Category Archives: Saints

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


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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


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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.

Saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus

St Joseph of Ariamathea NFrangipane.jpgO God, by whose grace Saint Joseph of Arimathea was emboldened to ask for the sacred Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, that together with Saint Nicodemus he might prepare it for burial and lay it in his own tomb, give us such an increase of faith and courage that we may not fear to bear reproach for the sake of Christ,but rather may serve Him with sincere devotion all the days of our life.

 

Today, the Roman Martyrology, the Church gives us Saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus as models of holiness, pointing with certainty, to Christ Himself. But you may ask if is correct since one rarely sees, if ever, these saints on the liturgical calendar and never preached in the sacred Liturgy, even when proclaimed in the Gospel. The Martyrology says:

At Jerusalem, the commemoration of Saints Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who received the body of Jesus taken down from the cross, wrapped it in a shroud and placed it in the sepulchre. Joseph, a noble official and disciple of the Lord, was seeking the Kingdom of God; Nicodemus, for his part, a member of the Pharisees and a ruler among the Jews, came to Jesus by night to inquire of his mission and defended him in the presence of the high priests and Pharisees who sought to arrest him.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

The gives to us today in the Office of Readings the following from the Confessions of Saint Augustine of Hippo, whose feast we celebrate today. These are some of the most moving words of the great Augustine! If you have not read the Confessions I urge you to do so; I have always felt thus, so much so that when I taught high school junior theology I had my students read significant sections of the work.

St Augustine's Triumph CCoello.jpg

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance
the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was
I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it
was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending
my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of
the same order; but greater, as though this common light were shining much more
powerfully, far more brightly, and so extensively as to fill the universe. The
light I saw was not the common light at all, but something different, utterly
different, from all those things. Nor was it higher than my mind in the sense
that oil floats on water or the sky is above the earth; it was exalted because
this very light made me, and I was below it because by it I was made. Anyone who
knows truth knows this light.

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved
Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to
know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see
exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely
on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew
myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear
your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall
eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be
changed into me”.

Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed
to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God
and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and
blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the
Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough
to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that
your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk
adapted to our infancy.+Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new,
late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there
that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things
which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things
kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at
all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed,
you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I
drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and
thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

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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