Saint of the day 20150304

04 March


SAINT CASIMIR 

Prince

(1458-1484)

        Casimir, the second son of Casimir III, King of Poland was born A. D. 1458. From the custody of a most virtuous mother, Elizabeth of Austria, he passed to the guardianship of a devoted master, the learned and pious John Dugloss. Thus animated from his earliest years by precept and example, his innocence and piety soon ripened into the practice of heroic virtue.

        At the age of twenty-five, sick of a lingering illness, he foretold the hour of his death, and chose to die a virgin rather than take the life and health which the doctors held out to him in the married state. In an atmosphere of luxury and magnificence the young prince had fasted, worn a hair-shirt, slept upon the bare earth, prayed by night, and watched for the opening of the church doors at dawn. He had become so tenderly devoted to the Passion of Our Lord that at Mass he seemed quite rapt out of himself, and his charity to the poor and afflicted knew no bounds. His love for our blessed Lady he expressed in a long and beautiful hymn, familiar to us in our own tongue.

        The miracles wrought by his body after death fill a volume. The blind saw, the lame walked, the sick were healed, a dead girl was raised to life. And once the Saint in glory led his countrymen to battle, and delivered them by a glorious victory from the schismatic Russian hosts.

        One hundred and twenty-two years after his death the Saint’s tomb in the cathedral of Vienna was opened, that the holy body might be transferred to the rich marble chapel where it now lies. The place was damp, and the very vault crumbled away in the hands of the workmen; yet the Saint’s body, wrapped in robes of silk, was found whole and incorrupt, and emitted a sweet fragrance, which filled the church and refreshed all who were present. Under his head was found his hymn to Our Lady, which he had had buried with him. The following night three young men saw a brilliant light issuing from the open tomb and streaming through the windows of the chapel.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]




St Casimir (1458 – 1484)

He was the second son of King Casimir IV of Poland. He assiduously cultivated the Christian virtues, especially chastity and generosity to the poor. Zealous in faith, he had a particular devotion to the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary. For several years, while his father was away in Lithuania (the Kings of Poland at this time were also Grand Dukes of Lithuania), he ruled Poland with great prudence and justice. He died of tuberculosis on 4 March 1484. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.

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Readings 20150304

http://ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/15_03_04.mp3


The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

THE SERVICE STATIONS OF THE CROSS

  “Such is the case with the Son of Man Who has come, not to be served by others, but to serve, to give His own life as a ransom for the many.” —Matthew 20:28  

Most people recognize they have an inner desire to serve others. Millions are serving the poor, the sick, children, the elderly, the homeless, etc. At Christmas time, many people are even more conscious of their need to serve.

However, service has a tendency to get out of hand. It feels good to serve, but it also hurts to serve. For example, Jeremiah was not only unappreciated for his service to God’s people; he was even “repaid with evil” (Jer 18:20). After Jesus challenged His apostles to become servants, He called them to become “the slaves of all” (Mt 20:27, our transl), even to giving their lives for others (Mt 20:28). Service gets out of our control and leads to a godly slavery and the cross of Calvary. 

Therefore, although we have an inner desire to serve, we also have a strong inner desire not to serve, to draw the line to limit service, to abort service before we have to suffer and die to ourselves.

Will you drink of the cup (Mt 20:22) of crucified service-slavery? Will you let God’s love crucify your flesh and selfishness? (see Gal 5:24) With Jesus, come to serve (Mt 20:28). Come to the cross.

  Prayer: Father, I will serve and not count the cost. Promise: “The Son of Man…has come, not to be served by others, but to serve, to give His own life as a Ransom for the many.” —Mt 20:28 Praise: As a teenager, St. Casimir lived his faith by mortification, even sleeping on the ground.   (You may wish to order our booklet, Scriptural Stations of the Cross.)  
  Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014. 
 
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements 


The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Who or what takes first place in your life? You and what you want to do with your life or God and what he desires for you? When personal goals and ambitions are at odds with God’s will, whose will prevails? The prophet Jeremiah spoke a word that was at odds with what the people wanted. The word which Jeremiah spoke was not his personal opinion but the divinely inspired word which God commanded him to speak. Jeremiah met stiff opposition and even threats to his life for speaking God’s word. Jeremiah pleaded with God when others plotted to not only silence him but to destroy him as well. Jesus also met stiff opposition from those who opposed his authority to speak and act in God’s name. Jesus prophesied that he would be rejected by the religious authorities in Jerusalem and be condemned to death by crucifixion – the most painful and humiliating death the Romans had devised for enemies who opposed their authority. 

Jesus called himself the “Son of Man” (Matthew 20:17) – a prophetic title for the Messiah which came from the Book of Daniel. Daniel was given a prophetic vision of a “Son of Man” who is given great authority and power to rule over the earth on behalf of God. But if Jesus is the Messiah and “Son of Man” prophesied by Daniel, why must he be rejected and killed? Did not God promise that his Anointed One would deliver his people from their oppression and establish a kingdom of peace and justice? The prophet Isaiah had foretold that it was God’s will that the “Suffering Servant” who is “God’s Chosen One” (Isaiah 42:1) must first make atonement for sins through his suffering and death (Isaiah 53:5-12) and then be raised to establish justice on the earth (Isaiah 42:4). Jesus paid the price for our redemption with his own blood. Jesus’ life did not end with death on the cross – he triumphed over the grave when he rose victorious on the third day. If we want to share in the Lord’s victory over sin and death then we will need to follow his way of the cross by renouncing my will for his will, and my way for his way of self-sacrificing love and holiness. 

Seeking privilege and power 
Right after Jesus had prophesied his impending death on the cross, the mother of James and John brought her sons before Jesus privately for a special request. She asked on their behalf for Jesus to grant them a special status among the disciples, namely to be placed in the highest position of privilege and power. Rulers placed their second-in-command at their right and left side. James and John were asking Jesus to place them above their fellow disciples. 

Don’t we often do the same? We want to get ahead and get the best position where we can be served first. Jesus responds by telling James and John that they do not understand what they are really asking for. The only way one can advance in God’s kingdom is by submitting one’s whole life in faith and obedience to God. Jesus surrendered his will to the will of his Father – he willingly chose the Father’s path to glory – a path that would lead to suffering and death, redemption and new life.

When the other ten disciples heard what James and John had done, they were very resentful and angry. How unfair for James and John to seek first place for themselves. Jesus called the twelve together and showed them the true and rightful purpose for seeking power and position – to serve the good of others with love and righteousness. Authority without love, a love that is oriented towards the good of others, easily becomes self-serving and brutish.

Jesus does the unthinkable – he reverses the order and values of the world’s way of thinking. If you want to be great then become a servant for others. If you want to be first, then became a slave rather than a master. How shocking and contradictory these words must have rang in the disciples ears and in our own ears as well! Power and position are tools that can be used to serve and advance one’s own interests or to serve the interests of others. In the ancient world servants and slaves had no personal choice – they were compelled to serve the interests of their masters and do whatever they were commanded.

Freedom and servanthood 
The model of servanthood which Jesus presents to his disciples is based on personal choice and freedom – the decision to put others first in my care and concern and the freedom to serve them with love and compassion rather than with fear or desire for reward. That is why the Apostle Paul summed up Jesus’ teaching on freedom and love with the exhortation, “For freedom Christ has set us free… only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh [for indulging in sinful and selfish desires], but through love be servants of one another” (Galatians 5:1,13). Jesus, the Lord and Master, sets himself as the example. He told his disciples that he “came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). True servanthood is neither demeaning nor oppressive because its motivating force is love rather than pride or fear. 

The Lord Jesus summed up his mission by telling his disciples that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). The shedding of his blood on the cross was the payment for our sins – a ransom that sets us free from slavery to wrong and hurtful desires and addictions. Jesus laid down his life for us. This death to self is the key that sets us free to offer our lives as a sacrifice of thanksgiving and love for the Lord and for the people he calls us to serve.

Can you drink my cup? 
The Lord Jesus asks each of us the same question he asked of James and John,  “Can you drink the cup that I am to drink”? The cup he had in mind was a cup of sacrificial service and death to self – even death on a cross. What kind of cupmight the Lord Jesus have in mind for each one of us who are his followers? For some disciples such a cup will entail physical suffering and the painful struggle of martyrdom – the readiness to die for one’s faith in Christ. But for many followers of Jesus Christ, it entails the long routine of the Christian life, with all its daily sacrifices, disappointments, set-backs, struggles, and temptations. A disciple must be ready to lay down his or her life in martyrdom for Christ and be ready to lay it down each and every day in the little and big sacrifices required as well. 

An early church father summed up Jesus’ teaching with the expression “to serve is to reign with Christ”. We share in God’s reign by laying down our lives in humble service of one another as Jesus did for our sake. Are you ready to lay down your life and to serve others as Jesus did? 

“Lord Jesus, make me a servant of love for your kingdom, that I may seek to serve rather than be served. Inflame my heart with your love that I may give generously and serve others joyfully for your sake.”

Saint of the day 20150303

03 March


SAINT CUNEGUNDES

Empress

(+1040)

        Saint Cunegundes was the daughter of Siegfried, the first Count of Luxemburg, and Hadeswige, his pious wife. They instilled into her from her cradle the most tender sentiments of piety, and married her to St. Henry, Duke of Bavaria, who, upon the death of the Emperor Otho III., was chosen king of the Romans, and crowned on the 6th of June, 1002. She was crowned at Paderborn on St. Laurence’s day. In the year 1014 she went with her husband to Rome, and received the imperial crown with him from the hands of Pope Benedict VIII. She had, by St. Henry’s consent, before her marriage made a vow of virginity. Calumniators afterwards made vile accusations against her, and the holy empress, to remove the scandal of such a slander, trusting in God to prove her innocence, walked over red-hot ploughshares without being hurt. The emperor condemned his too scrupulous fears and credulity, and from that time they lived in the strictest union of hearts, conspiring to promote in everything God’s honor and the advancement of piety.

        Going once to make a retreat in Hesse, she fell dangerously ill, and made a vow to found a monastery, if she recovered, at Kaffungen, near Cassel, in the diocese of Paderborn, which she executed in a stately manner, and gave it to nuns of the Order of St. Benedict. Before it was finished St. Henry died, in 1024. She earnestly recommended his soul to the prayers of others, especially to her blear nuns, and expressed her longing desire of joining them. She had already exhausted her treasures in founding bishoprics and monasteries, and in relieving the poor, and she had therefore little left now to give. But still thirsting to embrace perfect evangelical poverty, and to renounce all to serve God without obstacle, she assembled a great number of prelates to the dedication of her church of Kaffungen on the anniversary day of her husband’s death, 1025; and after the gospel was sung at Mass she offered on the altar a piece of the true cross, and then, putting off her imperial robes, clothed herself with a poor habit; her hair was cut off, and the bishop put on her a veil, and a ring as a pledge of her fidelity to her heavenly Spouse.

        After she was consecrated to God in religion, she seemed entirely to forget that she had been empress, and behaved as the last in the house, being persuaded that she was 30 before God. She prayed and read much, worked with her hands, and took a singular pleasure in visiting and comforting the sick.

        Thus she passed the last fifteen years of her life. Her mortifications at length reduced her to a very weak condition, and brought on her last sickness. Perceiving that they were preparing a cloth fringed with gold to cover her corpse after her death, she changed color and ordered it to be taken away; nor could she be at rest till she was promised she should be buried as a poor religious in her habit. She died on the 3d of March, 1040. Her body was carried to Bamberg and buried near that of her husband. She was solemnly canonized by Innocent III. in 1200.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]




Other saints: St Katharine Drexel (1858 – 1955)

She was born in Philadelphia to a rich banking family. In 1889, at the age of 33, she founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, dedicated to mission work among Indians and black people. (A survey of the situation in the United States at this time described “250,000 Indians neglected, if not practically abandoned, and over nine million of negroes still struggling through the aftermath of slavery”). She spent her entire life and her entire fortune to this work, opening schools, founding a university, and funding many chapels, convents and monasteries. She died on 3 March 1955, by which time there were more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the United States. See the article in Wikipedia. The Catholic Encyclopaedia has articles on her father and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

Other saints: St Vignal (c.460 – 532)

Vignal is a patois corruption of the Latin Guingualeus, itself a translation of the French Guénolé or Guignole, from the Anglo-Saxon Winwaloe / Winwallus / Winwalloc. There are some fifty variants of his name, which survives in the dedication of some churches in Brittany, Cornwall and Monmouthshire.
  St Vignal was born about the year 460, possibly in Plouguin, to Fracan, a prince of Dumnonia [Brittany] and his wife Gwen Teirbron [“Gwen the Triple-Breasted”]. He became the first Abbot founder of the Abbey of Landévennec, just south of Brest, and died there on 3 March 532.
  He is supposed to have assisted St Sampson and St Magloire in evangelising the Bailiwick of Guernsey, which includes Alderney, in the 6th century. Some relics were preserved at Montreuil-sur-Mer and in St Peter’s, Ghent, and until the 19th century his tomb was visible in the church at Landévennec.
Portsmouth Ordo

You will see these texts in a more readable format and with a better layout (especially for verse) if you use the free Catholic Calendar app from Universalis.

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Catholic Calendar is free.


You may also be interested in the full Universalis app.

  • The official Grail translation of the Psalms.
  • The readings at Mass are in both the Jerusalem Bible/Grail and the NAB translations.
  • The “Mass Today” page contains the exact liturgy for today all in one place, both the Order of Mass and the prayers, antiphons and readings.
  • A perpetual liturgical calendar covering all years.
  • Local liturgical calendars for over 20 countries and dioceses.
  • A choice of views: either scrolling like a web page or page-turning like an e-book.
  • Access to all texts for all dates, past, present and future. 
  • Complete independence from the Internet. Everything is stored within the application itself.

AppStore link

Universalis costs £9.99 / $13.99 / €12.99 from the App Store.

Alternatively you can pay nothing to start with and then subscribe for £0.69 / $0.99 / €0.89 per month. To do this, get the free Catholic Calendar app and press the “Try or buy” button in the calendar.


Readings 20150303

http://ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/15_03_03.mp3


The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

THE DELUGE OF GUILT

  “Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord.” —Isaiah 1:18 

In our secular humanistic culture, many people, even Christians, have unformed and deformed consciences. They have not been “trained by practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb 5:14). “One sees in them men without conscience, without loyalty, without affection, without pity” (Rm 1:31). These people commit many serious sins, but do not feel guilty because they are so spiritually blinded and immature. 

However, this condition of serious sin, minimal guilt, and undeveloped consciences will not last indefinitely. Reality finally sets in, and they come to realize that they have sinned grievously. At this point, the guilt that has been dammed up for years floods them. They feel more guilty in one week than they have in their whole lives. They feel doomed, hopeless, and hell-bound, when previously they hardly even thought about the existence of hell. Overwhelmed and nearly crushed by guilt (see Hos 14:2), they cry out to the Lord. He forgives, frees, and heals them by assuring them: “Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool” (Is 1:18). 

There is hope and healing for the guilt-ridden. On Calvary, Jesus took our sins and guilt on Himself (Is 53:5-6). Therefore, we can be thoroughly washed from guilt and cleansed from sin (Ps 51:4). Thank You, Jesus.

  Prayer: Father, may I go to Confession, be healed, and be totally freed from guilt this week. Promise:“The greatest among you will be the one who serves the rest. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” —Mt 23:11-12 Praise: St. Katharine gave away millions to the poor and gave her life to Jesus as a religious sister.    
  Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014. 
 
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements 


The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Who doesn’t desire the praise and respect of others? We want others to see us at our best with all of our strengths and achievements – rather than at our worst with all of our faults and shortcomings. God sees us as we truly are – sinners and beggars always in need of his mercy, help, and guidance.

The prophet Isaiah warned both the rulers and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah to humbly listen and submit to God’s teaching so they could learn to do good and to cease from evil (Isaiah 110,17). Jesus warned the scribes and Pharisees, the teachers and rulers of Israel, to teach and serve their people with humility and sincerity rather than with pride and self-promotion. They went to great lengths to draw attention to their religious status and practices. In a way they wanted to be good models of observant Jews. “See how well we observe all the ritual rules and regulations of our religion!” In their misguided zeal for religion they sought recognition and honor for themselves rather than for God. They made the practice of their faith a burden rather than a joy for the people they were supposed to serve.

True respect for God inclines us to humble ourselves and to submit to his wisdom and guidance. We cannot be taught by God unless we first learn to listen to his word and then obey his instruction.

One Father and Teacher 
Was Jesus against calling anyone a rabbi, the Jewish title for a teacher of God’s word (Matthew 23:7-8), or a father? The law of Moses in Scripture specifically instructed all fathers to be teachers and instructors for their children to help them understand and obey God’s instructions (Deuteronomy 6:7)? Why did Jesus rebuke the scribes and Pharisees, the religious authorities of the Jewish people, in the presence of his disciples? Jesus wanted to warn both his own disciples and the religious leaders about the temptation to seek honors and titles that draw attention to ourselves in place of God and his word. Pride tempts us to put ourselves first above others.

The Scriptures give ample warning about the danger of self-seeking pride: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall(Proverbs 16:18). God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble(James 4:6; Proverbs 3:24).

Origen (185-254 AD), an early Christian teacher and bible scholar, reminds those who teach and lead to remember that they are first and foremost “disciples” and “servants” who sit at the feet of their Master and Teacher the Lord Jesus Christ:

“You have one teacher, and you are all brothers to each other…Whoever ministers with the divine word does not put himself forward to be called teacher, for he knows that when he performs well it is Christ who is within him. He should only call himself servant according to the command of Christ, saying,Whoever is greater among you, let him be the servant of all.”

True humility 
Respect for God and for his ways inclines us to humility and to simplicity of heart – the willing readiness to seek the one true good who is God himself. What is the nature of true humility and why should we embrace it as essential for our lives? We can easily mistake humility as something demeaning or harmful to our sense of well-being and feeling good about ourselves. True humility is not feeling bad about yourself, or having a low opinion of yourself, or thinking of yourself as inferior to all others. True humility frees us from preoccupation with ourselves, whereas a low self-opinion tends to focus our attention on ourselves. Humility is truth in self-understanding and truth in action. Viewing ourselves honestly, with sober judgment, means seeing ourselves the way God sees us (Psalm 139:1-4).

A humble person makes a realistic assessment of oneself without illusion or pretense to be something one is not. A truly humble person regards oneself neither smaller nor larger than one truly is. True humility frees us to be ourselves as God regards us and to avoid falling into despair and pride. A humble person does not want to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others. Such a person is not swayed by accidentals, such as fame, reputation, success, or failure. Do you know the joy of Christ-like humility and simplicity of heart?

Humility is the queen or foundation of all the other virtues because it enables us to see and judge correctly, the way God sees. Humility helps us to be teachable so we can acquire true knowledge, wisdom, and an honest view of reality. It directs our energy, zeal, and will to give ourselves to something greater than ourselves. Humility frees us to love and serve others willingly and selflessly, for their own sake, rather than for our own. Paul the Apostle gives us the greatest example and model of humility in the person of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and… who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:7-8). Do you want to be a servant as Jesus loved and served others? The Lord Jesus gives us his heart – the heart of a servant who seeks the good of others and puts their interests first in his care and concern for them.

“Lord Jesus, you became a servant for my sake to set me free from the tyranny of selfish pride and self-concern. Teach me to be humble as you are humble and to love others generously with selfless service and kindness.”