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Saturday, November 27, 2010

St. Peter of Luxembourg


Bishop and Cardinal
Saint Peter of Luxemburg, descended both by his father and mother from the noblest families in Europe, was born in Lorraine in the year 1369. When still a schoolboy twelve years of age, he went to London as a hostage for his brother, who had been taken prisoner. The English were so won by Peter’s holy example that they released him at the end of the year, taking his word the ransom would be paid. King Richard II of England invited him to remain at his court, but Peter returned to Paris, determined to have no master but Christ.
Because of his prudence and sanctity, at the early age of fifteen he was appointed bishop of Metz. He made his public entry into his see barefoot and riding on a donkey. He governed his diocese with all the zeal and prudence of maturity, and divided his revenues in three parts — for the Church, the poor, and lastly, his household. His charities often left him personally destitute; only twenty pence would remain to him when he died.
Created Cardinal of Saint George, his austerities in the midst of court life were so severe that he was ordered to moderate them. Peter replied, “I shall always be an unprofitable servant, but I can at least obey.” Ten months after this last promotion he fell ill with a fever; he lingered for some time in a sinking condition, his holiness increasing as he drew near his end. Saint Peter, it was believed, never stained his soul by mortal sin; yet as he grew in grace his holy contempt for self became more and more intense. When he had received the last sacraments, he forced his attendants each in turn to scourge him for his faults, and then lay silent until he died. The year was 1387, and the Cardinal-Saint was only 18 years old.
God was pleased to glorify His servant after his death. Among other miracles attributed to him the following one is related. On July 5, 1432, a child about twelve years old was killed when he fell from a high tower in the palace of Avignon, upon a sharp rock. The father, distraught with grief, picked up the scattered pieces of the skull and brains and carried them in a sack, with the mutilated body of his son, to Saint Peter’s shrine. There, with many tears, he besought the Saint’s intercession. After a time the child returned to life, and he was set upon the altar for all to see. In honor of this miracle the city of Avignon chose Saint Peter as its patron Saint.
Reflection: Saint Peter teaches us how, when there is self-denial, the highest dignities and all this world can give, may serve to make a Saint.

How To Be Vigilant

     It is sad to see many disturb their soul when it desires to abide in this calm and repose of interior quietude, where it is filled with the peace and refreshment of God. Desirous of making it retrace its steps and revert from the goal in which it now reposes, they draw it out to more exterior, to considerations which are the means. This they do, not without strong repugnance and reluctance in the soul. The soul would want to remain in that unintelligible peace as in its right place. A man is deeply pained if, after intense effort to reach his place of rest, he is forced to return to his labor.

    Since these individuals do not understand the mystery of that new experience, they imagine themselves to be idle and doing nothing. Thus, in their struggle with considerations and discursive meditations they disturb their quietude. They become filled with aridity and trial because of efforts to get satisfaction by means no longer apt. We can say that the more intense their efforts, the less will be their gain. The more they persist at meditation, the worse their state becomes, because they drag the soul further away from spiritual peace. They resemble one who abandons the greater for the lesser, turns back on a road already covered, and wants to redo what is already done.

     The advice proper for these individuals is that they must learn to abide in the quietude with a loving attentiveness to God and pay no heed to the imagination and its work. At this stage, as we said, the faculties are at rest, and do not work actively but passively, by receiving what God is effecting in them. If at times they put the faculties to work, they should not make use of excessive efforts or studied reasonings, but do so with gentleness of love, moved more by God than by their own abilities.

St. John Of The Cross
(t 1591) is called the Mystical Doctor.

St. Francesco Antonio Fasani


Born in Lucera (southeast Italy), Francesco entered the Conventual Franciscans in 1695. After his ordination 10 years later, he taught philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary and later became provincial. When his term of office ended, Francesco became master of novices and finally pastor in his hometown.
In his various ministries, he was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding Francesco's holiness testified, "In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbor; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance." Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed.

At his death in Lucera, children ran through the streets and cried out, "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!" Francesco was canonized in 1986.


Eventually we become what we choose. If we choose stinginess, we become stingy. If we choose compassion, we become compassionate. The holiness of Francesco Antonio Fasani resulted from his many small decisions to cooperate with God's grace.
During his homily at the canonization of Francesco, Pope John Paul II reflected on John 21:15 in which Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus more than the other apostles and then tells Peter, "Feed my lambs." The pope observed that in the final analysis human holiness is decided by love. "He [Francesco] made the love taught us by Christ the fundamental characteristic of his existence, the basic criterion of his thought and activity, the supreme summit of his aspirations" (L'Osservatore Romano, vol. 16, number 3, 1986).

Friday, November 26, 2010

St. Catherine of Alexandria


According to the Legend of St. Catherine, this young woman converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. At the age of 18, she debated 50 pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, they became Christians—as did about 200 soldiers and members of the emperor's family. All of them were martyred.
Sentenced to be executed on a spiked wheel, Catherine touched the wheel and it shattered. She was beheaded. Centuries later, angels are said to have carried the body of St. Catherine to a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

Devotion to her spread as a result of the Crusades. She was invoked as the patroness of students, teachers, librarians and lawyers. Catherine is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, venerated especially in Germany and Hungary.


The pursuit of God's wisdom may not lead to riches or earthly honors. In Catherine's case, this pursuit contributed to her martyrdom. She was not, however, foolish in preferring to die for Jesus rather than live only by denying him. All the rewards that her tormenters offered her would rust, lose their beauty or in some other way become a poor exchange for Catherine's honesty and integrity in following Jesus Christ.
"Therefore I [King Solomon] prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;/ Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands; and I rejoiced in them all, because Wisdom is their leader, though I had not known that she is the mother of these" (Wisdom 7:7-12).

Find opportunities to give the best of yourself to those around you.


Jorge Munoz is a bus driver in New York City who started feeding the hungry in Queens five years ago, using food that would otherwise have been thrown away. Since then, he's been there, day-in and day-out, distributing 121,000 meals over the years. And that's how he discovered a secret- the power of sharing. "People are telling me, 'Jorge, you have no money, you do all this and get nothing back.' And I say I have a checking account full of smiles." Recognized as a Top Ten CNN Hero of 2009, Munoz recently received the US Citizens Awards from President Obama.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

All Praise and Thanks to God

Let us give thanks to God;
his love is everlasting!

Glory to the Father, and the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia!

The Spirit of the Widow

     Christ, our adored and freely chosen Master, at the hour of inner renewal and freedom of consent, fashions and transforms us in such a way, by continuous and intangible action, that the words of Saint Paul become true and we experience this triumphant reality: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Gal 2:20). That is, the Christ of interior souls, the Christ of the little ones, and the poor, the one and only, eternally living Christ, whom we can never forget once we have been in his company and communicated with him...

     In times of anxiety and suffering, God sometimes gives, in that deep place in the soul where human torments can longer reach, movements of joy and an intense awareness of spiritual realities, so that one can return to life with its struggles and sorrows. Divine illumination makes the road more luminous and enables us to see our destination.

     We must know how to recognize the important responsibilities contained in the monotonies of everyday life and how to transform them through a lively spirit and love.....

     Let us never look for the result of our efforts for others. It is good for us not to know it, for if we did, pride in doing good, the most subtle pride of all, might follow. Let us entrust to God the prayers, sacrifices, and efforts that we make, without looking back at what we have already done. Let us continue to work and to act for our brothers and sisters and for the coming of God's reign in them......

     A simple human connection can sometimes be the best sermon; a spark can ignite a great fire.

Elizabeth Leseur
(t 1914) was a French married laywoman whose cause for canonization is underway.

Rendering Thanks

     Do not let a day slip by without considering God's favors; praise and exalt his generosity, particularly in contrast with yours, for truly what you deserve is to be deprived of what you already have received. Do not delude yourself about being worthy in any respect, for whatever is meritorious in you is a gift from God. You are nothing but matter stripped of all good and anything you might have is clothing God lends you because he wishes you to have it. Faithfully remember the gifts bestowed by nature as well as those you enjoy by chance and grace and by the promised glory that, unless you happen to lose it through your own fault, is as certain as the rest. Think intently about the special and general graces from the Lord and admit truthfully that you received them from his hand. Preserve them assiduously in the greatest possible purity and love them dearly, but even more, love him who so blessed you. Withdraw and guard against offending grace and the Lord of grace......

     A theologian who agrees with this says: "Woe to those who remain silent and do not acclaim you, Lord, the source of all good things, for even though such people speak at great length, they are mute. Happy the tongue that thanks you, for it fulfills its purpose in life. It now begins the business of thanking your Maker in which it will remain forever."

Father Francisco De Osuna, OFM
(t c. 1540), known as Fray Francisco, was a Franciscan friar and ascetic writer from the Seville region of Spain.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Feast of the Presentation of Mary


This Marian celebration calls to mind they day when the Blessed Virgin Mary was presented by her parents Joachim and Anne to the Lord in the temple when she was at the age of three. Although nothing is mentioned about this event in the Holy Bible, apocryphal literature suggests that Mary was presented in fulfillment of a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.

Reflecting  on Mary’s presentation, we will realize how God prepared Mary to be the mother of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Early on, she was dedicated to God. From the very beginning of her life, she was already blessed by God by special grace. God bestowed upon her heavenly favors which she treasured until her return to God. This is why she has been for the disciples of Jesus, a model and a mother. Even today, she continues to inspire us to live for God and submit ourselves to His holy will.
Like Mary, let us present ourselves to God and dedicate our lives to Him. In doing so, God can also use us as His instruments of grace and mercy in this world. Like Mary, we can live holy lives and invite others to do the same.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


     I long to see your heart and affection stripped of the world and of yourself. There is no other way we can be clothed in Christ crucified, since the world has nothing in common with God. The world's disordered affection loves pride, and God loves humility. The world looks for honor, status and greatness and God spurned these things, embracing disgrace, scorn and insult, hunger, thirst, cold and heat, even to a shameful death on the cross. By this death of his gave honor to the Father, and we were restored to grace. The world looks to please creatures, unconcerned about displeasing the Creator, Christ never looked to anything but to fulfill his eternal Father's command for the sake of our salvation. He embraced voluntary poverty and clothed himself in it, while the world seeks great wealth. They are really different from one another. So, if our heart is clothed in the world it is necessarily stripped of God, and if it is stipped of the world, it is necessarily filled with God. This is what our Savior said: " No one can serve two masters. If you serve one, you hold the other in contempt." We must, then, very conscientiously free our heart and affection from this tyrant, the world, and set it on God, completely  free and sincere, letting nothing come between ourselves and him. We must not be two-faced or love falsely, since he is our dear God, and he keeps his eyes on us, seeing our hidden  and inmost heart.

St. Catherine of Sienna
(+1380) Doctor of the Church, was a Dominican stigmatist and papal counselor.

St-Catherine of Siena-circa_1746_by_Giovanni_Battista_Tiepolo.jpg

The Graces of the Rosary

The rosary is a magnificent gift of God to humanity, because through this prayer we attain extraordinary graces. For some, it is an old monotonous prayer, but we can testify to you that it has real efficacy of healing, liberation, peace, and reconciliation. The rosary must articulate the dawn, the afternoon, and the sunset of life; our entire existence. The sunrise of each day is the beginning of our lives: for this we fix our gaze on the birth of Jesus and we meet him through the "yes" of Mary, so that our lives, too, can be born again, can begin every day with him and can say "yes" to his project of love for us today. Then there is the first afternoon, adolescence,which is often the most problematic age, where we search for the deeper reason for things. When you are twelve, thirteen, or fourteen years old, you begin to see the defects of your parents, school begins to be restrictive for you, the differences between rich and poor make you suffer, you do not know whom to take sides with, and you have an incredible struggle with your emotions. Sometimes you have a strong conflict with yourself and with all that surrounds you. It is a moment that we educators are never really prepared for, in order to give true and convincing answers to the deepest questions which the young people place upon us on their objections. For this, in the first "afternoon" which is adolescence, when you are not given many answers, we pray the sorrowful mysteries, because the passion of Jesus heals our wounds, negative memories, and the violent and angry judgements which at that age provoked false rebellion inside of us on the path of evil. Then the moment of the evening comes. To recite the third rosary is already to foresee the years of tiredness , of old age, of sickness; the sunset of life. With the rosary in your hand, you will not be discouraged and you will have clarity of mind and a full and extraordinary freedom in your heart. Contemplating the resurrection of Christ, you will prepare your heart for the definitive encounter with him and you will discover that your suffering "gives birth" to a new life, which is the concrete reality that waits for you in heaven. 

Mother Elvira Petrozzi
Foundress of Comunito Cenacolo, welcoming the lost and desperate in 56 houses in 15 countries
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