Ad Te Levávi Ánimam Meam

To Thee have I lifted up my soul (Introit – 1st Sunday of Advent)

Archive for the ‘saints’ Category

Leap Day

Posted by james0235 on February 29, 2012

In the Byzantine Catholic Church, as well as the Orthodox Churches, February 29th, leap day, is the Feast of St. John Cassian. As this only occurs every four years the Feast is often moved in other years, typically to February 28th. And in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite we celebrate this Feast on July 23rd.

And for reasons still not quite clear to me in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite whenever February has 29 days the Feast of St. Matthias the Apostle is moved from the 24th to the 25th and the Feast of St. Gabriel of the Most Sorrowful Virgin is moved from the 27th to the 28th.


Posted in saints | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

St. Justin Martyr

Posted by james0235 on June 1, 2010

Today, in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite as well as in the Byzantine Rite, is the Feast of St. Justin Martry. St. Justin wrote an apology, a defense of the Christian faith, to the Emperor of Rome. His description of the worship of the early Church is especially interesting:

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

St. Justin Martyr, First Apology to the Roman Emperor, Chapter LXVII, 150 A.D.

Sound familiar?

Posted in early church fathers, saints | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

May Day

Posted by james0235 on May 1, 2010

In 1955 Pope Pius XII established May 1st as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. On the modern Liturgical Calendar in use since the release of the 1970 Roman Missal this Feast Day ranks as a Memorial. The institution of this Feast by Pope Pius was in response to communist-backed “May Day” celebrations on the 1st of May and served to offer a Christian view of labor. Communism, and really Socialism as well, are incompatible with the Catholic faith and both have been repeatedly condemned by the Holy See:

To this goal also tends the unspeakable doctrine of Communism, as it is called, a doctrine most opposed to the very natural law. For if this doctrine were accepted, the complete destruction of everyone’s laws, government, property, and even of human society itself would follow.

Blessed Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus 16 – November 9, 1846

Hence we have reached the limit of horrors, to wit, communism, socialism, nihilism, hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin. And yet too many attempt to enlarge the scope of these evils, and under the pretext of helping the multitude, already have fanned no small flames of misery. The things we thus mention are neither unknown nor very remote from us.

Pope Leo XIII, Diuturnum 23 – June 29, 1881

If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.

Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno 120 – May 15, 1931

See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless.

Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris 58 – March 19, 1937

Now, the Catholic Church is no stranger to the cause of worker’s rights. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: … injustice to the wage earner” (CCC 1867). And when it comes to presenting a solid Christian view of labor I don’t believe that it should be any surprise that devotion to St. Joseph has long been the vehicle chosen to do so.

The Gospels present him as both “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a) and a laborer – Jesus is called “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:54-58). The Church presents these passages to us on the Solemnity of St. Joseph (Gospel 1st Option) and on the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Gospel) respectively. And notice that Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical condemning atheistic communism, Divini Redemptoris quoted above, on March 19th – the Solemnity of St. Joseph. A bit closer to our own day Pope John Paul II held up St. Joseph, as a laborer,  as a model of holiness for us all:

Work was the daily expression of love in the life of the Family of Nazareth. The Gospel specifies the kind of work Joseph did in order to support his family: he was a carpenter. This simple word sums up Joseph’s entire life. For Jesus, these were hidden years, the years to which Luke refers after recounting the episode that occurred in the Temple: “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” (Lk 2:51). This “submission” or obedience of Jesus in the house of Nazareth should be understood as a sharing in the work of Joseph. Having learned the work of his presumed father, he was known as “the carpenter’s son.” If the Family of Nazareth is an example and model for human families, in the order of salvation and holiness, so too, by analogy, is Jesus’ work at the side of Joseph the carpenter. In our own day, the Church has emphasized this by instituting the liturgical memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Human work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption.

Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos 22 – August 15, 1989

The more time that I spend meditating on the life and the work of St. Joseph the more I am coming to appreciate him as a role model. Over the past few years I have slowly been growing in devotion to him. And this is something I foresee continuing well into the future.

Posted in evil, liturgy, popes, saints | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Proper Understanding of the Gift of Tongues From the Liturgy of the Church

Posted by james0235 on May 30, 2009

An exposition of Ecclesiastes by St Gregory of Agrigentum:

The disciples spoke in the language of every nation. At Pentecost God chose this means to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit: whoever had received the Spirit spoke in every kind of tongue. We must realise, dear brothers, that this is the same Holy Spirit by whom love is poured out in our hearts. It was love that was to bring the Church of God together all over the world. And as individual men who received the Holy Spirit, speaks in the language of every people.

Therefore if somebody should say to one of us, “You have received the Holy Spirit, why do you not speak in tongues?” his reply should be, “I do indeed speak in the tongues of all men, because I belong to the body of Christ, that is, the Church, and she speaks all languages. What else did the presence of the Holy Spirit indicate at Pentecost, except that God’s Church was to speak in the language of every people?”

This way the way in which the Lord’s promise was fulfilled: No one puts new wine into old wineskins. New wine is put into fresh skins, and so both are preserved. So when the disciples were heard speaking in all kinds of languages, some people were not far wrong in saying: They have been drinking too much new wine. The truth is that the disciples had now become fresh wineskins, renewed and made holy by grace. The new wine of the Holy Spirit filled them, so that their fervour brimmed over and they spoke in manifold tongues. By this spectacular miracle they became a sign of the Catholic Church, which embraces the language of every nation.

Keep this feast, then, as members of the one body of Christ. It will be no empty festival for you if you really become what you are celebrating. For you are the members of that Church which the Lord acknowledges as his own, being himself acknowledged by her, that same Church which he fills with the Holy Spirit as she spreads throughout the world. He is like a bridegroom who never loses sight of his own bride; no one could ever deceive him by substituting some other woman.

To you men of all nations, then who make up the Church of Christ, you the members of Christ, you, the body of Christ, you, the bride of Christ – to all of you the Apostle addresses these words: Bear with one another in love; do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Notice that when Paul urges us to bear with one another, he bases his argument on love, and when he speaks of our hope of unity, he emphasises the bond of peace. This Church is the house of God. It is his delight to dwell here. Take care, then, that he never has the sorrow of seeing it undermined by schism and collapsing in ruins.

Saturday of the 7th week of Eastertide, Office of Readings

Posted in liturgy, Prayer, quotes, saints | Leave a Comment »

Biebl’s Ave Maria

Posted by james0235 on August 15, 2008


Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae
et concepit de Spiritu sancto.
The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary and she conceived of the Holy Spirit.  
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus, Jesus. Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, Jesus. 
Maria dixit: Ecce ancilla Domini.
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.


Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus, Jesus. Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, Jesus. 
Et Verbum caro factum est
et habitavit in nobis.


And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus, Jesus. Hail Mary, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, Jesus. 
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen. Amen. Amen. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, Holy Mary, pray for us now and in the hour of our death.
Amen. Amen. Amen.


Posted in music, Prayer, saints | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Posted by james0235 on August 15, 2008

Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary outside of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Zagreb, Croatia. (image source)

Posted in saints | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Posted by james0235 on July 16, 2008

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
as we do honour the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of Carmel.

Your word filled her heart
and inspired her actions,
making her constant in prayer with the Apostles,
and, through her share in our salvation,
constituting her the spiritual mother of all mankind.
She watches unceasingly with a mother’s loving care
over the brethren of her Son,
and lights us along our pilgrim way
to the Mount of your Glory,
our beacon of comfort,
and the embodiment or all our hopes
as members of the Church.
Now, with all the saints and angels,
we praise you forever:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

(Preface of Our Lady of Mount Carmel I, Carmelite Missal)

Posted in blessed virgin mary, liturgy, Prayer, saints | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


Posted by james0235 on June 4, 2008

“Your prayers should be liturgical. How I would like to see you using the psalms and prayers from the missal, rather than private prayers of your own choice.”

(St. Josemaría Escrivá, The Way, 86)

Posted in liturgy, Prayer, quotes, saints | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

May Crowning Before Mass

Posted by james0235 on May 14, 2008

I believe this is the first time I have seen a May Crowning since I was in the 1st grade.

This video was taken by Tom Ryan, a man with powerful friends:

Tom Ryan and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Posted in saints | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Book Review: Words of Light

Posted by james0235 on May 8, 2008

Inspiration From the Letters of Padre Pio

Words of Light: Inspiration From the Letters of Padre Pio

Author: St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)
Publisher: Paraclete Press
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 206 pages

Words of Light: Inspiration From the Letters of Padre Pio released earlier this year by Paraclete Press is a 206 page hardbound book. For the most part I tend not to be too concerned with the cover of a book. Hardcover, soft cover, leather bound, no cover at all – it makes no difference to me. The content is all that matters. But, with this particular book I was very glad to have the hardcover.

I have found myself carrying this book around with me quite a bit. I read a little bit in Church before Mass, I read it at home. I even tend to leave it in the car so that I can read it if I arrive early to a doctor’s appointment. To say that that I have been rough with this book would be a bit of an understatement. And through it all it has held up beautifully.

And now we get to the reason why I carry this book around so much (and am therefore thankful that it is in hardcover): the content. I am the type of person who likes to read a book as quickly as possible. The quicker I finish one book the quicker I can begin another. But, that is just not possible with Words of Light. I will sit down with the intention of reading a chapter only to find that I have read the same passage 3 or 4 times. I will put the book down for awhile – maybe an hour or a maybe a few days – and when I come back to it I find myself back on the same passage.

The book, compiled by Fr. Raniero Cantalmessa, the preacher to the papal household, is taken from the letters of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, better known to the world as Padre Pio, to his spiritual directors on a variety of topics. Prior to the publication of this book these words of Padre Pio were only available in a much larger Italian edition. Now, excerpts from these letters have been taken and arranged by topic in chapters such as ‘Satan is a powerful enemy’, ‘I do not wish to ever offend God again’, and ‘Church, Priesthood, and Eucharist’ for the benefit of the English speaking world.

Words of Light took me through some lows and some highs. When Padre Pio writes that “my prayers are worthy rather of punishment than reward, because I have sickened Jesus too much by my numberless sins…” (p. 27) or “Such is the opinion I have of myself, that I don’t know if there be any worse than me.” (p. 167) I can’t help but feel horrible. Surely my sins must be more numberless than his. Surely I deserve much greater punishment than he. Thankfully other passages are as uplifting to me as these are depressing: “We have raised our thoughts to heaven, our true homeland, of which the earth is only a pale reflection. With divine assistance we strive to preserve, in every event, joyful or sad, that serenity and calm that become the true followers of the fair-haired Nazarene.” (p. 156)

In conclusion I will just say that there are a lot of books out there that will let you know about Padre Pio. This is the first one that I have encountered that will help you to get to know Padre Pio.

Posted in book reviews, saints | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »