Category Archives: Saints

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Baptist Nativity stoneHic Præcursor Domini natus est!

Indeed, we honor the nativity of John the Baptist today. Only two others are honored with a feast day for their Nativity: Our Lord and Savior and His beloved and Great Mother, Mary.

The Church prays to God who lifted up for us the Baptist as the precursor for the Incarnate Word of God, that he make ready a nation for the Lord’s coming and direct the hearts of all the faithful into the way of salvation and peace.

It is revealed to us that the blessed forerunner of the Lord, John, was a martyr. His martyrdom was for his stance, that is, his teaching, on adultery: “It is not lawful for thee to have your brother’s wife.” At the heart of it all was that John spoke the truth; he challenged civil authority to live as they should and he called his contemporaries to be faithful to the faith of their Fathers. Yet, the crafty concubine of Herod silenced John before he could convert the King Herod and his court to repentance and belief in the Messiah.

John the Baptist was not alone in the witness of his life and death as many revered saints spoke similar truths and ended their lives by spilling their blood: among them, Saints John Chrysostom, Thomas Becket, and Stanislaus. Who will do similar today? Is our faith strong enough to face death?

Blessed Alvaro del Portillo

Don AlvaroToday is the first time the Church is able to celebrate the liturgical memorial of Blessed Alvaro del Portillo since he was beatified in 2014. The Church designated May 12th (the anniversary of his First Communion) as his feast day.

To mark the occasion, Fr. Javier del Castillo prepared a special meditation for listeners (a podcast) published by the St. Josemaria Institute.

Don Alvaro was known for his humility and his faithfulness but it was also said that he had the heroic virtue of courage (he was a man of fortitude, a gift of the Spirit). We need to be sure in our walking in the ways of the Lord building the Church. He is called Saxum (rock), a metaphor for fortitude by Saint Josemaría.

“The Lord is my rock….” May Blessed Alvaro help us in our daily life, to show us what it means to be people of humility, faithfulness, and courage.

Saint Isaiah, the Holy Prophet

Isaiah MichelangeloThe Prophet Isaiah lived nearly 700 years before the birth of Jesus. He genealogy names him as part of a royal lineage. We know from biblical study that Isaiah’s father Amos raised his son in the fear of God and in the law of the Lord. Isaiah weds the pious prophetess (Is 8:3) and had a son Jashub (Is 8:18).

God called Isaiah into His prophetic service during the reign of Uzziah, king of Judea, and he prophesied for 60 years during the reign of kings Joatham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh. The start of his service was marked by the following vision: he beheld the Lord God, sitting in a majestic heavenly temple upon a high throne. Six-winged Seraphim encircled Him. With two wings they covered their faces, and with two wings they covered their feet, and with two wings they flew about crying out one to another, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth are filled with His glory!” The pillars of the heavenly temple shook from their shouts, and in the temple arose the smoke of incense.

Several important things are instructive for us today:

“Oh, an accursed man am I, granted to behold the Lord Sabaoth, and having impure lips and living amidst an impure people!” A Seraphim (one of the angels) was sent to him having in hand a red-hot coal, which he took with tongs from the altar of the Lord. He touched it to the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah and said, “Lo, this has touched thy lips, and will take away with thine iniquities, and will cleanse thy sins.” After this Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord, directed towards him, “Whom shall I send, and who will go to this people?” Isaiah answered, “Here am I, send me” (Is 6:1 ff).

Prophets announced to the people the consequences of their sin; denounces the Jews for their unfaithfulness to God and they call them back to relationship with God through the observance of the law and tradition. For example: turn from impiety and idol worship; repent.

Famously, Isaiah predicted the captivity of the Jewish people and their eventual return during the time of the emperor Cyrus (a pagan but seen as a messiah), the destruction and renewal of Jerusalem and of the Temple; predicts the historical fate also of the other nations bordering the Jews; and with clarity and certainty spoke of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, the Christ as the Savior.

Christians rely on Isaiah because it is his vision and that we come to accept  the birth of the Messiah from a Virgin, and the work of the Messiah: the Suffering of the Messiah for the sins of the world and resurrection

Isaiah died a martyr. King Manasseh him killed by a wood-saw. Initially, he was buried not far from the Pool of Siloam. In time, the relics of holy Isaiah transferred by the emperor Theodosius the Younger to Constantinople located in the church of Saint Laurence, Blachernae. Presently, the Hilandar monastery on Mount Athos has a portion of the prophet’s skull.

St Gianna Beretta Molla

St Gianna Beretta MollaSaint Gianna wrote various affirmations on the significance and value of a doctor’s mission on a prescription pad and titled it “The beauty of our Mission.”

“In one way or another, everyone in society works in the service of humanity. Physicians have opportunities that a priest does not have, for our mission does not end when medicine is no longer of help. There still remains the soul that must be brought to God. Jesus says, “Whoever visits the sick is helping me.” This is a priestly mission. Just as the priests can touch Jesus, so we doctors touch Jesus in the bodies of our patients: in the poor, the young, the old, and children. Jesus makes himself seen in our midst. Many doctors offer themselves to him. When you have finished your earthly profession, if you have done this well, You will enjoy divine life ‘because I was sick and you healed me.”

Four Norms for doctors

+To do our part well. Study our science well. Today there is a seeking after money.
+Be honest. Be doctors of faith.
+Have a loving care, thinking of each one as a brother. Have a certain delicacy.
+Never forget the patients soul. We who have a right to a certain confidence must be attentive never to profane the soul. This would be a betrayal. Take care to use superficial language. Instead always do well.

Prayer of St. Gianna

Jesus, I promise You to submit myself to all that You permit to befall me,make me only know Your will. My most sweet Jesus, infinitely merciful God, most tender Father of souls,and in a particular way of the most weak, most miserable, most infirm which You carry with special tenderness between Your divine arms,I come to You to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart, the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy will, the grace to confide in You, the grace to rest securely through time and eternity in Your loving divine arms.


Saint Mark

St Mark

The shortest of the gospels, the  Tradition of the Church speaks of  Saint Mark as the interpreter of Saint Peter. It is believed that he worked closely with Peter. So, we have a keen insight into the thoughts of Peter, the one chosen by the Lord to head the Church through Mark. Moreover, he founded the Church in Alexandria and is revered by the Church in Rome and Venice (where his relics rest) among other cities.

The liturgical biography for Saint Mark reads thusly:

Saint Mark, also named John, was the cousin of Barnabas. It seems that he belonged to the tribe of Levi. In the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 12:12), it is said that the Christians gathered in his mother Mary’s home to pray. Converted to the Christian faith by Saint Peter, he went to Antioch with Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas around the year 44 and afterwards went to Cyprus and Pamphylia, then returned to Jerusalem. He was with Saint Paul at the time of his first captivity, having followed Saint Peter to Rome to serve him as an interpreter. During Saint Paul’s second captivity, Mark was in Asia around 66 or 67. At the request of the Roman Christians, he wrote his Gospel in Greek-the second Gospel after that of Saint Matthew. According to the historian Eusebius and ancient tradition, he afterwards went to Egypt where he had preached the Gospel and founded the Church of Alexandria. He was martyred at an unknown date. His holy body was transferred to Venice by some travellers in 828. The symbol of the lion is reserved to him, the second of Ezekiel’s symbolic animals (Ezekiel 1:10). Perhaps for this reason alone his Gospel is second in the series of the Four Gospels.

From a treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus for the feast:

The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples. By faith, we believe in one God, the almighty Father who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became man for our salvation. And we believe in the Holy Spirit who through the prophets foretold God’s plan: the coming of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, his birth from the Virgin, his passion, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, and his final coming from heaven in the glory of his Father, to recapitulate all things and to raise all men from the dead, so that, by the decree of his invisible Father, he may make a just judgment in all things and so that every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth to Jesus Christ our Lord and our God, our Savior and our King, and every tongue confess him.

The Church, spread throughout the whole world, received this preaching and this faith and now preserves it carefully, dwelling as it were in one house. Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition.

The faith and the tradition of the churches founded in Germany are no different from those founded among the Spanish and the Celts, in the East, in Egypt, in Libya and elsewhere in the Mediterranean world. Just as God’s creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church’s preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Now of those who speak with authority in the churches, no preacher however forceful will utter anything different—for no one is above the Master—nor will a less forceful preacher diminish what has been handed down. Since our faith is everywhere the same, no one who can say more augments it, nor can anyone who says less diminish it.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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