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ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, CONFESSOR

ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, CONFESSOR

ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: JUNE 21

Aloysius, the son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, Marquis of Castiglione della Stivere, was baptised so quickly, since he was in danger of death, that he seemed to be born to heaven almost before he was born on earth.

HE MADE A VOW OF PERPETUAL VIRGINITY 

He kept this first state of grace so faithfully that it was believed that he was confirmed in it. At Florence, when he was nine years old, he made a vow of perpetual virginity before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, upon whom he always looked as a parent.

AN ANGEL IN THE FLESH

By a special grace of God, he kept this vow untried by any conflict either of mind or body, so he might be truly called a man without flesh or an angel in the flesh. Having transferred to his brother the right to his ancestral rank, he joined the Society of Jesus at Rome.

HE JOINED THE SOCIETY OF JESUS

Even in the novitiate he began to be considered a master of all virtues. His love for God was so ardent that it gradually weakened his body. Including his neighbours also in his marvellous love, while he was eagerly serving them in the public hospitals, he caught a contagious disease. So, slowly consumed by it, on the eleventh day before the Calends of July [1591], having already begun his twenty-fourth year of age, he departed to heaven. Benedict XIII entered him among the saints and commended him as a model of innocence and chastity, and at the same time as the special patron of students.

PRAYER:

O God, bestower of heavenly gifts, who in the angelic youth Aloysius joined wondrous innocence of life to an equally wondrous love of penance; grant, by his merits and prayers, that we who have not followed him in his innocence may imitate him in his penance. Through our Lord…

– From: And Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added]

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THE TRUE MARKS OF LOVE FOR GOD

THE TRUE MARKS OF LOVE FOR GOD

ST ANTHONY’S LOVE OF GOD

The true marks of love for God are – first, to be willing to do or to sacrifice anything, whatever it may be, for the love of God; and, second, to think frequently of Him with real joy, to speak of Him, or with Him, in prayer; for “where thy treasure is there is thy heart also.” 

We find these true marks of love for God in Saint Anthony. 

For love of God, at the early age of fifteen, he bade farewell to his parents and all that high rank and worldly fortune offered him, and entered a monastery in order to make a complete sacrifice of his liberty and his will to God. Yet even this did not satisfy his ardent love.

After he had entered the Franciscans, his greatest desire was to be sent as a missionary to preach the Gospel in Africa, where he hoped to lay down his life for the faith. After long and earnest entreaty, he obtained the desired petition. But God had decreed he should be led by another way. He had barely set foot on the soil of Africa than he was seized with a severe illness, which left him so weak that there was nothing for him but to return to Spain. Here again God’s providence interposed; the ship in which he had embarked was within a few miles of Spain, when a sudden wind drove it on the coast of Sickly. On landing at Messina he learned that St Francis was holding a Chapter at Assisi, whither he repaired, despite his great weakness, in order to receive the holy founder’s blessing.

The love of God, as we said above, is manifested by the frequent thought of God; it was in this way that this virtue was particularly manifested in Saint Anthony. There are probably few saints with so deep and tender a love for God, or who have been favoured with so many special proofs of God’s love in return. It is almost incredible –  the number of conversions wrought and the many souls brought back to the faith by St Anthony, in a life of less than thirty-six years, and, despite weak health, rendered weaker by the practice of severe austerities.

Imitating the zeal of the Apostles, he went through all Italy, and his preaching, inflamed with divine love, drew all hearts and all minds to God, and was therefore blessed with the richest fruits. His efficacious love of God was rewarded by high graces of prayer, great lights and divine manifestations on the part of God.

– From: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 

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ST PHILIP BENIZI, CONFESSOR

ST PHILIP BENIZI, CONFESSOR

ST PHILIP BENIZI, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: 23rd AUGUST 

Philip was born at Florence, of the noble family of Benizi. In a remarkable vision he was called by the most blessed Virgin Mary to the Order of her Servants [the Servites], recently founded.

First he withdrew to a grotto on Monte Senario, where he led a life hard indeed by the constant chastising of his body, but sweet by reason of his meditation on the sufferings of Christ the Lord.

Then he founded sodalities of the Seven Dolours of the Mother of God throughout Europe and a great part of Asia.

Having been proclaimed General of his Order against his will, burning with a strong and ardent love of God and travelling about through many cities of Italy, he settled the disputes of the citizens which were arising in these cities, recalled many to the obedience of the Roman Pontiff, and led the most abandoned of men to penance.

Finally at Todi, in 1285, in the act of embracing Christ the Lord hanging from the cross, which he used to call his “book”, he died a very holy death. Pope Clement X added him to the number of the saints.

PRAYER:

O God, who through St Philip, your Confessor, gave us an outstanding example of humility, grant that your household may follow his example by scorning worldly prosperity and ever seeking the things of heaven. 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.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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PRAYER ON ALL SAINTS DAY

PRAYER ON ALL SAINTS DAY

R. O come, ring out your joy, all you upright of heart.

Angels, Archangels, Thrones and Dominations, Principalities and Power, heavenly Virtues, Cherubim and Seraphim, Patriarchs and Prophets, Holy Doctors of the Law, Apostles and all you martyrs of Christ, Holy confessors and Virgins of the Lord, Hermits and all you Saints of God, intercede for us.

Let us pray: Almighty everlasting God, as you enable us to celebrate the merits of all your saints in one single feast, grant that with so many interceding on our behalf, we may receive from you that full forgiveness for which we long. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Come, let us adore the Lord, the King of kings; come, let us adore the Lord, the King of kings, for he is the crown of all the Saints.

“Behold, I, John, saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads’ (Rev. 7:2-3).

 

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DEARLY BELOVED, LET EACH OF US FIGHT FOR EITHER THE WHITE CROWN OF VIRGINITY, OR THE RED CROWN OF MARTYRDOM

DEARLY BELOVED, LET EACH OF US FIGHT FOR EITHER THE WHITE CROWN OF VIRGINITY, OR THE RED CROWN OF MARTYRDOM

And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Today, dearly beloved, on one solemn day of rejoicing, we celebrate the feast of all the saints in heaven. In their communion, heaven exults; in their patronage, earth rejoices; in their triumph, holy Church is crowned with glory. Their testimony becomes more glorious with honour in proportion to the intensity of their agony. As the battle waxed fiercer, the greater was the glory which came to those who fought; the more terrible their tortures, the more illustrious the triumph of their martyrdom; the greater their torments, the greater their rewards. As our holy mother the Catholic Church – now spread far and wide throughout the whole world – has been taught by Christ Jesus her Head, not to fear shame, or the cross or death, but to become stronger and stronger, not by resisting but by enduring, so has she breathed into her children, welded by the cruel prison into a glorious band, a triumphant spirit equal to her own in its fire and in courage to carry on the conflict.

Courage

O mother Church truly holy, whose glory God deigns to illumine, whom the glorious blood of conquering martyrs adorns, whom the white robes of virgins clothe with an inviolate confession of faith, roses and lilies are not wanting to your garlands. Dearly beloved, let each one of us fight that he may gain the high dignity of one or the other of these honours, either the white crown of virginity, or the red crown of martyrdom. In the heavenly camps, both peace and war have their own garlands with which the soldiers of Christ are crowned.

The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.

For the ineffable and limitless goodness of God has provided that the time of both toil and struggle shall not be prolonged unduly, nor drawn-out and without end, but brief, and as I might say, of a moment. Therefore, although in this short and difficult life there may be labours and struggles, in that life which is eternal there are crowns and rewards of merits. The struggles are soon over, the rewards for merits last forever. God in his goodness has provided, too, that after the darkness of this life they shall see an exceedingly great radiance, they shall receive blessedness far beyond the bitterness of all their torment. The Apostle bears witness of this when he says, “The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” [Romans 8:18]

– St Bede the Venerable, Priest, Sermon 18 on the Saints, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
 

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O WHAT THEIR JOY AND THEIR GLORY MUST BE (HYMN)

O what their joy and their glory must be,

Those endless Sabbaths the bless-ed ones see!

Crown for the valiant; to weary ones rest;

God shall be all, and in all ever blest.

 

What are the Monarch, his court, and his throne?

What are the peace and the joy that they own?

Tell us, ye blest ones, that in it have share,

If what ye feel ye can fully declare.

 

Truly Jerusalem name we that shore,

‘Vision of peace,’ that brings joy evermore!

Wish and fulfilment can severed be ne’er,

Nor the thing prayed for come short of the prayer.

 

We, where no trouble distraction can bring,

Safely the anthems of Sion shall sing;

While for thy grace, Lord, their voices of praise

Thy bless-ed people shall evermore raise.

 

There dawns no Sabbath, no Sabbath is o’er,

Those Sabbath-keepers have one and no more;

One and unending is that triumph-song

Which to the Angels and us shall belong.

 

Now, in the meanwhile, with hearts raised on high,

We for that country must yearn and must sigh,

Seeking Jerusalem, dear native land,

Through our long exile on Babylon’s strand.

 

Low before him with our praises we fall,

Of whom, and in whom, and through whom are all;

Of whom, the Father; and through whom, the Son;

In whom, the Spirit, with these ever One.

Amen.

– O quanta qualia sunt illa Sabbata,

P. Abelard, 1079-1142. Tr. J. M. Neale

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Inspirational Hymns

 

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LORD, GRANT US THE STRENGTH OF FAITH AND CHARITY OF THE SAINTS

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the hearts of thy Saints lightest up the flame of thy love; grant us the same strength of faith and charity which thou gavest them; that we may not only honour their festivals in name, but also follow their holiness in deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2015 in Prayers for Today

 

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