Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Joachim and Anne, Parents of Mary

Joachim & Anne, parents of the Virgin Mary

Sts. Joachim and Anne
Mary's parents must have been very devout and God-centered people. For God would not have chosen them to be the parents of His Mother from those who were not.  I can imagine how heartbroken Anne and Joachim were on not having children in the days when this was thought shameful.  

But imagine the joy and love that they had when Mary was born! She was their cherished treasure.  They taught her to love and serve God with her whole heart, soul and being.  In humble servitude to help others in need. 

It is said that her parents were so happy when Mary was born that they consecrated her to God.  When she was a very young girl she was taken to the temple to serve as a maiden in the service of God. Seeing her go into the temple must have been a great joy but also a great sacrifice -- the beloved child that they doted on was not with them anymore.  They must have missed her terribly.

The child Mary consecrated to the Temple

We do not know much about St. Joachim and St. Anne - but imagine being the parents of the Virgin Mary -- the chosen Mother of God and the grandparents of Jesus Our Lord, how blessed they are!  

St. Joachim and St. Anne pray for us!  Especially us who are grandparents! Help us be good examples of living the Christian Catholic faith.

The Greek Orthodox Church 
has much more to say about 
the story of Joachim and Anne.  See the website

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By their fruits you will know them
From a sermon by Saint John Damascene, bishop

Sts. Joachim and Anne with the Virgin Mary as a child
Ann was to be the mother of the Virgin Mother of God, and hence nature did not dare to anticipate the flowering of grace.  Thus nature remained sterile, until grace produced its fruit.  For she who was to be born had to be a first-born daughter, since she would be the mother of the first-born of all creation, in whom all things are held together.

Joachim and Ann, how blessed a couple!  All creation is indebted to you.  For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him.

St. Anne,Virgin Mary & Jesus the Son of God
And so rejoice, Ann, that you were sterile and have not borne children, break forth into shouts, you who have not given birth. Rejoice, Joachim, because from your daughter a child is born for us, a son is given us, whose name is Messenger of great counsel and universal salvation, mighty God. 

For this child is God.

Joachim and Ann, how blessed and spotless a couple!  You will be known by the fruit you have borne, as the Lord says: By their fruits you will know them. The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your daughter.  For by the chaste and holy life you led together, you have fashioned a jewel of virginity: she who remained a virgin before, during and after giving birth.  She alone for all time would maintain her virginity in mind and soul as well as in body.

Joachim and Ann, how chaste a couple!  While safeguarding the chastity prescribed by the law of nature, you achieved with God’s help something which transcends nature in giving the world the Virgin Mother of God as your daughter.  While leading a devout and holy life in your human nature, you gave birth to a daughter nobler than the angels, whose queen she now is.  Girl of utter beauty and delight, daughter of Adam and mother of God, blessed the loins and blessed the womb from which you come!  

Blessed the arms that carried you, 
blessed your parents’ lips, which 
you were allowed to cover 
with chaste kisses, 
ever maintaining your virginity.  

Rejoice in God, all the earth.  Sing, exult and sing hymns.  

Raise your voice, raise it and be not afraid.

taken from the Liturgy of the Hours

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Teach Our Children About God, Don't Let Others Teach Them About Evil!

St. John Chrysostom, Bishop 

Saint John Chrysostom 
lived in the years
349 – 407 A.D.

He wrote the words below 
which pertain more urgently today! 

"They" are teaching our children 
evil in our schools -- 

We MUST teach them the TRUTH 
to give them the strength 
to resist this evil generation --- 
the times are changing fast... 

Will YOUR children 
be able to enter the Kingdom???  

to insure they know the Truth!

Keep Our Kids Innocent!

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We Must be Concerned 
for the Children’s Good

From a homily on the Gospel of Matthew
by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop

By the words: 
Their angels see my Father’s face 
and for this purpose have I come, 
and this is m Father’s Will, 
the Lord is calling for greater care 
from those who are in charge of children.

Their Angels see the Face of God

Do you not see what a protective wall he has built round them?

Appalling punishments are threatened 
for those who cause their downfall; 
great blessings are promised to those 
who protect and care for them; 
and all this is confirmed by the example 
both he and his Father give.

Jesus Loves the Children
Let us too imitate Him and refuse no task, however humble and arduous it may seem, on behalf of those who are our brothers.  

We may have to serve someone who is small and unimportant, if we undertake this work; the job may be very taxing; mountains and precipices may lie in our way; for the sake of our brothers’ salvation everything must be endured.  

God, after all, cares so much for the soul of man that he did not spare even his Son.  

So, I beg you, from the very moment we leave our homes in the morning, let us have but one aim in view, let this be our chief concern, to rescue anyone who is in danger.

is as precious as a human soul.  

For what does it profit a man if 
he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul?  

1 Timothy 6:10

Yet the love of money has perverted 
and destroyed our values; 
it has driven out the fear of God 
and holds our souls in its power, 
as a tyrant holds a citadel.  

In consequence we neglect the spiritual welfare of our children and of ourselves in our desire to become richer and leave our wealth to others, and they again to their descendants.  We are not really owners of our money and other possessions; we merely hand them on.  The folly of it!  

Our children become lower than our slaves.  We punish slaves, but our children do not profit from our forethought, and in effect are regarded as less valuable than our slaves.

But why talk about slaves?  
We take less care of our children than our cattle; 
we worry more about our horses and donkeys 
(in our time of course cars, houses, etc) 
than about our sons. (and daughters!) 

If a man owns a mule he takes good care to find the best driver for it, not some scoundrel who is dishonest, drunken and inexperienced.  

Whereas if our son needs a teacher, 
we take on the first man who comes along, 
quite haphazardly and without any selection. 

Teachers Influence YOUR children -- Do YOU know what they are teaching?

Yet no profession 
is more important 
than that of teaching.

For what could equal an art which aims at directing the soul and forming the mind and character of a young man?  One with these gifts should be more conscientious than any painter or sculptor.  Yet we completely neglect all this.  

The one thing that matters to us is that our son should learn to speak well.  And even this we are keen on simply for the sake of making money.  He does not study a language primarily to enable him to speak well, but only to enable him to get rich.  In fact, if man could become wealthy without being able to speak at all, we would not bother about such lessons.

What a tyranny money exercises!  It invades the whole life forcing men to go where it chooses, like slaves in chains.  But what good is our invective?  We make a verbal attack on this tyranny; it defeats us by the sheer force of events.  

Nonetheless, I shall not stop lashing it with my tongue; if my words achieve anything, you and I will both be the gainers; if, however, you remain of the same mind, at least I shall have done my duty.

Still, may God cure you of this disease, and grant me the satisfaction of being able to take pride in you.  To him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Agnes, Martyr Example for Today's Youth

St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Feastday: January 21

Patron of young girls, chastity, rape survivors, and the Children of Mary

Birth: 291

Death: 304

St. Agnes of Rome was born in 291 AD and raised in a Christian family. Agnes was very beautiful and belonged to a wealthy family. Her hand in marriage was highly sought after, and she had many high ranking men chasing after her. However, Agnes made a promise to God never to stain her purity. Her love for the Lord was great and she hated sin even more than death!

Whenever a man wished to marry Agnes, she would always say, "Jesus Christ is my only Spouse."

According to legend, the young men she turned away became so angry and insulted by her devotion to God and purity that they began to submit her name to authorities as a Christian follower.

In one incident, Procop, the Governor's son, became very angry when she refused him. He tried to win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful young girl kept saying, "I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!"

In great anger, Procop accused her of being a Christian and brought her to his father, the Governor. The Governor promised Agnes wonderful gifts if she would only deny God, but Agnes refused. He tried to change her mind by putting her in chains, but her lovely face shone with joy.

Next he sent her to a place of sin, but an Angel protected her. At last, she was condemned to death. Even the pagans cried to see such a young and beautiful girl going to death. Yet, Agnes was as happy as a bride on her wedding day. She did not pay attention to those who begged her to save herself. "I would offend my Spouse," she said, "if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!" Then she prayed and bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword.

St. Agnes hair grew instantly to cover her body
Other accounts of Agnes' life hold the Prefect Sempronius responsible for her martyrdom. It is said he condemned the young girl to be dragged through the streets naked. Some versions of the legend state that Agnes' hair grew instantly to cover her entire body and all the men who attempted to rape the beautiful virgin were immediately struck blind.

The stories go on to explain that another man presided over Agnes' trial after Sempronius excused himself. The new man sentenced Agnes to death. At first, Agnes was tied to a stake, but either the wood would not burn or the flames parted away from her. This prompted an officer to draw his sword and behead the girl. It is believed that her blood, which poured out to the stadium, was soaked up with cloths by Christians.

She died a virgin-martyr at the age of 12 or 13 on 21 January 304.

Martyrdom of St. Agnes

Agnes was buried beside the Via Nomentana in Rome. Her bones are currently conserved beneath the high altar in the church of Sant'Angese fuori le mura in Rome, which was built over the catacomb that held her tomb. Her skull is preserved in the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone in Rome's Piazza Navona.

In 1858, Father Caspar Rehrl, an Austrian missionary founded the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes.

St. Agnes is widely known as the patron saint of young girls. She is also the patron saint of chastity, rape survivors and the Children of Mary. She is often represented with a lamb, the symbol of her virgin innocence, and a palm branch, like other martyrs. She is shown as a young girl in robes holding a palm branch with the lamb either at her feet or in her arms.

Her feast day is celebrated on January 21. On her feast day, it is customary for two lambs to be brought in to be blessed by the pope. On Holy Thursday the lambs' wool is removed and woven into the pallium the pope gives to a newly consecrated archbishop as a sign of his power and union with the pope.

Above taken from Catholic Online 

YouTube video about St. Agnes

St. Agnes, Martyred
Too young to be punished, 
yet old enough 
for a martyr’s crown

From a treatise On Virgins by Saint Ambrose, bishop

Today is the birthday of a virgin; let us imitate her purity  It is the birthday of a martyr; let us offer ourselves in sacrifice.  It is the birthday of Saint Agnes (January 21), who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve.  The cruelty that did not spare her youth shows all the more clearly the power of faith in finding one so young to bear it witness.

There was little or no room in that small body for a wound.  Though she could scarcely receive the blow, she could rise superior to it.  Girls of her age cannot bear even their parents’ frowns and, pricked by a needle, weep as for a serious wound.  Yet she shows no fear of the blood stained hands of her executioners.  She stands undaunted by heavy, clanking chains.  She offers her whole body to be put to the sword by fierce soldiers.  She is too young to know of death, yet is ready to face it.  Dragged against her will to the altars, she stretches out her hands to the Lord in the midst of the flames, making the triumphant sign of Christ the victor on the altars of sacrilege.  She puts her neck and hands in iron chains, but no chain can hold fast her tiny limbs.

A new kind of martyrdom!  Too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr’s crown; unfitted for the contest, yet effortless in victory, she shows herself a master in valor despite the handicap of youth.  As a bride she would not be hastening to join her husband with the same joy she shows as a virgin on her way to punishment, crowned not with flowers but with holiness of life, adorned not with braided hair but with Christ himself.

In the midst of tears, she sheds no tears herself.  The crowds marvel at her recklessness in throwing away her life untasted, as if she had already lived life to the full.  All are amazed that one not yet of legal age can give her testimony to God.  So she succeeds in convincing others of her testimony about God, though her testimony in human affairs could not yet be accepted.  What is beyond the power of nature, they argue, must come from its creator.

St. Agnes' Martyrdom
What menaces there were from the executioner, to frighten her; what promises made, to win her over; what influential people desired her in marriage!  She answered: “To hope that any other will please me does wrong to my Spouse.  I will be his who first chose me for himself.  Executioner, who do you delay?  If eyes that I do not want can desire this body, then let it perish.”  She stood still, she prayed, she offered her neck.

You should see fear in the eyes of the executioner, as if he were the one condemned; his right hand trembled, his face grew pale as he saw the girl’s peril, while she had no fear herself.  One victim, but a twin martyrdom, to modesty and to religion;  Agnes preserved her virginity, and gained a martyr’s crown.

Pope Damasus adorned her tomb with sacred poetry, and many of the Fathers of the Church, following Saint Ambrose, have honored her in their writings. 
 Taken from the Liturgy of the Hours

St. Mary Magdalene Sought her Lord

St. Mary Magdalene, Feast Day July 22

St. Mary Magdalene
From the homily on the Gospels by St. Gregory the Great, pope

She longed for Christ, though she thought he had been taken away

When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples.  After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them.  The text then says: The disciples went back home, and it adds: but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.

Weeping at the tomb

We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained.  She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away.  

And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him.  

For perseverance is essential to any good deed, 
as the voice of truth tells us: 
Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.

At first she sought but did not find, but when she persevered t happened that she found what she was looking for.  When our desires are not satisfied, they grow stronger, and becoming stronger they take hold of their object.  

Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation, and if they do not grow they are not really desires.  Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth has burned with such a love.  

As David says: 
My soul has thirsted for the living God; 
when shall I come and appear before the face of God?  

And also in the Song of Songs the Church says:

I was wounded by love; and again: My soul is melted with love.

Weeping at the tomb... Jesus asks Why do you weep?

Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? 

She is asked why she is sorrowing so that her desire might be strengthened; for when she mentions whom she is seeking, her love is kindled all the more ardently.

Jesus says to her: Mary.  

Jesus is not recognized when he calls her “woman”; so he calls her by name, as though he were saying: Recognize me as I recognize you; for I do not know you as I know others; I know you as yourself. 

And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognizes who is speaking.  

She immediately calls him rabboni,
 that is to say, teacher, 
because the one whom 
she sought outwardly 
was the one who inwardly 
taught her to keep on searching. 

Once addressed by name, Mary recognizes who is speaking and calls him rabboni, teacher

Homily taken from the Liturgy of the Hours

Announce the Good News to everyone!

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor
is an 
Apostolic Duty

From a sermon by 
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, priest
                                   1559 - 1619
Feast Day July 21

There is a spiritual life that we share with the angels of heaven and with the divine spirits, for like them we have been formed in the image and likeness of God.  The bread that is necessary for living this life is the grace of the Holy Spirit and the love of God.  But grace and love are nothing without faith, since without faith is impossible to please God.  And faith is not conceived unless the word of God is preached.  

Faith comes from hearing, 
and what is heard is the word of Christ.  

The preaching of the word of God, then, is necessary for the spiritual life, just as the planting of seed is necessary for bodily life.

Christ says: The sower went out to so his seed.  The sower goes out as a herald of justice.  On some occasions we read that the herald was God, for example, when with the living voice from heaven he gave the law of justice to a whole people in the desert. 

On other occasions, the herald was an angel of the Lord, as when he accused the people of transgressing the divine law at Bochim, in the place of weeping.  At this all the sons of Israel, when they heard the angel’s address, became sorrowful in their hearts, lifted up their voices, and wept bitterly.  Then again, Moses preached the law of the Lord to the whole people on the plains of Moab, as we read in Deuteronomy.  Finally, Christ came as God and man to preach the word of the Lord, and for the same purpose he sent the apostles, just as he had sent the prophets before them.

Preaching, therefore, is a duty that is apostolic, angelic, Christian, divine.  The word of God is replete with manifold blessings, since it is, so to speak, a treasure of all goods.  It is the source of faith, hope, charity, all virtues, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all the beatitudes of the Gospel, all good works, all the rewards of life, all the glory of paradise: 

Welcome the word that has taken root in you, 
with its power to save you.

For the word of God is a light to the mind and a fire to the will.  It enables man to know God and to love him.  And for the interior man who lives by the Spirit of God through grace, it is bread and water, but a bread sweeter than honey and the honeycomb, a water better than wine and milk.  

For the soul it is a spiritual treasure of merits 
yielding as abundance of gold and precious stones.  

Against the hardness of a heart that 
persists in wrongdoing, 
it acts as a hammer.  

Against the world, 
the flesh and the devil 
it serves as a sword that destroys all sin.

Homily About Saint Lawrence Of Brindisi By Father Elias, Franciscan

Detailed Life of the Saint see this website 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Prayer of Contrition

Christ Teaching - Sermon on the Mount

Jesus, Forgive me!

O Eternal Word!  
You have spent three-and-thirty years in labors and fatigues; 

You have given Your life and Your blood for man’s salvation; 
in short, You have spared nothing to make men love you; 

and how is it possible that there should be those who know this, and yet do not love You?

O God, amongst these ungrateful ones I also may be numbered!  

I see the wrong I have done You; 
O my Jesus, have pity upon me!  

I offer You this ungrateful heart ungrateful it is true, but penitent.

Yes, I repent of every evil, 
O my dear Redeemer, for having despised You!  

I repent, and I am sorry with my whole heart.  

O my soul, love a God Who is bound like a criminal for you; 

a God scourged like a slave for you; 

a God made a mocking for you;  

a God, in short, dead upon a cross, as the vilest outcast for you!

Yes, My Saviour, let me remember, I beseech You, all that You have suffered for me that I may never more forget to love You!

O cords that bound my Jesus, 
bind me to Jesus; 

thorns that crowned my Jesus, 
pierce me with the love of Jesus;

nails that transfixed my Jesus, 
nail me to the Cross of Jesus  

O blood of Jesus, 
inebriate me with His Holy Love!  

O death of Jesus, 
make me die to every earthly affection!  

Pierced feet of my Lord, 
I embrace you; 

deliver me from hell, which I have deserved; 

my Jesus, in hell I could no more love You, 
and yet I desire to love You always.  

Save me, my dearest Saviour; 
bind me to Yourself, that I may never again lose You.

O Mary, refuge of Sinners, and Mother of my Saviour!  

Help a sinner who wishes to love God, and who recommends himself to you; help me for the love you bear for Jesus Christ.

The Origins & Prayer of Our Lady of Good Remedy

Our Lady of Good Remedy, pray for us!

I have been faithfully reciting the Novena prayer for special intentions for nearly a year now.  I was curious as to the origin of the title  Our Lady of Good Remedy…. And I found the answer!  

The following was copied from the America Needs Fatima website which I highly recommend you go to and share with everyone!

Muslim slave trade

For many centuries, Muslim fleets seized Catholic ships and invaded Catholic lands and took away men, women and children into slavery. The Catholic population in many countries, especially in Italy, Spain and Portugal lived in constant fear of being carried off into slavery. France, Britain, Holland, Ireland, and even Iceland suffered similar attacks and some of their population were captured and sold in the Islamic slave market of North Africa and the Middle East.

Muslim slave trade
It was perilous in the extreme to their eternal salvation for Catholics to live as slaves in Muslim society because of their grossly immoral customs. Women were in special danger because they were habitually sold into Muslim harems.

But God did not leave His people unaided. He inspired several religious institutions to work towards the rescue of the Catholic slaves from their Muslim slave masters.

One of these was the Trinitarian Order, which was founded by Saint John Matha in 1198. This Order was founded to redeem Catholic slaves from the Islamic slave markets and to set them free.

St. John Matha
However, only by raising large sums of money could the Trinitarians carry out their mission of buying back Catholic slaves. To be successful in raising such huge sums of money, they confided their fundraising efforts to the merciful protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

And She did not let them down. In fact, the Mother of God was so generous in answering their pleas for funds, that they called Her "Our Lady of Good Remedy."

And so, the Trinitarians were able to free many slaves from the bondage of slavery and, above all, to free them from the moral evils of sin that was prevalent in those decadent Muslim societies.

Today, we need Our Lady’s help more than ever in our personal lives, to resolve complicated personal situations and to find solutions for troubles we face in our families.

Above all, we need Our Lady of Remedy's powerful intercession to help us turn back the rising tide of radical Islamic Terrorism that is destabilizing the world. Our country and the world desperately need Our Lady’s powerful and unfailing help.

Our Lady of Good Remedy Novena

O QUEEN OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, Most Holy Virgin, we venerate thee. Thou art the beloved Daughter of the Most High God, the chosen Mother of the Incarnate Word, the Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the Sacred Vessel of the Most Holy Trinity.

O Mother of the Divine Redeemer, who under the title of Our Lady of Good Remedy comes to the aid of all who call upon thee, extend thy maternal protection to us. We depend on thee, Dear Mother, as helpless and needy children depend on a tender and caring mother.
Hail, Mary....

O LADY OF GOOD REMEDY, source of unfailing help, grant that we may draw from thy treasury of graces in our time of need.

Touch the hearts of sinners, that they may seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Bring comfort to the afflicted and the lonely; help the poor and the hopeless; aid the sick and the suffering. May they be healed in body and strengthened in spirit to endure their sufferings with patient resignation and Christian fortitude.
Hail, Mary....

DEAR LADY OF GOOD REMEDY, source of unfailing help, thy compassionate heart knows a remedy for every affliction and misery we encounter in life. Help me with thy prayers and intercession to find a remedy for my problems and needs, especially for... (Mention your intentions here).

O loving Mother, on my part, I pledge to adopt a more intensely Christian lifestyle, to a more careful observance of the laws of God, to be more conscientious in fulfilling the obligations of my state in life, and to strive to be a source of healing in this broken world of ours.

Dear Lady of Good Remedy, be ever present to me, and through thy intercession, may I enjoy health of body and peace of mind, and grow stronger in the faith and in the love of thy Son, Jesus.
Hail, Mary.....

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy,

R. That we may deepen our dedication to thy Son, and make the world alive with His Spirit.