain. Hostels, inns, and restaurants along the entire stretch cater to the pilgrims. Those who lack time or stamina for the 4-plus-week journey by foot walk only the final 62 miles, through rugged but green inland Galicia. At Monte de Gozo, 2 miles from Santiago de Compostela, tired but elated travelers typically get their first glimpse of the twin towers of Santiago’s cathedral. Construction of the majestic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela began in 1078, on the site of a 9th-century basilica destroyed by the Moors, and Maestro Mateo’s original designs rank among Europe’s finest Romanesque art. The cathedral’s elaborate, two-towered Baroque façade, added in the 18th century, protects the now restored original Porta de Gloria from weathering. The impact of the cavernous interior—as simple as the façade is ornate—is heightened by the golden-cloaked, bejeweled statue of St. James above the main altar, embraced by arriving pilgrims. The cathedral shares the vast Plaza del Obradoiro (“work of gold”) with the Hotel Reyes Católicos (Catholic Kings), built by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel in 1499 as a hospice for pilgrims. Now one of the most renowned paradors in Spain, it has rooms overlooking the square and the cathedral and many more overlooking four courtyard cloisters. Only a short walk away, the Palacio del Carmen has transformed an 18th-century convent into comfortable if less majestic lodging. Where: Santiago de Compostela is 375 miles/603 km northwest of Madrid. The most popular route of the Camino de Santiago starts in Roncesvalle and runs 500 miles/800 km across the northern regions of Spain, from east to west. How: U.S.-based Saranjan, Inc., offers 1- to 2-week tours by minibus, on foot, or on bicycle. Tel 800-858-9594 or 206-720-0623; www.saranjan.com. Cost: 8-day hiking/biking tours from $3,150; all-inclusive. Originate in León. Hotel Reyes Católicos: Tel 34/981582200; www.parador.es; in the U.S., Palace Tours, 800-724-5120; www.palacetours.com. Cost: from $105 (off-peak), from $225 (peak). Palacio del Carmen: Tel 34/981-552444; www.palaciodelcarmen.com. Cost: from $100 (off-peak), from $115 (peak). Best times: late Feb or early Mar for Antroido (carnival); last 2 weeks of Jul for succession of fiestas; Jul 25 for feast day of Santiago, celebrated with fireworks, music, and processions.

Bearer of Christ[8]

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 commemorates 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."

Novena of St. Ann[9]


 

Daily Prayer to Saint Ann

 

O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.

Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen.

 

Our Father, . . . Hail Mary . . .

 

O Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Ann, help me now and at the hour of my death. Good St. Ann, intercede for me.

 

NINTH DAY

 

Good St. Ann, I have reached the end of this novena in your honor. I have asked and ask again. Good mother let not your kind ear grow weary of my prayers, though I repeat them so often.

 

Bounteous Lady implore for me from divine Providence all the help I need through life. May your generous hand bestow on me the material means to satisfy my own needs and to alleviate the plight of the poor.

 

Good St. Ann, fortify me by the sacraments of the Church at the hour of my death. Admit me into the company of the blessed in the kingdom of heaven, where I may praise and thank the adorable Trinity, your grandson Christ Jesus, your glorious daughter Mary, and yourself, dear St. Ann, through endless ages.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

SECTION TWO-I. THE CREEDS

CHAPTER THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

ARTICLE 8-"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT"

III. God's Spirit and Word in the Time of the Promises

702 From the beginning until "the fullness of time," The joint mission of the Father's Word and Spirit remains hidden, but it is at work. God's Spirit prepares for the time of the Messiah. Neither is fully revealed but both are already promised, to be watched for and welcomed at their manifestation. So, for this reason, when the Church reads the Old Testament, she searches there for what the Spirit, "who has spoken through the prophets," wants to tell us about Christ.

By "prophets" the faith of the Church here understands all whom the Holy Spirit inspired in the composition of the sacred books, both of the Old and the New Testaments. Jewish tradition distinguishes first the Law (the five first books or Pentateuch), then the Prophets (our historical and prophetic books) and finally the Writings (especially the wisdom literature, in particular the Psalms).

In creation

703 The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature:

It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation, for he is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son.... Power over life pertains to the Spirit, for being God he preserves creation in the Father through the Son.

704 "God fashioned man with his own hands [that is, the Son and the Holy Spirit] and impressed his own form on the flesh he had fashioned, in such a way that even what was visible might bear the divine form."

The Spirit of the promise

705 Disfigured by sin and death, man remains "in the image of God," in the image of the Son, but is deprived "of the glory of God," of his "likeness." The promise made to Abraham inaugurates the economy of salvation, at the culmination of which the Son himself will assume that "image" and restore it in the Father's "likeness" by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is "the giver of life."

706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit. In Abraham's progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself, in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will "gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad." God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and "the promised Holy Spirit . . . [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it."

In Theophanies and the Law

707 Theophanies (manifestations of God) light up the way of the promise, from the patriarchs to Moses and from Joshua to the visions that inaugurated the missions of the great prophets. Christian tradition has always recognized that God's Word allowed himself to be seen and heard in these theophanies, in which the cloud of the Holy Spirit both revealed him and concealed him in its shadow.

708 This divine pedagogy appears especially in the gift of the Law. God gave the letter of the Law as a "pedagogue" to lead his people towards Christ. But the Law's powerlessness to save man deprived of the divine "likeness," along with the growing awareness of sin that it imparts, enkindles a desire for the Holy Spirit. the lamentations of the Psalms bear witness to this.

In the Kingdom and the Exile

709 The Law, the sign of God's promise and covenant, ought to have governed the hearts and institutions of that people to whom Abraham's faith gave birth. "If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, . . . you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." But after David, Israel gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations. the Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David, would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the Spirit.

710 The forgetting of the Law and the infidelity to the covenant end in death: it is the Exile, apparently the failure of the promises, which is in fact the mysterious fidelity of the Savior God and the beginning of a promised restoration, but according to the Spirit. the People of God had to suffer this purification. In God's plan, the Exile already stands in the shadow of the Cross, and the Remnant of the poor that returns from the Exile is one of the most transparent prefigurations of the Church.

Expectation of the Messiah and his Spirit

711 "Behold, I am doing a new thing." Two prophetic lines were to develop, one leading to the expectation of the Messiah, the other pointing to the announcement of a new Spirit. They converge in the small Remnant, the people of the poor, who await in hope the "consolation of Israel" and "the redemption of Jerusalem."

We have seen earlier how Jesus fulfills the prophecies concerning himself. We limit ourselves here to those in which the relationship of the Messiah and his Spirit appears more clearly.

712 The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the "Book of Emmanuel" ("Isaiah said this when he saw his glory," speaking of Christ), especially in the first two verses of Isaiah 11: 

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

713 The Messiah's characteristics are revealed above all in the "Servant songs." These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus' Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our "form as slave." Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.

714 This is why Christ inaugurates the proclamation of the Good News by making his own the following passage from Isaiah:

The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor.

715 The prophetic texts that directly concern the sending of the Holy Spirit are oracles by which God speaks to the heart of his people in the language of the promise, with the accents of "love and fidelity." St. Peter will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost. According to these promises, at the "end time" the Lord's Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.

716 The People of the "poor" - those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God's mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah - are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit's hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ's coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready "a people prepared for the Lord."

Wine (Whine) and Cheese Day[10]

There are some things in the world that were just meant to go together, like Chocolate and Peanut Butter, oil and vinegar, and of course wine and cheese! Since time out of mind wine and cheese have been paired together and served at all the most important of events among the highest class of people. Wine And Cheese Day celebrates this eternal bonding and the elegance it engenders.

Learn about National Wine and Cheese Day

National Wine and Cheese Day is a date that celebrates the ultimate pairing of cheese and wine. For a lot of people, there is nothing that goes together better than a great glass of wine and some premium quality cheese. A lot of wine-producing cultures pair regional wines with local cheeses, and so this is an art that is recognized in many parts around the world.

Not only does National Wine and Cheese Day give you the chance to celebrate this tradition, but it also gives you the opportunity to expand your knowledge in terms of pairing different types of wine and cheese. There are so many different types of wine and cheese – it would be impossible to name them all! This means that there is always something new to learn when it comes to the art of pairing these two treats together. And, of course, while there are some general guidelines to follow in terms of determining what sort of cheese is going to go well with the wine you’re serving, you can also learn a lot by simply trying out different combinations.

History of Wine And Cheese Day

There is an interesting element to all of the pairings mentioned in the introduction, with the possible exception of chocolate and peanut butter. Pairings of food almost universally involve pairing an astringent food, like wine, with a fatty food like cheese. The reason isn’t just incidental, but in fact is one of the secrets of culinary science that’s used in creating truly delectable meals.

Astringent foods have a tendency to bind with the elements in saliva that lubricate and cause them to clump and lose their ability to lubricate. This tends to leave us with a puckered mouth and nobody loves that! Even worse, the more you consume astringent foods the drier they make your mouth! While we all agree that wine and tea are both delicious, no one wants a puckered mouth!

This is where the cheese comes in with its fatty texture and often pungent flavors. Each bite tends to coat our mouths just a little more making it lubricated with fat, often to the point of being slimy! We love the flavors, but the constant buildup of flavor can often be overwhelming, and that’s when wine comes to the rescue!

Wine And Cheese Day celebrates this pairing of foods and the ways they interact to make each one even more enjoyable! 

 

 How to celebrate Wine And Cheese Day

The best way to celebrate Wine and Cheese Day is by hosting a wine and cheese tasting of your very own! Get together with your friends and plan out the evening with every variety of cheese you can imagine. Bring your Port Wines and your blushes, your champagnes and your reds and whites, and for each of them bring a parade of cheeses to be sampled. We’re not talking simple Sharp Cheddar but exotics like blue cheese and Limburger, Gorgonzola and Mizithra, all the wondrous cheese of the world!

Here are some tips to help you pair wine and cheese together effectively:

  • When in doubt, a firm and nutty cheese won’t let you down.
  • Cheeses and wines that come from the same place pair well together. Remember what we said about the French brie earlier?
  • Sparkling wines work beautifully with creamy, soft cheeses. This is because the wine has high carbonation and acidity, which acts as a palate-cleanser for the sticky and creamy cheeses, like Cremont, Camembert, Muenster, and Brie.
  • Sweeter wines and funky cheeses go together perfectly. Sweeter wines like Late Harvest dessert wines and Moscato go well with the blue-veined cheeses. This is because the sweetness from the wine helps to balance out the ‘funk’ in the cheese.
  • Aged cheeses and bold red wines go well together. Look for cheeses that have aged for at least a year when serving a bold red wine. This is because the cheese’s fat content will counteract the high tannins in the wine. The cheeses you can serve include the likes of Provolone, Gouda, Manchego, and Cheddar.
  • Pair cheeses and wines that equal intensity. If you were to opt for a Cabernet Sauvignon and Gruyère, for example, the cheese would be overwhelmed by the bold and big flavors of the wine.

With these tips, you should be able to come up with some great wine and cheese pairings that you and your loved ones can enjoy. You could even get everyone to contribute a wine and cheese pairing each, and then you could see who has been able to come up with the best match. After all, there is nothing like a bit of friendly competition, right?

Daily Devotions

·       It is traditional in Spain to make a yearly pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela on July 24. Read more about this custom. From Catholic Culture's Library: Pilgrimage To The Stars and Cycling through time on the Camino de Santiago.

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: The sanctification of the Church Militant.

·       Read Humanae Vitae (July 25) which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality.

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face-Tuesday Devotion

·       Let Freedom Ring Day 19 Freedom from Syncretism

·       Pray Day 3 of the Novena for our Pope and Bishops

·       Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel

·       Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

·       Religion in the Home for Preschool: July

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Universal Man Plan

·       Go to MASS

·       Rosary



[4] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.

[7]Schultz, Patricia. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: Revised Second Edition (pp. 265-266)

[9]Blessed Sacrament Fathers, ST. ANN’S SHRINE, Cleveland, Ohio 



Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. James the Great.

 

St. James was a fisherman who, with his brother John, worked in their father Zebedee’s business. Together they were among the first disciples of Jesus.

 

This James is distinguished from the Apostle James the Lesser, or Less, due to his taller stature or greater age.

 

We have a special page dedicated to the feast of St. James. We answer questions such as:

  • What was the nickname given to Saints James and John?
  • What miracles did James witness or perform? 
  • Why do pilgrims walk the Way of St. James?
  • Where does the Camino or Way of St. James begin?

On the page, we also offer a free eBook, Walking with Jesus. This eBook is filled with prayers and novenas that will bring you closer to the Lord as you follow in the footsteps of St. James the Apostle.

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