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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wonderful Homily on the Triumph of The Cross

This is belated for the feast of the Triumph of the Cross that has passed, but the Franciscan Friars Minor don't post their videos the same day they are made.  ALL their videos are fantastic!

Here is Fr. David Mary on the Triumph of the Cross and St. Francis' love of the Cross and Jesus Crucified:


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sept. 17th - Feast of the Stigmata of Our Holy Father Francis


Francis imitated Christ so perfectly that towards the end of his life our Lord wished to point him out to the world as the faithful imitator of the Crucified, by imprinting His five wounds upon his body.

Two years before his death, when, according to his custom, Francis had repaired to Mt. La Verna to spend the 40 days preceding the feast of St. Michael the Archangel in prayer and fasting, this wonderful event took place. St. Bonaventure gives the following account of it:

"Francis was raised to God in the ardor of his seraphic love, wholly transformed by sweet compassion into Him, who, of His exceeding charity, was pleased to be crucified for us. On the morning of the feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, as he was praying in a secret and solitary place on the mountain, Francis beheld a seraph with six wings all afire, descending to him from the heights of heaven. As the seraph flew with great swiftness towards the man of God, there appeared amid the wings the form of one crucified, with his hands and feet stretched out and fixed to the cross. Two wings rose above the head, two were stretched forth in flight, and two veiled the whole body.

Francis wondered greatly at the appearance of so novel and marvelous a vision. But knowing that the weakness of suffering could nowise be reconciled with the immortality of the seraphic spirit, he understood the vision as a revelation of the Lord and that it was being presented to his eyes by Divine Providence so that the friend of Christ might be transformed into Christ crucified, not through martyrdom of the flesh, but through a spiritual holocaust.

The vision, disappearing, left behind it a marvelous fire in the heart of Francis, and no less wonderful token impressed on his flesh. For there began immediately to appear in his hands and in his feet something like nails as he had just seen them in the vision of the Crucified. The heads of the nails in the hands and feet were round and black, and the points were somewhat long and bent, as if they had been turned back. On the right side, as if it had been pierced by a lance, was the mark of a red wound, from which blood often flowed and stained his tunic."

Thus far the account of St. Bonaventure. Although St. Francis strove in every way to conceal the marvelous marks which until then no man had seen, he was not able to keep them a complete secret from the brethren. After his death they were carefully examined, and they were attested by an ecclesiastical decree. To commemorate the importance of the five wounds, Pope Benedict XI instituted a special feast which is celebrated on September 17th, not only by all branches of the Franciscan Order, but also in the Roman missal and breviary.

ON LOOKING UP TO THE CROSS

1. With the example of our holy Father St. Francis in mind, consider what effect a glance at the cross should have on us. It led Francis from the service of the world to the service of God and to penance. A look at the crucifix should remove from our hearts all delight in the world and fill us with sorrow for the sins we have committed in the service of the world, and of our evil passions. For what other reason was Christ nailed to the cross, and his whole body bruised? The Prophet tells us: "He was wounded for our iniquities. He was bruised for our sins" (Is 53:5). Meditation on the sufferings of our Savior caused St. Francis to shed so many tears that his eyes became inflamed. -- Do you also kneel before the crucifix and bewail the sins through which you nailed your Savior to the Cross?

2. Consider that a look at the cross is also a consolation for the sinner. Our crucified Lord assured St. Francis of the complete remission of his sins. The Prophet also tells us: "By His bruises we are healed" (Is 53.5). Moses gave us a picture of our Savior on the Cross when he raised a brazen serpent on high in the desert, so that those who had been bitten by the poisonous serpent in punishment for their murmuring might be healed by looking up to this sign of our redemption. On the crucifix you behold our Savior Himself. "Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him who takes away the sins of the world" (Jn 1:29). -- Look up to Him with sincere contrition and lively confidence; He will also take away your sins.

3. Consider how the contemplation of the Crucified finally pierced St. Francis through and through with the fire of love, so that our Lord made him even externally like Himself. A look at the crucifix should also awaken ardent charity in us. St. Augustine points this out to us when he says: "Behold the head that is bent to kiss you, the heart that is opened to receive you, the arms stretched out to embrace you." Do not look at the image of your crucified Savior in the cold and indifferent way that one looks at a work of art, to marvel at the painful expression there represented. Let it speak to your heart and let your heart speak to it. Serve Him faithfully so that you may one day be united with Him in eternity.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

O Lord Jesus Christ, who when the world was growing cold, didst renew the sacred wounds of Thy sufferings in the body of our holy Father St. Francis in order to inflame out hearts with the fire of Thy divine love, mercifully grant that by his merits and intercession we may cheerfully carry our cross and bring forth worthy fruits of penance. Who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.
 
Text from THE FRANCISCAN BOOK OF SAINTS edited by Marion Habig, ofm
Copyright 1959  Franciscan Herald Press  


Image: Watercolor done by P. Subercaseaux Errazuriz, O.S.B. 1880-1956; circa 1920.

(The above post taken from http://www.franciscan-sfo.org/p1/stigmata.htm)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows



Litany of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows
by Pope Pius VII

A litany is a well-known and much appreciated form of responsive petition, used in public liturgical services, and in private devotions, for common necessities of the Church, or in calamities — to implore God's aid or to appease His just wrath.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us
Mother of the Crucified, pray for us
Sorrowful Mother, pray for us
Mournful Mother, pray for us
Sighing Mother, pray for us
Afflicted Mother, pray for us
Foresaken Mother, pray for us
Desolate Mother, pray for us
Mother most sad, pray for us
Mother set around with anguish, pray for us
Mother overwhelmed by grief, pray for us
Mother transfixed by a sword, pray for us
Mother crucified in thy heart, pray for us
Mother bereaved of thy Son, pray for us
Sighing Dove, pray for us
Mother of Dolors, pray for us
Fount of tears, pray for us
Sea of bitterness, pray for us
Field of tribulation, pray for us
Mass of suffering, pray for us
Mirror of patience, pray for us
Rock of constancy, pray for us
Remedy in perplexity, pray for us
Joy of the afflicted, pray for us
Ark of the desolate, pray for us
Refuge of the abandoned, pray for us
Shield of the oppressed, pray for us
Conqueror of the incredulous, pray for us
Solace of the wretched, pray for us
Medicine of the sick, pray for us
Help of the faint, pray for us
Strength of the weak, pray for us
Protectress of those who fight, pray for us
Haven of the shipwrecked, pray for us
Calmer of tempests, pray for us
Companion of the sorrowful, pray for us
Retreat of those who groan, pray for us
Terror of the treacherous, pray for us
Standard-bearer of the Martyrs, pray for us
Treasure of the Faithful, pray for us
Light of Confessors, pray for us
Pearl of Virgins, pray for us
Comfort of Widows, pray for us
Joy of all Saints, pray for us
Queen of thy Servants, pray for us
Holy Mary, who alone art unexampled, pray for us

Pray for us, most Sorrowful Virgin, that we may be made worth of the promises of Christ

Let us pray, O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of grief pierced through the most sweet soul of Thy glorious Blessed Virgin Mother Mary: grant that we, who celebrate the memory of her Seven Sorrows, may obtain the happy effect of Thy Passion, Who lives and reigns world without end, Amen. 


Prayers in Honor of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Pope Pius VII approved another series of prayers in honor of the Seven Sorrows for daily meditation in 1815:

O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

1. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by your heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God. Hail Mary…

2. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety. Hail Mary…

3. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the loss of your dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge. Hail Mary…

4. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of your heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His Cross. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude. Hail Mary…

5. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which your generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by your afflicted heart obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel. Hail Mary…

6. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance before His Body was removed from the Cross. Dear Mother, by your heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding. Hail Mary…

7. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom. Hail Mary…
Let Us Pray:

Let intercession be made for us, we beseech You, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Your mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Your bitter Passion. Through You, O Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns world without end. Amen.



Consecration to Our Lady of Sorrows

Most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, Mary, would that I could be in Heaven, there to contemplate the honors rendered to thee by the Most Holy Trinity and by the whole Heavenly Court! But since I am still a pilgrim in this vale of tears, receive from me, thy unworthy servant and a poor sinner, the most sincere homage and the most perfect act of vassalage a human creature can offer thee. In thy Immaculate Heart, pierced with so many swords of sorrow, I place today my poor soul forever; receive me as a partaker in thy dolors, and never suffer that I should depart from that Cross on which thy only begotten Son expired for me.

With thee, O Mary, I will endure all the sufferings, contradictions, infirmities, with which it will please thy Divine Son to visit me in this life. All of them I offer to thee, in memory of the Dolors which thou didst suffer during thy life, that every thought of my mind, every beating of my heart may henceforward be an act of compassion to thy Sorrows, and of complacency for the glory thou now enjoyest in Heaven. Since then, O Dear Mother, I now compassionate thy Dolors, and rejoice in seeing thee glorified, do thou also have compassion on me, and reconcile me to thy Son Jesus, that I may become thy true and loyal son (daughter); come on my last day and assist me in my last agony, even as thou wert present at the Agony of thy Divine Son Jesus, that from this painful exile I may go to Heaven, there to be made partaker of thy glory. Amen.



The Exaltation of the Holy Cross Feast Day Today

Holy Cross - San Clemente, Rome
(Detail of apse mosaic, 12th century)

Adoramus te, christe, et benedicimus tibi,
quia per crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee,
for by thy cross thou hast redeemed the world.
+ + +
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life."
- John 3:16 (Douay)

On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (or Triumph of the Cross) we honor the Holy Cross by which Christ redeemed the world. The public veneration of the Cross of Christ originated in the fourth century, according to early accounts. The miraculous discovery of the cross on September 14, 326, by Saint Helen, mother of Constantine, while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, is the origin of the tradition of celebrating the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on this date. Constantine later built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the site of her discovery of the cross. On this same pilgrimage she ordered two other churches built: one in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem.  
 
In the Western Church the feast came into prominence in the seventh century — after 629, when the Byzantine emperor Heraclius restored the Holy Cross to Jerusalem, after defeating the Persians who had stolen it.

Christians “exalt” (raise on high) the Cross of Christ as the instrument of our salvation. Adoration of the Cross is, thus, adoration of Jesus Christ, the God Man, who suffered and died on this Roman instrument of torture for our redemption from sin and death. The cross represents the One Sacrifice by which Jesus, obedient even unto death, accomplished our salvation. The cross is a symbolic summary of the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ — all in one image.

The Cross — because of what it represents — is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. It has inspired both liturgical and private devotions: for example, the Sign of the Cross, which is an invocation of the Holy Trinity; the “little” Sign of the Cross on head, lips, and heart at the reading of the Gospel; praying the Stations (or Way) of the Cross; and the Veneration of the Cross by the faithful on Good Friday by kissing the feet of the image of Our Savior crucified.

Placing a crucifix (the cross with an image of Christ’s body upon it) in churches and homes, in classrooms of Catholic schools and in other Catholic institutions, or wearing this image on our persons, is a constant reminder — and witness — of Christ’s ultimate triumph, His victory over sin and death through His suffering and dying on the Cross.

We remember Our Lord’s words, “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake shall find it” (Mt 10:38,39). Meditating on these words we unite ourselves — our souls and bodies — with His obedience and His sacrifice; and we rejoice in this inestimable gift through which we have the hope of salvation and the glory of everlasting life.

Dying, you destroyed our death; rising you restored our life.
Save us by your cross, Christ our Redeemer.

Jesus dies upon the Cross
Meditation on the Twelfth Station by John Henry Cardinal Newman

"Consummatum est." It is completed — it has come to a full end. The mystery of God's love toward us is acomplished. The price is paid, and we are redeemed. The Eternal Father determined not to pardon us without a price, in order to show us especial favor. He condescended to make us valuable to Him. What we buy we put a value on. He might have saved us without a price — by the mere fiat of His will. But to show His love for us He took a price, which, if there was to be a price set upon us at all, if there was any ransom at all to be taken for the guilt of our sins, could be nothing short of the death of His Son in our nature. O my God and Father, Thou hast valued us so much as to pay the highest of all possible prices for our sinful souls — and shall we not love and choose Thee above all things as the one necessary and one only good?


Dear Brothers and Sisters, we are invited to look upon the Cross. It is the “privileged place” where the love of God is revealed and shown to us.… On the Cross human misery and divine mercy meet. The adoration of this unlimited mercy is for man the only way to open himself to the mystery which the Cross reveals.

The Cross is planted in the earth and would seem to extend its roots in human malice, but it reaches up, pointing as it were to the heavens, pointing to the goodness of God. By means of the Cross of Christ, the Evil One has been defeated, death is overcome, life is given to us, hope is restored, light is imparted. O Crux, ave spes unica!…

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15), says Jesus. What do we see then when we bring our eyes to bear on the cross where Jesus was nailed (cf. John 19:37)? We contemplate the sign of God’s infinite love for humanity.

O Crux, ave spes unica! Saint Paul speaks of the same theme in the letter to the Ephesians…. Not only did Christ Jesus become man, in everything similar to human beings, but He took on the condition of a servant and humbled Himself even more by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (cf. Philippians 2:6-8).

Yes, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16). We admire — overwhelmed and gratified — the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge (cf. Ephesians 3:18-19)! O Crux, ave spes unica! …

Through the mystery of your Cross and your Resurrection, save us O Lord! Amen
— Pope John Paul II -- Excerpts from homily September 14, 2003

(The above is from http://www.wf-f.org/ExaltCross.html)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

For The Triumph of the Cross Sept. 14th - Miracles of the Catholic Christian Church


The Miraculous Crucifix of Limpias –Jesus Christ comes alive on the Cross

The Miraculous Crucifix of Limpias is located in the 16th century Church of St. Peter in Santander, Spain, not far from the popular alleged apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Garabandal, Spain. The Crucifix is a beautiful 6 foot life-size figure of the crucified Jesus, and is located directly above the main altar. Arranged on either side of the crucifix, and somewhat below it, are life-size figures of the Sorrowful Virgin Mary and the Apostle John. The miraculous crucifix is believed to have been the work of Pedro de Mena, who died in 1693, and the crucifix was given to the church by Father Diego de la Piedra Secadura, who had been born at Limpias in 1716.

The crucifix is a meditation on the sufferings of Our Lord portraying Him in the final moments of His agony. Measuring six feet tall, the corpus is clothed with a loin cloth that is held in place with a rope. The feet are one atop the other and are pierced with a single nail. The index and middle fingers of both pierced hands are extended as though giving a final blessing. The face of Our Lord is of particular beauty, with its glass eyes looking toward Heaven so that, for the most part, only the whites of the eyes are visible.


The First Miracle -The eyes of Jesus on the crucifix miraculously come alive

The first recorded miracle involving this crucifix took place in 1914, five years before the grand miracles of 1919. The recipient of the favor was Don Antonio Lopez, a monk belonging to the Order of the Pauline Fathers who conducted a college in Limpias. His entire account reads as follows:

“One day in the month of August, 1914, I went into the parish church of Limpias, by order of my friend D. Gregorio Bringas, to fix the electric light over the high altar. In order to be able to work more comfortably I put two large cases on the altar, and on them a ladder, the ends of which I leaned against the wall that serves as a background to the figure of the Crucified One.

"After I had worked for two hours, in order to rest myself a little I began to clean the figure so that it could be seen more clearly. My head was on a level with the Head of the Christ, and at a distance of only a couple of feet from it. It was a lovely day and through the window in the sanctuary a flood of light streamed into the church and lit up the whole altar. As I was gazing at the crucifix with the closest attention, I noticed with astonishment that Our Lord's eyes were gradually closing, and for five minutes I saw them quite closed.

"Overwhelmed with fright at such an unexpected spectacle, I could still hardly quite believe what I saw, and was about to come down from the ladder. Notwithstanding, my bewilderment was so great that my strength suddenly failed me; I lost my balance, fainted, and fell from the ladder onto the edge of the altar itself and down the steps into the sanctuary.

"After I had somewhat recovered, I was convinced from where I lay that the eyes of the figure on the crucifix were still closed. I pulled myself together hastily and went out in order to relate what had happened, and also to be medically examined, for my whole body was in great pain from the fall.

"A few minutes after I had left the church I met the sacristan, who was just going to ring the Angelus, as it was twelve o'clock noon. When he saw me so agitated and covered with dust he asked if anything had happened to me. I told him what had occurred, whereupon he said he was not surprised as he had already heard that the Santo Cristo had closed His eyes on one other occasion, and that it was probably brought about by the working of some interior mechanism.

"I asked him to collect the tools together and to put away the ladder, and generally to tidy up everything again. Then when I reached the college I told the Fathers the whole of the above incident. I was examined, but no wounds were found on my body and no broken bones, only a few bruises of slight importance.

"Thinking that the movement I had observed in the eyes of the figure was to be attributed in any case to a mechanism, I attached no further importance to the vision, but tried, however, to find out on what occasion this fact had already been observed, but without success, as no one could give me any information whatsoever about the matter.

"Since then I have often cleaned the crucifix, and at the same time examined it minutely, and am convinced that there is neither a spring nor any other mechanism on it. What is more, the eyes were so firmly fixed that even by pressing hard with one's fingers they could not be made to move in the least, nor could they be turned in any direction, as I have proved myself again and again.”

-------

Father Antonio Lopez wrote the above account of his experience at the request of his superiors, and then kept the matter to himself. It was only on March 16, 1920, a year after the many miracles of 1919, that the above declaration was made public.
The Extraordinary Miracles of our Lord on the Crucifix of Limpias in 1919 –Jesus Once Again Comes Alive

During the time of the numerous miracles of the crucifix of Christ in Limpias the practice of the Catholic faith in the village of Limpias and the surrounding area was waning. The little town that is favored with the possession of the miraculous crucifix is located on the River Ason in the northernmost part of central Spain, near the Bay of Biscay. Because of this fact it is written that the venerable old Church of St. Peter that houses the Limpias crucifix was practically deserted at the time of the first miracle in 1914, and later those that took place in 1919.

In light of this, in an effort to re-ignite devotion to the beautiful crucifix and to encourage attendance at the venerable old church, the pastor, Rev. Thomas Echevarria, decided to accomplish this by means of a mission. After applying to the Capuchin monastery at Montehano, near Santander, two priests were placed at his disposal: Friar Anselmo de Jalon and Friar Agatangelo de San Miguel, both of whom were known for their apostolic zeal and success as missionaries.

On the last day of the mission, Sunday, March 30, while the Archpriest D. Eduardo Miqueli was celebrating Holy Mass, both missionaries were occupied in the confessional. Fr. Agatangelo, however, delivered the day's sermon based on the words, "My son, give me thy heart." (Prov. 23:26). While he was speaking, a girl of about 12 entered the confessional of Fr. Jalon and told him that the eyes of Christ on the cross were closed. Thinking that this was the product of the child's imagination, the priest ignored her claim until other children also came to him with the same message. After Fr. Agatangelo finished the address and was about to return to his confessional, Fr. Jalon approached him and told him of the children's claim. Both priests then looked at the crucifix but saw nothing unusual. Presently a man in the congregation shouted for everyone to look upon the crucifix. In a few moments the people confirmed with great excitement what the children had seen. Some of the people began crying, others shouted that they had seen a miracle, others fell to their knees in prayer while others called out to God for mercy.

After the parish priest was called from the sacristy and was told that the eyes of the Crucified were opening and closing and that the figure was turning His gaze from side to side, he, too, fell on his knees to pray. But his prayer was soon interrupted by many of the people who declared that the figure was perspiring and that Fr. Jalon should climb up to the crucifix to verify it. When a ladder was produced, Fr. Jalon climbed up and saw that the perspiration covered the figure's neck and chest. After touching the neck, he looked upon his fingers that were wet with the fluid. As verification of what had taken place, he showed his moistened fingers to the congregation. Once again agitation and excitement gripped the people so that it was a long time before they were calmed.

None of the priests saw the movements of the eyes, but Fr. Agatangelo later saw the miracle several times when he prayed alone in the church at night.
A report of all that had taken place was given by the Archpriest D. Eduardo to the bishop of Santander on April 2, 1919. This report was later published in the Boletin Eclesiastico of the diocese of Santander.

The Miraculous Apparitions of 1919 continue

The second set of public apparitions first took place on Palm Sunday, April 13, 1919, when two prominent men of Limpias approached the altar. Speaking of hallucination and mass hysteria as they looked upon the crucifix, one of them suddenly pointed upward and fell to his knees. At once the other man also fell to his knees, crying for mercy and proclaiming his belief in the miracle.

The third apparitions took place on Easter Sunday, April 20, in the presence of a group of nuns known as the Daughters of the Cross who conducted a girls' school in Limpias. They saw both the eyes and lips of the Santo Cristo move. At this time some of their students also saw the miracle, as did a group of people who were reciting the Holy Rosary. Their experience was quickly reported to the parish priest. The manifestations were repeated almost daily from April 24.

As can be expected, the church was often filled with people from Limpias and the neighboring towns who were hoping to witness the miracle. Reverend Baron Von Kleist reports that:

“Many said that the Saviour looked at them; at some in a kindly manner, and at others gravely, and at yet others with a penetrating and stern glance. Many of them saw tears in His eyes; others noticed that drops of blood ran down from the temples pierced by the crown of thorns; some saw froth on His lips and sweat on His body; others again saw how He turned His eyes from side to side, and let His gaze pass over the whole assembly of people; or how, at the Benediction, He made a movement of the eyes as if giving the blessing; how at the same time He moved the thorn-crowned head from one side to the other. Others had the impression that a deep, submissive sigh was wrested from His breast, some believed they saw Him whisper- in short, the most varied manifestations were observed on this crucifix.”

One of the first to declare his experience to the secular press was the well-known and highly respected D. Adolfo Arenaza. His testimony was published May 5, 1919 in the newspaper La Gazeta del Norte, which was published in Bilbao. He reported that he joined a procession going to Limpias in order to visit the crucifix. While looking through his field-glasses he saw the movement of the eyes four times. He further stated that it could not have been an effect of the light nor an hallucination, since people saw the miracle from all parts of the church. He then asked, "Does Our Lord really move His eyes ... I am rather of the opinion that He really does move them, for I have seen it myself."
Because of the newspaper reports, pilgrimages from near and distant towns began to arrive in Limpias, for the newspaper reports detailing accounts of the wonderful crucifix spread the news to all parts of Spain and finally to other countries including the United States. One journalist who watched in amazement at the movement of the eyes and mouth of our Lord stated:

“I could perceive two movements of the jawbone, as if He were saying two syllables with His lips. I shut my eyes quite tight and asked myself: "What will He have said?" The answer was not long in coming, for in my innermost self I clearly heard the significant and blessed words, "Love Me!"

One early group of pilgrims under the leadership of the Bishop of Toledo, Joseph Schrembs, arrived in Limpias from America. By the middle of November, 1919, 66 pilgrim trains had arrived at Limpias. Finally, by the year 1921, the number of pilgrims had increased to such an extent that foreign traffic in Limpias was determined to be greater than the visitors to Lourdes. Additionally, numerous Princes, Barons, politicians and other notables also visited Limpias, as did dignitaries of the Church in Spain including bishops and cardinals. Archbishops also arrived from Mexico, Peru, Manila, Cuba, and other foreign nations.

The multiple albums that are found in the sacristy of the church of Limpias contain well over 8,000 testimonies of people who had seen the wonderful apparitions. Of these, 2,500 were sworn on oath. Among these witnesses were members of religious orders, priests, doctors, lawyers, professors, and governors of universities, officers, merchants, workmen, country folk, unbelievers and even atheists.

The are several hundred testimonies from religious worldwide who witnessed the miracles. For example Father Celestino Maria de Pozuelo, a Capuchin monk, who visited Limpias on July 29, 1919 and wrote a detailed report that included this statement: " ... The face presented a vivid expression of pain: the body was a bluish colour, as if it had received cruel blows, and was bathed in perspiration. . ."

In his statement, Father Valentin Incio of Gijon tells that he visited Limpias on August 4, 1919 and joined a group of pilgrims who wen; witnessing the miracle. There were 30 to 40 people, two other priests, 10 sailors and a woman who was crying with emotion. Father Incio wrote:

“At first Our Lord seemed to be alive; His head then preserved its customary position and His countenance the natural expression, but His eyes were full of life and looked about in different directions... Then His gaze was directed towards the centre, where the sailors stood, whom He contemplated for a long time; then He looked to the left towards the sacristy with a remarkably stern glance which He retained for some time. Now came the most touching moment of all. Jesus looked at all of us, but so gently and kindly, so expressively, so lovingly and divinely, that we fell on our knees and wept and adored Christ. .. Then Our Lord continued to move His eyelids and eyes, which shone as if they were full of tears; then He moved His lips gently as if He were saying something or praying. At the same time the above mentioned lady who was beside me, saw the Master trying to move His arms and striving to get them loose from the Cross.”

Signing their names to this statement were the three priests, nine of the sailors and the lady.

The Coadjutor of St. Nicholas Church in Valencia, Father Paulino Girbes, relates in his statement of September 15, 1919 that he was in the company of two bishops and 18 priests when they knelt before the crucifix:

"... We all saw the face of the Santo Cristo become sadder, paler, and more bluish-looking. The mouth also was wider open than usual. The eyes gave a gentle glance now at the bishops and then in the direction of the sacristy. The features at the same time took on the expression of a man who is in his death-struggle. That lasted a long time. I could not restrain my tears and began to weep; the others were similarly affected..."

Father Joseph Einsenlohr submitted his statement on June 18, 1921. After offering Holy Mass at the altar below the crucifix, he sat in the church to attend the Mass being offered by another priest. He wrote:

“After the Santo Cristo moved His head and eyes for a certain time He began to pull at the shoulders, to writhe and to bend, as a man does when he is nailed alive to a cross. Everything was in motion, only the hands and feet remained nailed fast. In the end the whole body relaxed as if exhausted, then took up its natural position again with the head and eyes turned up in the direction of heaven. This whole scene of the dying Saviour lasted from the Sanctus until after the priest's Communion...”

A Capuchin monk named Father Antonio Maria de Torrelavega visited the crucifix on September 11, 1919, he saw blood streaming from the left corner of Our Lord's mouth. The next day, he:

.... observed anew, only still more frequently, the movement of the eyes, and saw, too, once more that blood was flowing down from the corner of the mouth ... Several times He also looked at me. Now I felt as if my whole being were shaken violently ... I stood up, therefore, and changed places three or four times, always observing, however, the same manifestations ... At about two o'clock, as I was kneeling in one of the central benches, I saw the Santo Cristo gazing at me again, and this so affected me that I had to hold on tight to the bench, as my strength was beginning to fail me ... I noticed that the countenance changed colour and became bluish and sad. Many other persons who were kneeling round me also observed this ... Now I verify it; there is no doubt the Santo Cristo moves His eyes. During my visit I saw the movement of the eyes about fifty times... “

Father Manuel Cubi, an author, lecturer and confessor of the Church del Pilar in Saragossa, Spain gave his statement on December 24, 1919. In the company of a group of people, he saw the Santo Cristo in a death agony.


“…One had the impression that Our Lord was trying to loosen Himself from the cross with violent convulsive movements; one thought to hear the death-rattle in His throat. Then He raised His head, turned His eyes, and closed His mouth. Now and then I saw His tongue and teeth ... For nearly half an hour He showed us how much we had cost Him, and what He had suffered for us during His abandonment and thirst on the cross.”

There are also many statements from physicians who were at first very skeptical and sought a scientific reason to disprove the “hysteria”.

A report made by Dr. Penamaria was published in the paper “La Montana” dated May, 1920. The doctor described what seemed to him to be "...a re-enactment of Christ's death on the Cross." He writes that after witnessing the movement of the statue's eyes and mouth, and after changing locations in the church to verify the miracle, he prayed for a more distinctive proof, something more extraordinary "... that would leave no scope to further doubt, and would give me positive grounds for His miracle, so that I might also proclaim it to all and sundry, and defend it against every opponent, even at the risk of losing my life." He then writes:

“This request seemed pleasing to Our Lord ... A moment later His mouth was twisted sharply to the left, His glassy, pain-filled eyes gazed up to heaven with the sad expression of those eyes that look and yet do not see. His lead colored lips appeared to tremble; the muscles of the neck and breast were contracted and made breathing forced and laboured. His truly Hippocratic features showed the keenest pangs of death. His arms seemed to be trying to get loose from the cross with convulsive backward and forward movements, and showed clearly the piercing agony that the nails caused in His hands at each movement. Then followed the in-drawing of a breath, then a second ... a third ... I do not know how many... always with painful oppression; then a frightful spasm, as with someone who is suffocating and struggling for air, at which the mouth and nose were opened wide. Now follows an outpouring of blood, fluid, frothing, that runs over the under-lip, and which the Saviour sucks up with His bluish, quivering tongue, that He slowly and gently passes two or three times in succession over the lower lip; then an instant of slight repose, another slow breath ... now the nose becomes pointed, the lips are drawn together rhythmically, and then extend, the bluish cheek-bones project, the chest expands and contracts violently after which His head sinks limply on His breast, so that the back of the head can be seen distinctly. Then ... He expires! . . . I have tried to describe in outline what I saw during more than two hours...”

An extraordinary revelation was observed by Dr. D. Pedro Cuesta in August, 1920. The doctor first tells that he was in the company of a priest, a doctor and a married couple. In the morning, during Holy Mass, his companions saw the miraculous movements but he did not, even though he moved from one position in the church to another. That afternoon he was persuaded to return to the church and saw this astounding revelation.

"When I fixed my gaze for the third or fourth time on the figure I noticed that the fleshy parts entirely disappeared, so that only the skin still remained, a skeleton on which I could have made anatomical studies. The head was completely dried up, until it, like the skin that I had seen, totally vanished. After I had not seen the figure at all for some time it reappeared, but as if mummified, until later on it was also restored by degrees in its fleshy parts. Yes, I observed clearly the formation of a hypertrophy (enlargement) of the head, which then also extended to the remaining parts of the body. Each of these apparitions was repeated twice.

"At the last stage of the second development I could no longer control myself, but cried out in terror and fled out of the church. A cowardly fear had taken possession of me, whereas I had never before known fear-let my description not be set down to exaggeration ... I, who was never ill, thought I should die on the spot. The instinct of self-preservation drove me out of the church or I should have had to be carried out as a corpse. So I stumbled out of the church and confessed with my whole heart to the people standing outside: By my reputation as a physician and on my word of honour, I take my oath to what I state herewith, and which I will also certify and ratify with my blood."


So emotionally spent was the doctor that he went on to say:

"I felt the necessity of taking some restorative [a tranquilizer]," which he did.

Dr. D.Eduardo Perez y Perez gives us a graphic medical report of what he saw on October 6, 1919:

“As I was praying before the crucifix of the Santo Cristo, He looked at me lovingly for nearly a minute ... then Christ raised His head, which then remained in quite a peaceful attitude. The muscles of the neck relaxed ... the eyes were at the same time wide open and turned upwards ... there ensued a violent inhalation with straining of the muscles of the neck, whereby the musculus cleidomastoideus especially stood out, and furthermore the musculi pectorales, the scalenus anterior, and the accessory respiratory muscles, with a considerable dilation of the intercostal spaces, as in the case, for example at the last struggle after mortal wounds ... For a moment He appeared on the point of death ... then He resumed His customary expression, as the artist had given it to the figure ... I must add that during the whole of that afternoon I saw the figure a reddish colour. The following day it was a yellowish or lead colour, as with a dying person ...”

There is also a report of a non-believer who was a medical student named D. Heriberto de la Villa. His testimony was published in the paper “Del Pueblo Astur” on July 8, 1919. He first strongly declares that: " ... auto-suggestion is quite out of the question, for I did not believe in the miracle when I went."


He later went into the church at the urging of a friend and saw the movement of the eyes and mouth. Doubting what he was seeing, he changed his location in the church to better study the movements and then saw the crucifix of Limpias:

“. . . gaze upon me with a terrible look full of anger, which makes me shudder, and I cannot help but bow my head ... I look up again and see how He is looking to the right, bowing His head, and turns it to the right, so that I can see the crown of thorns from behind ... Once again he turns on me the same angry look which makes such a deep impression upon me that I see myself obliged to leave the church."

Later that day he returned to the church and saw that,

“... little by little the breast and face became dark blue, the eyes move to the right and left, upwards and down, the mouth opens somewhat, as if He were breathing with difficulty. This I saw for fifteen to twenty minutes ... I also noticed that above the left eyebrow a wound formed, out of which a drop of blood flowed over the eyebrows, and remained stationary by the eyelids. After that I saw another drop of blood fall from the crown of thorns and flow over the face. I could distinctly discern it, for it was very red and contrasted with the dark blue colour of the face. Then I saw a quantity of blood drip from the crown of thorns onto the shoulder, but without touching the face. He opened His mouth wide, out of which a white matter like froth welled. At this moment a Dominican priest mounted the pulpit, whereupon Christ gazed steadily at him for five or six minutes ..."

"When the preacher ended with the words: "and now, Santo Cristo, give us Thy blessing," Christ opened His eyes and mouth, smiling, and bowed His head, as if He wished to give the benediction in reality. At this moment someone who was standing near me asked me if I would venture to swear on oath to what I saw ... Then I recognized that Christ wanted to prove to me the truth of what I saw; He opened His mouth again, out of which froth and blood streamed in great quantity and flowed out of the comers of the mouth quite distinctly ... Thereafter I believed that it was now my duty to swear upon oath to what I had seen, and I did so in the sacristy of the church.”

As noted above, most of those who saw the miracle instinctively felt the need to change locations within the church in order to verify what they had witnessed. For some, the miracle took place the first time they entered the church, but might not have taken place sometime later. For others, the miracle did not take place the first time, but occurred later in the day. Some did not see the miracle at all. As one witness testified: "The fact that these manifestations are seen by some, by others not, cannot be explained by the laws that are prescribed for nature."

The official position of the Catholic Church concerning the miraculous events at Limpias

Bishop Sanchez de Castro, the Bishop of Santander, in whose diocese Limpias belongs, introduced a canonical process on July 18, 1920 in which Rome was notified of the miraculous cures and manifestations. One year and one day later, a plenary indulgence was granted for a period of seven years to all the faithful who visit the holy crucifix.

-Lord Jesus Crucified, have mercy on us!

---------------
Sources: “Miraculous Images of Our Lord” by Joan Carroll Cruz, 1995, Tan Books and Publishers



Tomorrow is the Feast Day of the Triump of The Cross


This feast was observed in Rome before the end of the seventh century. It commemorates the recovery of the Holy Cross, which had been placed on Mt. Calvary by St. Helena and preserved in Jerusalem, but then had fallen into the hands of Chosroas, King of the Persians. The precious relic was recovered and returned to Jerusalem by Emperor Heralius in 629.

The lessons from the Breviary tell us that Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross back to Jerusalem on his shoulders. He was clothed with costly garments and with ornaments of precious stones. But at the entrance to Mt. Calvary a strange incident occurred. Try as hard as he would, he could not go forward. Zacharias, the Bishop of Jerusalem, then said to the astonished monarch: "Consider, O Emperor, that with these triumphal ornaments you are far from resembling Jesus carrying His Cross." The Emperor then put on a penitential garb and continued the journey.

Historically today is also the feast of St. Notburga, a peasant who lived in the Tyrol, Austria and St. Maternus, Bishop of Cologne.

This day is also called the Exaltation of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, or Roodmas. The liturgy of the Cross is a triumphant liturgy. When Moses lifted up the bronze serpent over the people, it was a foreshadowing of the salvation through Jesus when He was lifted up on the Cross. Our Mother Church sings of the triumph of the Cross, the instrument of our redemption. To follow Christ we must take up His cross, follow Him and become obedient until death, even if it means death on the cross. We identify with Christ on the Cross and become co-redeemers, sharing in His cross.
We made the Sign of the Cross before prayer which helps to fix our minds and hearts to God. After prayer we make the Sign of the Cross to keep close to God. During trials and temptations our strength and protection is the Sign of the Cross. At Baptism we are sealed with the Sign of the Cross, signifying the fullness of redemption and that we belong to Christ. Let us look to the cross frequently, and realize that when we make the Sign of the Cross we give our entire self to God — mind, soul, heart, body, will, thoughts.
O cross, you are the glorious sign of victory.
Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus.
Symbol: The cross of triumph is usually pictured as a globe with the cross on top, symbolic of the triumph of our Savior over the sin of the world, and world conquest of His Gospel through the means of a grace (cross and orb).

My Favorite Statue of St. Clare

This is my favorite statue of St. Clare.  I've seen this statue in the Poor Clare Colettine monastery in Cleveland, OH.  It was about life-size and in an beautiful niche in the wall in the extern's hallway and just to stand before it was like standing before St. Clare!  It is more beautiful in person.

Relics of St. Clare and her Incorrupt Body

Her habit and perhaps mantle are on the right and left, the center maybe the dress she ran away from home in to join St. Francis?  

St. Clare's incorrupt body.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

St. Francis Speaking of the Love of God


"St. Francis would lament with tears, crying over and over again, 'Love is not loved! Love is not loved!" We love you Jesus and thank You so much for loving us, giving Your life to save us from certain death and eternal torment. You are too good to us. Thank You Jesus, Savior! Amen."

September 17th Feast of the Stigmata of Our Holy Father Francis


St. Francis' Stigmata Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, who when the world was
growing cold, didst renew the sacred wounds of
Thy sufferings in the body of our holy Father
St. Francis in order to inflame out hearts with
the fire of Thy divine love, mercifully grant that
by his merits and intercession we may cheerfully
carry our cross and bring forth worthy fruits of
penance. Who livest and reignest forever and
ever. Amen.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 8th - The Nativity of Mary, Mother of Jesus and Our Mother

(Just found this beautiful Novena for the Nativity of Mary - to late for this year but early for next year's feast of Our Blessed Mother!)

(St. Joachim and St. Anne's (Mary's parents) and the Little Blessed Virgin Mary)

PRAYERS FOR THE NATIVITY OF MARY

Feast of Mary's Nativity - 8 September
Novena for the Nativity of Our Lady
The prayer below is said after each daily prayer and a prayer at the bottom is said after the daily prayer:
V. O God, come to my assistance
R. O Lord, make haste to help me
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
R. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
First Day: Heavenly Child, lovable Mary, the Eternal Father delights in your birth, for He beholds in your coming into this world one of His creatures who is so perfect that she will become the worthy Mother of His divine Son. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the heavenly Father, the pardon of my sins, and an abiding sorrow for them.
Hail Mary...
Second Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, admirable Mary, the Son of God delights in your birth, for He beholds the one chosen to be His Mother, and oh! such a beloved Mother. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining from your divine Son the grace to be born again spiritually to a holy life, perfectly conformed to yours, so that I may merit to obtain eternal glory.
Hail Mary...
Third Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, lovable Mary, the Eternal Word takes delight in your birth, for He sees the source of His Immaculate Blood. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the Word made Flesh, the grace to find in this Divine Blood the eternal happiness of my soul.
Hail Mary...
Fourth Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, admirable Mary, the Redeemer, promised to mankind from the beginning of the world, takes delight in your birth, for He sees the one who is destined to become the Co-redemptress of souls by uniting her tears to the Blood shed on the Cross to save mankind.
Hail Mary...
Fifth Day: Resplendent Lily of Paradise, lovable Mary, the Holy Spirit takes delight in your birth for He sees in you the soul never stained by sin, which would forever be His worthy Temple. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the Holy Spirit His divine love and final perseverance.
Hail Mary...
Sixth Day: Most Beautiful Branch of the tree of David, most admirable Mary, whose birth was such a consolation to St. Joachim and St. Anne who were delighted to be the parents of so holy a child, may your birth be the consolation of my soul, by obtaining for me from God, victory over the world and detachment from all the things of this earth.
Hail Mary...
Seventh Day: Resplendent Morning Star, lovable Mary, your birth was the cause of great joy to the angels, for they beheld in you the Mother of the Redeemer of the world, who by His Death would repair the loss sustained by the fall of rebellions angels in paradise. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from God, victory over the infernal enemy, deliverance from all his snares, and the grace to be associated in glory with the angels in heaven.
Hail Mary...
Eighth Day: Brilliant Aurora of Heaven, lovable Mary, your birth brought great consolation to the souls of the saints detained in limbo, for it announced the approach of the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ, who would enlighten their darkness and then conduct them to paradise. May your birth give joy to my soul also, and obtain for me from God, patience in all adversities, a perfect and constant conformity to His most holy will.
Hail Mary...
Ninth Day: Mediatrix between God and mankind, admirable Mary, by your birth you perfected the joy of all the children of Adam, who, through you, have received the Author of Grace, for He has made you the treasurer of all the graces which are imparted to us. May your birth be a special cause of joy to my soul by obtaining for me from God, eternal salvation and all the graces necessary to obtain it.
Hail Mary...
The prayer of each day is ended by the following:
Antiphon: Your Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, was the herald of joy to the whole world; since from you arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God, who, destroying the curse, bestowed the blessing, and confounding death, rewarded us with life everlasting.
V. Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
R. That she may intercede for us with Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us pray
Grant to us your servants, we beseech you, O Lord, the gift of Your heavenly grace, that as our salvation was begun in the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin, so from this solemn festival of her Nativity may we obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Preaching Christ Crucified" a Mass Homily


By the Franciscan Brothers Minor's Fr. David Mary, FFM

St. Clare: Footprint of Our Lady

St. Clare: Footprint of Our Lady
By: Fr. David Mary, F.F.M

St. Clare has been called “The Footprint of Our Lady”. What a most precious title! In other words, to follow St Clare is to follow the Blessed Mother. If one wants to walk securely in the way of the Mother of God, then walking in the life of St. Clare is the way to do it.
The first prophecy that comes to mind is Palm 45, although the first part of the psalm speaks of the coming of the great king, the second part speaks of Our Lady, the great queen:

Listen O daughter and give eat to my words,
Forget your own people and your Father’s house
So has the king desired your beauty,
He is your Lord, pay homage to Him

The “daughter” who is called into the palace of the king hears and responds to the “word of the Lord”. She is called not to give “service” to the Lord, but her whole self. She must forget all, leave all, abandon all, and accept all that God wishes to bestow upon her. He wants “her”. He desires her, not what she can do for Him. The Lord, The King, cares for her.

Obviously this is about our Lady who, in fact, gave her whole self to the Lord. The Blessed Mother did not provide the Lord a “service of Motherhood” as if she was some hired baby sitting service. Nor did she simply “Minister to the Lord” as if He were some needy person in need of some mothering. No! she gave her whole heart, soul, mind and strength. She gave Him, not only her body, but all of herself, for eternity. She held back nothing for herself, of herself, she gave it all. “Homage” for Our Lady, was not a religious ceremonial act, it was the total gift of her life!

The same can easily be said of St. Clare who strove to follow Our Lady’s example. When Christ called her to Himself she said her “Fiat Mihi” in an unconditional, limitless, unreserved and most complete way she knew how. On Palm Sunday, also known as “Passion Sunday”, she, after receiving a palm from the bishop, made a very passionate move, in the middle of the night she fled her home by passing out through the door used only to carry out the dead.

St. Clare left for her family a very vivid statement of her “Fiat”, she had heard and responded, “Forget your own people and your Father’s house”, she did. Like Our Lady, she wanted to be alive only for Christ, no one else. She didn’t want to do for Him, minister to Him or serve Him. She wanted to love Him, just Him, and through Him to love all. St. Clare’s heart was too big to simply serve God. She wanted to be for Him. The Lord desired her beauty, she knew that! she accepted that and she gave Him what He desired, Herself!


The Blessed Virgin Mary, as prophesied by the same psalm 45, is called to be the great intercessor before her Son, “Kings shall seek your favor”. Like King Solomon’s mother Bethsheba, (who is a foreshadow of Our Lady in her queenship) she asks for what ever she wills and it is granted to her. Just like Queen Esther, who also is a foreshadow of Our Lady, she enters the palace of the King and obtains the salvation of her people.

Like Our Lady, she did the Lord homage.  The Homage that St. Clare gave, like the Blessed Mother, was not a ceremonial service of praise, adoration or even of gratitude. She gave her life to praise, adore and thank Him. Her very life was an act of praise, adoration and gratefulness. Waking, sleeping, eating, serving the sisters, or praying were all, for St. Clare, acts of praise, adoration and gratitude. . St. Clare’s heart was so on fire with love for her Lord that she had no need to prove it through great magnificent acts of ministry. Every small act of her life was imbued with love, she lived what Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta taught, “Do ordinary things with extraordinary love”.

St. Clare is also called into the court of the king, who has desired her. Those who sought St. Clare’s favor had their needs met because she obtains them from her King, her Spouse, indeed her Son. Like another Esther, St. Clare delivered her people, Assisi, from certain destruction. Hired assassins were sent to destroy Assisi. They were climbing the walls of San Damiano, St. Clare’s Monastery, and she took to the Chapel and besought her King. Her King, the Eucharistic Lord, heard, responded, and sent the would be assassins fleeing with their tails between their legs. One would have to spend a long time in order to recount the amazing amount of miracles wrought by St. Clare before and after her death. A truly powerful intercessor.

She was, is, a powerful intercessor not because she fasted (which she did, a lot), nor because she did grave penances (which she did, a lot), nor because she lived in great austerity (which she really did – a whole lot), but she is a great intercessor because she loved, she loved the Lord so much like Our Lady that the Good Lord couldn’t help but respond. To put it quite frankly, He loved her so much that He couldn’t refuse her. Much like His inability to refuse His Own Mother.

What is so awesome about St. Clare is that she really did live like Our Lady. While St. Clare was dying, one of the sisters had a vision of Our lady leading the whole court of heavenly virgins to bring St. Clare to heaven with them. As Our lady drew near St. Clare, the sister witnessing this heavenly vision could not tell the difference between Our Lady and St. Clare. They were identical to each other. So much did St. Clare’s soul reflect the image of the Blessed Virgin.

We Friars and the sisters all call St. Clare “Mother”. And rightfully so, for she was, is, a true Mother to us all. Not only is she Mother because she is a foundress, but also because she loves us as a Mother loves her children. I believe there is another reason. I think it’s also because Jesus May very well have called her “Mother”. After all, St. Clare loved Him just like His own Mother loved Him. Yes! Holy “Mother” St. Clare Mother to us all, Mother to the Son of God.

 (St. Clare holding the Infant Jesus with Our Lady nearby)
Above taken from the Franciscan Brothers Minor: http://franciscanbrothersminor.net/FBM/Footprint_of_Our_Lady.html

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Our Holy Father, St. Francis of Assisi




Our Lady and St. Anthony

"Seek refuge in Mary because she is the city of refuge. we know that Moses set up three cities of refuge for anyone who inadvertently killed his neighbor. Now the Lord has established a refuge of mercy, Mary, even for those who deliberately commit evil. Mary provides shelter and strength for the sinner."
 - St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church, Franciscan saint.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Beloved St. Padre Pio! A Litany of Padre Pio

Litany of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) 

(feast day: September 23)

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Our Lady of Grace, pray for us.

St. Francis, spiritual father of Padre Pio, pray for us.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina…
St. Pio, faithful son of Mary…
St. Pio, poor son of St. Francis…
St. Pio, obedient son of the Church…
St. Pio, friend of the angels…
St. Pio, priest of God…
St. Pio, priest of Christ, the infant of Bethlehem…
St. Pio, priest of Christ crucified…
St. Pio, priest of Christ the great High Priest…
St. Pio, priest who bore the wounds of Christ…
St. Pio, priest who called sinners to repentance…
St. Pio, counselor of the troubled…
St. Pio, holy friar of the people…
St. Pio, channel of God’s mercy…
St. Pio, channel of God’s healing…
St. Pio, channel of God’s love…
St. Pio, channel of God’s grace…
St. Pio, reader of hearts…
St. Pio, prophet of future events…
St. Pio, victim of divine love…
St. Pio, enemy of Satan…
St. Pio, enemy of sin…
St. Pio, wise man of the Gargano Mountains…
St. Pio, founder of the House for the Relief of Suffering…
St. Pio, companion of the poor…
St. Pio, healer of the sick…
St. Pio, strength of the poor souls in purgatory…
St. Pio, apostle of the confessional…
St. Pio, apostle of the Eucharist…
St. Pio, apostle of the Rosary…
St. Pio, apostle of prayer…

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.  Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.  Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.  Have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O blessed St. Pio of Pietrelcina,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, who raised up St. Pio of Pietrelcina as a dramatic sign of your presence in the middle of a most painful and difficult century, grant that we who seek his intercession and follow his holy example may experience the same profound conversion through his prayers today as did thousands who were graced by his priestly ministry during his time on earth. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

(This original litany appears in the book, Saints for Our Times: New Novenas and Prayers [Pauline Books and Media, 2007])


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Poor Clare Colettines of Cleveland - video


Thanks to my friend, "emmaberry", for putting this DVD I sent her onto her computer so it could be uploaded! I've had this video for awhile on VHS since the mid 90s and then copied it to DVD in the mid 2000s but I never knew how to upload it to the computer to help others to discern with this community!

This was shown on EWTN in the mid 90s and was first copied to a VHS and then I copied to DVD so that is why the first few seconds looks so bad!  Old VHS tape.

Also, the visual and audio quality is not as good as the DVD.  I believe it is due to the only way it could be uploaded.  So please excuse the poor quality.  But it beats sitting in a DVD case with my other DVDs!

**Also, if anyone notices, the narrator of this tape IS Sr. ? Grace? (Mary Grace, Margaret Grace?, forget her name!), she is the nun with the English accent in Mother Angelica's PCPA order in Birmingham who does the voice for saying "For those who can not now received Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we offer the following prayer..." on all the EWTN masses on TV.  I used to know her name but it's eluding me at the moment!**

It's funny when I visited them back in the mid 2000s, I told them about this video on EWTN and how I had seen it and copied it.  Mother Abbess and the sisters told me how funny it was to make it as the director (or whoever!) wanted to just go and spontaneously start doing things: like "Go clean or dust!" even though that had been done earlier in the day so they felt silly doing things!  Also, what isn't audible it seems is during the scene of the sisters doing the altar bread baking, when the lid pops up by itself, the camera man says something like "whoa!" and it's funny to hear a male voice in the monastery!  Then the scene with the sisters gardening with their hoes, that too had been done so they didn't want to mess what they did so they "pretended to garden!".  They told me other funny stories and examples but too long to recount new. 

ANYONE who thinks they have a Poor Clare Colettine vocation must definitely visit this community!  They are so wonderful, holy, traditional, completely follow the Rule of St. Clare and the Reform of St. Colette and of Our Holy Father St. Francis.  The nuns are so loving, warm, friendly, holy, beautiful, kind - I could go on forever!

Their monastery is a beautiful over 100 yrs old Victorian building and the chapel is so beautiful.  This monastery is so permeated with the presence of God!  Mostly due to the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 24/7 for the nuns and usually 6am to 5pm or so (when I visited mid 2000s).