St. Catherine of Sienna

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St. Catherine of Sienna, Virgin

Sienna, in the Tuscan district, is the favored place where, in 1347, St. Catherine first saw the light of this world. Her life from her childhood, was a continual exercise of the choicest virtues, but at the same time, a perpetual communication of divine grace. When scarcely five years of age she was called “the little Saint” on account of her quietness and her love of prayer. Already at that time she greeted the Virgin Mother upon every step of the staircase with the words of the Angels: “Ave Maria!” When six years old, our Lord appeared to her with the Apostles Peter, Paul and John, together with St. Dominic, looked tenderly at her and gave His blessing. This was the beginning of many and extraordinary visions with which the holy virgin was graced until her death. Her heart from this time was filled with intense love of God. She read most carefully the lives of the Saints, and endeavored to follow their example. In her seventh year she consecrated her virginity to God. Her only pleasure was solitude, prayer, work and self-immolation. Persuaded by her sister, she once began to pay more attention to her dresses and to curl her hair after the prevailing fashion of the world. This lasted, however, only a short while, for she became aware during her prayers how much God was displeased with such vanities and how long her pious sister would have to suffer on account of it in purgatory: hence she refrained from it and repented of her folly as long as she lived. Her parents desired her to marry; but she replied: “I am already wedded to a most noble spouse and shall never bestow my love on a human being;” and cutting off her hair she covered her head with a veil. To drive all thoughts of entering a convent out of her mind, her parents burdened her with the entire care of the house, as well as the hardest work, so that no leisure was left her, either for prayer, or devotional reading. This was at first a sore trial to her, but she was told by Christ to build a cell in her heart, where, in the midst of her employments she might pray, namely, by offering her work to God and by pious ejaculations. Following these directions of Christ, her soul became filled with sweet consolation, and she manifested, under the greatest drudgery, a most extraordinary happiness. This caused her parents to change their resolution, and they permitted her to live according to her vocation. Hence, she now began to live in a more retired manner, and with more austerity than before.  Continue reading

The Baltimore Catechism: The Unity and Trinity of God

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The Baltimore Catechism
Revised Edition (1941)

Lesson 3

The Unity and Trinity of God

24. Is there only one God?
Yes, there is only one God.

I am the Lord, and there is none else: there is no God besides me. (Isaiah 45:5)

25. How many Persons are there in God?
In God there are three Divine Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Going, therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19)

26. Is the Father God?
The Father is God and the first Person of the Blessed Trinity.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 1:3)

27. Is the Son God?
The Son is God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

28. Is the Holy Ghost God?
The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (I Corinthians 3:16)

29. What do we mean by the Blessed Trinity?
By the Blessed Trinity we mean, one and the same God in three Divine Persons.

Going, therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19)

30. Are the three Divine Persons really distinct from one another?
The three Divine Persons are really distinct from one another.

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove, upon him. And a voice came from heaven: “Thou art my beloved Son. In thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)

31. Are the three Divine Persons perfectly equal to one another?
The three Divine Persons are perfectly equal to one another, because all are one and the same God.

I and the Father are one. (John 10:30)

32. How are the three Divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, one and the same God?
The three Divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God because all have one and the same Divine nature.

33. Can we fully understand how the three Divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God?
We cannot fully understand how the three Divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God because this is a supernatural mystery.

34. What is a supernatural mystery?
A supernatural mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand, but which we firmly believe because we have God’s word for it.

Saint Peter of Verona

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Saint Peter of Verona

Dominican Priest and Martyr
(1206-1252)

In 1205 the glorious martyr Peter was born at Verona of Manichean parents; there he nonetheless attended a Catholic school. One day his Manichean uncle asked what he learnt there. The Creed, answered Peter: I believe in God, Creator of heaven and earth. No arguments could shake his faith, and at the age of sixteen he received the habit from Saint Dominic himself at Bologna.

After his ordination, he preached to the heretics of Lombardy and converted multitudes. Saint Peter was constantly obliged to dispute with heretics, and although he was able to confound them, still the devil took occasion thereby to tempt him one day against faith. Instantly he had recourse to prayer before an image of Our Lady, and heard a voice saying to him the words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith may not fail; and thou shalt confirm thy brethren in it. (Luke 22:32)

He often conversed with the Saints, and one day the martyred virgins Catherine, Agnes and Cecilia appeared to him and conferred with him. A passing religious, hearing their feminine voices, accused him to their Superior, who without hesitation or questions, exiled him to a convent where no preaching was being done. Saint Peter submitted humbly, but complained in prayer to Jesus crucified that He was abandoning him to his bad reputation. The crucifix spoke: And I, Peter, was I too not innocent? Learn from Me to suffer the greatest sorrows with joy. Eventually his innocence was brought to light; for his part, he had learned in his solitude to love humiliation and confusion.

Again engaged in preaching, miracles accompanied his exhortations. He traveled all over Italy and became famous. Once when preaching to a vast crowd under the burning sun, the heretics defied him to procure shade. He prayed, and a cloud overshadowed the audience.

Every day at the elevation of the Mass he prayed, Grant, Lord, that I may die for Thee, who for me didst die. His prayer was answered. His enemies, confounded by him, sought his life. Two of them attacked him in 1252 on the road to Milan and struck his head with an axe. Saint Peter fell, commended himself to God, dipped his finger in his own blood, and wrote on the ground, I believe in God, Creator of heaven and earth. He was then stabbed to death. The brother religious accompanying him also suffered death. The details of the crime were made known by Saint Peter’s murderer, named Carino, who after fleeing from justice confessed his crime, asking for a penance from the Dominican Fathers. He took the habit, and according to their testimony lived the life of a saint and persevered to the end. Miracles at Saint Peter’s tomb and elsewhere converted a great many heretics.

Reflection. From his boyhood Saint Peter boldly professed his faith among heretics. He spent his life in preaching the Faith to them and received the glorious and long-desired crown of martyrdom at their hands. Are we, too, courageous, firm, zealous, full of prayer for their conversion, and unflinching in our profession of faith?

INSTRUCTION ON THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER

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INSTRUCTION ON THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER

The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

The Introit of this days Mass is a canticle of praise and thanks:

INTROIT Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle alleluia; because the Lord hath done wonderful things, alleluia; he hath revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. His right hand hath wrought for him salvation; and his arm is holy. (Ps. XCII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, who makest the minds of the faithful to be of one will: grant unto Thy people to love what Thou commandest, and to desire what thou dost promise; that amidst the various changes of the world our hearts may there be fixed where true joys abide. Through etc.

EPISTLE (James I. 17‑21.) Dearly beloved, Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration. For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth, that we might be some beginning of his creatures. You know, my dearest brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to anger: for the anger of man worketh not the justice of God. Wherefore, casting away all uncleanness, and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls. Continue reading

Saint Louis Mary de Montfort

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Saint Louis Mary de Montfort

Missionary in France and Founder
(1673-1716)

One of the great Saints whose mission appears verified and on the increase as the years pass and as we find ourselves amid the latter times, Saint Louis Mary de Montfort can now be recognized as a prophet and an oracle of God for the sanctification of the Church which must resist the foretold evils of this period. Author of a Prophetic Prayer Requesting the Apostles of the Latter Times, he is also the ardent apostle of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin and the Saint of love for the Cross of the Lord, as we see from his Letter to the Friends of the Cross and his entire life of missionary activity.

Born at Montfort-la-Cane near Saint-Malo in 1673, he was the oldest of eight children. He studied with the Jesuits and at the age of nineteen went to Paris to enter the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice. His poverty was aided by the charity of benefactors, and after five years, during which he edified the Seminary, he was ordained a priest in 1700.

Destined to be the target of a siege of crosses, he began to experience the first ones when he went to Nantes to aid a good priest of that diocese and found a serious infestation of Jansenism there. He returned to Paris afterwards to assist one of his sisters to enter religion there, then went to Poitiers, where he became chaplain of a hospital for the poor. His zeal transformed the sick of that hospital into a community of saints; and there he established the kernel of his future Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom. He found many other channels also open to his fervor.

Saint Louis Mary at a given moment desired to go as a missionary to New France, but the Holy Father Clement XI committed to him the vast mission of preaching in his own homeland under the bishops of France. He was commissioned to teach Christian doctrine to the children and the people, and reawaken the spirit of Christianity through the renewal of their baptismal vows. At Dinan he joined a group of missionaries and taught catechism, for which mission he had a special attraction. He could not neglect the poor, and organized a group of virtuous ladies there to take care of them.

He continued preaching in the west of France, placing before the eyes of all listeners the very source of our Redemption through the erection of large crucifixes and Calvaries. He became the target of calumny for the angry Jansenists against whose erroneous notions he preached; certain young libertines also grew irritated against him. He was poisoned; though this did not kill him, his health was seriously undermined. His enemies succeeded in influencing the bishop of Nantes to cancel the benediction of a large Calvary which had been under construction by the people for a year. The bishop required the demolition of the man-made hill which they had labored to prepare for it, transporting stones and dirt in wheelbarrows. Saint Louis Mary’s enemies had told him it contained secret chambers for conspirators and evil-doers.

With patience Father de Montfort bore all his trials: Blessed be God; I have not sought my glory but only that of God; I hope to receive the same reward as I would had I succeeded. He was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic and taught the Holy Rosary everywhere, converting many heretics. Before he died at the age of forty-three in April of 1716, he had organized his Company of Mary at Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, where he was buried and where his remains are still in profound veneration.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 15