Blessed Catholic Saints and Angels

~~Witnesses of Faith pray for us ! ~~

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

St. Andrew The Apostle's Feast day

Prayer from the Liturgical Year, 1901
God grants us to meet thee, O Blessed Saint Andrew, at the threshold of the mystic Season of Advent, on which we are so soon to enter. When Jesus, our Messias, began His public life, thou hadst already become the obedient disciple of the Precursor, who preached His coming: thou wast among the first of them who received the Son of Mary as the Messias foretold in the law and the prophets. But thou couldst not keep the heavenly secret from Him who was so dear to thee; to Peter, then, thou didst bear the good tidings, and didst lead him to Jesus.

O blessed Apostle! we also are longing for the Messias, the Saviour of our souls; since thou hast found him, lead us also unto Him. We place under thy protection the holy period of expectation and preparation, which is to bring us to the day of our Saviour's Nativity, that divine mystery in which He will manifest Himself to the world. Assist us to render ourselves worthy of seeing Him on that great night. The baptism of penance prepared thee for receiving the grace of knowing the Word of life; pray for us that we may become truly penitent and may purify our hearts, during that holy time, and thus be able to behold Him, who has said: Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.

Thou hast a special power of leading souls to Jesus, O glorious Saint! for even Peter, who was to be made the pastor of the whole flock, was presented to the Messias by thee. By calling thee to Himself on this day, our Lord has given thee as the patron of Christians who, each year, seeking again that God in whom thou art now living, pray to thee to show them the way which leads to Jesus.

Thou teachest us this way; it is that of fidelity, of fidelity even to the Cross. In that way thou didst courageously walk: and because the Cross leads to Jesus Christ, thou didst passionately love the Cross. Pray for us, O holy Apostle! that we may begin to understand this love of the Cross; and that having understood it, we may put it in practice. Thy brother Peter says to us in his Epistle : Christ having suffered in the flesh, be you also armed with the same thought.
Thy feast, O blessed Andrew! shows us thee as the living commentary of this doctrine. Because thy Master was crucified, thou wouldst also be crucified. From the high throne to which thou hast been raised by the Cross, pray for us, that the Cross may be unto us the expiation of the sins which are upon us, the quenching of the passions which burn within us, and the means of uniting us by love to Him, who, through love alone for us, was nailed to the Cross.Amen

Monday, November 28, 2011

Novena to Saint Nicholas Feast ( December 6 )

All-praised and all-honored hierarch,
Great wonderworker, Saint of Christ.
Father Nicholas, Man of God and faithful servant,
Man of love, Chosen vessel, Strong pillar of the Church,
Most-brilliant lamp, Star that illumines and enlightens the whole world;
Thou art a righteous man , that did flourish like a palm tree
Planted in the courts of the Lord;
Dwelling in Myra thou hast diffused the fragrance of myrrh,
And thou pourest out the ever-flowing myrrh of the grace of God.

By thy presence most-holy Father, the sea was sanctified
When your most-miraculous relics were carried to the city of Bari,
From the East to the West to praise the name of the Lord.

O most-superb and most-marvellous wonderworker,
Speedy helper, fervent intercessor,
Good shepherd that saveth the rational flock from all dangers
We glorify and magnify thee as the hope of all Christians,
A fountain of miracles, a defender of the faithful,
A most wise teacher, a feeder of the hungry,
The gladness of those that mourn, clothing of the naked,
Healer of the sick, pilot of those that sail the sea,
Liberator of prisoners,
Nourisher and protector of widows and orphans,
Guardian of chastity, gentle tutor of children,
Support of the aged, guide of fasters,
Rest of those that labor,
Abundant riches of the poor and needy.

Hearken unto us that pray unto thee and flee to thy protection,
Show thy mediation on our behalf with the Most High,
And obtain through thy God-pleasing intercessions
All that is useful for the salvation of our souls and bodies;
Keep this holy habitation (or this temple), every city and town,
And every Christian country, and the people that dwell therein,
From all oppression through thy help;
For we know that the prayer of a righteous man
Availeth much for good;
And after the most-blessed Virgin Mary,
We have thee as a righteous mediator
With the All-Merciful God,
And to thy fervent intercession
And protection we humbly hasten.

Do thou, as a watchful and good shepherd,
Keep us from all enemies and pestilence,
Earthquake and hail,
Famine, flood and fire,
The sword and invasions,
And in all our misfortunes and affliction
Do thou give us a helping hand
And open the doors of God’s compassion;
For we are unworthy
To look upon the height of heaven
Because of the multitude of our sins;
We are bound by the bonds of sin
And have not done the will of our Creator
Nor kept His commandments.

Wherefore, we bow the knees
Of our broken and humble heart to our Maker,
And we ask thy fatherly intercession with Him;
Lest we perish with our sins,
Deliver us from all evil,
And from every adverse thing,
Direct our minds and strengthen our hearts
In the Catholic Faith and Traditions,
Which, through thy mediation and intercession,
Neither wounds, nor threats, nor plague,
Nor the wrath of our Creator shall lessen;
But vouchsafe that we may live a peaceful life here
And see the good things in the land of the living,
Glorifying the Father,
And the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
One God glorified and worshipped in Trinity,
Now and ever,
And unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Novena of Grace ( Novena to the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier December 3rd )

Most amiable and most loving Saint Francis Xavier, in union with thee I reverently adore the Divine Majesty.
I rejoice exceedingly on account of the marvelous gifts which God bestowed upon thee.
I thank God for the special graces He gave thee during thy life on earth and for the great glory that came to thee after thy death.
I implore thee to obtain for me, through thy powerful intercession, the greatest of all blessings -- that of living and dying in the state of grace.
I also beg of thee to secure for me the special favor I ask in this novena.
( our prayer intention here..)
In asking this favor, I am fully resigned to the Divine Will.
I pray and desire only to obtain that which is most conducive to the greater glory of God and the greater good of my soul.

Pray for us, Saint Francis Xavier.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Oremus/Let us pray
O God, Who didst vouchsafe, by the preaching and miracles of Saint Francis Xavier, to join unto Thy Church the nations of the Indies, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who reverence his glorious merits may also imitate his example, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

We pray 3 Our Father's and 3 Hail Mary's in memory of Saint Francis Xavier's devotion to the Most Holy Trinity , and Glory be 10 times in thanksgiving for the graces received during his 10 years of apostleship.

This Novena prayer was passed down through the ages (  In Naples in 1633 there lived Fr. Marcello Mastrilli, S.J. He had taken the vow to ask to be assigned to the Japan Mission, then the most difficult; for at that time the Buddhist persecution was most cruel against the Catholic religion and the new form of martyrdom introduced was most excruciating. The torture was so horrible that in 1633 the Provincial of the Japan Mission Fr. Ferrara after five days of agony over the "Pit" apostatized. But hundreds of others, priests and laymen, Europeans and Japanese in holy emulation reached the martyr's crown through the terrible "Pit".
When the news of the unfortunate Ferrara's apostasy reached Europe, many Jesuits vowed themselves to the Japan Mission to replace their martyred brethren and to atone for the apostate. Marcello Mastrilli was one of them. Fr. Ferrara was subsequently reconverted and atoned for his fall by dying a martyr's death over the "Pit" in 1652. The feast over, Fr. Mastrilli was supervising the removal of the temporary structure when a heavy hammer slipped from the hands of a worker and fell with deadly precision on Fr. Mastrilli's head. The injury caused thereby was severe, and Fr. Mastrilli was on the verge of death. Just when the crisis was on, St. Francis Xavier appeared to Fr. Mastrilli and bidding him renew the vow to go to Japan, said to him:

"All those who implore my help daily for nine consecutive days, from the fourth to the twelfth of March inclusive and worthily receive the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion on one of the nine days will experience my protection and may hope with entire assurance to obtain from God any Grace they ask that is for the good of their souls and the glory of God."

The vision vanished and Fr. Mastrilli arose entirely cured. Faithful to his vow, he led a band of thirty-three Jesuits to Japan. He had hardly landed there when he was seized and condemned to the "Pit" where he suffered from October 5 to 17 and died a glorious martyr.

But before leaving for Japan, Fr. Mastrilli widely published the news of his cure and the promises of Saint Francis Xavier. The Saint himself kept his words and very many experienced his protection after making this "Novena of Grace". Thus the devotion spread far and wide and it has been instrumental in obtaining many favors, spiritual and temporal.

Though St. Francis Xavier mentioned the time when the Novena should be made, yet its efficacy is not restricted to those days, but it may be made any time, and forms a fitting preparation for the feast of the saint, November 24 to December 2, with his feast being on December 3.

( Novena Prayer and about Origins of Novena to Saint Francis Xavier - via America Needs )

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Today Feast of St. Gregory, Thaumaturgus

Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (Wonder-Worker), Bishop and Confessor (†270, Feast—November 17)

Moses, instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, mighty in his words and in his deeds (Acts 7:22), retired into the desert: St. Gregory, adorned with the best gifts of birth and nature, brilliant in rhetoric, rich in every science, hid himself from men in the flower of his youth, and hastened to offer to God in solitude the holocaust best pleasing to the Lord. Each was the hope of his race: yet each turned away to lose himself in the contemplation of heavenly mysteries. Meanwhile the yoke of Pharaoh lay heavy upon Israel; meanwhile souls were perishing, whom one of St. Gregory’s burning words might have snatched from the empire of idolatry: was not such a flight, then, desertion?

Is it for man to proclaim himself a savior, when Jesus did not arrogate that title to Himself? And when evil was rife all around, did the Carpenter of Nazareth do wrong to remain in the shade for thirty years previous to His short period of ministry? O ye teachers of our excited, fevered times, who dream of a new hierarchy among the virtues, and understand divine charity far otherwise than did our fathers: not those are of the race of Israel’s saviors whose ideas concerning social good differ from those of the Redeemer of the world.

St. Gregory, like Moses, was of that blessed race. His friends and enemies agreed in saying that he resembled the Hebrew legislator in the excellence of his virtue, and in the splendor of the prodigies wrought by his word. Both were actuated by the desire of knowing God, and manifesting Him to the men they were called to lead: the fullness of doctrine is the gift most necessary to the guides of the people, and their want of it the greatest penury. I am Who am was the answer to Moses’ enquiry; and this sublime formula, confided to him from the midst of the burning bush, authenticated the mission which called him forth from the desert. When St. Gregory was commanded by God to go out into the world, the Blessed Virgin Mary, of whom the burning bush was a figure, appeared before his dazzled eyes in the dark night when he was praying for light. And St. John the Baptist, following the Mother of God, let fall from his lips this other formula, completing the former for the disciples of the Law of love:

One only God, Father of the Living Word, of that substantial and mighty Wisdom Who is the eternal expression of Himself; the perfect principle of the only and perfect Son begotten by Him. One only Lord, sole-begotten of the Only One; God of God, efficacious Word, Wisdom embracing and containing the world, creative power of all creation, true Son of a true Father. One only Holy Ghost, holding of God His divine existence, revealed to men by the Son of Whom He is the perfect likeness, life and life-giving, holy and imparting holiness. The perfect Trinity, immutable, inseparable in glory, in eternity, in dominion. (St. Gregory of Nyssa, Life of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus)

This was the message the Saint was to communicate to his country, the creed that was to bear his name in the Church. Born into paganism, he was converted to Christianity by the illustrious Origen. By his faith in the Most Holy Trinity he was to remove mountains and set limits to the waves, to drive out Satan and eradicate infidelity from Pontus. When, towards the year 240, St. Gregory, then a Bishop, was on his way to Neocaesarea (which corresponds to Niksar, in modern-day Turkey), he saw on all sides the temples of idols, and stopped for the night at a famous sanctuary. In the morning all the "gods" had taken to flight and refused to come back; but the Saint gave to the pagan "priest" of the oracle a note thus worded: "Gregory to Satan: Return." A more bitter defeat awaited the demons; forced to stay their precipitate retreat, they were compelled to witness the ruin of their empire over the souls they had abused. The "priest" was the first to give himself up to the Bishop, and became his deacon; and soon, upon the ruins of the temples everywhere overthrown, arose the Church of Christ, the only God.

Happy was that Church, so firmly founded that heresy was powerless against it in the following century, when so many others bowed before the storm of Arianism. On the testimony of St. Basil, the successors of St. Gregory, themselves eminent men, were as an adornment of precious stones, a crown of stars, to the Church of Neocaesarea. Now all these illustrious pontiffs, says he, considered it an honor to keep up the memory of their great predecessor; they would never suffer that any act, word, or movement other than his, in performing the sacred rites, should prevail over the traditions he had left. (St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, xxix)

When Pope Clement XII established in the Church the Feast of St. Gertrude the Great, he at first decreed that it should be kept on this day, on which it was celebrated by the Order of St. Benedict. But as November 17 had been for long centuries assigned to St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, it seemed unfitting, said Pope Benedict XIV, that he who moved mountains should himself by moved from his place by the holy virgin, Gertrude. Accordingly the Feast of St. Gertrude was transferred. It is now kept on the day before today’s Feast.

Let us read the Breviary account of the great Thaumaturgus:

The Wonder-worker St. Gregory, Bishop of Neocaesarea in Pontus, was illustrious for his holiness and learning, but still more for his miracles, which were so startling and so numerous that he was call the Thaumaturgus; and, according to St. Basil, he was considered comparable to Moses, the prophets, and the Apostles. By his prayer he removed a mountain, which was an obstacle to the building of a church. He also dried up a lake which was a cause of dissension between two brothers. The river Lycus, which was inundating and devastating the fields, he restrained by fixing in the bank his stick, which immediately grew into a tree, and served as a limit which the river henceforth never surpassed.

He frequently expelled the devils from idols and from men’s bodies, and worked many other miracles, by means of which he led multitudes to the Faith of Christ. He also foretold future events by the spirit of prophecy. When he was dying, he asked how many infidels remained within the city of Neocaesarea; and on being informed that there were only seventeen, he gave thanks to God, and said: When I was made Bishop, there were only seventeen believers. He wrote several works, by which, as well as by his miracles, he adorned the Church of God.

O holy Pontiff, thy faith, removing mountains and commanding the waves, was a justification of Our Lord’s promise. Teach us in our turn to do honor to the Gospel, by never doubting of Our Lord’s word and of the help He promises us against satan, whom the Church points out to us as the proud mountain that is to be cast into the sea (Homily of St. Bede on the Gospel of St. Mark); and also against the overflowing tide of our passions, and the enticements of the world, of which thy writings teach us the vanity.
After the victory let us not forget that the aid came to us from Heaven; preserve us from ingratitude, which thou didst so detest. We still possess the touching eulogy dictated by thy gratitude toward the illustrious master (Origen) to whose teachings, after God, thou didst owe the glorious strength and splendor of thy Faith. Here is a precious and practical lesson for all: while praising Divine Providence in the man who was His predestined instrument in thy regard, thou didst not forget the homage due to the Angel of God, who had preserved thee from falling into they abyss during the darkness of infidelity in which thy first years were spent; that heavenly Guardian who, ever watchful in his active, enlightened, persevering devotedness, supplies for our insufficiencies, nourishes and instructs us, leads us by the hand, and secretly arranges for our souls those blessed circumstances and occasions, which transform our life and secure eternal happiness. Amen

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