Tag: Feast

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.

Feast Of The Ascension Of Jesus (Solemnity)

Feast Of The Ascension Of Jesus (Solemnity)

COLLECT PRAYER

Gladden us with holy joys, Almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and, where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Graciously hear our supplications, O Lord, so that we, who believe that the Savior of the human race is with you in your glory, may experience, as he promised, until the end of the world, his abiding presence among us. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

ASCENSION OF JESUS
The sixth week of Easter and the Seventh Sunday of Easter is a liturgical time with a bit of an identity crisis. This week was often referred to as Rogation Week before the revision of the calendar in 1969, and the Solemnity of the Ascension is traditionally celebrated on Thursday. But much of that has changed, or varies depending on where one lives.

The Ascension of Jesus marks forty days of the glorious celebration of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, this calendar year.

A sermon by Saint Augustine exalts all believers as follows.

No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food.

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: 

Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.

Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head. 
I wish to add to St Augustine’s discourse by noting that Jesus has promised the continued unity of the head and body through the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Thus, in the next nine we are all invited to await the coming of the Holy Spirit in prayers. Kindly make out time for you and your loved ones for this powerful and oldest novena to the Holy Spirit for divine empowerment and sanctification.

As much as possible go to confession and take up a fast for the next nine days.

May God bless you and your loved ones and grant you your heart desires with coming of the Holy Spirit.

Saint Of The Day – St. Lidwina Of Schiedam

Saint Of The Day – St. Lidwina Of Schiedam

Today’s Saint – St. Lidwina (Lydwine).

Born March 18, 1380
Schiedam, County of Holland,
Holy Roman Empire
Died April 14, 1433 (aged 53)
Schiedam, County of Holland,
Holy Roman Empire
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Canonized cultus confirmed March 14, 1890 by Pope Leo XIII
Major shrine Schiedam, South Holland, Netherlands
Feast April 14
Patronage chronically ill, ice skaters, town of Schiedam

Lidwina was born at Schiedam, Holland, on April 18, 1380. Her father, Peter, came of a noble family while her mother Petronella, born in Kethel, Holland, was a country girl from a poor family. 

Very early in her life, St. Lidwina was drawn towards the Mother of God and prayed a great deal before the miraculous image of Our Lady of Schiedam. During the winter of the year of 1395, Lidwina went skating with her friends, one of whom caused her to fall upon some ice with such violence that she broke a rib in her right side. Her martyrdom starts here. No medical skill availed to cure her. Gangrene appeared in the wound caused by the fall and spread over her entire body. For years she lay in pain which seemed to increase steadily. Some looked on her with suspicion, as being under the influence of the evil spirit. 

Her pastor, Andries, brought her an unconsecrated host, but the saint distinguished it at once. But God rewarded her with a beautiful gift of prayer and also with visions. Numerous miracles took place at her bedside. The celebrated preacher and seer, Wermbold of Roskoop, visited her after previously beholding her in spirit. The pious Arnold of Schoonhoven treated her as a friend. Hendrik Mande wrote a pious consolation tract in Dutch. When Joannes Busch brought this to her, he asked her what she thought of Hendrik Mande’s visions, and she answered that they came from God. 

In a vision, she was shown a rose-bush with the words, “When this shall be in bloom, your suffering will be at an end.” In the spring of the year 1433, she exclaimed, “I see the rose-bush in full bloom!” From her fifteenth to her fifty-third year, she suffered every imaginable pain; she was one sore from head to foot and was greatly emaciated. On the morning of Easter-day, 1433, she was in deep contemplation and beheld, in a vision, Christ coming towards her to administer the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. 

She died on April 14, 1433, and not long after, her grave became a place of pilgrimage, and the following year later (1434), a chapel was built over it. In 1615 her relics were conveyed to Brussels, but in 1871 they were returned to Schiedam. On March 14, 1890, Leo XIII put the official sanction of the Church upon that veneration which had existed for centuries.

St. Lidwina (Lydwine), Pray for us!

The Saint Who Survived Execution By Arrows

The Saint Who Survived Execution By Arrows

Saint Sebastian

Survived execution by arrows


Martyr (ca. 284)


His life


+ Sebastian was born and educated in Milan, according to ancient traditions.


+ Sebastian is said to have entered the Roman army around the year 283 so that he could offer assistance to those Christians being persecuted for their faith in Jesus.


+ Although he had concealed his own Christian faith, he was eventually found out and denounced before the emperor. Condemned to be shot to death with arrows, Sebastian survived the ordeal and was nursed back to health by a local Christian woman.


+ Sebastian presented himself to the emperor and was subsequently martyred around the year 284. His body was enshrined in the catacombs and he is honored as the patron saint of athletes, soldiers, and physicians.


Spiritual bonus

On this day, the Church also celebrates the commemoration of Pope Saint Fabian, who served as bishop of Rome from 236 to 250. Fabian is credited with sending Saint Denis, Saint Martial, and other missionaries into Gaul, for expanding the catacombs (the burial places for Roman Christians), and for insuring more accurate records were kept of those Christians who died as martyrs. Saint Cyprian of Carthage praised Fabian as having been an “incomparable man.” This holy pope died as a martyr in 250.


Quote

If there are many persecutions, there are many testings; where there are many crowns of victory, there are many trials of strength.  It is then to your advantage if there are many persecutors; among many persecutions you may more easily find a path to victory.”—Saint Ambrose of Milan.


Prayer

Grant us, we pray, O Lord, a spirit of fortitude,


so that, taught by the glorious example


of your Martyr Saint Sebastian,
we may learn to obey you rather than men.


Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,


who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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