Category Archives: Saints

Saint James the Apostle

St James the ApostleWe honor Saint James, the Apostle. Scripture reveals that James was the first Apostle to be martyred according to the book of Acts of the Apostles. This James carries with him the title of “the Greater,”  who is not to be confused with James the Lesser (May 3) or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.

The Church prays,

Almighty everliving God, who consecrated the first fruits of your apostles by the blood of Saint James: Grant, we pray, that your Church may be strengthened by his confession of faith and constantly sustained by his protection.

Some things to remember about Saint James from Scripture:

“My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (Jesus to James and John, Mt. 20:23)

Jesus questioned their ambition, saying, “Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.”

At the time of James’ death, we learn that Peter was imprisoned, and then miraculously freed. Why did James die and not Peter?

The Gospel shows us the face of  James and his brother wanting a privileged place with Jesus in his Kingdom. James  got his wish of being first in the Church: he gave his life for the salvation of others.

Saint Mary Magdalen

noli me tangereWe love Mary Magdalen because of the way in which the boldness of her love for Jesus made her stare death down beyond all human logic or hope.  For her there is no question that the Messiah of Israel, sent to redeem all humankind, and the Beloved of her most intimate heart are one and the same person.  She perseveres in weeping at the entrance to the tomb because she perseveres in her love: the presence and actions of Jesus in her own life had taught her that love is indeed stronger than death.  Against all odds and logic, in a sort of sublime madness, she clings to her Jesus dead or alive; and she does not reason about a her relative physical strength when she says ironically to the man she thought was the gardener, “Tell me where you laid him, and I will take him away.” Because she loves Jesus so much, she is prepared to carry his body away single-handed.
Such passionate intensity surely was born from her gratitude at having had no less than seven demons driven out of her by Jesus.  As one transformed by the healing power of Jesus’ love, she becomes “the apostle to the Apostles,” since more than any of them she can easily believe in Christ’s Resurrection. For all time St. Mary Magdalen stands as the foremost embodiment of the soul thirsting for God, the soul passionately seeking God.  And in the end she does find him.  “He whom her heart loves” is also the Beloved of the Father who had first come seeking her.  Mary could find him because he first chose, in utter love, to put himself within her reach.

Reflection by Father Simeon, OCSO (h/t Spencer Abbey blog)

Saint Mary Magdalen

St Mary MagdalenThe Church remembers liturgically the woman called the Apostles to the Apostles, the penitent woman who loved the Lord with a totality of being (Luke 8:2-3); from Bethany to the tomb to new life Mary give witness to something and to someone amazing! It is said that seven devils had been cast out of Mary (Mark 16:9). She is named as standing at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Mother and St John (Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25; Luke 23:49). She saw Christ laid in the tomb, and she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. She met the Divine Presence, received forgiveness, and followed the Him to the Cross and was the first to witness the resurrection. The meeting of Jesus is the crucial point here. Tradition holds that Mary died in AD 68. The Greek Church says that she retired to Ephesus with the Mary, the Mother of God. Some of her relics are in Constantinople and others in France.

The Magdalen is the patron saint of those in process (journey) of conversion, of monks and nuns, of Dominicans, those who struggle with sexuality, southern France, and the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

Of St. Mary Magdalen, Bishop Alfred A. Curtis had this to say:

“We find in this Saint all that is noble, precious, beautiful and admirable; her creatures and contempt of self – and the root of all, her supreme and ultimate confidence in God was founded on the knowledge of her misery and nothingness, which made her despise self. She knew our Lord, He had reproved her for her crimes, but she turned to Him with her whole heart, and sought Him at a time and place that men might call unseemly. Oh, what a gift to know and loathe one’s self, and at the same time to believe that God does not loathe us! Let us ask St. Magdalen to get for us that confidence which she possessed in such a supreme degree.” (The Sisters of the Visitation of Wilmington (1913). The Life and Characteristics of Right Reverend Alfred A. Curtis, D.D. New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons.)

Saint Elijah, holy prophet

Elijah saintPraises to the great Elijah!
Let our songs to heaven rise.
His the grace to hear God’s whisper
Where all earthly music dies.

Clad in skins he made his dwelling
On Mount Carmel, finding there
That austere and lonely wisdom
Hidden in a life of prayer.

Yet he went forth at God’s bidding,
Flashed God’s word and law abroad
Till the idols fell around him
And his people turned to God.

May we, too, make war on falsehood,
Burn with zeal for God’s command
Till we follow our true Master
In whose sight we always stand.

Now we pray our Prophet-father
That our lives obtain this grace:
An outpouring of God’s Spirit
Over every time and place.

Praise and honor to the Father,
To the Son and Spirit praise.
Theirs be all our love and worship
Now and through eternal days.

Saint Apollinare

Saint ApollenareSaint Apollinare of  Ravenna was a third century saint from Antioch who was the first bishop and saint of Ravenna. It is recorded that his martyrdom happened on 23 July but the Church’s liturgical memorial is July 20.

Saint Apollinare was originally from Antioch (where the followers of Jesus Christ were first called Christians according to the Acts), was ordained bishop by Saint Peter and believed to be a disciple of his since AD 44. The tradition holds that Apollinare travelled with Peter from Antioch to Rome. Recall that Peter was the bishop of Antioch before this move.

One of the historic martyrologies records a brief historical note on saints indicates that Apollinare was first mentioned in the 5th century Gerominiano Martyrology listing him as a “confessor” and “priest.” In the Roman martyrology the record notes him as “a Bishop who, by knowing the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, preceded as a good Shepherd his flock, honoring the Church at Ravenna in Romagna with his glorious martyrdom.”

Saint Peter Chrysologus (425-451), a renown doctor of the Church, cites Saint Apollinare in his sermon 128, giving some historical information on Apollinare: he was the first bishop of Ravenna; because of his faith, he suffered many torments and shed his blood, dying from wounds received.

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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