Category Archives: Saints

Conception of Saint the Baptist

Rejoice, O
barren one, who had not given birth; for the behold you have conceived clearly
the one who is the dawn of eh Sun Who was about illuminate the whole universe,
blighted with sightlessness. Shout in joy, O Zachary, crying in favor, truly,
the one to be born is a Prophet of the High.
(Troparion, 4th tone)


Birth of John the Baptist, TINTORETTO,jpg.jpg

On the
Byzantine liturgical calendar, today is the feast of the Conception of Saint
John the Baptist. The Eastern Church, at least the Churches with a Greek
origin, keeps three conception feasts:  Our Lord (March 25), Our Lady
(December 9) and the Baptist (September 23). The Latin Church only keeps two. 

Calendar study will tell you that
only the Savior has a perfect 9-month gestation period; Our Lady is a day under
(September 8) and the Baptist, a day under (June 24). The liturgical calendar of
the Latin Church places the conception of Mary on December 8, the feast of the
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The theology for today’s feast is rooted in the biblical
narrative of Zachary and Elizabeth, a couple who had no children and therefore
in the eyes of the world plagued by divine disfavor. All of their lives Zachary
and Elizabeth begged God to send them a son.  Providence heard their prayer and in His plan and mercy for
all, ordained that the dawn of salvation would be effected by the birth of John
through the agency of the barren Elizabeth. The Church calls John the Prophet
and Forerunner of Jesus, the Savior of the world.

Other significant divinely merciful
births to barren women who are a significant part of the Divine Plan of Salvation are  Isaac son of Sarah and Samson born to the wife
of Manoah (Samson’s mother is not named in Scripture).

Saint Jonah, prophet

Jonah Michelangelo.jpgYou did pass three days and night within the sea-monster’s entrails, showing forth the Lord’s descent into the belly of Hades. For when He had freely suffered His saving Passion, He arose out of the sepulcher on the the third day. Hence, we honor you, O Prophet, who wads deemed worthy to be a figure of Christ. (Kontakion, 3rd tone)

The Roman Martyrology notes today, in addition to the
evangelist Saint Matthew, as the feast day of the Old Testament prophet Jonah,
as a saint. Jonah lived in the eighth century BC and succeeded the Prophet
Elisha. His prophecies included judgments on the people of Israel and the downfall of Jerusalem,
the suffering of the Savior, and the
final destruction of the world; his prophetic utterances therefore focused on penance and repentance of all believers which is a central theme in the preaching of Jesus, which He the disciples to. The Fathers of the Church
have taught that Prophet Jonah is a type of Christ:


An evil and adulterous
generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of
the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for
three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the
earth for three days and three nights. The people of Nineveh will stand up at
the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when
Jonah preached to them – and now, something greater than Jonah is here!

(Matthew 12:39-41)

Saint Matthew: He did what he heard

Call of St Matthew caravaggio.jpg

Matthew collected tolls and customs,
Shunned for his work and his dishonesty, Till one day Jesus stood before him, Looked in his face, and told him, “Follow Me!” All that he’d spent his life acquiring, All that he’d scraped and saved and stopred away, Now was no longer worth desiring, Compared with Jesus, Truth and Life and way.


Some of the righteous were offended
That grace should come to such a sinful man. In hopes their hearts might be amended, Jesus explained so they could understand: “Just as the doctor treats the ailing, And passes by the healthy and the whole, So to the stumbling and the failing
I come to offer healing to the soul.”

Lord God, who chooses the unworthy,
Who once called out to Matthew, “Follow Me!”
Transform our weakness into glory
And our conceit into humility.
Teach us to know–and to believe it–
That Your unchanging love cannot be earned,
But as Your children we receive it
As did the prodigal when he returned.

Come, all in need of hope or healing,
Come, sick and weak, despondent or ashamed,
Come, bitter, faithless and unfeeling,
Turn your steps home again and be reclaimed!
And you, self-righteous and unbending,
Cast off your pride and your hypocrisy.
Come, leave your life for life unending,
As Matthew did when he heard, “Follow Me!”

 

(Text by Gail Gillispie)

Saint Ninian


St Ninian.jpg

Lord our God, you brought the Picts and Britons to acknowledge
of the faith through the teaching of Saint Ninian, the bishop: in your
goodness, listen to our prayers: grant that we who have received from him the
light of your truth may remain strong in faith and active in works of charity.

“Saint Ninian,
whose feast we celebrate today, was himself unafraid to be a lone voice. In the
footsteps of the disciples whom our Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one
of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good
news of Jesus Christ. His mission church in Galloway became a centre for the
first evangelization of this country.” (Pope Benedict XVI, September 16, 2010, Glasgow, Scotland)

Let us remember the Holy Father and the people of Scotland today. May the saints of Scotland intercede for them before the Throne of Grace.

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam


Bl Frederic Ozanam.jpeg

Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Frederic Ozanam

God, our Father, You alone have the power to bestow those precious gifts of yours which we rightly call miracles. If it be Your will, be pleased to grant such a gift on behalf of [mention a person’s name here]. We humbly ask that You grant this favor so that Blessed Frederic Ozanam may be canonized by our Holy Mother the Church. We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.

The name “Frederic Ozanam” may not be well-known to many in the USA, but those who know of or work with the Saint Vincent de Paul Society know well their father in the faith and their founder. Ozanam followed in the foot steps of Saint Vincent de Paul and is a terrific model for all people, particularly the laity because he puts the gospel and the Liturgy into action.

The Saint Vincent de Paul Society has a membership of more than three-quarters of a million people in 47, 000 conferences in 131 countries on 5 continents.

Frederic Ozanam was a married man, a father, well educated, a person who travelled in high society, a man of faith and action. Many people today consider Blessed Frederic to be a precursor to the Second Vatican Council’s vision of the laity in the Church.

Ozanam’s vision of the Church can be seen in an address he gave on the 4 marks of the Church (one, holy, catholic and apostolic). Here is an excerpt of a talk he gave:

One

One only
means of salvation remains to us, that is, that Christians, in the name of
love, interpose between the two camps (of rich and poor) passing like
beneficent deserters from one to the other … communicating mutual charity to
all, until this charity, paralyzing and stifling the egotism of both parties,
and every day lessening their antipathies, shall bid the two camps arise and
break down the barriers of prejudice, and cast aside their weapons of anger and
march forth to meet each other, not to fight but to mingle together in one
embrace, so that they may form but one fold under one pastor. 

Holy

Will we be
satisfied to lament the barrenness of the present time, when each bears in his
heart a germ of holiness, which a simple desire would be sufficient to develop?
It we do not know how to love God as the saints did, it is because we see God
with the eyes of faith alone, and faith is so weak. But the poor we see with
the eyes of flesh. They are present. We can put our fingers and our hands into
their wounds, the marks of the crown of thorns are plainly visible on their
heads. There is no place for unbelief here … You poor are the visible image
of the God whom we do not see, but whom we love in loving you.

Catholic

A
Catholic university (Louvain) should be a cause of rejoicing to the Church, to
see raised within her yet another monument to the immortal alliance of Science
and Faith.

Apostolic

You have felt the emptiness of material pleasures, you
have felt the hunger for truth crying out within you; you have gone for light
and comfort to the barren philosophy of modern apostles. You have not found
food for your souls there. The religion of your forefathers appears before you
today with full hands; do not turn away, for it is generous. It also, like you,
is young. It does not grow old with the world. Ever renewing itself, it keeps
pace with progress, and it alone leads to perfection.


More about Blessed Frederic Ozanam can be read here, his chronology, and a brief biography.

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]yahoo.com.
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