Thursday, 1 February 2018

St. Blaise, Feast Day February 3rd

St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr
Feast Day February 3rd

Saint Blaise was the bishop of Sebastea and a doctor. The first known record of the saint's life comes from the medical writings of Aëtius Amidenus, where he is recorded as helping with patients suffering from objects stuck in their throat. Many of the miraculous aspects of St. Blaise's life are written of 400 years after his martyrdom in the "Acts of St. Blaise."

Saint Blaise is believed to begin as a healer then, eventually, became a "physician of souls." He then retired to a cave, where he remained in prayer. People often turned to Saint Blaise for healing miracles.

In 316, the governor of Cappadocia and of Lesser Armenia, Agricola, arrested then-bishop Blaise for being a Christian. On their way to the jail, a woman set her only son, who was chocking to death on a fish bone, at his feet.

Blaise cured the child, and though Agricola was amazed, he could not get Blaise to renounce his faith. Therefore, Agricola beat Blaise with a stick and tore at his flesh with iron combs before beheading him.

In another tale, Blaise was being led to the prison in Sebastea, and on the way came across a poor old woman whose pig had been stolen by a wolf. Blaise commanded the wolf return the pig, which it did -alive and uninjured - to the amazement of all.

When he reached Sebastea, the woman came to him and brought two fine wax candles in an attempt to dispel the gloom of his darkened cell.

In the Middle Ages, Blaise became quite popular and his legend as a beast tamer spread. He was then referred to as the "saint of the wild beast."

St. Blaise in Medieval Art
Prayer to St. Blasé (Blaise, Blaize)

O glorious Saint Blase, who by thy martyrdom has left to the Church a precious witness to the faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend, without human respect, both by word and example, the truth of that same faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. Thou who didst miraculously cure a little child when it was at the point of death by reason of an affliction of the throat, grant us thy powerful protection in like misfortunes; and, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification together with a faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which may keep us from offending Almighty God. Amen.

Blessing of Throats on Feast of St. Blaise February 3

Blessing of Throats


With the crossed candles touched to the throat of each person, the celebrant says immediately:

Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.

Presentation of the Lord - Feast Day February 2nd

Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
Let us Receive the Light 
Whose Brilliance is Eternal

From a sermon by Saint Sophronius, bishop

In Honor of the Divine Mystery that we celebrate today, let us all hasten to meet Christ.  Everyone should be eager to join the procession and to carry a light.

Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of His Eternal Light.  Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.

Presentation of Our Lord, Mary & Joseph, Simeon
The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought Him to those who lay in darkness.  We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the True Light as we hasten to meet Him.

The Light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness.  This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with Lighted candles to reveal the Light that has shoe upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through Him.  So let us hasten all together to meet our God.

The True Light has come, the Light that enlightened every man who is born in this world.  Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light.  Let all of us share in its splendor, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness.  Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the Light whose brilliance is eternal.  Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the Light, who sent the True Light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in His splendor.

Simeon Blessed God for Allowing him to see the Messiah
Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which He prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves.  As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.

By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as He came to us from Bethlehem.  Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God.  Our eyes have seen God Incarnate, and because we have seen Him present among us and have mentally received Him into our arms, we are called to new Israel.  Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in its honor.

In Persecution Hold High the Cross!

Christ Crucified
Even in Time of Persecution 
Let the Cross 
be Your Joy

From the Catecheses by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop

The Catholic Church glories n every deed of Christ.  Her supreme glory, however, is the cross.  Well aware of this, Paul says: God forbid that I glory in anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!

At Siloam, there was a sense of wonder, and rightly so.  A man born blind recovered his sight.  But of what importance is this, when there are so many blind people in the world?  Lazarus rose from the dead, but even this only affected Lazarus.  What of those countless numbers who have died because of their sins?  Those five miraculous loaves fed five thousand people.  Yet this is a small number compared to those all over the world who were starved by ignorance.  After eighteen years a woman was freed from the bondage of Satan.  But are we not all shackled by the chains of our own sins?

For us all, however, the cross is the crown of victory!  It has brought light to those blinded by ignorance.  It has released those enslaved by sin.  Indeed, it has redeemed the whole of mankind!
Do not, then, be ashamed of the cross of Christ; rather, glory in it.  Although it is a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, the message of the cross is our salvation.  Of course it is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it was not a mere man who died for us, but he Son of God, God made man.

In the Mosaic law a sacrificial lamb banished the destroyer.  But now it is  the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Will he not free us from our sins even more?  The blood of an animal, a sheep, brought salvation.  Will not the blood of the only-begotten Son bring us greater salvation? 

He was not killed by violence, 
he was not forced to give up his life.  
His was a willing sacrifice.  

Listen to his worn words: I have the power to lay down my life and to take it up again. Yes, he willingly submitted to his own passion.  He took joy in his achievement; in his crown of victory he was glad and in the salvation of man he rejoiced.  

He did not blush at the cross 
for by it he was to save the world.  
No, it was not a lowly man 
who suffered but God incarnate.  

He entered the contest for the reward he would win by  his patient endurance.

Certainly in times of tranquillity the cross should give you joy.  But maintain the same faith in times of persecution.  Otherwise you will be a friend of Jesus in times of peace and his enemy during war.  Now you received the forgiveness of your sins and the generous gift of grace from our king.  When war comes, fight courageously for him.

Jesus never sinned; yet he was crucified for you.  Will you refuse to be crucified for him, who for your sake was nailed to the cross?

You are not the one who gives the favor; you have received one first.  

For your sake 
he was crucified on Golgotha.  
Now you are returning his favor; 
you are fulfilling your debt to him.

Be a Knight for Christ

Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus


This novena prayer may be said at any time, but especially in the nine days leading up to the Feast of the Holy Face on Shrove Tuesday - i.e. starting two Sundays before the start of Lent.

"All those who, attracted by my love, and venerating my countenance, shall receive, by virtue of my humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of my divinity. This splendor shall enlighten the depths of their souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance." (Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude)

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask Thy help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with all His sorrows, love, and total abandonment.
We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. (Start novena)


Recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer then…

Psalm 51, 3-4.  
Have mercy on me, O God in Thy goodness, in Thy great tenderness wipe away my faults; wash me clean of my guilt, purify me from my sin.

O most Holy Face of Jesus, look with tenderness on us who are sinners. Thou art a merciful God, full of love and compassion. Keep us pure of heart, so that we may see Thee always. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us; Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Our Almighty Father
Almighty Father, come into our hearts, and so fill us with Thy love that forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace Thee, our only good. Show us, O Lord our God, what Thou art to us. Say to our souls, I am Thy salvation, speak so that we may hear. Our hearts are before Thee; open our ears; let us hasten after Thy voice. Hide not Thy Face from us; we beseech Thee, O Lord. Open our hearts so that Thou mayst enter in. Repair the ruined mansions that Thou mayst dwell therein. Hear us, O Heavenly Father, for the sake of Thy only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (St. Augustine)

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be. 

*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


Recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer

Psalm 51, 5-6a.
My offenses truly I know them; My sin is always before me. Against Thee, Thee alone, have I sinned; what is evil in Thy sight I have done.

Most Holy Face of Jesus, we are truly sorry that we have hurt Thee so much by constantly doing what is wrong; and for all the good works we have failed to do. Immaculate Heart of Mary; Saint Joseph, intercede for us, help us to console the Most Holy Face of Jesus. Pray that we may share in the tremendous love Thou hast for one another and for the most Holy and Blessed Trinity. Amen.
Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, Sanctifier, all powerful God of love, Thou Who didst fill the Virgin Mary with grace, Thou Who didst wonderfully transform the hearts of the Apostles, Thou Who didst endow all Thy martyrs with a miraculous heroism, come and sanctify us; illumine our minds, strengthen our wills, purify our consciences, rectify our judgments, set our hearts on fire and preserve us from the misfortune of resisting Thine inspirations. We consecrate to Thee our understanding, our heart and our will, our whole being for time and for eternity. May our understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations and to the teachings of Thy Holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible guide; may our heart be ever inflamed with love of God and neighbor; may our will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may our whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory forever. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.

*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)

recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer
Psalm 51, 6b-7.  Thou art just when Thou dost pass sentence on me, blameless when Thou givest judgment. Thou knowest I was born guilty, a sinner from the moment of conception.

Prayer of Pope Pius IX
O Jesus! Cast upon us a look of mercy; turn Thy Face towards each of us as Thou didst to Veronica; not that we may see it with our bodily eyes, for this we do not deserve, but turn it towards our hearts, so that, remembering Thee, we may ever draw from this fountain of strength the vigor necessary to sustain the combats of life. Amen. Mary, Our Mother, and Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer of Saint Francis
All highest, glorious God, cast Thy light into the darkness of our hearts, give us true faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, so that with wisdom, courage and perception, O Lord, we may do what is truly Thy holy will. Amen.

Prayer to the Angels and Saints
We salute Thy, through the Holy Face and Sacred Heart of Jesus, O all ye Holy Angels and Saints of God. We rejoice in Thy glory, and we give thanks to Our Lord for all the benefits which He has showered upon ye; we praise Him and glorify Him, and offer ye, for an increase of Thy joy and honor, the most Holy Face and gentle Heart of Jesus. Pray that we may become formed according to the heart of God. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.

*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


Recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer

Psalm 51, 8-9.   
Indeed, Thou dost love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me Wisdom. O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

O Lord Jesus, Who has said, learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart, and Who did manifest upon Thy Holy Face the sentiments of Thy divine heart, grant that we may love to come frequently and meditate upon Thy divine features. We may read there Thy gentleness and Thy humility, and learn how to form our hearts in the practice of these two virtues which Thou desirest to see shine in Thy servants. Mary our Mother and Saint Joseph help us.
Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer in Honor of the Dolors of the Blessed Virgin
O Most Holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs! Who stood beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of thy dying Son, look down with a mother’s tenderness and pity on us as we kneel before thee to venerate thy Dolors, and place our requests, with filial confidence, in the sanctuary of thy wounded heart. Present them on our behalf to Jesus, through the merits of His most sacred Passion and Death, together with thy sufferings at the foot of the cross, and, through the united efficacy of both, obtain the favor which we humbly ask. To whom shall we go in our wants and miseries if not to thee? O Mother of Mercy, who having so deeply drunk of the chalice of thy Son, graciously alleviate the sufferings of those who still sigh in this land of exile. Amen.

Prayer to the Souls in Purgatory
My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine agony in the garden, in Thine scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary, in Thine crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken. Deliver them from the dire torments they endure. Call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in Paradise. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.

*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


Recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer

Psalm 5 1, 10-11.
Make me hear rejoicing and gladness that the bones Thy have crushed may revive. From my sins turn away Thy Face, and blot out all my guilt.

Holy Face of Jesus, Sacred Countenance of God, how great is Thy patience with humankind, how infinite Thy forgiveness. We are sinners, yet Thou lovest us. This gives us courage. For the glory of Thy Holy Face and of the Blessed Trinity, hear and answer us. Mary our Mother, intercede for us; Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Saint Joseph
Dear Saint Joseph! Adopt us as thy children, take charge of our salvation; watch over us day and night; preserve us from occasions of sin; obtain for us purity of body and soul, and the spirit of prayer, through thy intercession with Jesus, grant us a spirit of sacrifice, of humility and self-denial; obtain for us a burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and a sweet, tender love for Mary, our Mother.
Saint Joseph, be with us in life, be with us in death and obtain for us a favorable judgment from Jesus, our merciful Savior. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.

*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


Recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer

Psalm 51, 12-13.
A pure heart create for us, O God; put a steadfast spirit within us. Do not cast us away from Thy presence nor deprive us of Thy Holy Spirit.

May our hearts be cleansed, O Lord, by the inpouring of the Holy Spirit, and may He render them fruitful by watering them with His heavenly dew. Mary, most chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit, intercede for us. Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel
O Victorious Prince, most humble guardian of the Church of God and of faithful souls, who with such charity and zeal took part in so many conflicts and gained such great victories over the enemy; for the conservation and protection of the honor and glory we all owe to God, as well as for the promotion of our salvation, come, we pray Thee, to our assistance, for we are continually besieged with such great perils by Thy enemies: the flesh, the world, and the devil; and as Thou wast a leader for the people of God through the desert, so also be our faithful leader and companion through the desert of this world, until Thou conduct us safely into the happy land of the living, in that blessed fatherland from which we are all exiles. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.

*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


Recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer

Psalm 51, 14-15.
Give me again the joy of Thy help, with a spirit of fervor sustain me; that I may teach transgressors Thy ways and sinners may return to Thee.

Lord Jesus! After contemplating Thy features, disfigured by grief, after meditating upon Thy passion with compunction and love, how can our hearts fail to be inflamed with a holy hatred of sin, which even now outrages Thy Adorable Face! Lord, suffer us not to be content with mere compassion, but give us grace to so closely follow Thee in this Calvary, so that the opprobrium destined for Thee may fall on us, O Jesus, that thus we may have a share, small though it may be, in expiation of sin. Amen.
Mary, our Mother, intercede for us. Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer in Honor of Mary
Hail Mary, Most Delightful Daughter of God the Father! Hail Mary, Most Admirable Mother of God the Son! Hail Mary, Most Chaste Spouse of God the Holy Spirit! Hail Mary, Temple and Sacrarium of the Most Holy Trinity! Hail Mary, our mistress, our wealth, our mystic rose, Queen of our hearts, our Mother, our life, our sweetness, and our dearest hope! We are all thine, and all we have is thine. O Virgin blessed above all things, may thy soul be in us to magnify the Lord; may thy spirit be in us to rejoice in God. Place thyself, O faithful Virgin, as a seal upon our hearts, that in thee and through thee we may be found faithful to God. Grant, most gracious Virgin, that we may be numbered among those whom thou art pleased to love, to teach and to guide, to favor and to protect as thy children. Grant that with the help of thy love, we may despise all earthly consolation and cling to heavenly things, until through the Holy Spirit, thy faithful spouse, and through thee, His faithful spouse, Jesus Christ, thy Son, be formed within us for the glory of the Father. Amen. (St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort).

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.

*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


Recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer

Psalm 51, 16-17.
O rescue me, God my helper, and my tongue shall ring out Thy goodness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Most merciful Face of Jesus, Who in this vale of tears was so moved by our misfortunes to call Thyself the healer of the sick, and the good Shepherd of the souls gone astray, allow not Satan to draw us away from Thee, but keep us always under Thy loving protection, together with all souls who endeavor to console Thee. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us. Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Saint Peter
O glorious Saint Peter, who, in return for thy lively and generous faith, thy profound and sincere humility and thy burning love, was honored by Jesus Christ with singular privileges, and in particular, with the leadership of the other apostles and the primacy of the whole Church, of which thou wast made the foundation stone, do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith that shall not fear to profess itself openly in its entirety and in all of its manifestations, even to the shedding of blood, if occasion should demand it, and to the sacrifice of life itself in preference to surrender. Obtain for us likewise a sincere loyalty to our Holy Mother the Church. Grant that we may ever remain most closely and sincerely united to the Holy Father, who is the heir of thy faith and of thy authority, the one true visible head of the Catholic Church. Grant, moreover, that we may follow, in all humility and meekness, the Church’s teaching and counsels and may be obedient to all her precepts, in order to be able here on earth to enjoy a peace that is sure and undisturbed, and to attain one day in heaven to everlasting happiness. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.

*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


Recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer

Psalm 51, 18-21.
For in sacrifice Thou take no delight, a burnt offering from me Thou wouldst refuse; my sacrifice a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart Thou wilt not spurn. In Thy goodness, show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then Thou shalt be pleased with lawful sacrifice; holocausts offered on Thy altar.

Sacred Face of Our Lord and Our God, what words can we do to express our gratitude? How can we speak of our joy? That Thou hast deigned to hear us, that Thou hast chosen to answer us in our hour of need. We say this because we know that our prayers will be granted. We know that Thou, in Thy loving kindness, listened to our pleading hearts, and will give, out of Thy fullness, the answer to our problems. Mary, our Mother, we thank Thee for Thy intercession on our behalf. Saint Joseph, we thank Thee for Thine prayers.
Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition; Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Trinity
Most Holy Trinity, Godhead indivisible, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, our first beginning and our last end. Since Thou hast made us after Thy own image and likeness, grant that all the thoughts of our minds, all the words of our tongues, all the affections of our hearts, and all our actions may be always conformed to Thy most Holy Will, so that after having seen Thee here on earth in appearances and in a dark manner by the means of faith, we may come at last to contemplate Thee face to face, in the perfect possession of Thee forever in paradise. Amen.

*Our Father, Hail Mary (3x), Glory Be.

*O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (3x)


May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored, and glorified in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

St. Paul the Apostle homily by St. John Chrysostom

For Love of Christ, 
Paul  bore every burden

From a homily by 
Saint John Chrysostom, bishop

Paul, more than anyone else, has shown us what man really is, and in what our nobility consists and of what virtue this particular animal is capable.  Each day he aimed ever higher; each day he rose up with greater ardor and faced with new eagerness the dangers that threatened him.  

He summed up his attitude in the words:   I forget what is behind me and push on to what lies ahead.  When he saw death imminent, he had others share his joy:   Rejoice and be glad with me!  And when danger, injustice and abuse threatened, he said: I am content with weakness, mistreatment and persecution.  These he called the weapons of righteousness, thus telling us that he derived immense profit from them.

Thus, amid the traps set for him by his enemies, with exultant heart he turned their every attack into a victory for himself; constantly beaten, abused and cursed, he boasted of it as though he were celebrating a triumphant procession and taking trophies home, and offered thanks to God for it all: Thanks be to God who is always victorious in us!  

This is why he was far more eager for the shameful abuse that his zeal in preaching brought upon him than we are the most pleasing honors, more eager for death than we are for life, for poverty than we are for wealth; he yearned for toil far more than others yearn for rest after toil.  

The one thing he feared, indeed dreaded, 
was to offend God; 
nothing else could sway him. 
Therefore, the only thing 
he really wanted was always to please God.

The most important thing of all to him, however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ.  Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else; were he without it, it would be no satisfaction to be the friend of principalities and powers.  He preferred to be thus loved and be the least of all, or even to be among the damned, than to be without that love and be among the great and honored.

To be separated from that love 
was, in his eyes, 
the greatest and most 
extraordinary of torments; 
the pain of that loss 
would alone have been hell, 
and endless, unbearable torture.

So too, in being loved by Christ he thought of himself as possessing life, the world, the angels, present and future, the kingdom, the promise and countless blessings.  Apart from that love nothing saddened or delighted him;  for nothing earthly did he regard as bitter or sweet.

Paul set no store by the things that fill our visible world, any more than a man sets value on the withered grass of the field.  As for tyrannical ruler or the people enraged against him, he paid them no more heed than gnats.

Death itself and pain and whatever torments might come were but child’s play to him, provided that thereby he might bear some burden for the sake of Christ.

Taken from the Liturgy of the Hours, Conversion of Paul January 25

St. Paul preaching in Athens by Raphael

St. Paul Teaches Us That ...

1 Cor. 1:23- Paul preaches a Christ crucified, not just risen. Catholic spirituality focuses on the sacrifice of Christ which is the only means to the resurrection. This is why Catholic churches have crucifixes with the corpus of Jesus affixed to them. Many Protestant churches no longer display the corpus of Jesus (only an empty cross). Thus, they only preach a Christ risen, not crucified.

1 Cor. 2:2 – Paul preaches Jesus Christ and Him crucified. While the cross was the scandal of scandals, and is viewed by the non-Christian eye as defeat, Catholic spirituality has always exalted the paradox of the cross as the true tree of life and our means to salvation.

2 Cor. 1:5-7- if we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort as well. If we unite our sufferings with His, we will be comforted by Him.

2 Cor. 4:10 – Paul writes that we always carry in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. Christ has allowed room in His Body for our sufferings, and our sufferings allow room for Christ to bring us to life.

2 Cor. 4:11 – while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake so that His life may be manifested in our flesh. This proves the Catholic position that our sufferings on earth are united with Jesus in order to bring about Jesus’ life in us.

Phil. 1:29 for the sake of Christ we are not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake. Growing in holiness requires more than having faith in God and accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. We must also willfully embrace the suffering that befalls us as part of God’s plan. Thus, Christ does not want our faith alone, but our faith in action which includes faith in suffering.

Phil. 3:10 – Paul desires to share in Christ’s sufferings in order to obtain the resurrection. Paul recognizes the efficacy of suffering as a means of obtaining holiness which leads to resurrection and eternal life. 
There is no Easter Sunday 
without Good Friday.

Excerpts from Scripture Catholic