Tag: Feast

Feast Of Blessed Maria Teresa Fasce.

Feast Of Blessed Maria Teresa Fasce.

Maria Terese of Cascia was born in Torriglia, a small town near Genoa, Italy in 1881 to a middle-class family. Her parents had her baptized with the name Maria, but throughout her life, she was called “Marietta.”

Although Marietta lost her mother when she was eight, she was well looked after by her older sister. Religious values were taught at home and Marietta was enrolled in school where she did well. Marietta was lively and vivacious, and she responded well to instruction.

In Genoa, she attended the Augustinian parish of Our Lady of Consolation, a place where she would be greatly inspired to her life’s vocation as a nun. Marietta met her confessor there, Father Mariono Ferriello, who encouraged her to pursue her vocation. Marietta was also taught catechism there along with signing. She also learned extensively about St. Augustine, whose spirituality greatly influenced her.

The singular event, which influenced Marietta the most, however, was the canonization of St. Rita of Cascia. Pope Leo XIII canonized St. Rita on May 24, 1900. Along with the canonization, there were lectures, liturgical celebrations, and other events celebrating the life of St. Rita. This influenced Marietta to live a religious life.

Marietta had been contemplating a religious lifestyle for some time, but the canonization of St. Rita compelled her to announce her intentions to her family, who took the news badly. Marietta’s brothers were particularly negative about her decision. Still, Marietta was undeterred and she felt absolutely sure she wanted to enter the convent.

Marietta applied for admission to a Ligurian Augustinian monastery, but she was rejected, news which shocked and surprised her. The monastery’s abbess, Mother Giuseppina Gattarelli, explained she felt that Marietta, accustomed to life in the city, would not be able to handle the spartan rigors of a rural monastery. Still, Marietta was tenacious; she reapplied and was accepted in 1906.

Thus, in 1906, Marietta began her religious career. On Christmas night of 1906, Marietta was given her habit and one year later she took vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. The name, “Teresa Eletta” was given to her.

Unfortunately for Marietta (now Maria Teresa Eletta) she discovered a monastery in crisis. A group of seven young sisters from Visso who were much more relaxed in their practice than the older sisters created a generational crisis. The levity and laughter did little to promote Maria’s spiritual growth and disappointment and doubt began to develop in her mind. In June of 1910, Maria Theresa left the monastery to reexamine her decision.

However, Maria returned in May of 1911, more confirmed than ever. The following March, she made her solemn profession of the vows. She promptly protested the situation at the monastery by writing letters to the superiors. Impressed with her alacrity, she was soon appointed to Mistress of Novices in 1914. In 1917, she became Vicar, and in 1920 her sisters unanimously elected her Abbess. She would hold that position until her death in 1947.

Maria Teresa was remembered as a strict, but practical woman who was also very sweet to her community. She made clear to all that Jesus wants active, hard working brides, and that being such would be their duty. She rigidly observed the Augustinian Rule.

Despite her rigidity, her community remembered her for her great tenderness and friendliness. She was not considered a dictator, but a genuine spiritual leader with great charisma.

Maria Terese was also known for her great stamina. As abbess, she directed the construction of a new church for Saint Rita and a girl’s orphanage. This project consumed much of her tenure, and in fact, the church was not completed until several months after her death.

Maria Terese also spent much of her time in illness, suffering from painful afflictions. She suffered with a malignant tumor on her right breast and was compelled to undergo two surgeries. She referred to her tumor as “her treasure” and explained that it was the most beautiful gift which Jesus had given to her. She also suffered from asthma, diabetes, and circulatory problems which caused great pain in her feet. She became very overweight and had difficulty walking. Later in her tenure, her sisters had to carry her in a chair.

Despite her pain, she never complained about her illness and she never slowed the pace of her activity. Her condition has been compared to the suffering of Christ, which like Jesus, she bore with patience and reverence.

Maria Terese died on January 18, 1947. She was laid to rest in a crypt next to her beloved St. Rita. Pope John Paul beautified her in July 1997.

Martyrs Of The Church – St. Lawrence And The Rest Of Us

Martyrs Of The Church – St. Lawrence And The Rest Of Us

*St. Lawrence and the Rest of Us.*

(Homily for August 10, 2018)
_“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” *(John 12:24-25)*_
Today, the church remembers one of her greatest heroes; Saint Lawrence. He was a Roman deacon under Pope St. Sixtus II. As a deacon in Rome, Lawrence was charged with the responsibility for the material goods of the Church, and the distribution of alms to the poor. 
During a time of persecution, Lawrence, knowing that he would be arrested like the Pope, sought out the poor, widows, and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had on hand, selling even the sacred vessels to increase the sum. When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he imagined that the Christians had a considerable treasure. 
He sent for Lawrence and said, “You Christians say we are cruel to you, but that is not what I have in mind. I am told that your priests offer in gold, that the sacred blood is received in silver cups, that you have golden candlesticks at your evening services. Now, your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures, the emperor needs them to maintain his forces. God does not cause money to be counted: He brought none of it into the world with him – only words. Give me the money, therefore, and be rich in words.”
Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. “I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory.” After three days he gathered a great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned and widowed persons and put them in rows. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, “These are the treasures of the Church.”
The Prefect was so angry he had a great gridiron prepared, with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence’s body placed on it. Lawrence died like a piece of meat being roasted slowly over a hot charcoal fire. We remember him today especially for his heroic act of charity. As St. Paul teaches in today’s first reading: “He who sows sparingly reaps sparingly, and he who sows bountifully also reaps bountifully (2 Cor. 9:6). God loves a cheerful giver.
St. Lawrence did not simply give to the poor, his giving was at the risk of his own life. The best time to give to the poor is precisely when giving pains you the most. Such giving is truly sacrificial and it does bear fruit. Jesus says unless a grain of wheat falls and dies, it remains alone but after it dies, it bears much fruit. Whenever we make sacrifices for God’s sake we are giving away grains of wheat like a farmer scattering seeds on the ground. Such seeds eventually grow to become bigger plants and seeds.

Let us learn from St. Lawrence the need to be charitable and the willingness to let go of our life itself so that we can have a better life in heaven.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, like St. Lawrence, may I one day be with you in paradise. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you*
*(Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, Psalm 112:1-9, John 12:24-26).*
Fr. Abu

Our Lady Of The Snows  

Our Lady Of The Snows  

 
Our Lady of the Snows.

August 5:
Our Lady of the Snows.
Improbable as it is for snow to fall during August, history tells of a snowfall that seemed more impossible, namely in Rome, Italy. August 5, 352, snow fell during the night in Rome.
There lived in the Eternal City a nobleman, John and his childless wife, who had been blessed with much of this world’s goods. They chose the Mother of God as the heir to their fortune, and at the suggestion of Pope Liberius, prayed that she might make known to them how to do this by a particular sign.
In answer, the Virgin Mother during the night of August 5, appeared to John and his wife and also to the Holy Father, Pope Liberius, directing them to build a church in her honor on the crown of the Esquiline Hill. And what would be the sign that John and his wife had requested?
“Snow will cover the crest of the hill.”

Snow rarely falls in Rome, but the flakes fell silently during that night, blanketing the peak of the historic hill. In the morning the news quickly spread and crowds gathered to throng up the hill and behold the white splendor. The snow had fallen in a particular pattern, showing the outline of the future church. When it became known that the snow was a sign from Mary, the people spontaneously added another to her long list of titles, Our Lady of the Snows.

The church built there is now known as Saint Mary Major. It is the focal point of devotion for many of Mary’s millions of children, one of the most popular churches in the world. There Mary has been pleased to secure various and many blessings as numerous and varied, as the flakes of snow that fell that August night.

The church built by John and his wife in honor of Our Lady of the Snows, restored and enlarged at various times was known by different names: the Basilica of Liberius, Saint Mary of the Crib because it enshrines relics of Christ’s Crib; lastly, Saint Mary Major, to distinguish it from the many other Roman churches dedicated to the Mother of God; Major, means Greater. There is an image revered as Our Lady of the Snows, which is believed to have been produced by St. Luke the Apostle.

Saint Mary Major is one of the four basilicas in which the pilgrims to Rome must pray in order to gain the indulgences of the Holy Year. Most fitting do we call Mary Our Lady of the Snows. The white blanket of that August night symbolizes Mary, pure as the driven snow; her blessings and graces, numerous and varied as the falling snowflakes.

Science tells us that every snowflake is different in form and make-up: size, outline, structure, ornamentation, are all without limit, infinite in wondrous beauty, startling complexity, perfect symmetry as they fleet, dancing down from the sky. What a wonderful figure of the blessings Mary obtains for us! Snow changes the face of the earth, painting even a field of mud with a white coat. The grace of God won through prayer to Mary, also changes the face of the earth. Snow preserves the heat of the earth, protects vegetation, supplies moisture with slow effectiveness.

Grace serves similar purposes: it preserves the warmth of God’s love in our hearts; it protects the soul from the chill of temptation and sin; it nourishes the soul with new life. We see a further symbolism in this feast. There are millions living in lands of ice and snow who have not come to the knowledge of Mary and her Divine Son. We might ask that with the actual snowflakes, she shower down upon them the graces of the True Faith.

In particular may that land where snow falls long and heavily, Russia, come to share in a fall of graces through prayer to her whom we honor on August fifth as “Our Lady of the Snows.”

Why The Memorial Of The Immaculate Heart Follow Simultaneously The Solemnity Of The Sacred Heart – What It Means For Us. 

Why The Memorial Of The Immaculate Heart Follow Simultaneously The Solemnity Of The Sacred Heart – What It Means For Us. 

Sacred Heart of Jesus, thy kingdom come. When we meditate on the Sacred Heart, pondering the depth of God’s love for us, we need to contemplate the Immaculate Heart as well.

The Friday following the Sunday following the Thursday following Trinity Sunday is a great solemnity in our Church, its date easier to remember now that we have Instagram and Facebook feeds filled with images of the Sacred Heart on that moveable feast. On the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, we contemplate the pierced heart of Christ burning with love for his people, surrounded by a crown of thorns as he continues to suffer for love of us.


The following day (June 9, this year) is the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These two celebrations always come back to back, with nothing separating the heart of Jesus from the heart of his mother. Their hearts were united from the moment the divine heart began to beat in his mother’s womb, nestled below her virginal heart. They were united in suffering on Calvary, united in exultation on Easter, and united in eternity when God raised his mother’s heart into heaven to beat alongside his.


So when we meditate on the Sacred Heart, pondering the depth of God’s love for us, we need to contemplate the Immaculate Heart as well to see the response we’re invited to make with our lives.


In images of the Immaculate Heart, Mary’s heart is shown outside her body, as she gestures to it. Mary’s heart is entirely given over to the Lord, in love of him and of his people. Her heart burns with love for God, a love that pours out to the billions of children she has been called to mother. When we look on the burning heart of Jesus, we remember that our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29), burning away our imperfections in the power of his love that will never be deterred. When we look on Mary’s heart, we long to love the Lord with the all-consuming intensity of Our Lady. We seek to look on our brothers and sisters with that love, one that manifests itself not in word or speech but in deed and truth (1 Jn 3:18).


Next, our eyes travel to the crowns that surround the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Jesus’ is the same thorny crown pressed into his sinless brow, a sign of the pain and mockery he suffered on Calvary and suffers today. This, too, speaks of his love for his people, that he would so gladly suffer indignity and torture to bring home one lost sheep.


Mary’s heart, on the other hand, is wreathed in roses, a testimony to her purity. But roses have thorns, witnessing to the mortification required of anyone who seeks to imitate her purity. When held up against the backdrop of the crown of thorns, it’s easy to see how our small sufferings, when accepted for love of God, can be transformed into a thing of beauty. The Immaculate Heart, then, invites us to purity, mortification, and joy in our sacrifice.


Finally, Jesus’ heart is scarred, sliced open where the soldier’s lance pierced him after he died. The Resurrection wasn’t a divine do-over, or his wounds would have been healed when he rose. And it wasn’t just as a sign to Thomas that he rose with holes; instead, each of us can take hope from his still-wounded body that our wounds can be not just erased but glorified. As Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, he looks at the holes in his hands, of which Isaiah prophesied, “See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name” (Is 49:16). Jesus looks at these wounds and rejoices that by them, we have been healed (Is 53:5).


In Mary’s heart, there is a sword (or seven), in fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy that a sword would pierce her heart. These swords represent the seven sorrows of Mary, the deep suffering that threatened to destroy her. More than the thorns of small sacrifices, these are the agonizing pains that we struggle under, the loss and loneliness and fear that leave us near despair. But in Mary’s heart, these swords, too, have been glorified. She doesn’t shriek in anguish, deny her suffering, or attempt to pry the swords out; she looks to her Son who suffered far more and unites her heart to his, offering him her pain. We, too, must acknowledge the deep pain in our lives, pain that sometimes comes directly from our decision to follow Jesus, and offer it to him, trusting that when we embrace our crosses, he can make us saints.


In 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the entire world to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Many individuals have done the same. As we celebrate her feast day today, let’s ask her once again to intercede that our hearts would be made more like hers in imitation of her Son.

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