My Catholic Faith: One Body in Christ: Communion of Saints

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My Catholic Faith

LXXIV. One Body in Christ: Communion of Saints

The illustration shows the continuous communication in the three portions of the Church spiritually united in Jesus Christ. The members on earth send up prayers to the angels and saints for themselves and for the poor souls in purgatory. They in turn are helped by the intercession of the saints and angels, and by the graces obtained thereby. The poor souls pray for the members on earth.

Why is the Catholic Church called the Mystical Body of Christ? –The Catholic Church is called the Mystical Body of Christ, because its members are united by supernatural bonds with one another and with Christ, their Head, thus resembling the members and head of the living human body.

The term “Mystical Body of Christ” is derived from St. Paul’s metaphor: “He is the head of his body, the Church” (Col. 1:18) . Again: “You are the body of Christ, member for member” (1 Cor. 12:27). “We, the many, are one body in Christ” (Rom. 12:5).
Jesus Himself used a similar symbol: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he shall be cast outside as the branch and wither” (John 15:5-6). Continue reading

Saint Scholastica

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Saint Scholastica

Abbess
(480-543)

Of this Saint but little is known on earth, save that she was the very pious younger sister of the great patriarch Saint Benedict, and that, under his direction, she founded and governed a numerous community near Monte Casino. Saint Gregory sums up her life by saying that she devoted herself to God from her childhood, and that her pure soul rose to God in the likeness of a dove, as if to show that her life had been enriched with the fullest gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Her brother was accustomed to visit her once every year, before Lent, and she could not be sated or wearied with the words of grace which flowed from his lips. On his last visit, after a day passed in spiritual conversation, the Saint, knowing that her end was near, said, My brother, leave me not, I pray you, this night, but discourse with me till dawn on the bliss of those who see God in heaven. Saint Benedict would not break his rule for the sake of natural affection, but his sister bowed her head and prayed, and there arose a storm so violent that Saint Benedict could not return to his monastery, and they passed the night as she had prayed, in heavenly conversation.

Three days later Saint Benedict saw in a vision the soul of Saint Scholastica going up in the likeness of a dove into heaven. Then he gave thanks to God for the graces He had given her and the glory which had crowned them. When she died, Saint Benedict as well as her spiritual daughters, and the monks sent by their patriarch to her conventual church, mingled their tears and prayed, Alas! alas! dearest mother, to whom dost thou leave us now? Pray for us to Jesus, to whom thou art gone. They then devoutly celebrated holy Mass, commending her soul to God; and her body was borne to Monte Casino, where her brother lay her in the tomb he had prepared for himself. It was written that they all mourned her many days. Finally Saint Benedict said, Weep not, my sisters and brothers; for assuredly Jesus has taken her, before us, to be our aid and defense against all our enemies, that we may remain standing on the evil day and be perfect in all things. Her death occurred in about the year 543.

Reflection. Our relatives must be loved in and for God; otherwise the purest affection becomes inordinate and is ill directed, because taken from Him.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

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Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

An Augustinian nun, stigmatic, and ecstatic, born 8 September, 1774, at Flamsche, near Coesfeld, in the Diocese of Münster, Westphalia, Germany; died at Dulmen, 9 February, 1824.

Her parents, both peasants, were very poor and pious. At twelve she was bound out to a farmer, and later was a seamstress for several years. Very delicate all the time, she was sent to study music, but finding the organist’s family very poor she gave them the little she had saved to enter a convent, and actually waited on them as a servant for several years. Moreover, she was at times so pressed for something to eat that her mother brought her bread at intervals, parts of which went to her master’s family. In her twenty-eighth year (1802) she entered the Augustinian convent at Agnetenberg, Dulmen. Here she was content to be regarded as the lowest in the house. Her zeal, however, disturbed the tepid sisters, who were puzzled and annoyed at her strange powers and her weak health, and notwithstanding her ecstasies in church, cell, or at work, treated her with some antipathy. Despite her excessive frailty, she discharged her duties cheerfully and faithfully. When Jerome Bonaparte closed the convent in 1812 she was compelled to find refuge in a poor widow’s house. In 1813 she became bedridden. She foresaw the downfall of Napoleon twelve years in advance, and counseled in a mysterious way the successor of St. Peter. Even in her childhood the supernatural was so ordinary to her that in her innocent ignorance she thought all other children enjoyed the same favours that she did, i.e. to converse familiarly with the Child Jesus, etc. She displayed a marvellous knowledge when the sick and poor came to the “bright little sister” seeking aid; she knew their diseases and prescribed remedies that did not fail. By nature she was quick and lively and easily moved to great sympathy by the sight of the sufferings of others. This feeling passed into her spiritual being with the result that she prayed and suffered much for the souls of Purgatory whom she often saw, and for the salvation of sinners whose miseries were known to her even when far away. Soon after she was confined to bed (1813) the stigmata came externally, even to the marks of the thorns. All this she unsuccessfully tried to conceal as she had concealed the crosses impressed upon her breast. Continue reading

Saint Apollonia

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Saint Apollonia, Virgin and Martyr

The holy Virgin who this day claims the homage of our devotion and praise, is offered to us by the Church of Alexandria. Apollonia is a Martyr of Christ; her name is celebrated and honoured throughout the whole world; and she comes to us on this ninth day of February, to add her own example to that which we have so recently had from her Sister Saints, Agathy and Dorothy; like them, she bids us fight courageously for heaven. To her, this present life was a thing of little value, and no sooner does she receive God’s inspiration to sacrifice it, than she does what her would-be executioners intended doing,–she throws herself into the flames prepared for her. It is no unusual thing, now-a-days, for men that are wearied of the trials, or afraid of the humiliations, of this world, to take away their own lives, and prefer suicide to the courageous performance of duty: but Apollonia’s motive for hastening her death by a moment’s anticipation was, to testify her horror of the apostacy that was proposed to her. This is not the only instance we meet with, during times of Persecution, of the Holy Spirit’s inspiring this lavish sacrifice, to saintly Virgins, who trembled for their faith or their virtue. It is true, such examples are rare; but they teach us, among other things, that our lives belong to God alone, and that we should be in a readiness of mind to give them to him, when and as He pleases to demand them of us. Continue reading