Chapter 33 of Jesus of Nazareth is now on the site with a coloring picture, you can find it here.
We are adding a short Saint of the Day story for children as well as a coloring picture to this site daily. You can find them under the Catholic Reading tab. They are taken from the book titled Saints for Children for Everyday of the Year. It is imprimatured but no date is listed.
IN the Introit of this day's Mass the Church calls upon all creatures to thank God for the Incarnation of His only-begotten Son.
"Let all the earth adore Thee, O God and sing to Thee: let it sing a psalm to Thy name. (fs. Ixv. 4.) Shout with joy to God all the earth, sing ye a psalm to His name: give glory to His praise. (Ps. Ixv. 12.) Glory be to the Father, &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Almighty and eternal God, who disposes all things in heaven and on earth: mercifully hear the supplications of Thy people, and give Thy peace to our times. Through our Lord, etc.
EPISTLE. (Romans xii. 6 16.) BRETHREN: We have different gifts, according to the grace that is given us: either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith, or ministry in ministering, or he that teacheth in doctrine, he that exhorteth in exhorting, he that giveth with simplicity, he that ruleth with carefulness, he that sheweth mercy with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which is good: loving one another with the charity of brotherhood: with honour preventing one another: in carefulness 'not slothful: in spirit fervent: serving the Lord: rejoicing in hope: patient in tribulation: instant in prayer: communicating to the necessities of the saints: pursuing hospitality: bless them that persecute you: bless and curse not. Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep: being of one mind, one towards another: not minding high things, but consenting to the humble. Be not wise in your own conceits.
EXPLANATION. St. Paul in this epistle exhorts every Christian to make good use of the gifts of God; if one receives an office, he must see well to it, so that he can give an account to God of the faithful performance of his duties. He exhorts especially to brotherly love which we should practice by charitable works; such as, receiving strangers hospitably, giving alms to those who are in need, and to those who by misfortune or injustice have lost their property; he commands us, at the same time, to rejoice in the welfare of our neighbor, as we rejoice at our own good fortune, and to grieve at his misfortunes as we would over those which befall us.
How is brotherly love best preserved?
By the virtue of humility which makes us esteem our neighbor above ourselves, consider his good qualities only, bear patiently his defects, and always meet him in a friendly, respectful, and indulgent manner. Humility causes us to live always in peace with our fellow-men, while among the proud, where each wishes to be the first, there is continual strife and dissatisfaction. (Prov. xiii. 10.)
INSTRUCTION FOR SUPERIORS
Those have to expect a severe sentence from God, who merely for temporal gain, seek profitable offices, and thrust themselves therein whether capable or not, and if capable care very little whether they fulfil the duties required, or perhaps make the fulfilment of them depend upon bribes. Of such God makes terrible complaint: Thy princes (judges) are faithless, companions of thieves: they all love bribes, they run after rewards. They judge not for the fatherless; and the widow's cause comes not into them. (Isai. i. 23.) A most severe judgment shall be for them that bear rule. (Wisd. vi. 6.)
ASPIRATION. Grant us, O Lord, Thy grace, that according to Thy will, we may follow the instructions of St. Paul in regard to humility and love, have compassion upon all suffering and needy, think little of ourselves, and descend to the lowest, that we may, one day, be elevated with them in heaven.
GOSPEL. (John ii. 1-11.) AT that time there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is it to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. Now there were set there six water-pots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them: Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it. And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water; the chief steward calleth the bridegroom, and saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine; and when men have well drank, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee: and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
Why was Christ and His mother present at this marriage?
In order to honor this humble and God-fearing couple who, with faithful hearts, had invited Him and His mother to their wedding; to give us an example of humility; to assist them in their poverty, and save their good name by changing water into wine; to reveal His dignity as the Messiah to His disciples by this miracle; and to sanctify by His presence the marriages that are contracted in the spirit of the Church.
Alas ! how few marriages of our time could Jesus honor with His presence, because He is invited neither by fervent prayer, nor by the chaste life of the couple: He is excluded rather, by the frequent immorality of the married couple and their guests.
Why was Mary interested in this married couple?
Because she is merciful, and the Mother of Mercy, and willingly assists all the poor and afflicted, who fear God. From this incident, St. Bonaventure judges of the many graces which we can hope for through Mary, now that she reigns in heaven; "For", says he, "if Mary while yet on earth, was so compassionate, how much more so is she now reigning in heaven'" He gives the reason by adding: "Mary now that she sees the face of God, knows our necessities far better than when she was on earth, and in proportion to the increase of her compassion, her power to aid us has been augmented."^ Ah! why do we not take refuge in all our necessities to this merciful mother, who although unasked assists the needy?
Why did Christ say to Mary: Woman, what is it to me and to thee?
This seemingly harsh reply of Christ was no reproach, for Mary had made her request only through love and mercy, and Christ calls those blessed who are merciful, but He wished to show that in the performance of divine work, the will of His heavenly Father alone should be consulted. He meant to remind her that He had not received the gift of miracles from her as the son of woman, but from His eternal Father, in accordance with whose will He would do that which she asked when the hour designed by God would come. Though the hour had not come, yet He granted the wish of His mother, who knew that her divine Son refused none of her requests, and so she said to the servants: "Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye."
Behold the great power of Mary's intercession! Neglect not, therefore, to take refuge to this most powerful mother!
What are we taught by the words: My hour is not yet come?
These words teach us, that we should in all things await God's appointed time, and in things belonging to God and His honor, act only by divine direction, without any human motives.
What does the scarcity of wine signify?
In a spiritual sense the want of wine may be understood to signify the lack of love between married people, which is principally the case with those who enter this state through worldly motives, for the sake of riches, beauty of person, or who have before marriage kept up sinful intercourse.
These should ask God for the forgiveness of their sins, bear the hardships of married life in the spirit of penance, and change the wrong motives they had before marriage; by doing so God will supply the scarcity of wine, that is the lack of true love, and change the waters of misery into the wine of patient affection.
Why did Christ command them to take the wine to the steward?
That the steward, whose office required him to be attentive to the conduct of the guests, and to know the quality of the wine, should give his judgment in regard to the excellence of this, and be able to testify to the miracle before all the guests.
ASPIRATION. O my most merciful Jesus! I would rather drink in this world the sour wine of misery than the sweet wine of pleasure, that in heaven I may taste the perfect wine of eternal joy.
INSTRUCTION ON THE HOLY SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY
What is Matrimony?
Matrimony is the perfect, indissoluble union of two free persons of different sex, for the purpose of propagating the human race, mutually to bear the burdens of life and to prevent sin. (i. Cor. vii. 2.)
Who instituted Matrimony?
God Himself, the Creator sof all things. (Gen. I: 27-28.) He brought to man the helpmate, whom He formed from one of the ribs of Adam, that she who came from his heart, might never depart therefrom, ,but cling to him in the indissoluble bond of love. (Gen. ii. 18, 24.) To this original, divine institution Christ refers, (Matt. xix. 4 6.) and the Church declares the bond of marriage perpetual and indissoluble.
Is Matrimony a Sacrament?
Yes; according to the testimony of the Fathers, the Church has held it such from the times of the apostles, which she could not do, had Christ not raised it to the dignity of a Sacrament. St. Paul even calls it a great Sacrament, because it is symbolical of the perpetual union of Christ with His Church; and the Council of Trent declares:
"If any one says that Matrimony is not really and truly one of the seven Sacraments of the Church instituted by Christ, but an invention of men that imparts no grace, let him be anathema." (Cone. Trid, Sess. 24. c. i.)
What graces does this Sacrament impart?
The grace of preserving matrimonial fidelity inviolate: the grace of educating children as Christians; of patiently enduring the unavoidable difficulties of married life, and of living peaceably with each other. Married people are indeed greatly in need of these graces, in order to fulfill their mutual obligations.
What is the external sign in the Sacrament of Matrimony?
The union of two single persons in Matrimony, which according to the regulations of the Council of Trent, (Cone. Trid. Sess. 24. c. i) must be formed publicly in the presence of the pastor, or with his permission before another priest, and two witnesses.
What preparations are to be made to receive the grace of this Sacrament?
1. The first and best preparation is a pure and pious life.
2. The light of the Holy Ghost should be invoked to know whether one is called to this state of life.
3. The parents and the father-confessor should be asked for advice.
4. The choice should be made in regard to a Christian heart, and a gentle disposition rather than to beauty and wealth.
5. The immediate preparation is, to purify the conscience, if it has not already been done, by a good general confession, and by the reception of the most holy Sacrament of
the Altar. Before their marriage the young couple should ask their parents' blessing, should hear the nuptial Mass with devotion, with the intention of obtaining God's grace
to begin their new state of life well, and finally they should commend themselves with confidence to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her spouse St. Joseph.
Why are there so many unhappy marriages?
Because so many people prepare the way by sins and vices, and continue to sin without interruption, and without true amendment until marriage, therefore always make sacrilegious confessions, even perhaps immediately before marriage. Besides this many enter the married life on account of carnal intentions, or other earthly motives; in many cases they do not even ask God for His grace; without any proper preparation for such an important, sacred act, on their marriage day they go to church with levity and afterwards celebrate their wedding with but little modesty. Is it any wonder that such married people receive no blessing, no grace, when they render themselves so unworthy?
Why did God institute married life?
That children might be brought up honestly and as Christians, and that they should be instructed especially in matters of faith; that married people should sustain each other in the difficulties of life, and mutually exhort one another to a pious life; and lastly, that the sin of impurity might be avoided. For they who in such manner receive matrimony as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power. (Tob. vi. 17.)
With what intentions should the married state be entered^?
With such intentions as the young Tobias and his bride had, who before the marriage ceremony, ardently prayed God for His grace, and took their wedding breakfast in the fear of the Lord. (Tob. xiv. 15.) Hence God's blessing was with them until death. If all young people would enter the married state thus, it would certainly be holy, God pleasing and blessed, and the words of St. Paul, spoken to wives, would come true unto them: Yet she shall be saved by bearing children, if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification with sobriety, (i. Tim. ii. 15)
Why are the bans of marriage published three times in Church?
That all impediments which would render the marriage unlawful may be made known. Such impediments are: consanguinity, clandestine marriages, &c. Therefore, any one who is aware of such impediments, is bound to make them known to the pastor.
Why is the marriage performed in the presence of the parish-priest?
Because the Catholic Church expressly declares that those marriages which are not performed in presence of the pastor, or with his permission before another priest, and two witnesses, are null and void; (Cone. Trid. Sess. xxiv. c. i.) and because the blessing of the priest, which he imparts in the name of the Church, gives the couple, if they are in a state of grace, strength, fortitude and grace to be faithful to each other, to endure all trials patiently, and to be safe from all the influences of the evil enemy.
Why do they join hands before the priest, and two witnesses?
By this they bind themselves before God and His Church to remain true to each other, and to be ready to assist each other in all adversities. The bridegroom puts a ring on the bride's finger which should remind her of her duty of inviolable fidelity; to this end the priest signs and seals this holy union with the unbloody Sacrifice of the New Law.
Can the bond of marriage be dissolved in the Catholic Church?
A valid marriage, contracted with the free consent of each of the parties, can according to the plain doctrine of the Scriptures, the constant teaching and practice of the Church, be dissolved only by the death of one of the parties.
If the pope or a bishop, for important reasons, gives a divorce, this is only partial, and neither can marry again while the other lives. Such a marriage would not be valid. How pure and holy are the doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church in this the most important and sacred of all human relations, preserving its inviolability and sanctity; while, on the contrary, by means of the wanton doctrine of the heretics, which for trivial reasons entirely dissolves the marriage contract, this sacred union is made the deepest ignominy of mankind, and the play-ball of human passions and caprice!
What is thought of mixed marriages, or marriages between Catholics and Protestants?
The Catholic Church has always condemned such marriages, because of the great dangers to which the Catholic party is unavoidably 'exposed as well as the offspring. Such marriages promote indifference in matters of religion, by which the spiritual life of the soul is destroyed; they are a hinderance to domestic peace, cause mutual aversion, quarrels, and confusion; they give scandal to servants; they interfere with the Christian education of the children, even render it impossible, and they frequently lead to apostasy and despair. But the Catholic Church condemns especially those mixed marriages, in which either all or a number of the children are brought up in heresy, and she can never bless and look upon those as her children who do not fear to withdraw themselves and their own children from the only saving faith, and expose them to the danger of eternal ruin. Therefore, those Catholics who enter the matrimonial union with Protestants, although the marriage if lawfully contracted is valid, commit a mortal sin if they permit their children to be brought up in heresy, and should it not be their full intention to bring up their children in the Catholic faith at the time of their marriage, they would commit a sacrilege.
What should the newly married couple do immediately after the ceremony is performed?
They should kneel and thank God for the graces received in this holy Sacrament, in such or similar words: "Ratify, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that which by Thy grace Thou hast wrought in us, that we may keep that which in Thy presence we have promised unto the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." That they may keep their promise made at the altar, they should always remember the duties laid down to them by the priest at the time of their marriage, and the exhortations which are taken from the epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, (Eph. v. 29. 31.) wherein he instructs married people how they should comport themselves towards each other, and recalls to them as an example the union of Christ with His Church, and His love for her. To the husbands he says, they should love their wives as Christ loved His Church, for which He even gave Himself up to death; from this is seen, that men should assist their wives even unto death, in all need, and not treat them as servants. To the wives St. Paul says, that they as the weaker should be in all reasonable things obedient to their husbands, as the Church is obedient to Christ; for as Christ is the head of the Church, so is the husband the head of the wife. Experience proves there is no better way for women to win the hearts of their husbands than by amiable obedience and ready love, while, on the contrary, a querulous, imperative deportment robs them of their husbands' affections, and even causes them to be regarded with aversion. St. Paul says further; that husbands should love their wives (and consequently wives their husbands) as their own bodies, because married people are, as it were, one. They shall be two in one flesh; no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the Church. (Eph v. 29 -31.) How unjustly and barbarously do those act, who, instead of loving one another, rather hate and outrage each other, and cause the loss of their property, and by detraction steal their honor! These do not consider that he who hates and disgraces his partner in life, hates and disgraces himself; while according to the words of St. Paul he who loves her, loves himself. If married people would remain in constant love and unity, it is most necessary that they should patiently bear with each other's infirmities, wrongs, and defects, exhort one another with mildness and affection, keep their adversities, trials, and sufferings as much as possible to themselves, and complain in prayer only to God, who alone can aid them. By impatience, quarrels, and complaints the cross becomes only heavier and the evil worse. Finally, not only on their wedding- day, but often through life, they should earnestly consider, that they have not entered the married state that they may inordinately serve the pleasures of the body, but to have children who will one day inhabit heaven according to the will of God; as the angel said to Tobias: "For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power." (Tob. vi. 17.)
PRAYER. Most merciful Jesus! who didst work Thy first miracle at the wedding in Cana by changing water into wine, thereby revealing Thy divine power and majesty, and honoring matrimony: grant we beseech Thee, that Thy faithful may ever keep sacred and inviolate the holy sacrament of Matrimony, and that they may so live in it truthfully, in the fear of the Lord, that they may not put an obstacle in the way of obtaining heaven for themselves, and their children.
Source: Goffine's Devout Instruction, Imprimatur 1880
Archbishop Nichols offers flowers on altar of Hindu gods.
Something is dreadfully wrong here - these are strange gods and not the one that we are supposed to have before us.
That is not "THE CATHOLIC FAITH!"
"ONE Lord, One Faith, ONE baptism." Ephesians 4:5
From the religion lesson of my 6 year old this morning:
Once more the devil tempted Jesus. He took the Savior onto a very high mountain and showed Him the big, beautiful world.
"All this will I give Thee if Thou wilt adore me," the devil said.
In holy anger Jesus cried out to him: "Go away, Satan! THE LORD THY GOD SHALT THOU ADORE, HIM ALONE SHALT THOU SERVE!"
Then the devil left Jesus. Behold! Angels came from heaven to serve Jesus. Jesus wanted to teach us that we must never do what is a sin, not even for everything in the world.
Source for the religion quote: Highway to Heaven Series, The Life of my Saviour, Book II, Imprimatur 1933
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT OF GOD
The first commandment requires you to offer to God alone the supreme worship that is due Him. You worship God by acts of faith, hope, and charity, and by adoring Him and praying to Him.
Faith obliges you: (1) to make efforts to find out what God has revealed; (2) to believe firmly what God has revealed; (3) to profess your faith openly whenever necessary. A Catholic sins against faith by infidelity, apostasy, heresy, indifferentism, and by taking part in non-Catholic worship.
Hope obliges you to trust firmly that God will give you eternal life and the means to obtain it. The sins against hope are presumption and despair.
Charity obliges you to love God above all things because He is infinitely good, and to love your neighbor as yourself for the love of God. The chief sins against charity are hatred of God and of your neighbor, sloth, envy, and scandal.
In addition to sins against faith, hope, and charity, the first commandment forbids all superstition and sacrilege.
St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of St. John. In 167, persecution broke out in Smyrna. When Polycarp heard that his pursuers were at the door, he said, "The will of God be done." When he met them face to face, he begged to be left alone for a little time, which he spent in prayer for "the Catholic Church throughout the world."
Later the proconsul commanded him to sacrifice to the gods and to curse Christ if he wished to go free. Polycarp answered, "eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?"
When he refused to worship the gods, he was threatened fire, but the fire did not hurt him; so he was stabbed in heart, and his dead body was burned.
St. Polycarp could have saved his life by denying the one true God and Jesus Christ His Son. But he worshiped no false gods. As far as you are concerned, you can make false gods for yourself when you worship riches, fame, worldly pleasures, or even yourself, and have no time for God and your soul. How different from St. Polycarp was the old lady in Genoa, Italy, who made a monument her god. She was an old fruit seller whose only ambition was to have a beautiful monument after her death. For this she scraped and saved all her life, and at the end of it she got her marble stone. The fruit of her whole life - her god - was a piece of stone.
Source: Catechism in Stories, Imprimatur 1956
St. Paul was born of rich parents in Egypt and became an orphan at the age of fifteen. He had been taught to trust God since her was a very young child. When he was twenty years old, he had to flee to a desert because of bloody persecution of the Christians. In his great love of God, St. Paul trusted in the Lord to provide him with what he needed to live. He dwelt under a tree that supplied him with fruit for food. A nearby spring gave him water.
When he was one hundred and ten, the great St. Anthony of the Desert went to visit him. St. Anthony tells us how he found out about St. Paul. One day he had a temptation to think that no one else but he had spent his life in the desert as a real hermit. That night God revealed to him that there was another hermit much better than he and so Anthony went to visit him. We are told that while they were talking, a raven dropped a loaf of bread. St. Paul told St. Anthony that for the past sixty years he had been receiving a half a loaf a day. "Now you have come," he said, "and God has doubled the portion. The Lord is truly good." After they had eaten, they spent the night in prayer.
St. Paul died at the age of one hundred and thirteen, and St. Anthony buried him.
When St. Anthony returned to his monks, he told them: "Sinner that I am, I do not deserve the name of monk! I have seen another John the Baptist, another St. Paul in the third Heaven!"
St. Paul spent all his long life in prayer and penance to gain glory in Heaven. Let us, too, spend our time well, because time spent in praying and in doing our duties for Jesus will win us a treasure in Heaven.
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year; Imprimatur-
St. Hilary was born in France and raised a pagan. But he was a very intelligent man, and he thought it was foolish to worship many gods as pagans do. He obtained a copy of the Holy Bible and read it eagerly. There he learned about the one true God and about Jesus Christ Our Savior. At last, Hilary became a Christian.
From his baptism to the end of his life, St. Hilary tried to teach people to believe in God. He also tried to encourage them to lead holy lives. He converted his wife and daughter and later was ordained to the priesthood. He became the Bishop of Poitiers, his city. During this time there was a heresy that said Jesus was not God. St. Hilary showed people how wrong it was.
He wrote many books about the Faith and traveled everywhere preaching that Jesus Christ is truly God. For this he earned the title of Doctor of the Church.
Like St. Hilary, let us be proud of our Faith and defend it every time we have a chance.
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year; Imprimatur-
A coloring picture of St. Hilary can be found below.
With the Feast of the Holy Family coming this Sunday. I thought this would be a fitting post for the children.
"A child, whoever to his parents shows All love and honor, on him God bestows
All earthly blessings; and when life is o'er,
His are the joys of Heaven for evermore.
But he who to his father pays no heed,
Nor cherishes his mother ; he shall lead
E'en here below a life of grief and shame,
And when he dies shall burn in endless flame."
FRITZ, a little boy of seven, was on the whole a very nice child, but now and then he was obstinately set upon something that he was not allowed to do, and his father had often threatened him with the stick. One day, when Fritz had again been disobedient to his mother, his father stood before him with the stick in his hand, saying: “Fritz what am I to do with the stick now?” "Go for a walk with it, I suppose,'' said the cunning little fellow. But the father made the stick walk over the back of the disobedient child, who learnt to be docile for the future. And that is as it should be. If a child will not obey, if he tells lies or steals, his parents must punish him.
In days gone by a very curious custom prevailed in parts of Germany. On a fine summer's day all the children went with their parents and teachers into the wood, there they cut down branches of birch trees, singing the while: “A whipping with a rod makes naughty children good." The birch-twigs were then tied in bundles and carried home on the shoulders of the children; who sang merrily as they walked:
"Father and mother home we go;
To every house we bear a rod,
We know that though it gives us pain,
you only use it for our good.”
It is a great blessing, though you may not think so, when you are punished for your faults by your parents. God Himself has said : "He that spareth the rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes." Therefore children take a well-deserved punishment willingly, and if it should happen that you are punished when you are not in fault think to yourselves: If I do not deserve punishment this time, I have often escaped it when I did deserve it. Besides it rests with yourselves to avoid being punished. All you have to do is to be invariably respectful and obedient to your parents. Ought that to be difficult to you ? You know quite well that your parents are the representatives of God to you, and next to Him are your greatest benefactors. O what a wonderful thing is the heart of a parent! How great are its love, care and patience. Just think how your father and mother watch over you night and day, keep you out of harm and danger, give you food, drink and clothing and teach you what is right. Can you count the hours which your mother has watched at your bedside, can you reckon up the days of toil which your father has gone through for you? Therefore always show the utmost respect to your parents. Never think nor say anything but what is good of them, and always be courteous, dutiful and helpful in your behavior towards them.
There was once a young Bohemian, named Theodore Kohn, who was raised at a very early age to the archbishopric of Olmiitz. On his election his parents, who were poor simple country-people, came to offer him their congratulations. He went to meet them at the station, and as soon as they got out the railway-carriage, bent before them and kissed their hands with filial respect. All the spectators were deeply touched.
Always love your parents. A good child is happy, when he can give is parents any joy or comfort, when he can relieve them of any worry or anxiety, when he can do them any little service. You must especially show affection to your parents, when they are getting old. Then their faculties begin to decay, their steps grow slow and tottering, their hands tremble, their whole body becomes weak and powerless. Be patient and sympathetic with the infirmities of your parents, and strive to lighten the burden of their declining years. If they are poor, help them to the extent of your power, and take all possible care of them. Never omit praying for them every day, and even when they lie in the grave still think of them in your prayers, and have the holy sacrifice of the Mass offered up for them.
Pius the Ninth was the Head of the Church from 1846 to 1878. It is not very easy to get an audience of the Pope, for as he has the whole Church, he naturally is very busy. Nevertheless a poor little Roman boy once succeeded in making his way into the presence of his Holiness, and crying bitterly, handed him the following petition: "Holy Father! my mother is old and weak, and I am as yet too young to support her myself. Our unkind landlord will turn us out to-morrow morning, if we don't pay him the fifteen shillings which we owe him. If you will only be so kind as to lend them to me, I will pay you back when I am older." The Pope after reading this asked: "What is your name, my child!" "Paul, holy Father.” "And how old are you?" "Ten." "Is your father alive !" "No, he has been in Heaven these ten years." "And what does your mother do?" 'She sews and prays from morning to night." Pius the Ninth gave the little fellow three pounds, caused further inquiries to be made about him and his mother, and as he heard nothing but good of them, took them both under his especial protection.
A young girl, who had vainly sought for work, was at last reluctantly compelled to sell the little gold cross which she wore round her neck in order to get bread for her mother. She came home with tear dimmed eyes, but with a light heart, saying: "Cheer up, dear mother. Here is food for some days, and when they are past, I shall again have work." A few hours later this act of daughterly self-sacrifice came to the ears of Pius IX, and that same evening the girl received a sealed packet. As she opened it out fell a beautiful gold cross and three sovereigns, and inside were these words: "My dear child you were right to put your trust in God, Who never suffers filial piety to go unrewarded."
In the town of Konigsberg, in Prussia, a child of five years old brought her greatest treasure, her doll, to pledge in a pawn shop. “What do you want money for?" asked the pawnbroker. “Father is ill, and mother is crying because we have nothing to eat,” “I can't take the doll; it is of no use to me." The child began to sob bitterly, and the pawnbroker, moved by her tears, went to his till and took out a sovereign, which he gave her, saying : "There, take that to your father."
Always be obedient to your parents : obey them willingly, quickly and exactly. If I hear a boy or girl saying : "I can't do that, I won't do that, I shall only do so and so," then I say to myself: "that child is not pleasing to God." Children are utterly without knowledge or experience, and if they were left to themselves, and allowed to do as they liked, they would get into a great deal of mischief, and fall into many sins. Therefore God has set parents over children, to guide them in His name. And thus a child, who obeys his parents, is following God, he is led and guided by God's Hand. Such a child is blest; he is like the divine Child Jesus, the only- begotten Son of God, the King of Heaven and earth Who was subject to a poor maiden and to a simple carpenter.
In England, as you know, we do not work on Sunday, nor we do allow public amusements to go on. Once when the Prince of Wales happened to be in Paris on a Sunday, there was a race at which he much desired to be present. He sent a telegram to his mother to ask whether he might go, but she would not allow him to do so, and he could not disobey her. All the thoughtless world of Paris was touched and edified by this instance of filial piety.
God Himself promises to all children who honor their father and mother His blessing and protection in this life, and eternal salvation in the next. "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayst be long-lived upon the land, which the Lord thy God shall give thee." "Cursed be he who honoreth not his father and mother." Not very long ago, this Divine curse fell in a terrible manner upon the son and daughter of a noble Belgian family who by every means in their power embittered the lives of their parents. The son was kicked by a horse and became a cripple for life, the daughter was seized with a terrible illness, which left her totally blind. "But he who to his father pays no heed, Nor cherishes his mother ; he shall lead even here below a life of grief and shame, And when he dies shall burn in endless flame."
You should always be affectionate to your sisters and brothers ; never try to set yourself above them, do not be quarrelsome and unyielding, obstinate and sullen. Be polite and obliging to those who are older than yourself, patient and unselfish to the younger ones; look after these last so that no harm may happen to them, and that they may not do anything naughty, and always set them a good example. If a brother or sister does get into bad ways, then tell your parents, who will bring the culprit back into the right path.
You must never be rude to your servants, nor look down upon them, nor plague them with unnecessary work. Good servants are one of the greatest blessings which a house can possess.
If your grandfather and grandmother or any other relations live with you, always be courteous and respectful to them, and ready to perform for them any little service, and to do for them anything in your power.
And lastly always honor old people. "Rise up before the hoary head, and honor the person of the aged man." Even heathen nations, like the Greeks Romans, reverenced gray-haired men and women, and God sometimes rewards this honor and reverence in a remarkable manner even in this world.
A Swiss girl recently came into possession of a great inheritance in the following manner. In 1550 she was standing in a great crowd near Buckingham Palace, in order to see the ladies going to the drawing room, when an old gentleman was seized with giddiness, and fell unconscious to the ground. The girl hastened up to him, helped him to rise, took him into the nearest house, and did not leave him until he had quite recovered himself. Shortly after returning to her own country she received a letter from a London solicitor, saying that the old gentleman had died without heirs, and had bequeathed to her his whole fortune, amounting to fifty thousand pounds.
A friend of mine once related to me the following anecdote of his boyhood. “One day, when I was about twelve years old, and was coming back from a hard day's work in the fields under the hot summer's sun, I met my father on his way into the nearest town; “Rudolf. I wish you would take this parcel to town for me” said he, stopping short; "I intended to go myself, but I don't feel very well." I was tired, and therefore was not particularly pleased at having to walk the whole way to town, but I would not vex my father, so I took the parcel from him, and set off as fast as I could. When I got home again, our servants ran out to meet me, their eyes red with crying. "Your father has just died suddenly, " they said; "his last words were, “Rudolf has always been a good son to me.' "
Children, always remember to behave to your parents in such a manner that they may be able to say on their deathbeds: "John or Mary has always been a good, dutiful child to me." Then you will always think of the home of your childhood with joy and thankfulness.
"Where ends our straggling village-street,
Where runs the mill-stream flecked with foam,
Its porch embowered in roses sweet,
There stands my early childhood's home.
My father and my mother dwell
There still, and many a fervent prayer
Those faithful hearts that love me well
Have daily offered for me there.
My cradle there you yet may see,
My baby-lips there learned to pray,
'Mid fancies bright and careless glee
My happy boyhood passed away.
No castle strong, nor mansion fair,
No spot on earth where ever I roam,
Can with that lovely roof compare,
My father's house, my childhood's home."
taken from: The Dutiful Child, Imprimatur 1898
St. Veronica was born in a small village near Milan. Her parents were very poor but they were hard working and very pious. Because she was so poor, she never had the chance to learn how to read or write. But she learned from her devout parents how to pray. She prayed always and worked hard to help them.
Veronica wanted to become a nun, but she was very worried because she could not read or write. She used to rise at night to try to teach herself. One day Our Lady appeared to her and told her not to worry, because all she had to know were three things. The first was to be pure in intention, which meant to do all her duties only to please God. The second was to mind her own business and to hate grumbling and criticism. The third was to forget her own troubles in thinking of the sufferings of Jesus every day. Our Blessed Mother's holy advice made Veronica very happy and she tried to practice it.
After preparing herself for three years, Veronica was admitted into the convent of St. Martha of Milan. She was assigned to duty of begging for the daily food. Every moment of her life she tried to obey her superior, because she knew that if she obeyed her superior, she obeyed God.
St. Veronica died a saint at the age of fifty-two.
Let us, too, follow Our Lady's advice; that is, let us do everything for the love of Jesus, never complain, and remember each day that Jesus suffered and died for us.
Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year; Imprimatur.
A coloring picture of St. Veronica is below.
St. William came from a wealthy French family, but even as a young boy, he did not care to waste time fooling around or being idle. He spent much time praying. When he joined the Cistercian Order, he was such a good monk that the others were inspired just by looking at him. Yet he always considered himself the least among his brethren.
St. William had a great devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He practiced penance, but he was always very happy. When he was made the Abbot of his community, he remained as humble as ever. At the death of the Archbishop of Bourges, William was chosen to take his place. But so humble was he that he cried on receiving this new honor. Yet he accepted it and did even more penance than before, to convert sinners. Although he loved to be alone with God, he traveled all over his diocese to preach, to visit the poor and the sick, to console them and bring them to Christ. When he died he was buried in ashes, as he had asked.
St. William, ora pro nobis!
The more we read about the Saints, the more we find that they really became saints by praying, obeying and doing penance.
A coloring picture of St. William is below.
Just letting all of my customers know that I will be taking a break from making costumes from now until February 6th. My grandparents are in need of some help and I am going to stay with them and help them out. If you would like to order one of my costumes you can wait to purchase it until then or place your order and wait for delivery, which won't be until February 8th.
Thank you so much and God bless you all! Sarah
INSTRUCTION ON THE FESTIVAL OF EPIPHANY.
What festival is this?
THIS festival is set apart to solemnly commemorate the coming of the three wise men from the East, guided by a miraculous star which appear- ed to them, and directed them to Bethlehem, where they found Christ in the stable; here they honored and adored Him and offered gifts to Him.
Why is this day called Epi- phania Domini, or Apparition of the Lord?
Because the Church wishes to bring before our mind the three great events in the life of Christ, when He made known to man His divinity: the coming of the wise men from the East, through whom He revealed Himself to the Gentiles as the Son of God; His baptism, on which occasion His Divinity was made known to the Jews, and His first miracle at the marriage of Cana, by which He revealed Himself to His disciples.
In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings to-day with joy: Behold the Lord the Ruler is come; and the kingdom is in his hand, and power and dominion. (Mal iii.) Give to the king thy judgment, O God; and to the king's son thy justice. (Ps. Ixxi. i.) Glory be to the Father, &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O.God, who on this day by the leading of a star didst reveal Thine only begotten Son to the Gentiles; mercifully grant that we who know Thee now by faith may be brought to contemplate the beauty of Thy majesty. Thro' Jesus &c.
LESSON. (Isai. Ix. i 6.J Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and a mist the peoples; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thy eyes round about, and see; all these are gathered together, they are come to thee: thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side. Then shalt thou see, and abound, and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged, when the multitude of these shall be converted to thee, the strength of the Gentiles shall come to thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and Epha; all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord.
EXPLANATION. The Prophet Isaias, in this epistle, predicts that the light of the Lord, which is Christ, will rise over Jerusalem, the prototype of the Church, and that the Gentiles who knew nothing of the true God, would come to walk in that light which Christ, by His doctrine and. holy life, would cause to shine, and that numberless nations, from all parts of the world, would assemble as her children to adore the one true God. The fulfilment of this prophecy commenced with the adoration of the Magi, who are to be regarded as the first Christian converts of the Gentiles; the Church, therefore, very properly celebrates this
day with great solemnity. We ought also to share in the joy of the Church, because our ancestors were Gentiles, and like the three wise men were called to the true faith. Let us exclaim with Isaias: Give praise, O ye heavens, and rejoice, O earth, ye mountains give praise with jubilation: because the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy on his poor ones. (Isai. xlix. 13.)
GOSPEL. (Matt. ii. 1-12.) WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying: Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the East, and are come to adore him. And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he enquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda; for so it is written by the prophet: "And thou, Bethlehem, the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda, for out of thee shall come forth the ruler that shall rule my people Israel." Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; and sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently enquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore him. Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him. And opening their treasures, they offered him gifts ; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their own country.
What caused the three kings to undertake so tedious a journey?
A star which God permitted to appear in their land, at the sight of which they were inwardly enlightened, so that they at once recognized its signification. Let us learn from these kings who so readily responded to the inspiration of God, by immediately undertaking so difficult a journey, to follow without delay the promptings of divine grace, and from their zeal, and the fearlessness with which they asked Herod where the Messiah would be found, we should learn to seek and practice, without fear of men, whatever is necessary for our salvation.
Why did Herod fear, and all Jerusalem with him?
Because Herod, a proud, imperious, cruel, and therefore jealous king, was afraid, when he heard of a "new-born king", that he would be deprived of his throne, and punished for his vices. A bad conscience is always ill at ease, and has no peace. There is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord God. (Isai. Ivii. 21.) Jerusalem, that is, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, feared because many of them were attached to Herod, and others, especially the chief priests and the scribes, feared they would be punished for their secret crimes, when the Messiah would come, of whom they knew that He shall judge the poor with justice, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. (Isai. xi. 4.)
Why did Herod assemble the chief priests and the scribes?
Partly to find from them where the Messiah was to be born, partly and principally because God so directed it, that Herod and the chief priests , knowing the time and place of the Messiah's birth, would have no excuse for their infidelity. In the same way God often makes known to us, in the clearest manner the most wholesome truths, yet we heed them as little as did the Jews who had sufficient knowledge of the Messiah, indeed, even showed the way to the three kings, but made no use of it for themselves, and were therefore cast away.
Why did Herod say he wished to adore the child?
This he did out of wicked hypocrisy and dissimulation. He had no other intention than to put Jesus to death, and therefore affected piety to find out exactly the time and place of His birth. Thus do those murderers of souls who desire the fall of the innocent; they do not let their evil intentions be made known at once, and so they put on sheep's clothing, feign piety and devotion, until they creep into the heart from which, by flattery, and irony about religion and virtue, and by presents, they expel shame, the fear of God, and thus murder the soul.
Why did the kings fall down and adore Christ?
Because by the light of faith they saw in the infant at Bethlehem God Himself, and, notwithstanding the poverty of His surroundings, recognized in Him the expected Messiah, the new-born king of the Jews, and by prostrating themselves before Him paid Him the homage of their country.
Why did the kings offer gold, frankincense and myrrh?
Because it was the ancient Eastern custom, never to appear without presents before a prince or king, and the three kings, as the holy Fathers universally teach, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, desired by their presents to honor Christ as God, as king, and as man. Of this the venerable Bede writes: "The first of the kings, named Melchior, offered gold to Christ the Lord and king ; the second, named Caspar, frankincense to the divinity of Christ; and the third, Balthassar, myrrh, by which was expressed that Christ, the Son of man, must die."
How can we bring similar offerings to Christ?
We offer gold to Him, when we love Him with our whole heart, and out of love to Him, present Him our will by perfect obedience and continual self-denial, as our will is our most precious treasure. We also offer Him gold when we assist the poor by alms given in His name. We offer Him frankincense when we devoutly and ardently pray to Him, especially when we meditate upon His omnipotence, love, goodness, justice and mercy. We offer Him myrrh when we avoid carnal desires, mortify our evil inclinations and passions, and strive for purity of body and soul.
Why did the kings return by another way to their own country?
This they did by command of God. From the example of the three wise men we should learn to obey God rather than man, that we must be obedient to His directions, even if we do not understand them; so the three kings obeyed, although they may not have understood why God commanded them to flee from Herod. After we have found God we should walk in the path of virtue, and not return to our old sinful ways. "Our fatherland is paradise, heaven," writes St. Gregory. "We have departed from it by pride, disobedience, abuse of the senses, therefore it is needed that we return to it by obedience, contempt of the world, and by taming the desires of the flesh; thus we return to our own country by another road. By forbidden pleasures we have forfeited the joys of paradise, by penance we must regain them."
ASPIRATION. Give me, O divine Saviour, the faith of those Eastern kings. Enlighten my understanding with the light which enlightened them, and move my heart, that I may in future follow this light, and sincerely seek Thee who hast first sought me. Grant also, that I may really find Thee, with the wise men may adore Thee in spirit and in truth, and bring to Thee the gold of love, the frankincense of prayer, and the myrrh of penance and mortification, that, having here offered Thee the sacrifice of my faith, I may adore Thee in Thy eternal glory. Amen.
A Coloring Picture of the Visit of the Three Kings can be found here.
A printable version of this post can be found here.
Holy Mother Church
dedicates the month of December to the Nativity of Our Lord
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