St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas, the patron Saint of Russia, was born toward the end of the third century. His uncle, the Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, ordained him priest, and appointed him abbot of a monastery; and on the death of the archbishop he was elected to the vacant see.

Throughout his life he retained the bright and guileless manners of his early years, and showed himself a special protector of the innocent and the wronged. Nicholas once heard that a person who had fallen into poverty intended to abandon his three daughters to a life of sin. Determined, if possible, to save their innocence, the Saint went out by night, and, taking with him a bag of gold, flung it into the window of the sleeping father and hurried off. He, on awaking, deemed the gift a godsend, and with it dowered his eldest child. The Saint, overjoyed at his success, made like venture for the second daughter; but the third time, as he stole away, the father, who was watching, overtook him and kissed his feet, saying: “Nicholas, why dost thou conceal thyself from me? Thou art my helper, and he who has delivered my soul and my daughters’ from hell.”

St. Nicholas is usually represented by the side of a vessel, wherein a certain man had concealed the bodies of his three children whom he had killed, but who were restored to life by the Saint.

He died A.D. 342. His relics were translated in 1807, to Bari, Italy.

Reflection. — Those who would enter heaven must be as little children, whose greatest glory is their innocence. Now, two things are ours to do: first, to preserve it in ourselves, or regain it by penance; secondly, to love and shield it in others.

Text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).

Advertisements
Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom | Tagged

Surrendering the Human Will

Those deceive themselves, who believe that union with God consists in ecstasies or raptures, and in the enjoyment of Him. For it consists in nothing except the surrender and subjection of our will with our thoughts, words, and actions, to the will of God. -St. Teresa

This Saint never ceased to wonder at the great privilege which man possesses in being able to unite himself to his Creator, and at the wonderful desire which so great a sovereign entertains to see him united to Himself. This, therefore, was the object of her keenest desires, and for this she strove more ardently than for anything else.

St. John the Baptist abode in the desert for twenty-four years. God knows how his heart was touched with love for his Savior even from his birth, and how earnestly he desired to enjoy His presence; and yet, devoted to the simple will of God, he remained there discharging his duty, without even once seeing Him. And after he had baptized Him, he did not follow Him, but continued in his office.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom

St. John Damascene

There arose, in the eighth century, a sect of heretics, who, both by words and deed, opposed with fanatical hatred the worship of sacred images, declaring that these are only idolatry and superstition. Consequently they barbarously destroyed any statues or holy pictures they could find, for which reason they were called “Iconoclasts,” which means “breakers of images.”

Under such difficult conditions, God deigned to raise up a number of wise and holy men full of faith and courage, who opposed these nefarious profanations and vindicated the truth and legitimacy of the worship paid to sacred images. Among these must be mentioned St. John Damascene, so called from Damascus, a town in Syria, his birthplace. This holy man, both by preaching and writing fearlessly defended the Catholic teaching regarding the worship due to the images of Christ and of the saints. He proved how this worship is not contrary to Sacred Scripture or Tradition.

But his ardor aroused the implacable hatred of the Emperor, Leo the Isaurian, who commanded the Prefect of Damascus to cut off John’s right hand, the guilty instrument, as it seemed to the Emperor, of his defending an idolatrous and superstitious cult.

The Saint bore this cruel trial with heroic courage, thinking himself happy to suffer something for the honor of Jesus and Mary. Then he recommended himself with great fervor to the Blessed Virgin, his Mother and Patroness, whose honor in the veneration of sacred images he had defended with such warmth and vigor. This benignant Queen heard his prayers and lo! she caused the hand that had been separated from the arm to be reunited to it in so marvelous a manner, that it seemed as if it had really never been cut off. Thus does Mary beneficently repay those who are zealous for her honor, and who place all their trust in her protection.

St. John Damascene died full of merit, in the year 956, and is honored as a Doctor of the Church.

Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom | Tagged

St. Francis Xavier

A young Spanish gentleman, in the dangerous days of the Reformation, was making a name for himself as a Professor of Philosophy in the University of Paris, and had seemingly no higher aim, when St. Ignatius, of Loyola, won him to heavenly thoughts.

After a brief apostolate amongst his countrymen in Rome, he was sent by St. Ignatius to the Indies, where for twelve years he was to wear himself out, bearing the Gospel to Hindostan, to Malacca, and to Japan. Thwarted by the jealousy, covetousness, and carelessness of those who should have helped and encouraged him, neither their opposition nor the difficulties of every sort which he encountered could make him slacken his labors for souls.

The vast kingdom of China appealed to his charity, and he was resolved to risk his life to force an entry, when God took him to Himself, and on the 2d of December, 1552, he died, like Moses, in sight of the land of promise.

Illustration and text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom | Tagged

Love for One’s Family

Among all those who are included under the title of neighbor, there are none who deserve it more, in one sense, than those of our own household. They are nearest of all to us, living under the same roof, and eating the same bread. Therefore, they ought to be one of the principal objects of our love, and we should practise in regard to them all the acts of a true charity, which ought to be founded not upon flesh and blood, or upon their good qualities, but altogether upon God. -St. Francis de Sales

St. Vincent de Paul bore great love to all the members of his Congregation. He showed esteem and veneration for all, and welcomed them all with such tokens of affection, that each felt sure of being tenderly loved by him. He provided for their needs with great solicitude, for he could not bear to see any of them suffer. He was often seen to rise from the table to set aside dishes for the lay-brothers, who came after the rest, and if it happened that the cook had nothing for any one, or delayed in serving him, he would give him his own portion, and constrain him to take it.

He was most attentive in providing relief and comfort for the sick, often going himself to inquire into their condition and their needs; he advised the infirmarians to take all possible care of them, and the Superiors of houses to spare no fatigue or expense in providing for them. He tried to soothe their sufferings by special marks of love and attention, and offered his prayers to God on their behalf. If he perceived that any one of them had a particular desire to speak to him, he left everything to listen to him, and gave him all the time he needed.

When he saw that any one was troubled by interior trials or temptations, he made every effort to free or else to relieve him; and if any one seemed hardened, he did his best to win him by gentleness and mildness, sometimes even throwing himself at the feet of such, and begging them not to yield to their besetting sin.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom

The Divine Spouse

In her adoration, Mary aimed at honoring all the conditions of Jesus, at exalting Him under titles most dear to Him, and which establish most perfectly His empire over men’s hearts.

She adored Jesus under His title of Spouse of Souls. Union is the perfection of love. Jesus, in giving Himself substantially in the Eucharist, unites Himself to our soul as His cherished spouse.

Mary, like a good mother, would have the nuptials of her Beloved Son celebrated happily. As formerly at Cana, she prevented the confusion of the young couple, so does she adorn the faithful soul with her own virtues, that Jesus may find it deserving of Him. Yes! the best preparation for Communion is that which Mary makes. Is it not the mother’s duty to clothe her daughter for the wedding day?

Jesus is also the Spouse of the Church, whose fruitful virginity makes Him the Father of the new generation of God’s children. Mary adored Him, also, as the Spouse of the Church, and she loved the latter as her daughter, indissolubly united to her very dear Son. Mary would have willingly given her life for the Church. She protected it, defended it by her incessant prayers. She gladly Watched over its progress and shared its dangers, suffering with it and for it. Though the Mother of the Church, she was at the same time its daughter. Like the most submissive of its children, she obeyed Peter and John and all other priests. She honored the holy ceremonies, she adored Jesus by the Church, by its worship, its liturgical prayers, its priesthood, and all its children. O what beautiful adoration was that which united Mary and the Faithful at the foot of the Blessed Sacrament!

In the Eucharist alone, the love of Jesus Christ is royally served, since in It He has a palace, a court, and adorers.

Mary, then, adored Jesus as her King, no longer in His poor and fugitive royalty of Bethlehem or of Egypt, nor as her Crucified King on Calvary, but in His permanent royalty, seated on His throne of glory, all veiled as He is, invulnerable to the darts of His enemies, invincible in His victory, glorious in the triumph of His love. Mary saw, realized the words of the angel: “He shall reign over the House of Jacob, and of His reign there shall be no end” [Luke 1:32-33]. She saw the Eucharistic thrones daily multiply. Every city, every village, becomes His court, and offers to Him a palace. She beheld all virtues flourishing in the world by means of the Eucharist, and they are the royal crown of the God who Himself inspires and fosters them.

Text from Father Eymard’s Month of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament (New York: Sentinel Press, 1903).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom | Tagged

Compassion for the Sinner

Let us endeavor to show ourselves full of compassion towards the faulty and the sinful. If we do not show compassion and charity to these, we do not deserve to have God show it towards us. -St. Vincent de Paul

This Saint was never astonished at any fault that he saw committed; for he said that to commit faults was the characteristic of man, as he was conceived and born in sin. This acquaintance that he had with the common miseries of man, was what made him behave with so much sweetness and compassion to all sinners. He avoided harshness, and used only mild and compassionate words and ways, even with the most guilty.

St. Francis Borgia used to call those who brought upon him any mortification or trial, his assistants and friends.

A certain good nun, whenever she received an injury from any one, always hastened to the Most Holy Sacrament, and made an offering of it, saying: “O Lord, for love of Thee I pardon her who has done me this wrong! Mayest Thou pardon her for love of me!”

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Saint, Saints, Wisdom