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Category Archives: SAINTS WE LOVE

THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD – Feast: 2 February

The most chaste Virgin Mother of God bore in her arms the true light and came to the help of those who were lying in darkness. In the same way we must hurry out to meet Him who is truly light, enlightened by the beams of his brightness and bearing in our hands the light which shines for all men.

Indeed this is the mystery which we celebrate, that the light has come into the world and has given it light when it was shrouded in darkness, and that the day-spring has visited us from on high and given light to those who were sitting in darkness. That is why we go in procession with lamps in our hands and hasten bearing lights showing both that the light has shone upon us, and signifying the glory which is to come to us through Him Therefore let us all run together to meet God.

That true light which enlightens every man coming into this world, has come. Brethren, let us all be enlightened, let us all be filled with light.

Let none of us remain a stranger to this brightness, let no one who is filled with it continue in the darkness, but let us all go forth shining with light, let us all go together bright with that light to welcome with old Simeon that everlasting shining light. Rejoicing with him in our souls, let us sing a hymn of thanks to the Begetter and Father of the light, who has sent the true light and driven away the darkness and made us all to shine with light.

For we too have seen through Him the salvation of God which He has prepared before the face of all peoples, and has shown forth for the glory of us who are the new Israel; and we have been freed at once from that mysterious and ancient sin just as Simeon was released from the bonds of this present life when he had seen Christ.

We have embraced Christ in faith as He came to us from Bethlehem, and have been made the people of God instead of Gentiles, for He is the salvation given us by our God and Father. We have seen God made flesh with our very eyes and we are called the New Israel now that we have seen the visible presence of God and have cradled Him in our minds. That presence we celebrate with a yearly festival; we shall never forget it.

(A reading from a sermon by Saint Sophronius [+ 639])

Prayer: Almighty, ever-living God, on this day Your Only-begotten Son was presented in the temple, in flesh and blood like ours; purify us in mind and heart that we may meet You in Your glory. We pray this in the most precious name of Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 2 February 2018

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Posted by on February 2, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT TIMOTHY AND SAINT TITUS, Bishops – Memoria: 26 January

Timothy and Titus were both beloved disciples and close associates of St. Paul in his apostolic activities and care for the Churches. Paul considers each of them his true son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4). St. Paul wrote three pastoral letters, two to Timothy and one to Titus, giving them his support, encouragement and wise counsel for their personal lives and for supervising the Christian communities.

Timothy and Titus are models of apostolic virtues. They bore witness to Christ in difficult circumstances and followed the advice of Paul to preach the message whether the time was ripe or not (2 Timothy 4:2). A deep faith in the Word of God an firm commitment to proclaiming it are virtues indispensable to anyone who carries out any pastoral ministry. Writing to Titus, St. Paul urges him, “In all things you yourself must be an example of good behavior” (Titus 2:7). This is an excellent advice which every Christian does well to take seriously. It is all the more necessary for any person who is engaged in teaching and guiding the faithful. Timothy and Titus were docile to the guidance given by St. Paul.

Example is a very concrete and practical lesson, much more effective than explanation. As it is rightly said, action speak louder than words. Therefore, through our life more than through our words, we must proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the nations as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. The example of Saints Timothy and Titus who lived a just and pious life and became masters of communicating the Good News of salvation certainly encourages us to do that.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You endowed Saint Timothy and Saint Titus with power to preach Your Word; grant that, living a life of integrity and holiness in this world, we may, through their prayers, come to our true home in heave. We pray this in the most precious name our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 26 January 2018

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Posted by on January 26, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE – Feast: 25 January

Today we celebrate the conversion of St. Paul, an event of great importance in the history of Christianity. We have abundant reason to rejoice in the Lord and to thank Him for the person of St. Paul whose life and teaching have enriched our understanding of the faith and our Christian living. Paul is a unique light that still illumines the Church and will continue to do so for all time to come. We all have much to learn from him and imitate him.

The event that took place on Paul’s way from Jerusalem to Damascus (the fierce persecutor of Christians became a faithful disciple of Christ) was so important for the Christians that the Acts of the Apostles narrates it three times (in chapters 9, 22 and 26). The apparition of the Lord turned upside down Paul’s entire system of thought and action. Ananias was understandably hesitant to go to Paul, but the Lord encouraged him by revealing fo him the exceptional mission to which Paul was destined to be His messenger in the whole world, among pagans and before the Jewish authorities.

The conversion of St. Paul, we may say, is his birth into Christianity. It is his deep and total encounter with Jesus that transformed him into a new person. According to St. Paul, conversion means to know God, to be faithful to Him and to live in union with Jesus. His encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus was a turning point in his life; it completely transformed the person of Paul. The change in him was so total, his identification with Christ so complete, that he was able to say, “It is no longer I who live, but is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Christ the Lord, as it were, became incarnate in him. Christ lived, thought, spoke and acted in him. His conversion was absolute and complete. From then on Christ was the center and focal point of Paul’s life and activity.

Prayer: Today, Lord, we celebrate the conversion of Saint Paul, Your chosen vessel for carrying Your name to the whole world. Help us to make our way towards You by following in his footsteps, and by witnessing to Your truth before the women and men of our day. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 25 January 2018

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Posted by on January 25, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES, Bishop and Doctor of the Church – Memoria: 24 January

At his baptism in 1567, St. Francis de Sales received as his patron St. Francis of Assisi; and his spirit has a close kinship to that of the Poverello.

From early youth, St. Francis de Sales had a great desire to devote himself entirely to the service of God, although his father had other plans for him. Francis was a student at the University of Paris from fourteenth to his twentieth year; and after studying jurisprudence at the University of Padua for four more years, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Law. In 1593 he finally obtained the consent of his father to enter the sacred ministry; and since he had devoted much time to the study of theology during his student years, he was ordained a priest six months later.

He was enrolled in the Archconfraternity of the Cord of St. Francis after he was made coadjutor to the Bishop of Geneva, Switzerland, in 1599; and in 1617 he was affiliated to the First Order of St. Francis by the Capuchins. He distinguished himself particularly by his zeal, charity, and imperturbable kindness. With St. Jane de Chantal, he founded the Visitation Nuns in 1604. After serving as Bishop of Geneva for twenty years, he died at Lyons, France, in 1622, at the age of 56. He was canonized 43 years later.

Prayer: Almighty and everlasting God, grant that in the service of our fellow-men we may always reflect Your own gentleness and love, and so imitate Saint Francis de Sales, whom you made all things to all men for the saving of souls. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 24 January 2018

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Posted by on January 24, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD [YEAR B] – Mark 1:7-11

Jesus began His public life by being baptized in the River Jordan. John the Baptizer hesitantly performed the ceremony. Normally his voice was loud and bold, but this time he was nervous as the Messiah stepped into the water. Jesus did not need baptism but He wanted it. On the other hand, we need baptism and should want it.

We might as well pause this day to prayerfully appreciate the fact that in baptism we were born again in the original and true sense of the term. By our baptism we were spiritually incorporated into the permanent membership of the Church. We are now gracefully bound together with other believers around the world, accepting the basic rules and duties of this pious corporation and sharing in its glorious privileges.

Once baptized, we can now share the sentiment of John – we too have come into contact with One more powerful than ourselves. His sandals we are not worthy to untie, but in spite of that He has invited us to share His life.

The baptismal encounter is a new and personal creation story for each recipient. Now we are accepted by the merciful Jesus, washed in the cleansing waters and incorporated into His Body. Baptism makes us a new creation. From then on – spiritually speaking -, the sky is the limit.

Prayer: Almighty , ever-living God, when Christ was baptized in the River Jordan the Holy Spirit came upon Him and Your voice proclaimed from heaven “This is My beloved Son.” Grant that we, who by water and the Holy Spirit are Your adopted children, may continue steadfast in Your love. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 8 January 2018

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Posted by on January 8, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT ANGELA OF FOLIGNO, a member of the Third Order of St. Francis – Memoria: 4 January

Angela was born in 1248 of a prominent family in Foligno, three leagues from Assisi. As a young woman, and also as a wife and mother, she lived only for the world and its vain pleasures. But the grace of God intended to make of her a vessel of election for the comfort and salvation of many. A ray of the divine mercy touched her soul and so strongly affected her as to ring about a conversion.

During the process of conversion God hearkened to the earnest desire of the penitent: her mother died, then her husband, and soon afterwards all her children. These tragic events were very painful to her; but she made the sacrifice with resignation to the will of God. Being freed from these ties, she dispossessed herself of all her temporal goods with the consent of her confessor, so that being poor herself, she might walk in the footsteps of her poor Savior. She also entered the Third Order of St. Francis, probably in 1291.

Angela became still more immersed in the contemplation of the Passion of Christ, and she chose the Sorrowful Mother and the faithful disciple John as her patrons. The sight of the wounds which the Lord suffered for her sins urged her to the practice of still greater austerities. Once our Lord showed her that His Heart is  a safe refuge in all the storms of life. She was soon to be in need of such a refuge because God permitted her to be afflicted with severe temptations. The most horrible and loathsome representations distressed her soul, and the fire of concupiscence raged so furiously. These painful trials lasted over two years; but then the purified and tried servant of the Lord was filled with great consolations. She obtained a marvelous insight into divine things and was very frequently found in ecstacy. For  many years Holy Communion was her only food, until at last, completely purified, she entered into the eternal joy of the Supreme Good on January 4, 1309.

Pope Innocent XII approved the continual devotion paid to her at her tomb in Foligno. He beatified her in 1693. Pope Francis canonized her on 9 October 2013.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You sweetness of hearts and light of the inhabitants of heaven, who did refresh Saint Angela, Your servant, with a marvelous insight into heavenly things, grant us through her merits and intercession so to know You upon earth, that we may found worthy to rejoice in the vision of Your glory in heaven. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 4 January 2018

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Posted by on January 4, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT BASIL THE GREAT and SAINT GREGORY NAZIANZEN, Bishops and Doctors of the Church – Memoria: 2 January

Basil was born of a Christian family at Caesarea in Cappadocia in the year 330. Outstanding in learning and virtue he began to lead a retired life but in the year 370 he was appointed Bishop of Caesarea. He combated the Arian heresy, wrote much of value, especially the monastic rules, which even today are followed by many monks of the Eastern Church; and he was outstanding in helping the poor. He died on 1 January 379.

Gregory was born near Nazianzus in the same year, 330. He journeyed much in order to acquire knowledge and he followed his friend Saint Basil in undertaking a life of solitude, but he was ordained a priest and bishop. In 381 he was chosen Bishop  of Constantinople. However, because of the divisions he encountered in the diocese he returned to his native Nazianzus where he died on 25 January in either 389 or 390. He was a man of outstanding knowledge and eloquence and was called The Theologian.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You enriched Your Church and gave examples for us to follow in the life and teaching of Saint Basil and Saint Gregory. Grant that, learning Your truth with humility, we may practise it in faith and love. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and he Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 2 January 2018

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Posted by on January 2, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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