St.Germaine Cousin~Patron of victims of child abuse 


When Hortense decided to marry Laurent Cousin in Pibrac, France, it was not out of love for his infant daughter. Germaine was everything Hortense despised. Weak and ill, the girl had also been born with a right hand that was deformed and paralyzed. Hortense replaced the love that Germaine has lost when her mother died with cruelty and abuse.

Laurent, who had a weak character, pretended not to notice that Germaine had been given so little food that she had learned to crawl in order to get to the dog’s dish. He wasn’t there to protect her when Hortense left Germaine in a drain while she cared for chickens — and forgot her for three days. He didn’t even interfere when Hortense poured boiling water on Germaine’s legs.

With this kind of treatment, it’s no surprise that Germaine became even more ill. She came down with a disease known as scrofula, a kind of tuberculosis that causes the neck glands to swell up. Sores began to appear on her neck and in her weakened condition to fell prey to every disease that came along. Instead of awakening Hortense’s pity this only made her despise Germaine more for being even uglier in her eyes.

Germaine found no sympathy and love with her siblings. Watching their mother’s treatment of their half-sister, they learned how to despise and torment her, putting ashes in her food and pitch in her clothes. Their mother found this very entertaining.

Hortense did finally get concerned about Germaine’s sickness — because she was afraid her own children would catch it. So she made Germaine sleep out in the barn. The only warmth Germaine had on frozen winter nights was the woolly sheep who slept there too. The only food she had were the scraps Hortense might remember to throw her way.

The abuse of Germaine tears at our hearts and causes us to cry for pity and justice. But it was Germaine’s response to that abuse and her cruel life that wins our awe and veneration.


Germaine was soon entrusted with the sheep. No one expected her to have any use for education so she spent long days in the field tending the sheep. Instead of being lonely, she found a friend in God. She didn’t know any theology and only the basics of the faith that she learned the catechism. But she had a rosary made of knots in string and her very simple prayers: “Dear God, please don’t let me be too hungry or too thirsty. Help me to please my mother. And help me to please you.” Out of that simple faith, grew a profound holiness and a deep trust of God.

And she had the most important prayer of all — the Mass. Every day, without fail, she would leave her sheep in God’s care and go to Mass. Villagers wondered that the sheep weren’t attacked by the wolves in the woods when she left but God’s protection never failed her. One day when the rains had swollen the river to flood stage, a villager saw the river part so that she could cross to get to the church in time for Mass.

No matter how little Germaine had, she shared it with others. Her scraps of food were given to beggars. Her life of prayer became stories of God that entranced the village children.

But most startling of all was the forgiveness to showed to the woman who deserved her hatred.

Hortense, furious at the stories about her daughter’s holiness, waited only to catch her doing wrong. One cold winter day, after throwing out a beggar that Germaine had let sleep in the barn, Hortense caught Germaine carrying something bundled up in her apron. Certain that Germaine had stolen bread to feed the beggar, she began to chase and scream at the child. As she began to beat her, Germaine opened her apron. Out tumbled what she had been hiding in her apron — bright beautiful flowers that no one had expected to see for months. Where had she found the vibrant blossoms in the middle of the ice and snow? There was only one answer and Germaine gave it herself, when she handed a flower to her mother and said, “Please accept this flower, Mother. God sends it to you in sign of his forgiveness.”

As the whole village began to talk about this holy child, even Hortense began to soften her feelings toward her. She even invited Germaine back to the house but Germaine had become used to her straw bed and continued to sleep in it. There she was found dead at the age of 22, overcome by a life of suffering.

With all the evidence of her holiness, her life was too simple and hidden to mean much beyond her tiny village — until God brought it too light again. When her body was exhumed forty years later, it was found to be undecayed, what is known as incorruptible. As is often the case with incorruptible bodies of saints, God chooses not the outwardly beautiful to preserve but those that others despised as ugly and weak. It’s as if God is saying in this miracle that human ideas of beauty are not his. To him, no one was more beautiful than this humble lonely young woman.


After her body was found in this state, the villagers started to speak again of what she had been like and what she had done. Soon miracles were attributed to her intercession and the clamor for her canonization began.

In this way, the most unlikely of saints became recognized by the Church. She didn’t found a religious order. She didn’t reach a high Church post. She didn’t write books or teach at universities. She didn’t go to foreign lands as a missionary or convert thousands. What she did was live a life devoted to God and her neighbor no matter what happened to her. And that is all God asks of us.

Prayer:

Saint Germaine, watch over those children who suffer abuse as you did. Help us to give them the love and protection you only got from God. Give us the courage to speak out against abuse when we know of it. Help us to forgive those who abuse the way you did, without sacrificing the lives of the children who need help. Amen

The Power of Praying for Others 


The Devil ‘ s Rage Over St Gemma Galgani Prayers for Others

The Devil once said to St Gemma Galgani “You can pray for yourself, but if you pray for others, I will make you pay dearly for it”. And on another occasion the devil said to this great Saint, “While acting for yourself, do as you please, but listen well, do nothing for the conversion of sinners; if you attempt it, I shall make you pay dearly for it.” The devil appeared to affirm for St Gemma Galgani that our Prayers for other are seemingly more fruitful then when we Pray for our wants when he tried a new tactic to get St. Gemma to consider her own soul rather than only others when he exclaimed “How and where comes such presumption? You are laden with sins, and all the years of thy life would not suffice to bewail and expiate them, and yet you lose time about the sins of others? Do you not see that your own soul is in danger? A strange gain, that of think­ing for others and neglecting thyself.” Through all this she was brutally beaten and never stopped praying for others letting herself be a victim for the human race as her Lord and Savior did on His Cross know that no servant Is greater than their Master. The devil seemed to be in a personal war with St. Gemma Galgani who at one point during one of his attacks started horribly cursing God and shouting “War! War against you and your spiritual director!”. This continued on a nightly bases with the devil mocking her and her prayers for others in the chance she would give up praying for others and which she took with the true patience of a saint. The devil caused her the most pains by blaspheming her True Love Jesus Christ continuously even one day he telling her “What are you doing” he said, “how stupid you are to pray to that malefactor. Look at the harm He does thee, keeping thee nailed to the Cross with Himself. How then can you care for Him, for Him whom you don’t even know, who makes all who love Him suffer? Through all these continued promises of earthly happiness and even acknowledging t her she may pray for herself just not others she persevered the devils attacks and eventually winning a great victory for mankind and guaranteed herself an exalted place in Heaven along with all Christ Saints.

The devils to Padre Pio: “You bother us more than Saint Michael.” “If you don’t snatch souls from us we will not bother you.”

What souls we can convert by our prayers. The one who saves a soul from hell saves this soul and his own as well.’ ~St. John Vianney 

St.Anthony preaches to the fish 


From “The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi,” 1476 

Christ, the blessed one, was pleased to show forth the great sanctity of his most faithful servant St Anthony, and how men ought devoutly to listen to his preaching, be means of creatures without reason. On one occasion, amongst others, he made use of fish to reprove the folly of faithless heretics: even as we read in the Old Testament that in ancient times he reproved the ignorance of Balaam by the mouth of an ass. 

St Anthony being at one time at Rimini, where there were a great number of heretics, and wishing to lead them by the light of faith into the way of truth, preached to them for several days, and reasoned with them on the faith of Christ and on the Holy Scriptures. They not only resisted his words, but were hardened and obstinate, refusing to listen to him. 

At last St Anthony, inspired by God, went down to the sea-shore, where the river runs into the sea, and having placed himself on a bank between the river and the sea, he began to speak to the fishes as if the Lord had sent him to preach to them, and said: “Listen to the word of God, O ye fishes of the sea and of the river, seeing that the faithless heretics refuse to do so.” 

No sooner had he spoken these words than suddenly so great a multitude of fishes, both small and great, approached the bank on which he stood, that never before had so many been seen in the sea or the river. All kept their heads out of the water, and seemed to be looking attentively on St Anthony’s face; all were ranged in perfect order and most peacefully, the smaller ones in front near the bank, after them came those a little bigger, and last of all, were the water was deeper, the largest. 

When they had placed themselves in this order, St Anthony began to preach to them most solemnly, saying: “My brothers the fishes, you are bound, as much as is in your power, to return thanks to your Creator, who has given you so noble an element for your dwelling; for you have at your choice both sweet water and salt; you have many places of refuge from the tempest; you have likewise a pure and transparent element for your nourishment. God, your bountiful and kind Creator, when he made you, ordered you to increase and multiply, and gave you his blessing. In the universal deluge, all other creatures perished; you alone did God preserve from all harm. He has given you fins to enable you to go where you will. To you was it granted, according to the commandment of God, to keep the prophet Jonas, and after three days to throw him safe and sound on dry land. You it was who gave the tribute-money to our Saviour Jesus Christ, when, through his poverty, he had not wherewith to pay. By a singular mystery you were the nourishment of the eternal King, Jesus Christ, before and after his resurrection. Because of all these things you are bound to praise and bless the Lord, who has given you blessings so many and so much greater than to other creatures.” 

At these words the fish began to open their mouths, and bow their heads, endeavouring as much as was in their power to express their reverence and show forth their praise. 

St Anthony, seeing the reverence of the fish towards their Creator, rejoiced greatly in spirit, and said with a loud voice: “Blessed be the eternal God; for the fishes of the sea honour him more than men without faith, and animals without reason listen to his word with greater attention than sinful heretics.” 

And whilst St Anthony was preaching, the number of fishes increased, and none of them left the place that he had chosen. And the people of the city hearing of the miracle, made haste to go and witness it. With them also came the heretics of whom we have spoken above, who, seeing so wonderful and manifest a miracle, were touched in their hearts; and threw themselves at the feet of St Anthony to hear his words. The saint then began to expound to them the Catholic faith. He preached so eloquently, that all those heretics were converted, and returned to the true faith of Christ; the faithful also were filled with joy, and greatly comforted, being strengthened in the faith. 

After this St Anthony sent away the fishes, with the blessing of God; and they all departed, rejoicing as they went, and the people returned to the city. But St Anthony remained at Rimini for several days, preaching and reaping much spiritual fruit in the souls of his hearers.

St.Anthony of Padua and the Lawyer

Once While the saint was at his monastery at Puy he used sometimes to meet a lawyer, who led a very bad and profligate life. Every time they met the saint would uncover his head and bow most respectfully to him. Thinking the servant of God was only laughing at him, the lawyer one day turned round and said to him: “If I did not fear the judgment of God I would soon make you repent of insulting one who has never injured you, by thrusting my sword through your body.” The saint replied that, far from having any intention of insulting him, he only bowed through a feeling of deep love and respect, for in thus saluting him he was saluting one who was to be a glorious martyr, and begged of him, when undergoing his tortures, not to forget him in his prayers. The lawyer for the time being laughed at what seemed to him to. be a most unlikely thing. Strange to say, the prophecy was shortly afterwards fulfilled. A bishop started for Palestine, with the intention of converting the Saracens, and urged on by a secret impulse from heaven, the lawyer followed him. On his arrival he was suddenly filled with such a desire to convert the infidels that he himself at once began to preach the truths of the Christian religion to them and point out the wickedness of Mahometanism, which so enraged these fanatics that after making him a prisoner and torturing him for three days, they put him to death. When about to die he revealed to those present how the saintly Father Anthony had predicted his martyrdom, declaring at the same time that a great prophet had risen in their midst.

St.Anthony of Padua~Patron of Lost Things 

Saint Anthony was born Fernando Martins in Lisbon, Portugal. He was born into a wealthy family and by the age of fifteen asked to be sent to the Abbey of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, the then capital of Portugal. During his time in the Abbey, he learned theology and Latin.

Following his ordination to the priesthood, he was named guestmaster and was responsible for the abbey’s hospitality. When Franciscan friars settled a small hermitage outside Coimbra dedicated to Saint Anthony of Egypt, Fernando felt a longing to join them.

Fernando eventually received permission to leave the Abbey so he could join the new Franciscan Order. When he was admitted, he changed his name to Anthony.

Anthony then traveled to Morocco to spread God’s truth, but became extremely sick and was returned to Portugal to recover. The return voyage was blown off-course and the party arrived in Sicily, from which they traveled to Tuscany. Athony was assigned to the hermitage of San Paolo after local friars considered his health.

As he recovered, Anthony spent his time praying and studying.

An undetermined amount of time later, Dominican friars came to visit the Franciscans and there was confusion over who would present the homily. The Dominicans were known for their preaching, thus the Franciscans assumed it was they who would provide a homilist, but the Dominicans assumed the Franciscans would provide one. It was then the head of the Franciscan hermitage asked Anthony to speak on whatever the Holy Spirit told him to speak of.

Though he tried to object, Anthony delivered an eloquent and moving homily that impressed both groups. Soon, news of his eloquence reached Francis of Assisi, who held a strong distrust of the brotherhood’s commitment to a life of poverty. However, in Anthony, he found a friend.

In 1224, Francis entrusted his friars’ pursuits of studies to Anthony. Anthony had a book of psalms that contained notes and comments to help when teaching students and, in a time when a printing press was not yet invented, he greatly valued it.

When a novice decided to leave the hermitage, he stole Anthony’s valuable book. When Anthony discovered it was missing, he prayed it would be found or returned to him. The thief did return the book and in an extra step returned to the Order as well.

The book is said to be preserved in the Franciscan friary in Bologna today.

Anthony occasionally taught at the universities of Montpellier and Toulouse in southern France, but he performed best in the role of a preacher.

So simple and resounding was his teaching of the Catholic Faith, most unlettered and the innocent could understand his messages. It is for this reason he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946.

Once, when St. Anthony of Padua attempted to preach the true Gospel of the Catholic Church to heretics who would not listen to him, he went out and preached his message to the fish. This was not, as liberals and naturalists have tried to say, for the instruction of the fish, but rather for the glory of God, the delight of the angels, and the easing of his own heart. When critics saw the fish begin to gather, they realized they should also listen to what Anthony had to say.

He was only 36-years-old when he died and was canonized less than one year afterward by Pope Gregory IX. Upon exhumation some 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupted, yet his tongue was totally incorrupt, so perfect were the teachings that had been formed upon it.

He is typically depicted with a book and the Infant Child Jesus and is commonly referred to today as the “finder of lost articles.”

St Anthony is venerated all over the world as the Patron Saint for lost articles, and is credited with many miracles involving lost people, lost things and even lost spiritual goods.

Repent while you still have time~A meditation by St.Leonard of Port Maurice 

Sinners, the advice I want to give you will no doubt seem strange to you; but if you understand it well, it is, on the contrary, inspired by tender compassion toward you. I implore you on my knees, by the blood of Christ and by the Heart of Mary, change your life, come back to the road that leads to heaven, and do all you can to belong to the little number of those who are saved. If, instead of this, you want to continue walking on the road that leads to hell, at least find a way to erase your baptism. Woe to you if you take the Holy Name of Jesus Christ and the sacred character of the Christian engraved upon your soul into hell! Your chastisement will be all the greater. So do what I advise you to do: if you do not want to convert, go this very day and ask your pastor to erase your name from the baptismal register, so that there may not remain any remembrance of your ever having been a Christian; implore your Guardian Angel to erase from his book of graces the inspirations and aids he has given you on orders from God, for woe to you if he recalls them! Tell Our Lord to take back His faith, His baptism, His sacraments.

You are horror-struck at such a thought? Well then, cast yourself at the feet of Jesus Christ and say to Him, with tearful eyes and contrite heart: “Lord, I confess that up till now I have not lived as a Christian. I am not worthy to be numbered among Your elect. I recognize that I deserve to be damned; but Your mercy is great and, full of confidence in Your grace, I say to You that I want to save my soul, even if I have to sacrifice my fortune, my honor, my very life, as long as I am saved. If I have been unfaithful up to now, I repent, I deplore, I detest my infidelity, I ask You humbly to forgive me for it. Forgive me, good Jesus, and strengthen me also, that I may be saved. I ask You not for wealth, honor or prosperity; I ask you for one thing only, to save my soul.”

And You, O Jesus! What do You say? O Good Shepherd, see the stray sheep who returns to You; embrace this repentant sinner, bless his sighs and tears, or rather bless these people who are so well disposed and who want nothing but their salvation. Brothers, at the feet of Our Lord, let us protest that we want to save our soul, cost what it may. Let us all say to Him with tearful eyes, “Good Jesus, I want to save my soul,” O blessed tears, O blessed sighs!
~Saint Leonard of Port Maurice from a sermon

On the Love of the Three Persons for man~St.Alphonsus Liguori

 TRINITY SUNDAY. – ON THE LOVE OF THE THREE DIVINE PERSONS FOR MAN.


Going, therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (MATT. xxviii. 19)

ST. LEO has said, that the nature of God is by its essence, goodness itself. ”Deus cujus natura bonitas”Now, goodness naturally diffuses itself. ”Bonum est sui diffusivum.” And by experience we know that men of a good heart are full of love for all, and desire to share with all the goods which they enjoy God being infinite goodness, is all love towards us his creatures. Hence St. John calls him pure love pure charity. “God is charity.” (1 John iv. 8.) And therefore he ardently desires to make us partakers of his own happiness. Faith teaches us how much the Three Divine Persons have done through love to man, and to enrich him with heavenly gifts. In saying to his apostles”Teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, ” Jesus Christ wished that they should not only instruct the Gentiles in the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity but that they should also teach them the love which the adorable Trinity bears to man. I intend to propose this day for your consideration the love shown to us by the Father in our creation; secondly, the love of the Son in our redemption; and thirdly, the love of the Holy Ghost, in our sanctification.

First Point The love shown to us by the Father in our creation.

1. ”I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.” (Jer. xxxi. 3.) My son, says the Lord, I have loved you for eternity, and, through love for you, I have shown mercy to you by drawing you out of nothing. Hence, beloved Christians, of all those who love you, God has been your first lover. Your parents have been the first to love you on this earth; but they have loved you only after they had known you. But, before you had a being, God loved you. Before your father or mother was born, God loved you; yes, even before the creation of the world, he loved you. And how long before creation has God loved you? Perhaps for a thousand years, or for a thousand ages. It is needless to count years or ages; God loved you from eternity. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” As long as he has been God, he has luved you: as long as he has loved himself, he has loved you. The thought of this love made St. Agnes the Virgin exclaim: “I am prevented by another lover.” When creatures asked her heart, she answered: “No: I cannot prefer you to my God. He has been the first to love me; it is then but just that he should hold the first place in my affections. ”


2. Thus, brethren, God has loved you from eternity, and through pure love, he has selected you from among so many men whom he could have created in place of you; but he has left them in their nothingness, and has brought you into existence, and placed you in the world. For the love of you he has made so many other beautiful creatures, that they might serve you, and that they might remind you of the love which he has borne to you, and of the gratitude which you owe to him. “Heaven and Earth,” says St. Augustine, ”and all things tell me to love thee. ” When the saint beheld the sun, the stars, the mountains, the sea, the rains, they all appeared to him to speak, and to say: Augustine, love God; for he has created us that you might love him. When the Abbe de Ranee, the founder of La Trappe, looked at the hills, the fountains, or flowers, he said that all these creatures reminded him of the love which God had borne him. St. Teresa used to say, that these creatures reproached her with her ingratitude to God.

Whilst she held a flower or fruit in her hand, St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to feel her heart wounded with divine love, and would say within herself: Then, my God has thought from eternity of creating this flower and this fruit that I might love him.

 
3. Moreover, seeing us condemned to hell, in punishment of our sins, the Eternal Father, through love for us, has sent his Son on the earth to die on the cross, in order to redeem us from hell, and to bring us with himself into Paradise. “God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son”(John iii. 16), love, which the apostle calls an excess of love. “For his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sin, has quickened us together in Christ.” (Eph. ii. 4, 5.)
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4. See also the special love which God has shown you in bringing you into life in a Christian country, and in the bosom of the Catholic or true Church. How many are born among the pagans, among the Jews, among the Mahometans and heretics, and all are lost. Consider that, compared with these, only a few not even the tenth part of the human race have the happiness of being born in a country where the true faith reigns; and, among that small number, he has chosen you. Oh! what an invaluable benefit is the gift of faith! How many millions of souls, among infidels and heretics, are deprived of the sacraments, of sermons, of good example, and of the other helps to salvation which we possess in the true Church. And the Lord resolved to bestow on us all these great graces, without any merit on our part, and even with the foreknowledge of our demerits. For when he thought of creating us and of conferring these favours upon us, he foresaw our sins, and the injuries we would commit against him.

Second Point. The love which the Son of God has shown to us in our redemption.

 
5. Adam, our first father, sins by eating the forbidden apple, and is condemned to eternal death, along with all his posterity. Seeing the whole human race doomed to perdition, God resolved to send a redeemer to save mankind. Who shall come to accomplish their redemption? Perhaps an angel or a seraph. No; the Son of God, the supreme and true God, equal to the Father, offers himself to come on earth, and there to take human flesh, and to die for the salvation of men. O prodigy of Divine love! Man, says St. Fulgentius, despises God, and separates himself from God, and through love for him, God comes on earth to seek after rebellious man. “Homo Deum contemnens, a Deo discessit: Deus hominem diligens, ad homines venit.” (Serm. in Nativ. Christ.) Since, says St. Augustine, we could not go to the Redeemer, he has deigned to come to us. “Quia ad mediatorem venire non poteramus, ipse ad nos venire dignatus est.” And why has Jesus Christ resolved to come to us? According to the same holy doctor, it is to convince us of his great love for us. ”Christ came, that man might know how much God loves him.”

 
6. Hence the Apostle writes: “The goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared.” (Tit. iii. 5.) In the Greek text, the words are: ”Singularis Dei erga homines apparuit amor :”“The singular love of God towards men appeared.” In explaining this passage, St. Bernard says, that before God appeared on earth in human flesh, men could not arrive at a knowledge of the divine goodness; therefore the Eternal Word took human nature, that, appearing in the form of man, men might know the goodness of God. ”Priusquam apparet humanitas, latebat beniguitas, sed undo tanta agnosci poterat? Venit in came ut, apparante humanitate, cognosceretur benignitas.” (Serm. i., in Eph.) And what greater love and goodness could the Son of God show to us, than to become man and to become a worm like us, in order to save us from, perdition? What astonishment would we not feel, if we saw a prince become a worm to save the worms of his kingdom! And what shall we say at the sight of a God made man like us, to deliver us from eternal death? “The word was made flesh.” (John i. 14.) A God made flesh! if faith did not assure us of it, who could ever believe it? Behold then, as St. Paul says, a God as it were annihilated. ”He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and in habit found as a man. ” (Phil. ii. 7.) By these words the Apostle gives us to understand, that the Son of God, who was filled with the divine majesty and power, humbled himself so as to assume the lowly and impotent condition of human nature, taking the form or nature of a servant, and becoming like men in his external appearance, although, as St. Chrysostom observes, he was not a mere man, but man and God. Hearing a deacon singing the words of St. John, “and the Word was made flesh,” St. Peter of Alcantara fell into ecstasy, and flew through the air to the altar of the most holy sacrament.

7. But this God of love, the Incarnate Word, was not content with becoming flesh for the love of man; but, according to Isaias, he wished to live among us, as the last and lowest, and most afflicted of men. ”There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows.” (Isa. iii. 2, 3.) He was a man of sorrows. Yes; for the life of Jesus Christ was full of sorrows. Virum dolorum. He was a man made on purpose to be tormented with sorrows. From his birth till his death, the life of our Redeemer was all full of sorrows.


8. And because he came on earth to gain our love, as he declared when he said “I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled ?” (Luke xii. 49), he wished at the close of his life to give us the strongest marks and proofs of the love which he bears to us. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” (John xiii. 1.) Hence he not only humbled himself to death for us, but he also chose to die the most painful and opprobrious of all deaths. “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even unto the death of the cross.” (Phil. ii. 8.) They who were crucified among the Jews, were objects of malediction and reproach to all. “He is accursed of God that hangeth on a tree.” (Deut. xxi. 23.) Our Redeemer wished to die the shameful death of the cross, in the midst of a tempest of ignominies and sorrows. “I am come into the depths of the sea, and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.” (Ps. lxviii. 3.)

 
9. ”In this” says St. John, “we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us.” (1 John iii. 16.) And how could God give us a greater proof of his love than hy laying down his life for us? Or, how is it possible for us to behold a God dead on the cross for our sake, and not love him? “For the charity of Christ presseth us.” (2 Cor. v. 14.) By these words St. Paul tells us, that it is not so much what Jesus Christ has done and suffered for our salvation, as the love which he has shown in suffering and dying for us, that obliges and compels us to love him. He has, as the same Apostle adds, died for all, that each of us may live no longer for himself, but only for that God who has given his life for the love of us. “Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not live to themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.” (2 Cor. v. 15.) And, to captivate our love, he has, after having given his life for us, left himself for the food of our souls. “Take ye and eat: this is my body.” (Matt. xxvi. 26.) Had not faith taught that he left himself for our food, who could ever believe it? But of the prodigy of divine love manifested in the holy sacrament, I shall speak on the second Sunday after Pentecost Let us pass to a brief consideration of the third point.

Third Point. On the love shown to us by the Holy Ghost in our sanctification.

10. The Eternal Father was not content with giving us his Son Jesus Christ, that he might save us by his death; he has also given us the Holy Ghost, that he may dwell in our souls, and that he may keep them always inflamed with holy love. In spite of all the injuries which he received on earth from men, Jesus Christ, forgetful of their ingratitude, after having ascended into heaven, sent us the Holy Ghost, that, by his holy flames, this divine spirit might kindle in our hearts the fire of divine charity, and sanctify our souls. Hence, when he descended on the apostles, he appeared in the form of tongues of fire. “And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire.” (Acts ii. 3.) Hence the Church prescribes the following prayer: ”We beseech thee, O Lord, that the Spirit may inflame us with that fire which the Lord Jesus Christ sent on the earth, and vehemently wished to be enkindled.” This is the holy fire which inflamed the saints with the desire of doing great things for God, which enabled them to love their most cruel enemies, to seek after contempt, to renounce all the riches and honours of the world, and even to embrace with joy torments and death.


11. The Holy Ghost is that divine bond which unites the Father with the Son; it is he that unites our souls, through love, with God. For, as St. Augustine says, an union with God is the effect of love. “Charity is a virtue which unites us with God.” The chains of the world are chains of death, but the bonds of the Holy Ghost are bonds of eternal life, because they bind us to God, who is our true and only life.

 
12. Let us also remember that all the lights, inspirations, divine calls, all the good acts which we have performed during our life, all our acts of contrition, of confidence in the divine mercy, of love, of resignation, have been the gifts of the Holy Ghost. ”Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings.” (Rom. viii. 26.) Thus, it is the Holy Ghost that prays for us; for we know not what we ought to ask, but the Holy Spirit teaches us what we should pray for.

 
13. In a word, the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity have endeavoured to show the love which God has borne us, that we may love him through gratitude. “When,” says St. Bernard, ”God loves, he wishes only to be loved. ” It is, then, but just that we love that God who has been the first to love us, and to put us under so many obligations by so many proofs of tender love. “Let us, therefore, love God, because God first hath loved us.” (1 John iv. 19.) Oh! what a treasure is charity! it is an infinite treasure, because it makes us partakers of the friendship of God. ”She is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God.” (Wis. vii. 14.) But, to acquire this treasure, it is necessary to detach the heart from earthly things. “Detach the heart from creatures,” says St. Teresa, “and you shall find God.” In a heart filled with earthly affections, there is no room for divine love. Let us therefore continually implore the Lord in our prayers, communions, and visits to the blessed sacrament, to give us his holy love; for this love will expel from our souls all affections for the things of this earth. ”When,” says St. Francis de Sales, ”a house is on fire, all that is within is thrown out through the windows.” By these words the saint meant, that when a soul is inflamed with divine love, she easily detaches herself from creatures: and Father Paul Segneri, the younger, used to say, that divine love is a thief that robs us of all earthly affections, and makes us exclaim: ”What, O my Lord, but thee alone, do I desire ?”

 14. ”Love is strong as death.” (Cant. viii. 6.) As no creature can resist death when the hour of dissolution arrives, so there is no difficulty which love, in a soul that loves God, does not overcome. When there is question of pleasing her beloved, love conquers all things: it conquers pains, losses, ignominies. ”Nihil tam durum quod non amoris igne vincatur.” This love made the martyrs, in the midst of torments, racks, and burning gridirons, rejoice, and thank God for enabling them to suffer for him: it made the other saints, when there was no tyrant to torment them, become, as it were, their own executioners, by fasts, disciplines, and penitential austerities. St. Augustine says, that in doing what one loves there is no labour, and if there be, the labour itself is loved. ”In eo quod amatur aut non laboratur, aut ipse labor amatur.”

St.Faustina and the Holy Trinity 


The Trinity in St. Faustina’s Diary

In dozens of places in her Diary Sister Faustina wrote about the Holy Trinity, but let’s survey just a few of the principal ones here.

First of all, she says that as she advanced in her journey with Jesus Christ and came to appreciate more deeply the compassion of His Heart, “His Trinitarian Being enveloped me entirely” (Diary, 1056). In other words, the more she grew closer to Jesus, the more she felt enveloped in the Holy Trinity. For example, on the Feast of the Ascension, 1937, she wrote:

After Holy Communion I communed for a while with the heavenly Father. My soul was drawn into the glowing center of love. I understood that no exterior works could stand comparison with the pure love of God. … I saw the joy of the Incarnate Word, and I was immersed in the Divine Trinity. When I came to myself, longing filled my soul, and I yearned to be united with God (Diary, 1121).

Notice in the last quote how she connects a deeper appreciation for the Trinitarian mystery of God with an appreciation of the “glowing center of love” in God. We find this again in entry 1020:

I understand the spiritual espousal of a soul with God, which has no exterior manifestation. It is a purely interior act between the soul and God. This grace has drawn me into the very burning center of God’s love. I have come to understand His Trinitarian quality and the absolute Oneness of His Being.

Often she received a deeper understanding of the Blessed Trinity during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. For example, in entry 472 she tells how one time she heard an angel singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” at the moment of the elevation of the Host, and then she received new light into the mystery of the Trinity: 

I knew more distinctly than ever before the Three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But their being, their equality, and their majesty are one. My soul is in communion with these Three; but I do not know how to express this in words; yet my soul understands this well. Whoever is united to One of the Three Persons is thereby united to the whole Blessed Trinity, for this Oneness is indivisible (472).


One time, after receiving Holy Communion, she began to understand that the entire Holy Trinity came to dwell within her soul:

Once after Holy Communion, I heard these words: You are our dwelling place. At that moment I felt in my soul the presence of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I felt that I was the Temple of God. I felt that I was a child of the Father. I cannot explain all this, but the Spirit understands this well (451).

Sister Faustina even tells us that in heaven the souls of the saints forever contemplate the wonder of the Holy Trinity:

Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its inconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death. I saw how all creatures give ceaseless praise and glory to God. I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never comprehend nor fathom.

This source of happiness is unchanging in its essence, but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures. Now I understand St. Paul who said, “Eye has not seen, not has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him” (777).

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “That is all very beautiful, but I still don’t get it! What does the Trinity really mean? How can God be One in being and essence, but Three Persons at the same time? And what difference does it really make if we believe all this or not?”

Well, Sr. Faustina wanted to know more, too! Listen to what she wrote near the very start of her Diary:

On one occasion I was reflecting on the Holy Trinity, on the essence of God. I absolutely wanted to know and fathom who God is. … In an instant my spirit was caught up into what seemed to be the next world. I saw an inaccessible light, and in this light what appeared like three sources of light that I could not understand. And out of this light came words in the form of lightning which encircled heaven and earth. Not understanding anything, I was very sad. Suddenly, from this sea of inaccessible light came our dearly beloved Savior, unutterably beautiful with His shining Wounds. And from this light there came a voice which said, Who God is in His Essence, no one will fathom, neither the mind of angels nor of man. Jesus said to me, Get to know God by contemplating His attributes. A moment later, He traced the sign of the cross with His hand and vanished (30).

So, right from the start, Jesus was telling her that no one can ever completely fathom the mystery of the Trinitarian Being of God, but that if we contemplate God’s attributes, we can at least begin to understand it. And as we have seen, that is precisely what Sr. Faustina did: The more she contemplated the compassionate love in the Heart of Jesus, and the more she appreciated the “glowing center of love” in God and the “burning center of God’s love,” especially manifested in the Holy Eucharist, the more she began to appreciate what it means to say that God is Three Persons in One Being or Essence. She tells us the same thing in her extended meditation on the Trinity in entry 911:

On one occasion God’s presence pervaded my whole being and my mind was mysteriously enlightened in respect to His Essence. He allowed me to understand His interior life. In spirit I saw the Three Divine Persons; none of them is either greater or smaller; there is no difference in either beauty or sanctity, for They are One. They are absolutely One. His Love transported me into this knowledge and united me with Himself. When I was united to One, I was equally united to the Second and to the Third in such a way that when we are united with One, by that very fact, we are equally united to the Two Persons in the same way as with the One. Their will is One, One God though in Three Persons. When One of the Three Persons communicates with a soul, by the power of that one will, it finds itself united with the Three Persons and is inundated in the happiness flowing from the Most Holy Trinity, the same happiness that nourishes the saints. This same happiness that streams from the Most Holy Trinity makes all creation happy; from it springs that life which vivifies and bestows all life which takes its beginning from Him. In these moments, my soul experienced such great delights that I find this difficult to express.


Sr. Faustina was actually given the key that unlocks for us the mystery of the Trinity. Not only is the Trinity entirely true and justifiable on the basis of logic and of Scripture, but in the light of Divine Love, it begins to make sense of the mystery of God Himself.

After Holy Communion I communicated for a while with the heavenly Father. My soul was drawn into the glowing center of love. I understood that no exterior works could stand comparison with the pure love of God. … I saw the joy of the Incarnate word, and I was immersed in the Divine Trinity. When I came to myself, longing filled my soul, and I yearned to be united with God. …

I understood the spiritual espousal of a soul with God, which has no exterior manifestation. It is a purely interior act between the soul and God. This grace has drawn me into the very burning center of God’s love. I have come to understand His Trinitarian quality and the absolute Oneness of His Being. 

~from the Diary of St. Faustina, 1121 

According to Scripture and Sacred Tradition, God must not be seen as a solitary heavenly being, as if sitting alone on the heavenly throne by Himself. In St. John’s vision of the heavenly Kingdom, recorded in the last chapter of the Bible, he sees “the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:1), in other words, the Spirit of God flowing eternally from the Father and the Son. 

Thus, God’s own inner life, in a mysterious way, is Tripersonal. God is not a solitary person. Rather, from all eternity, from everlasting to everlasting, before He ever made the universe, and even if He had never made any universe at all, God already knew what it was like to love; in fact, He already enjoyed the fullness of perfect love — love given, love received, and love returned — within His own divine nature. As St. John wrote: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:7). “Love” is what God is by definition; in other words, perfect Love is going on within the divine nature all the time. It is not something God just chooses to do now and then. In His own eternal, infinite Being, therefore, God was never one solitary person, but always Three divine Persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — united forever in mutual, self-giving love. 

As C.S. Lewis once wrote, their unity is like the unity among dancers who are moving to the same song in perfect harmony and perfect self-giving. Even so, the Three Persons share eternal joys, cooperate in divine purposes, and manifest together every divine perfection: an eternal dance of love among the Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

If God is a Holy Trinity defined in this way — a Trinity of eternal, perfect love — then this doctrine also tells us something important about why God created the world. He obviously did not create the world because He needed to, as if to cure Himself of His own loneliness, or to fulfill some unrealized potential in His own nature for loving relationship. God didn’t need to do any such thing, for He already knew what loving personal relationship was like — love given, love received, and love returned. 

God already enjoyed the perfect fulfillment of loving relationship within His own nature, in the Trinity. Then if God did not need to create us, why did He do so? It can only be because He wanted to share His perfect love with creatures: He wanted to create beings who could take part, each one in its own way, in His perfect divine love, and enjoy it by joining in the dance!

Other religious faiths (such as Judaism and Islam) share our belief that there is One God. But what they fail to see is that if God is, as they hold, one single divine Person, then He cannot be said to have the attribute of perfect Love. For before such a God made the world, and apart from His relationship with the world, He would not have known the joy and perfection of loving personal relationship. Thus, in Himself, such a God could not be called the God of Love; He would only be “potentially loving,” for He would need to create a world in order to have something or someone to love. And even in His love relationship with the world, such a God would never know the perfect joy of having His love fully received and fully returned, something that finite creatures, even the best of them, could never do. Only divine Persons can fully receive infinite divine Love, and infinitely return it. In short, a unipersonal God would be a “needy” God: a divine being who created the world in order to fulfill His own potentials for loving personal relationship, and never quite succeeded. This hardly matches the Biblical witness to the infinite majesty, glory, and holiness of God!

On the other hand, if, as Christianity teaches, from everlasting to everlasting God is perfect Love within Himself, if He enjoys the perfection of personal relationship within His own eternal Being, if He is not one solitary person but Three Divine Persons united in self-giving love and sharing all the divine perfections, then it follows that God did not create us out of any selfish need of His own, but out of selfless generosity: out of an overflow, so to speak, of His Trinitarian love. He created us so that we might one day share in the same interpersonal love that makes up His own eternal joy. For it is the same divine love that eternally binds the Three into One, and it is the same Trinitarian Love that called us into being and invites us now to join in the dance.

Perhaps now we can begin to understand what St. Faustina meant when she wrote that coming to know the secret of the Trinity involves being “drawn into the glowing center of love,” when one is “immersed in the Divine Trinity.” But, she also added: “I do not know how to express this in words.” 

Source:divinemercy.org

The Apparitions of the angel of Portugal 


In the spring of 1916 Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, had their first encounter with a heavenly messenger. Writing in her memoirs, composed under obedience to the Bishop, Lucia tells of that first meeting.We went on that occasion to my parents’ property, which is at the bottom of the Cabeco, facing east. It is called Chousa Velha.

About the middle of the morning it began to drizzle and we climbed up the hill, followed by our sheep, in search of a rock that would shelter us. And so it was that we entered for the first time into that blessed place. It is in the middle of an olive grove that belongs to my godfather, Anastacio. From there one can see the village where I was born, my father’s house, and also Casa Velha and Eira da Pedra. The olive grove, which really belongs to several people, extends as far as these places.

We spent the day there, in spite of the fact that the rain had stopped and the sun was shining in a clear sky. We ate our lunch and began to say the Rosary. After that we began to play a game with pebbles. We had only been at it a few moments when a strong wind began to shake the trees and we looked up to see what was happening, since it was such a calm day. And then we began to see, in the distance, above the trees that stretched to the east, a light whiter than snow in the form of a young man, quite transparent, and as brilliant as crystal in the rays of the sun. As he came near we were able to see his features. We were astonished and absorbed and we said nothing to one another. And then he said:

Do not be afraid. I am the angel of peace. Pray with me.

He knelt, bending his forehead to the ground. With a supernatural impulse we did the same, repeating the words we heard him say:

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.


After repeating this prayer three times the angel rose and said to us:

Pray in this way. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are ready to listen to you.

And he disappeared. He left us in an atmosphere of the supernatural that was so intense we were for a long time unaware of our own existence. The presence of God was so powerful and intimate that even among ourselves we could not speak. On the next day, too, this same atmosphere held us bound, and it lessened and disappeared only gradually. None of us thought of talking about this apparition or any pledge of secrecy. We were locked in silence without having willed it.

The intense effect that the apparition of the Angel had on the children, quite different from the more serene experience of the Virgin the following year. Lucia states,

I don’t know why, but the apparitions of our Lady produced in us effects quite different from the angel’s visitations We felt in both instances the same intimate happiness, peace and joy, but instead of the physical prostration the angel imposed, our Lady brought a feeling of expansion and freedom; and instead of this annihilation in the divine presence, we wished only to exult in our joy. There was no difficulty of speech when our Lady appeared; there was rather on my part a desire to communicate.

This difference can perhaps be explained in this way. The angels of whatever choir share in common with God a spiritual nature, unmixed with matter. The goodness of their being, filled with the divine justice according to the degree of glory granted to each, radiates that holiness unmediated, though proportioned to the capacity of human beings to experience it. Not without reason Scripture shows how easily an angel appearing to men can be confused with God Himself (Rev 19:10, 22:9). When our Lady appears, however, although her glory is greater than that of the highest seraphim her human nature cloaks that glory in the familiar, just as did Our Lord’s human nature, even after the Resurrection.

Although the angels, too, can appear in more mundane fashion, it must have suited the divine purposes to reveal to the children something of the holiness of God. Lucia tells us of the lingering effect it had on them.

His words sank so deeply into our minds that we never forgot them, and ever after we used to spend long periods on our knees repeating them, sometimes until we fell down exhausted.

Second Apparition

Sometime during the summer of 1916 the three cousins were playing in the heat of the day in the garden near the well behind the Santos home in Aljustrel. Lucia describes how the angel appeared to them once more, chastising them for their for their lack of spiritual seriousness.

Suddenly we saw the same angel near us.

What are you doing? You must pray! Pray! The hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs for you. You must offer your prayers and sacrifices to God, the Most High.


“But how are we to sacrifice?” I asked.

In every way you can offer sacrifice to God in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for sinners. In this way you will bring peace to our country, for I am its guardian angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, bear and accept with patience the sufferings God will send you.

This apparition renewed the same profound effect which the first one had on them. Francisco, who throughout the appearances of the angel and Our Lady would see but not hear, was unsuccessful in prying from the girls the words which the angel had spoken until the following day. Lucia tells us,

The Angels’ words sank deeply into our souls like a gleaming torch, showing us Who God is, what is His love for us, and how he wants us to love Him too; the value of sacrifice and how it pleases Him; how He receives it for the conversion of sinners. That is why from that moment we began to offer Him whatever mortified us.

Third Apparition 
Lucia is uncertain when the third apparition of the angel occurred, sometime in late September or in October 1916 is her recollection. Having gone to the Cabeco with their flocks, and being more attentive to the words of the angel, they immediately knelt down to pray the prayer taught them by the angel: My God, I believe, I adore etc…

After we had repeated this prayer I don’t know how many time we saw the shining over us a strange light. We lifted our heads to see what was happening. the Angel was holding in his left hand a chalice and over it, in the air, was a host from which drops of blood fell into the chalice. The Angel leaves the chalice in the air, kneels near us and tells us to repeat three times:

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

After that he rose, took again in his hand the chalice and the host. The host he gave to me and the contents of the chalice he gave to Jacinta and Francisco, saying at the same time,

Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ terribly outraged by the ingratitude of men. Offer reparation for their sakes and console God.

Once more he bowed to the ground repeating with us the same prayer thrice:

Oh, Blessed Trinity etc.

and disappeared. Overwhelmed by the supernatural atmosphere that involved us, we imitated the Angel in everything, kneeling prostrate as he did and repeating the prayers he said.

It was in this way that catechized in prayer, reparative suffering, and the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, and strengthened by the Bread of Angels, that the children of Fátima were prepared for the visitation of the Queen of Portugal, the Immaculate Virgin Mary.

Saturday’s are dedicated to Mary

Every Saturday in the Catholic Church (provided there is no other feast of greater importance) is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. A priest may celebrate a special “votive” Mass on Saturday morning in honor of Our Lady.

Venerable Fulton Sheen, for example, insisted that priests celebrate Mass on Saturdays in honor of the Blessed Virgin, which he took very seriously.

Our Lady of Fatima requested that the faithful honor her on the First Saturday of each month.

But why Saturday?

Saturday is the day when creation was completed; therefore it is also celebrated as the day of the fulfillment of the plan of salvation, which found its realization through Mary. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, so it seemed appropriate to observe the preceding day as Mary’s day. In addition, as Genesis describes, God rested on the seventh day, Saturday. The seventh day, and the Jewish Sabbath, is Saturday; we rest on Sunday, because we celebrate the Resurrection as our Sabbath Day. In parallel, Jesus rested in the womb and then in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross; thus the God-head rested in Mary.

The Vatican’s Directory on Popular Piety supplements the above explanation and gives this account:

Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary(218). This memorial derives from carolingian time (ninth century), but the reasons for having chosen Saturday for its observance are unknown. While many explanation have been advanced to explain this choice, none is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the history of popular piety.

Prescinding from its historical origins, to-day the memorial rightly emphasizes certain values “to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive: it is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that great Saturday on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord’s resurrection; it is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ; it is a sign that the “Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church.”

Popular piety is also sensitive to the Saturday memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The statutes of many religious communities and associations of the faithful prescribe that special devotion be paid to the Holy Mother of God on Saturdays, sometimes through specified pious exercises composed precisely for Saturdays.

Saturday is a great day to honor our Blessed Mother and if we are not able to go to morning Mass where it is offered, we can always pray a rosary or another Marian prayer to honor her.

She is our spiritual mother and deserves our love and devotion (as do all mothers) and so dedicating an entire day of the week to her is most fitting.