Saint Regina, Martyr

September 7

Today is the feast day of Saint Regina.  Ora pro nobis.

Legend has it that Saint Regina was the daughter of a pagan aristocrat named Clement, in Alise, Burgundy. Her mother died in childbirth.  Regina’s father placed her upbringing in the care of a Christian nurse attached to the family, who recognizing her sanctity.  The nurse secretly baptized her.  Regina was driven from her family’s home because of her faith, and lived as a poor, prayerful shepherdess.

Regina lived with her nurse, worked in the fields by day, tending sheep, to help support the household. In the fields, Regina grew closer to the Lord, meditating and contemplating His love and mercy, and praying to better emulate the lives of the holy saints and martyrs.

At the age of fifteen, Regina caught the eye of the prefect of Gaul, Olybrius, a man of great importance. He became obsessed with the young woman, and was determined to take her as his bride. He delighted in her noble upbringing, but was deeply disturbed to find that she was practicing the Christian faith. At that time, Christians were being violently persecuted and killed, under the direction of the Emperor Decius. Olybrius attempted to persuade her to deny her faith, so as to not only save her from persecution, but to secure her as a wife. She declined, refusing to recant her faith, and professing it all the louder. In retaliation, Olybrius had her imprisoned.

Regina was chained to the walls of a dark prison cell by means of an iron belt that was bolted to the wall. There she was left while Olybrius participated in several military campaigns against invading barbarians, returning to his daily activities. After an absence of some time, he returned, hoping she may have changed her mind. On the contrary, her imprisonment had served to strengthen her resolve to live like the saints and martyrs, and maintain her chastity for the Lord. She refused to sacrifice to idols, and he angrily ordered her tortured. Regina courageously withstood whippings and scourging over the back of a wooden horse, raking with iron combs, burning with hot pincers and torches, and crucifixion. None of these could cause her to doubt the Lord or recant her faith, and as she continued to praise God. Lastly, she was beheaded, ending her life and her conversion of many witnesses present who observed a solitary dove hovering atop her head during her torture.

The relics of Saint Regina are enshrined in Flavigni abbey, having been translated there in 864. Since that time, numerous miracles have been attributed to their presence, and frequent pilgrimages are made by the faithful to venerate them.

Saint Regina is considered the patron saint against poverty, and patroness of shepherdesses and torture victims. Given the accounts of her martyrdom, in art, Saint Regina is portrayed as a maiden bound to a cross with torches applied to her sides, imprisoned with a dove appearing on a shining cross, scourged with rods, or in a boiling cauldron. She is venerated at Autun, France, and in southern Germany.

Image: Statue of the Holy Saint Regina from the church with the same name, Drensteinfurt (3)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://catholicsaints.info/saint-regina/
  2. http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2011/09/september-7-saint-regina.html
  3. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:StRegina.JPG
  4. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/09-07.html

Saint Cloud, Confessor

September 7

Today is the feast day of Saint Cloud.  Ora pro nobis.

Saint Cloud (or Clodoald) was born in 522.  He was the grandson of King Clovis of the Franks and youngest son of Clodimir, son of Clovis.  Saint Cloud and his brothers were raised by his grandmother, St. Clotilda; his Uncle Childebert, acted as regent for them. His brothers, Theodoald, ten, and Gunther, seven, were murdered by their Uncle Clotaire of Soissons in a plot with Childebert to seize the throne, but Clodoald, eight, was saved by being sent to Provence. 

Saint Cloud renounced the world, he privately consecrated himself to the service of God. After distributing to the poor what he could salvage of his heritage, he retired to a hermitage to be under the discipline of a holy recluse named Saint Severinus, who dwelt near the gates of Paris and who clothed him with the monastic habit. His uncles left him alone, seeing his inalterable decision to live as a religious, and conceded certain heritages to him. When he became famous through an act of charity rewarded by a miracle, he withdrew secretly to Provence. There again, his hermitage was sought out by petitioners. He decided to return to Paris, where he was received with the greatest joy.

At the earnest request of the people, he was ordained a priest in 551 by Eusebius, Bishop of Paris, and served the Church of that city for some time in the functions of the sacred ministry. Again he found himself in great honor; he therefore retired to Nogent, a place now known as Saint Cloud, two leagues south of Paris, where he built a monastery. There he was joined by many pious men, who fled from the world for fear of losing their souls in its midst. Saint Cloud was chosen by them to be their Superior, and he animated them to virtue both by word and example. He was also indefatigable in instructing and exhorting the faithful of the neighboring regions. He died at Nogent in 560, and the major part of his relics remain still in the parochial church of the village.

Image: A statue of Clodoald (Saint Cloud) from the St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota. (3)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saints9-5.htm
  2. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_cloud_or_clodoald.html
  3. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saintcloudstatue.jpg
  4. http://www.nobility.org/2013/09/05/cloud-nobility/

Joya escondida: La Misa en latín en México

REGINA: La Misa en latín es prácticamente desconocida en México. ¿Por qué?

 

Maria Albers: A menos que hayas sido educado en una institución católica o crecido en una familia católica con conocimiento básico de la religión, no vas a aprender mucho de religión de otros lados. Lo anterior, aunado a una actitud tibia, hace que el mexicano católico promedio no haya sido educado en la fe como debió haber sido.

Derik Castillo Guajardo: La Misa en latín está creciendo lentamente en México. Hay presencia de la FSSP en sólo dos ciudades. La FSSPX tiene presencia en más ciudades del país. La gente no familiarizada con la Misa en latín, casi siempre cree que los que vamos a la misma odiamos la forma ordinaria del Rito Romano, y todo lo relacionado con el Concilio Vaticano II, y entonces, hasta los sacerdotes no son conscientes de documentos de la Iglesia como el Motu proprio. Esto es un obstáculo para la propagación de la Misa en latín en México. Un obstáculo más es el número tan pequeño de vocaciones sacerdotales.

 

Frank e Irene Denke:  Los obispos en general, no han favorecido a la Misa en latín. La nueva Misa es más fácil de entender y atender para los mexicanos y aunque se reconoce que la Misa en latín es más reverencial, la costumbre general es que asistir a la nueva Misa es más fácil y al poder entender todo lo que se dice, atrae a más gente. La Misa en latín está creciendo lentamente, atrayendo a nuevos fieles, porque les gusta la reverencia de la misma.

 

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman: Yo diría que la Misa tradicional no es desconocida en México, pero por razones históricas es percibida como un fenómeno sectario más que como un movimiento al interior de la Iglesia. México fue probablemente el primer país en el mundo en tener grupos sedevacantistas luego del Concilio Vaticano II,  el primero, que se conoce como la Unión Católica Trento, fue fundado por el Padre Joaquín Sáenz y Arriga, un sacerdote jesuita en 1966, aun antes de la introducción de la Misa Novus Ordo. La UCT tiene capillas sedevacantistas en muchos lugares de México, y otros grupos sedevacantistas también. Creo que tan sólo en Guadalajara hay más de una docena. La Sociedad de San Pio X, que reconoce al Papa, pero no está bajo su dirección, también está presente en varias ciudades de México. Esto provoca que el clero que trabaja con la Iglesia sospeche de la fe de quienes desean ir a la Misa Tradicional en latín.

El problema ha sido que, a pesar de que el Papa Juan Pablo II alentó a los obispos del mundo a ser generosos en su disposición hacia la Misa en latín, los fieles no se organizaron para pedirlas. Cuando yo llegué a México en 2006, no había indultos para las Misas y mi petición para una, en la ciudad de San Luis Potosí nunca fue respondida. En 2008, la Fraternidad de San Pedro (FSSP) llegó a Guadalajara y luego a la ciudad de México. Los Arzobispos Cardenales de ambas ciudades han dado la bienvenida a la FSSP y el apostolado en Guadalajara está creciendo rápidamente y dando frutos. Aun así, hay un largo camino por recorrer antes de que veamos Misas aprobadas a lo largo de todo el país.

 

Ricardo Lara y Nathaly Robles: Es muy triste decir esto, pero pareciera que los mismos sacerdotes no quieren que la gente sepa sobre la Misa Tridentina. Algunos seminaristas me han dicho que el cambio en el lenguaje de la Misa, fue porque la gente no podía crecer espiritualmente porque no entendían el latín. Esas ideas vienen de la educación que reciben en el seminario. De hecho, cuando mi grupo trató de organizar Misas en latín en diferentes parroquias, encontramos mucha oposición de los mismos sacerdotes.

Padre Jonathan Romanoski:  En general, los mexicanos siendo culturalmente católicos, tienen una mentalidad colectiva y familiar por la cual hacen las cosas juntos, y es mal visto hacer algo distinto ya que no hay diferencias étnicas o religiosas entre la gente. Por ello, al ser muy tradicionales por tendencia y sentimientos, hubo una resistencia a los cambios litúrgicos y en muchos lugares, especialmente en Guadalajara, se conservó la Misa tradicional en latín, aunque durante mucho tiempo fue por grupos independientes como la Sociedad de San Pio X, o la Sociedad de Trento, por lo que la Misa en latín fue asociada a la desobediencia en contra de la autoridad de la Iglesia. Cuando nuestra Fraternidad de San Pedro llegó en 2008 a Guadalajara, fuimos señalados por muchos como sacerdotes lefevbristas, simplemente porque oficiábamos la Misa “Lefevbrista” y esa fue la connotación coloquial para cualquier celebración durante muchos años.

 

Padre Jonathan Romanoski:  De cualquier modo, luego de que se ha entiendido que ha sido aprobada y que hay varias órdenes fundadas por la Iglesia que la celebran, se ha creado un creciente interés en ella, de nuevo por la tendencia natural a ser tradicionales en sus creencias religiosas. En general yo diría que oran más con su corazón que con sus cabezas, y que intuyen y se sienten recogidos por la reverencia y el sentido de lo sagrado que perciben en la Misa Tradicional en latín.

La vocación al matrimonio es esencial para el mundo

CATHOLICVS-Santa-Misa-Nupcial-Aguascalientes-Nuptial-Holy-Mass-7

UN ENTREVISTA CON SENOR RICARDO LARA COLON: Nos comprometimos en abril de 2013. Vivimos en Aguascalientes, México. Yo tengo 38 años y ella 23. Asistí a mi primer Misa Tradicional en Latín en marzo de 2011 (¿quién pensaría que Dios me llamó para prepararme para un matrimonio tradicional?) en una capilla privada. La primer misa en latín en la ciudad desde el Concilio Vaticano II.

 

mex6

Un mes más tarde organizamos una misa pública en el mismo templo en el cual me casé. En 2012 invité a mi novia a la misa, ella se impresionó. Cuando fui invitado a mi primer misa me enamoré de la liturgia, la solemnidad y la devoción.

mex3

Habíamos participado cerca de un año en un grupo tradicionalista cuando le comentamos al Padre que queríamos casarnos en una misa tradicional. Todos en el grupo se emocionaron y ayudaron mucho en la organización de la boda.

mex4

Algunos de ellos son parte del coro, uno de ellos es tenor, así que prepararon la música para la misa (música del siglo XVIII, de Manuel de Sumaya). Algunos otros ayudaron con el misal y otros fueron acólitos.

 

mex2

Cuando le comentamos a nuestras familias que la boda sería en una misa en latín, se mostraron confundidos. Nadie había asistido a una misa tradicional en latín, excepto mi padre, quien lo hizo de niño. También nuestros amigos se sorprendieron y nos preguntaron por las diferencias entre la misa tradicional y el novus ordo. Al final de la misa, todos estaban muy impresionados. Esperamos que nuestra boda sirva para atraer más gente a la Misa Tradicional.

 

mex5

La vocación al matrimonio es esencial para el mundo. Este sacramento nos permite instruir a nuestros niños para alcanzar la santidad. Casarse no es algo trivial, nos impone obligaciones y nos permite participar en el plan de Dios para la humanidad.

Saint Pius X, Pope, Confessor

September 3 Today is the feast day Saint Pius X.  Ora pro nobis. Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born 2 June, 1835, at Riese, Province of Treviso, in Venice. His parents were Giovanni Battista Sarto and Margarita (née Sanson).  He was the oldest of eight children.   Giovanni Sarto was a postman, and his wife Margarita was a … Read more

REPORT FROM NORCIA

It’s like a film depicting a medieval scene, but it happened, for real, just days ago.  As the earth shakes around them, Benedictine monks intone the Latin Prayers in Time of Earthquake, in the Crypt of their Basilica which in the ancient home of St Benedict (480-547 AD) himself. REGINA sat down with Father Benedict Nivakoff, … Read more

Saint Raymond Nonnatus, Confessor

August 31

Today is the feast day of Saint Raymond Nonnatus.  Ora pro nobis.

St. Raymond Nonnatus was born in Portella in the Diocese of Urgel, Catalonia, around the year 1203. He received the name of Raymond at his Baptism and the nickname of Nonnatus [non natus in Latin means not born] because he was not born normally, but was delivered by a caesarian operation. His father was a shepherd according to some, and a member of the noble family of Cardona, according to others. His mother died during child birth and his father had high expectations for Raymond to serve in the country’s Royal Court.

Saint Raymond Nonnatus

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

Catalonia was the native country of St. Raymund who, to the astonishment of the Physicians, was born after his mother’s death. As soon as he was old enough to comprehend how early he had become an orphan, he chose the Queen of Heaven as his mother, and to his last day, called her by no other name. When he had studied for some time with great success, his father, fearing the youth would enter a Religious Order, sent him into the country to take care of a farm. Raymund obeyed, and found there also opportunity to serve God. He became very fond of solitude and therefore chose for his occupation the care of the sheep, in order to gain more time for prayer and meditation.

At the foot of the mountain to which he generally led his flock, was a small, deserted hermitage, with a chapel, in which an extremely lovely picture of the Blessed Virgin was kept, which was a source of great joy to him. He there spent several hours daily, in devout exercises. Other shepherds, who observed this, and to whom the piety of Raymund was a reproach of their own negligence, reported to his father that he was doing nothing but praying, and thereby neglected his flock. The father came to convince himself of the fact, but although he found his son praying in the chapel, he saw that the flock was meanwhile attended to by a youth of uncommon beauty of form and features. Asking his son who this young shepherd was, and why he had engaged him, Raymund, to whom it was unknown that Providence had worked a miracle in his behalf, fell on his knees before his father, and begging forgiveness, earnestly promised not to commit the fault again.

The Divine Mother, of whom he begged the grace of knowing his vocation, appeared to him, saying that she desired him to take the habit of the newly established Order for the redemption of captives. He did so, and was sent to Algiers where he found a great many Christians in slavery, and as the money he had brought for their ransom was not sufficient, he offered himself as a hostage to redeem the others. He was induced to this by the danger in which the prisoners were of losing their faith and with it eternal life. This great and heroic charity gave him occasion to suffer much for the sake of Christ. At first, he was treated very harshly by his masters, but when they began to fear that he would die before the ransom was paid, they allowed him more liberty, which the holy man used only for the salvation of the captive Christians. He strengthened them in their faith, and, at the same time, endeavored to convert the infidels.

Accused of this before the Judge, he was condemned to be impaled alive, and nothing but the hope of a large ransom prevented the execution of this barbarous sentence, and caused it to be changed into a cruel bastinado. Raymund, who desired nothing more fervently than to die for Christ’s sake, was not intimidated by what he had undergone, but wherever an opportunity offered itself, he explained to the infidels the word of God. The Judge, informed of it, ordered him to be whipped through all the streets of the city, and then to be brought to the market-place, where the executioner, with a red hot iron, pierced his lips, through which a small chain was drawn and closed with a padlock, in order that the holy man might no more use his tongue to instruct others. Every three days the lock was opened, and he received just enough food to keep him from starvation. Besides this, he was loaded with chains, and cast into a dungeon, where he lay for eight months, until his ransom arrived. Although it was the desire of the Saint to remain among the infidels, as he would there have an opportunity to gain the crown of martyrdom, obedience recalled him to his monastery.

When the Pope was informed of all that Raymund had suffered during his captivity, he nominated him Cardinal; but the humble Saint returned to his convent and lived like all the other brothers of the Order, without making the least change in his dress, food, or dwelling, nor accepting any honor due to him as so high a dignitary of the Church. Gregory IX, desired to have so holy a man near him, and called him to Rome. The Saint obeyed and set out on his journey. He had, however, scarcely reached Cardona, six miles from Barcelona, when he was seized with a malignant fever, which soon became fatal. He desired most fervently to receive the holy Sacraments, but as the priest called to administer them to him, delayed to come, God sent an angel, who brought him the divine food. After receiving it, he returned thanks to God for all the graces he had received from Him during his life, and peacefully gave up his soul, in the 37th year of his age.

After his death, the inhabitants of Cardona, the clergy of Barcelona and the religious of his order, contended as to where the holy body should be buried. Each party thought they had the greatest claim to possess his tomb. At last they resolved to leave the decision to Providence. They placed the coffin, in which the holy body reposed, upon a blind mule, determined that the treasure should be deposited in the place to which this animal should carry it. The mule, accompanied by a large concourse of people, went on until it had reached the hermitage and chapel where the holy cardinal, as a shepherd boy, had spent so many hours in prayer, and had received so many graces from God. There the Saint was buried, and St. Peter Nolasco, in the course of time, founded there a Convent, with a Church in which the holy remains are still preserved and greatly honored by the people of Catalonia. (1)

 

Patron of: Christian Motherhood, Newborns, Midwives, Obstetricians, Expectant Mothers, Women In Labor, Falsely Accused, Secrets, Fever.

Novena
Glorious St. Raymond, filled with compassion for those who invoke thee and with love for those who suffer heavily leaden with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at thy feet and humbly beg of thee to take the present affair which I recommend to thee under thy special protection. ( your request here.)

Vouchsafe to recommend it to the Blessed Virgin Mary and lay it before the Throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all obtain for me the grace of one day beholding my God face to Face, and with thee and Mary and the saints praising and blessing to all eternity. Amen.

Good St. Raymond, pray for us and obtain our request.
Good St. Raymond, pray for us and obtain our request.
Good St. Raymond, pray for us and obtain our request.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

Image: Cristo premiando a San Ramón Nonato (5)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Raymond%20Nonnatus.html
  2. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint.php?n=580
  3. http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j144sd_RaymondNonnatus_8-31.shtml
  4. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12671b.htm
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gonzalez_de_la_vega.jpg

 

 

 

 

Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin

August 30

Today is the feast day of Saint Rose of Lima.  Ora pro nobis.

Born Isabella de Flores, Saint Rose was the daughter of a Spanish immigrant father and a Peruvian mother. She was personally confirmed by the Archbishop of Lima, Saint Turibiuis de Mongrovejo, and took the name Rose. Her family and friends had been calling her “Rosa,” as when she was still an infant, one of the family’s servants had seen her face miraculously transform into the vision of a mystical Rose.  All of Saint Rose’s sufferings were offered for the conversion of sinners, and the thought of the multitudes in hell was ever before her soul. She died in 1617, at the age of thirty-one.

by F. M. Capes, 1899

We may not say that St. Rose was the first saint of the New World, for God only knows His own; but she was the first of America’s children to be placed in the calendar of canonized saints–the first flower gathered from that part of the great garden over which St. Dominic has been placed as the husbandman of Jesus Christ.

Almost before she was out of her infancy, that love of Our Lord’s suffering, which was afterwards to become the ruling passion of her life, began to lay hold of little Rose’s heart. How God speaks to the baby souls of those early-chosen children of His special delight; by what channels the Divine secrets are imparted to their barely-opened minds; what marvelous gift enables them to entertain and understand thoughts far beyond their years–we cannot know; but that such special communications are made to some of the Saints even as little children is certain.

In St. Rose’s case the working of these mysterious operations in her heart was witnessed to by the fact that, as a little thing barely able to walk, she would often be found, having managed to escape from her guardians or companions, absorbed in deep infantine contemplation before a picture of the thorn-crowned Christ, in His mantle of scorn, which hung in her mother’s room.

Her own apprenticeship in her Master’s school, too, began early; for from the time that she was three years old Rose de Flores was the subject of one accident or complaint after another, and was kept perpetually in states of suffering which were sharp trials to her childish patience.

This ideal she realized in her life. It is this life of penance and mysticism which is presented to the reader in these pages. Everything in her life calls for admiration, many things for imitation, some, maybe, for explanation. The reader of this record of her ways and works will perforce exclaim: ‘Wonderful is God in His saints’–wonderful in their number, in their graces, in their variety.

St. Rose’s life was eminently wonderful in its marvelous penance, its deep, earnest, and all but continuous prayer, its perfect union with God. She studied in the school of Christ; her book was the Cross; her Master the Crucified. Naturally of delicate health, weak in body, and physically feeble, hers was a life of chronic suffering. To this she added much fasting, abstinence, and penances of every kind, as will be seen from the perusal of this interesting and instructive life. But all her sufferings, whether sent by God or self-inflicted, were borne for God, with God, and in God.

She could say with the Apostle: ‘With Christ I am nailed to the Cross; and I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me. Her suffering life was a life of detachment from the world–a life of union with God. If she could make her own the words of St. Paul, ‘The world is crucified to me, and I to the world, she could add with equal truth, ‘I live in the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and delivered Himself for me.’ (1)

St. Rose of Lima, Virgin
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

God gave to the Christians of America, and all over the world, a beautiful example of holiness, at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, in the Saint whose festival is this day commemorated by the Catholic Church. Her native place was Lima, the capital of Peru. She was named Isabel, but while yet in the cradle, she was called Rose, as her face, in its loveliness, resembled a rose. She took the surname of St. Mary, by order of the Blessed Virgin. Already in her childhood, her conduct was holy. Her intention was to follow the example of St. Catherine of Sienna, whose life she had read, and therefore she entered the third order of St. Dominic. When five years old, she consecrated her virginity to God, and was such a perfect hand-maiden of the Lord, that during her whole life, she never offended Him by a mortal sin, nor even intentionally by one that was venial. Her time was divided between prayer and work. Twelve hours she gave to devout exercises, two or three to sleep, the rest to work.

When grown to womanhood, her hand was sought by several, but she always unhesitatingly gave the answer, that she was already promised to a heavenly spouse. That, however, her parents might no further urge her, she herself cut off her hair, as a sign of her consecration to God. She treated her innocent body with extreme severity. From her childhood she abstained from fruit, which, in Peru, is so delicious. Her fasts and abstinences were more than human; for, when scarcely six years old, her nourishment consisted almost entirely of water and bread. At the age of fifteen, she made a vow never to eat meat, except when obliged by obedience. Not even when sick did she partake of better food. Sometimes for five or eight days, she ate nothing at all, living only on the bread of angels. During the whole of Lent, she took only five citron seeds, daily. Incredible as this may appear to the reader, it is told by unquestionable authority. Her bed was a rough board, or some knotted logs of wood. Her pillow was a bag filled with rushes or stones.

Every night she scourged her body with two small iron chains, in remembrance of the painful scourging of our Saviour, and for the conversion of sinners. When, however, her Confessor forbade her this, she, after the example of St. Catherine of Sienna, bound, three times around her body, a thin chain, which in a few weeks, had cut so deeply into the flesh that it was scarcely to be seen. Fearing that she would be compelled to reveal it, she prayed to God for help, and the chain became loose of itself. Hardly were the wounds healed, when she again wore the chain, until her Confessor, being informed of it, forbade her to do so, She then had a penitential robe made of horse-hair, which reached below her knees, and occasioned her intense suffering. She wore under her veil, in remembrance of our Saviour’s crown of thorns, a crown which was studded inside with pins, and which wounded her head most painfully. To attend the better to her prayers, she loved solitude above everything.

To this end, she asked the permission of her parents to build a small cell for herself in the corner of the garden. This cell was only five feet long and four feet wide; but she lived more happily in it than many others do in royal palaces. O, how many graces she obtained from heaven in this place! How many visions she had there of St. Catherine of Sienna, her Guardian Angel, the Blessed Virgin, and even of Christ Himself! She was also frequently favored with visions in other places. The most remarkable of these was one which she had on Palm Sunday, in the chapel of the Holy Rosary, before an image of the Blessed Virgin. Rose, gazing at the picture, perceived that the Virgin Mother, as well as the divine Child, regarded her most graciously, and at last she heard distinctly from the lips of the divine Child, the words: “Rose, you shall be my spouse.” Although filled with holy awe, she replied, in the words which the Blessed Virgin had spoken to the Angel: ” Behold, I am a handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.” After this, the Virgin Mother said: “May you well appreciate the favor which my Son has accorded to you, dear Rose!”

I leave it to the pious reader to picture to himself the inexpressible joy which this vision gave to Rose. It served her as a most powerful incentive to the practice of all virtues. Among these virtues, surely not the least was the heroic patience which this holy virgin showed, as well in bodily suffering, as in interior, spiritual anguish. The Almighty permitted her, for fifteen years, to be daily tormented, at least, for an hour, by the most hideous imaginations, which were of such a nature, that she sometimes thought that she was in the midst of hell. She could think neither of God nor of the graces He had bestowed upon her; neither did prayer or devout reading give her any comfort. It sometimes seemed as if she had been forsaken by God. In this manner, God wished to prove and purify her virtue, as He had done in regard to many other Saints. Her patience was also most severely tried by painful diseases, as she sometimes had a combination of two or three maladies at the same time, and suffered most intensely.

During the last three years of her life, she was disabled in almost all her limbs; but her resignation to the will of God was too perfect to allow her to utter a word of complaint. All she desired and prayed for was to suffer still more for Christ’s sake. She, at the same time, encouraged other sick persons, whom she served with indescribable kindness, as long as she was well. She endeavored to comfort them when it was necessary to prepare them for a happy death; for, her greatest joy was to speak of God and to lead others to Him. One day when she was greatly troubled about her salvation, Christ appeared to her and said: ” My daughter, I condemn those only who will not be saved.” He assured her at the same time, first, that she would go to heaven; secondly, that she never would lose His grace through mortal sin; thirdly, that divine assistance would never fail her in any emergency. God also revealed to her the day and hour of her death, which took place in her thirty-first year. After the holy sacraments had been administered to her, she begged all present to forgive her faults, and exhorted them to love God. The nearer the hour of her death approached, the greater became her joy.

Shortly before her end, she went into an ecstasy, and after it, she said to her Confessor: ” Oh! how much I could tell you of the sweetness of God, and of the blissful heavenly dwelling of the Almighty!” She requested her brother to take away the pillow that had been placed under her head, that she might die on the boards, as Christ had died on the cross. When this was done, she exclaimed three times: “Jesus, Jesus, be with me!” and expired. After death, her face was so beautiful, that all who looked at her were lost in astonishment. Her funeral was most imposing. The Canons first carried the body a part of the way to the church; after them the senate, and finally, the superiors of the different orders, so great was the esteem they all entertained for her holiness. God honored her after her death, by many miracles; and Clement X. canonized her in 1671 and placed her among the number of the holy virgins. (2)

Image: Crop of Santa Rosa de Lima, artist: Claudio Coello, circa 1683. (5)

  1. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Rose%20Book.html
  2. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Rose%20of%20Lima.html
  3. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_rose_of_lima.html
  4. http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-30-saint-rose-of-lima.html
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sta_Rosa_de_Lima_por_Claudio_Coello.jpg

The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

August 29

Today is the feast day of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. 

Saint John the Baptist was called by God to be the precursor of His divine Son. In order to preserve his innocence spotless, and to improve upon the extraordinary graces which he had received in his earliest infancy, he was directed by the Holy Spirit to lead an austere and contemplative life in the wilderness. There he devoted himself to the continuous exercise of devout prayer and penance.

The tradition is that after his beheading the disciples of John the Baptist took his body and buried it at Sebaste (Samaria) near modern-day Nablus in the West Bank. His relics were certainly honoured there at the middle of the fourth century and although the tomb was desecrated by Julian the Apostate, it was restored and still even today is housed in the Nabi Yahya Mosque (“John the Baptist Mosque”) at that same place.  The story of St John’s  beheading is told in Mark 6:14-29 in the context of Herod hearing about Jesus and the miraculous powers at work in him. Herod feared that this Jesus was John whom he had beheaded risen from the dead.

By Abbot Gueranger

At that time, Herod sent and apprehended John, and bound him in prison, because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had said to Herod: “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” But Herodias laid snares for him, and would have liked to put him to death, but she could not. For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and protected him; and when he heard him talk, he did many things, and he liked to hear him. And a favorable day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet to the officials, tribunes and chief men of Galilee. And Herodias’ own daughter having come in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask of me what thou willest, and I will give it to thee.” And he swore to her, “Whatever thou dost ask, I will give thee, even though it be the half of my kingdom.” And she went out and said to her mother, “What am I to ask for?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” And she came in at once with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want thee right away to give me on a dish the head of John the Baptist.” And grieved as he was, the king, because of his oath, and his guests, was unwilling to dis-please her. But send-ing an executioner, he commanded that his head be brought on a dish, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. And his disciples, hearing of it, came and took away his body, and laid it in a tomb (Mark 6: 17-29).

Thus died the greatest of them that are born of women: without witnesses, the prisoner of a petty tyrant, the victim of the vilest passions, the wages of a dancing girl! How beautiful, as Saint John Chrysostom remarks, is this liberty of speech, when it is truly the liberty of God’s Word, when it is an echo of Heaven’s language! Then indeed it is a stumbling-block to tyranny, the safeguard of the world and of God’s rights, the bulwark of a nation’s honor as well as of its temporal and eternal interests. Death has no power over it. To the weak murderer of Saint John the Baptist, and to all who would imitate him to the end of time, a thousand tongues, instead of one, repeat in all languages and in all places: It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.

“O great and admirable mystery!” cries out Saint Augustine. “He must increase, but I must decrease, said John, said the voice which personified all the voices that had gone before announcing the Father’s Word Incarnate in His Christ. Every word, in that it signifies something, in that it is an idea, an internal word, is independent of the number of syllables, of the various letters and sounds; it remains unchangeable in the heart that conceives it, however numerous may be the words that give it outward existence, the voices that utter it, the languages, Greek, Latin and the rest, into which it may be translated. To him who knows the word, expressions and voices are useless. The prophets were voices, the Apostles were voices; voices are in the psalms, voices in the Gospel. But let the Word come, the Word Who was in the beginning, the Word Who was with God, the Word Who was God; when we shall see Him as He is, shall we hear the Gospel repeated? Shall we listen to the prophets? Shall we read the Epistles of the Apostles? The voice fails where the Word increases… Not that in Himself the Word can either diminish or increase. But He is said to grow in us, when we grow in Him. To him, then, who draws near to Christ, to him who makes progress in the contemplation of wisdom, words are of little use; of necessity they tend to fail altogether. Thus the ministry of the voice falls short in proportion as the soul progresses towards the Word; it is thus that Christ must increase and John decrease. The same is indicated by the beheading of John, and the exaltation of Christ upon the Cross; as it had already been shown by their birthdays: for, from the birth of John the days begin to shorten, and from the birth of Our Lord they begin to grow longer.”

The Feast of the Beheading of Saint John may be considered as one of the landmarks of the liturgical year. With the Greeks it was a holyday of obligation. Its great antiquity in the Latin Rite is evidenced by the mention made of it in the martyrology called Saint Jerome’s, and by the place it occupies in the Gelasian and Gregorian sacramentaries. The Precursor’s blessed death took place around the feast of the Pasch; but, that it might be more freely celebrated, this day was chosen, whereon his sacred head was discovered at Emesa.

The vengeance of God fell heavily upon Herod Antipas. Josephus relates how he was overcome by the Arabian Aretas, whose daughter he had repudiated in order to follow his wicked passions; and the Jews attributed the defeat to the murder of Saint John. Herod was deposed by Rome from his tetrarchate, and banished to Lyons in Gaul, where the ambitious Herodias shared his disgrace. As to her dancing daughter Salome, there is a tradition gathered from ancient authors, that, having gone out one winter day to dance upon a frozen river, she fell through into the water; the ice, immediately closing round her neck, cut off her head, which bounded upon the surface, thus continuing for some moments the dance of death.

From Macherontis, beyond the Jordan, where their master had suffered martyrdom, Saint John’s disciples carried his body to Samaria, out of the territory of Antipas; it was necessary to save it from the profanations of Herodias, who had not spared his august head. The wretched woman did not think her vengeance complete, till she had pierced with a hairpin the tongue that had not feared to utter her shame. In the reign of Julian the Apostate, the pagans wished to complete the work of Herodias by opening the Saint’s tomb at Samaria, in order to burn and scatter his remains. But the empty sepulcher continued to be a terror to the demons, as Saint Paula attested with deep emotion a few years later. Moreover, some of the precious relics were saved, and dispersed throughout the East. Later on, especially at the time of the Crusades, they were brought into the West, where many churches glory in possessing them. (2, 5)

Image: Crop of The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, artist: Caravaggio, circa 1608. (7)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/the-beheading-of-st-john-the-baptist/
  2. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-161/Beheading.html
  3. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/Beheading%20of%20St.%20John%20Baptist%20popup.html
  4. http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-29-martyrdom-of-saint-john.html
  5. http://www.catholictradition.org/Passion/john-baptist4.htm
  6. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/the_beheading_of_saint_john_the_baptist.html
  7. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michelangelo_Caravaggio_021.jpg

Saint Moses the Ethiopian, Confessor, Martyr

August 28

Today is the feast day of Saint Moses the Ethiopian .  Ora pro nobis.

Saint Moses was born into slavery to an Egyptian official’s family. However, as a young boy he began stealing things from the home, a habit that eventually grew as the child grew.  Instead of having the slave brought up on charges, Moses was dismissed from the house.  He became the leader of a gang of bandits who roamed the Nile Valley spreading terror and violence. He was a large, imposing figure. On one occasion, a barking dog prevented Moses from carrying out a robbery, so he swore vengeance on the owner. Weapons in his mouth, Moses swam the river toward the owner’s hut. The owner, again alerted, hid, and the frustrated Moses took some of his sheep to slaughter. Attempting to hide from local authorities, he took shelter with some monks in a colony in the desert of Scete, near Alexandria (see below).

The conversion of St. Moses is hidden from history.  It seems likely that St. Moses was fleeing from the law and subsequently took cover in the desert, only to stumble upon a community or hermitage of desert monks. The dedication of their lives, as well as their peace and contentment, influenced Moses deeply. He soon gave up his old way of life and joined the monastic community at Scete.

He had a rather difficult time adjusting to regular monastic discipline. His flair for adventure remained with him. Attacked by a group of robbers in his desert cell, Moses fought back, overpowered the intruders, and dragged them to the chapel where the other monks were at prayer. He told the brothers that he didn’t think it Christian to hurt the robbers and asked what he should do with them. The overwhelmed robbers repented, were converted, and themselves joined the community.

The stories of St. Moses as a young monk detail the chronicles of a slowly reformed soul—demonstrating how a man prone to violence, with an enormous temper could gradually become one of the most serene, calm and austere of the desert fathers, well-respected for his peaceable advice and holy counsel. St. Moses once plunging into despair over his own lack of self-control during the early days in the monastery sought counsel from his abbot, St. Isidore.  Upon hearing his complaint about his own spiritual progress, St. Isidore took St. Moses to the rooftop of the house just before sunrise.  As the sun broke on the horizon, St. Isidore said, “See!  The light only gradually drives away the darkness.  So it is with the soul.”

Moses proved to be effective as a prophetic spiritual leader. The abbot ordered the brothers to fast during a particular week. Some brothers came to Moses, and he prepared a meal for them. Neighboring monks reported to the abbot that Moses was breaking the fast. When they came to confront Moses, they changed their minds, saying “You did not keep a human commandment, but it was so that you might keep the divine commandment of hospitality.” Some see in this account one of the earliest allusions to the Paschal fast, which developed at this time.

Once St. Moses did master his own soul, however, the Archbishop of Alexandria heard of his soul’s journey toward the virtues and ordained him a priest.  Eventually, St. Moses was a respected counselor, teacher and confessor among the desert fathers and desert monks.  During a raid by Berbers against many of the desert monasteries and hermitages in the early 5th Century, St. Moses and seven other monks were slaughtered.  The year was 405; St. Moses was 75 years old.

Saint Moses relics at the Church of Al Adra (the Virgin). Canonized: Pre-Congregation.

Image: Crop of St. Moses the Ethiopian, (4)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmosestheblack.asp
  2. http://catholicsaints.info/saint-moses-the-black/
  3. http://www.newmanconnection.com/faith/saint/saint-moses-the-black
  4. https://www.kisspng.com/png-moses-the-black-monastery-of-saint-moses-the-abyss-1572350/

 

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