ALL SAINTS DAY CATHOLIC FEAST

 

ALL SAINTS DAY NOVEMBER 1

We have two major feasts this week in our Church which reminds us of what we profess in the Apostles Creed. as a dogma of our Faith. “I believe in the Holy Spirit. the holy Catholic Church, the Communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

We too are part of that “Communion of Saints.” We are “the pilgrim Church” on earth still making our way back home, striving to become saints. We are sometimes called the “Church Militant,” because we continue to struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil.

Another part of the Communion of Saints are the holy souls in purgatory, not yet purified and perfected, but will one day enter heaven. We believe that God in his mercy purifies them and purges them of their sins and their effects so they may worthily enter into the presence of the all Holy God.

This purgation of sins and its effects is the reason we call the souls in Purgatory, the Church Suffering. It is painful in Purgatory just as it is here on earth when God breaks us from our addictions and willfulness. The souls in Purgatory also suffer because they are separated from full communion with God.

The Particular feast that calls attention to their plight is the Feast of All Souls celebrated on November 2. Souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves but can pray for us. So it is extremely important to pray for them that they soon may be purified and perfected. They pray for us now and will intercede for us when they get to heaven.

Finally, there is a group of saints already in heaven, already experiencing the Beatific Vision. All Saints day, a Holy Day of obligation in many parts of the world, is celebrated on November 1. We call these saints, the “Church Triumphant.” The communion of saints is truly God’s family. This should give us great encouragement. We are vast in numbers, too many to comprehend.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin… let us run the race, before us, with perseverance, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith who for the joy, set before Him, endured the cross, and is seated at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

ALL SAINTS DAY
All Saints Day is an opportunity to give thanks for all those who have gone before us in the faith. It is a time to celebrate our history. From the early days of Christianity, there is a sense that the Church consists of not only all living believers, but also all who have gone before us.
On All Saints Day we remember all those—famous or obscure—who are part of the “communion of saints Canonized Saints in heaven, souls in purgatory destined for heaven, and living saints among us. Retelling the stories of saints grounds us in our history. These memories teach us how God has provided for us through the generosity and sacrifice of those who have come before us. The stories of the saints encourage us to be all God has created us to be. Pray to the saints in heaven and purgatory to intercede for us.

Living saints among us could be our own family members. It could be that special family member that prays for all the other members. It could be a family member that not only taught us the faith but lived and modeled the faith, we practice today. On All Saints Day, let us give thanks for both the saints in glory and those on earth, who have led us to Jesus.  Nobody is born a saint. It’s something you have to become. It is not easy but then is anything worthwhile easy.
Those saints in heaven were just like us in so many ways. Read their stories if you don’t believe me. They were people of appetites and longings, ambitions and disappointments, vanities and eccentricities.

They were sinners just like the rest of us. They struggled with sin and temptation, they’ve walked the journey toward holiness, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling, but always getting back up and moving on, resolving to do better, to be better, to aim higher.

Who is a saint? A saint is blessed. Where do we find those blessings in Scripture? In Matthew 5, of course. Saints worked hard to become what Jesus called them to be in the Sermon on the Mount: To be poor in spirit. To be meek. To be merciful. To make peace. This is how we begin to become what Jesus called “blessed,” and what the Church calls saints. It’s a tall order. And it is nothing less than a call to greatness.

In truth, blessed par excellence is only found in Jesus. Indeed Jesus was truly poor in spirit, the afflicted one, the meek one, the one hungering and thirsting for justice, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemaker, and the one persecuted for the sake of justice.

We too, can participate in this blessedness in the measure we accept Jesus and follow him, everyone according to their own state in life. With Jesus the impossible becomes possible. Remember his apostles asking Jesus who then can be saved and Jesus’ reply, “Jesus replied, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26). With Jesus’ help, only with His help, we are able to become “perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

Holiness demands a constant effort but it is possible for all since it is not just the work of man but is above all a gift of God. In our life all is a gift of his love. How is it possible to not respond to the love of the heavenly Father by leading a life of grateful children?

Perhaps, this week look up in book or on the internet a saint to reflect on, pray to intercede for you for some special grace that will bring you into closer relationship with Our Lord. One other suggestion, you may thank a living “saint” for being a model and inspiration for you and also thank God for putting that person in your life!

CLOSING PRAYER
Lord God, you are glorified in your saints. In their lives on earth, you give us an example. In our communion with them, you give us their friendship. Around your throne, the saints, our brothers and sisters, sing your praises forever. With their great company and all the angels in heaven, we, too, praise your glory, now and forever. Amen.
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FATIMA 100 YEARS MIRACLE OF THE SUN

On the one hundredth anniversary of the last public apparition of our Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima we honor her with reflections, prayers, and consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate heart of Mary our Mother.  Besides our natural mothers we have a heavenly Mother who Jesus gave to us to accompany us on our perilous path home to Him and all the angels and saints in heaven.

MIRACLE OF THE SUN
One hundred years ago on October 13, 1917, Our Lady Of Fatima made her last public appearance with a great miracle, the miracle of the sun. A great throng of 70,000 spectators witnessed the miracle of the sun.
It had rained all during the apparition. At the end of the conversation between Our Lady and Lucia, Lucia shouted, “Look at the sun!” – the clouds parted, revealing the sun as an immense silver disk shining with an intensity never before seen. Then the immense disk began to “dance.”

The sun spun rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire. Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky. Its light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and on the faces and clothing of the people, which took on brilliant hues and changing colors. After performing this bizarre pattern three times, the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake, and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd. All this lasted about ten minutes.

Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its normal brightness. Many people noticed that their clothes, soaking wet from the rain, had suddenly dried. The miracle of the sun was also seen by numerous witnesses up to twenty-five miles away from the place of the apparition.

In the apparition of July 13, 1917 Our Lady warned the three children — Jacinta, Francisco and Lucy — that if people did not stop offending God, He would punish the world “by means of war, hunger and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father”, and that Russia would be His chosen instrument of chastisement. “Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated.”
FATIMA WARNINGS IF PEOPLE REFUSE TO CONVERT
Here are just a few of the warnings of Fatima if people did not get their act together and turn themselves back to God their Creator who knows what is best for His creatures. There will be wars. We have already had two World Wars with others pending. There are today wars in more than 50 nations. Nations will be annihilated, no more Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia as in past centuries. There will be hunger, drought, starvation, see Sudan and Chad. Persecution of the Church, an assassination on Pope John Paul II, Christians killed and persecuted in many countries.

In a 1957 interview, Sr. Lucia, elaborated more on Persecution of the Church by adding the diminishment of the shepherding of the Church. Of course this was before the pedophile priest scandal broke and before Vatican II unintended consequences. In regards the devil, the devil found the easiest way to seize souls was to undermine those consecrated to God, especially priests and bishops leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders which makes them easy prey for the devil.

One of God’s harshest chastisements is when he permits his people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests in name only. Our God is a loving God who seeks each one of us whether He must use the “carrot or stick” to get our attention. God cries out through his prophet Jerimiah, “Return, rebellious children and I will appoint for you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently!” Jeremiah 3:14-15

Now, in the 1950s, there was little indication that there would be this massive falling away of the clergy. There was little indication we would be deprived of good, solid Catholic leadership, which would result in confusion and a falling away among a great number of the Catholic Faithful.
VATICAN II UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
For the last 50 years since Vatican II, the Church Christ founded, has floundered from the very top with questions of objective Truth and relativity. The great tragedy is that we are in a unique point in history wherein a staggering number of Catholic churchmen, who occupy places of responsibility in the Church have fallen victim to the error of Modernism, the belief that some aspects of Catholic doctrine can change over time. All Catholics are bound to believe that dogma does not change, that we have to believe Catholic truth “in the same meaning and in the same explanation” as it has always been taught.

Many post-Vatican II reforms, which tend to “water down” the Church’s teaching, have been made in order to please the world, particularly our Protestant brethren. These post-Vatican II reforms include the abandonment of a distinctive religious habit for nuns, brothers and priests, a softening of the “offensive” teachings on artificial birth control, abortion and homosexuality, and the increasing involvement of the Church in socialist “causes.”

Devotions were down played especially to The Blessed Virgin Mary. Instead of having a Vatican II document on the Blessed Virgin alone, some bishops thought that the text should be included as part of another document, because this would help foster ecumenical dialogue with “the separated brethren” and also would help provide “an antidote to devotional excesses”.
THE FAITHFUL FIGHTS BACK
Keep doing your devotions, praying to saints, the rosary, First Fridays, First Saturdays, Divine Mercy Chaplet, even bury that statue of St. Joseph when you are putting your house up for sale. Why not? We need all the help we can get.

Live the Fatima Message of daily Rosary, Five First Saturdays of Reparation, offering daily duty to God as an act of sacrifice.“Encourage our clergy and hold them accountable; tell them you need to be fed Jesus’ word.

Do all in our power to promote the “TRUTH.” In this world, Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Each person must not only save his own soul but also help all the souls that God has placed on our path.

Fatima calls us to conversion, a daily turning away from sin. Pray the rosary daily for other souls, as the Blessed mother requested, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” Are we doing our part???

There is a cacophony of voices calling out to you; there are a thousand influences pulling you this way and that. What’s the one necessary thing? It is to listen to the voice of Jesus as he tells you of his love and as he tells you who you are.” Bishop Robert Barron

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THE LITTLE WAY OF THE LITTLE FLOWER

A MORNING PRAYER WRITTEN BY ST. THERESE THE LITTLE FLOWER

O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Thy Merciful Love. I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity. Amen

ST. THERESE OF LISEUX THE LITTLE FLOWER
FEAST DAY OCTOBER 1

PROLOGUE
This year October 1 falls on a Sunday and Sunday liturgy takes precedent over feast days but I did not want anyone to miss out celebrating one of our greatest saints. Her autobiography Story of a Soul is one of the most popular spiritual books ever written and I recommend it to everyone.

With this blog, we honor her and thank her for not only telling us about God’s boundless Mercy but showing us by action what it means to turn ourselves over to that “furnace of mercy” of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, allowing us, in trust, to be consumed by God’s Mercy.

BACKGROUND

On September 30th, 1897, a young Carmelite nun living in France succumbed to the effects of tuberculosis, dying in obscurity, known only to her sisters in religious life. Like many Carmelite nuns before her, Therese’s death should have meant the culmination of a life of obscurity and faithfulness. Yet, this particular Carmelite nun would prove different in this respect because of a spiritual diary she had kept at the insistence of her Superiors.

 

Within years of her death, the spiritual diary and autobiography (Story of a Soul) of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower, would captivate the Church. Miracles attributed to her intercession began to be reported.

 

In just a few decades after her death, the image of Therese of Lisieux would be immediately recognizable in the Catholic world. Canonization would soon follow. At the hundred year anniversary of her death, Pope John Paul II declared formally this obscure cloistered Carmelite nun to be one of the Doctors of the Church, a title given to only a privileged few of the Church’s saints.

THE LITTLE WAY OF THE LITTLE FLOWER

Thérèse worried constantly about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led. She didn’t want to just be good; she wanted to be a SAINT. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. “I have always wanted to become a saint. God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint”.

A turning point in her thinking came during a trip with her Father. They stayed at a hotel with an elevator or lift as she called it, one of those new fangled inventions at that time. That lift persuaded her that she did not have to do all the heavy climbing to the arms of Jesus.

“… for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in Holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: “Whosoever is a little one, come to me.” It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less.”

Therese discovered through God’s grace that one does not have to journey to lands hostile to the Faith and suffer martyrdom to know what it means to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Opportunities to know and serve the Lord will find us wherever we are, and when they do, will we rise to the occasion to seek to serve the Lord?  All for the love of Jesus who gave His all to us; isn’t our all to Jesus in return only fitting?

Therese took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn’t like. She ate everything she was given without complaining…so that she was often given the worst leftovers.

 

At the heart of Therese’s understanding of the spiritual life is the principle that holiness can be appreciated and accomplished not only in the performance of mighty deeds but in a willing surrender to the purposes of God as we engage the seemingly ordinary experiences of life.

St. Therese’s “Little Way” is an inspiration to all. Therese realized that it was not possible on her own to be a great saint, although that is what she desired more than anything. She gave us “the elevator metaphor” of a God that would come down to her and lift her up to Him. “As I decrease, He increases!”

Matthew 18:3, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” It is hard to think of ourselves as we age, especially in our senior years, as children but Matthew 18:3 above says that we better act that way if we want to get into heaven. This, of course, refers to being child-like (wholly trusting) in our relationship with God our loving Father, not child-ish, which is a big difference.

Therese’s “little way” seems to put holiness of life within the reach of ordinary people. Each day is a gift in which your life can make a difference by the way you choose to live it. St. Therese knew the difference love makes by allowing love to be the statement she made each day of her life. Thérèse’s “little way” of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appeals to thousands of Catholics and others who are trying to find holiness in ordinary lives.

St. Therese said before she died at age 24 that she wanted to spend her time in heaven doing good on earth, and that she would let a shower of roses fall from Heaven. May St. Therese intercede for us and help us to be attentive to the presence of Christ in all the experiences of life.

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