- Thursday, 31 December 2015 07:20
The final day of the calendar year has us commemorating the Roman born pope Saint Sylvester (280-335). He was an ardent defender of Catholic faith (making him a confessor of the faith) in a period of harsh trial. Elected bishop of Rome, Sylvester served in that capacity for 21 years. We learn from him the truth of Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia: Where Peter is, there the Church is.
In this era of a lack historical awareness, Pope Sylvester is remembered for the Council of Nicea, the Baptism of Constantine, and the triumph of the Church. Some dispute the date of Constantine’s conversion to Christ but apparently there are sources that attest to his Baptism during this papacy. We know that with his acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior the Edict of Milan in 313 was created and the rest is history.
- Tuesday, 29 December 2015 09:19
As Becket’s biographers have noted,
“A few words which the capricious Henry spoke to certain courtiers who hated Thomas, sufficed for the latter to decide to do away with the prelate who contravened all their unchristian doings. They violated a monastic cloister and chapel to enter there while he was assisting at Vespers; the Saint himself prevented the monks from resisting the assassins at the door. Refusing to flee the church as the assassins summoned him to do, he was slain before the altar, by cruel and murderous repeated blows on the head. He died, saying: I die willingly, for the name of Jesus and for the defense of the Church.
“The actions of the Pope in this conflict make clear what all of history teaches: the lives of the Church’s Saints themselves comprise the history of the world. The humility of Thomas had prompted him, after a moment of weakness he had manifested in a difficult situation, to judge himself unfit for his office and offer his resignation as Archbishop. The Pope did not hesitate a moment in refusing his resignation. He judged with apostolic wisdom that if Thomas should be deprived of his rank for having opposed the unjust pretensions of the English royalty, no bishop would ever dare oppose the impingements of iniquity on the Church’s rights, and the Spouse of Christ would be no longer sustained by marble columns, but by reeds bending in the wind.”
Archbishop Thomas Becket was canonized by Pope Alexander III on Ash Wednesday, 1173, barely three years after his death on this date in 1170. Let us pray for Becket’s guidance and intercession before the Throne of Grace for 2016.
- Saturday, 26 December 2015 09:01
A Deacon’s Prayer
Come to my assistance my Lord and my God, that I may do for You all that you ask. Strengthen me in adversity and do not let me succumb to my feelings of worthlessness. Help me to feel in my heart all that You speak to me, and help me to understand. May I be to others what they need: a body to work when others cannot; a heart to love those who are forgotten; a shoulder to console those whose soul is in need; a smile to brighten the most somber of Your children; a mouth to proclaim Your love. Let me be to You, as a brush is to a painter, worthless without You, but capable of transforming the human heart by the power of Your mercy. Send me, my Lord if you need me, to touch others as You would touch them, to hold them as You would, to love them as only You can. Make my heart like Yours, that I may forgive everything and love beyond my own human frailty. Come live within me, that I may die to myself so You may fill my very being. Let me serve others as You would serve them, that in doing so I may serve You. Do not let me fail, oh Lord, or lead Your people astray. Allow me to live in Your presence today, that tomorrow I may die in Your hands and may You raise me one day that I may touch your face and live in Your glory.
Saint Stephen, pray for us!
The prayer was written by Deacon Lazaro J. Ulloa
- Friday, 18 December 2015 07:15
It is reported today that His Holiness, Pope Francis authorized on Thursday the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree regarding a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Teresa (nee Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu). The Pope met privately with Cardinal Amato on December 17th. The relevant data was presented to the experts (bishops, theologians, doctors, etc) who help discern with the Pope the reputed sanctity of a candidate and the miracle said to be attributed to the person. The miracle at Blessed Teresa’s intercession was of a Brazilian man cured of brain abscesses.
No date has been set for the canonization.
Mother Teresa is likely the most recognizable Catholic in the world because of her work among the poor. Blessed Teresa was born in Albania on August 26, 1910 and died September 5, 1997. She was foundress of the Missionaries of Charity in 1950.
Reflecting on the declaration of Blessed Teresa’s being declared a saint, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, the Archbishop of Calcutta [Kolkata] said, “Her entire life was spent doing works of mercy,” he said. “Her entire life was spent in service to the poor…she was reflecting God’s love here among the poorest of the poor, and so it comes as a very significant event in this Year of Mercy that the Holy Father has given to the Church.”
Mother Teresa was beatified by Saint John Paul II on October 19, 2003.
- Monday, 07 December 2015 11:55
Today, the Church celebrates the feast Saint Ambrose of Milan, who offers us a model of public Christian witness, and he is one of the Church’s great doctors. You know most of the salient points of the person of Ambrose: In A.D. 374 Ambrose became archbishop of Milan, a city taken over by the Arian heresy. Milan was also the residence of one of the Roman co-emperors; this new vocation was forced upon him. The saint quickly embraced an ascetical life, was charitable toward the poor, and reformed the Liturgy of his mammoth diocese; endured hardships, including an assassination attempt ordered by the Western empress herself. Ambrose’s mission was to convert the heretics of his diocese back to belief in the divinity of Christ. What got him elected as the bishop was his fine reputation as an eloquent speaker; later he revealed the talent of being author on Christian doctrine and composer. Many will always credit him for his role in the conversion of Saint Augustine, whom Ambrose baptized in A.D. 387.
One of the things that sticks out about Saint Ambrose today is his insistence on being a good churchman, one who doesn’t coddle the people. This quote gives you a sense of what I mean:
For there is this difference between good and bad rulers, that the good love freedom, the bad slavery. And there is nothing in a Bishop so offensive in God’s sight, or so base before men, as not freely to declare his opinions… I prefer then, to have fellowship with your Majesty in good rather than in evil; and therefore the silence of a Bishop ought to be displeasing to your Clemency, and his freedom pleasing. For you will be implicated in the danger of my silence, you will share in the benefits of my outspokenness. I am not then an officious meddler in matters beyond my province, an intruder in the concerns of others, but I comply with my duty, I obey the commandment of our God. This I do chiefly from love and regard to you, and from a wish to preserve your well-being. But if I am not believed, or am forbidden to act on this motive, then in truth I speak from fear of offending God. (Ambrose, Epist. XL.2-3, trans. H. Walford, 1881)
Today, I am praying through the intercession of the holy bishop and doctor of the Church Ambrose for all my friends of Milan.