The Seven Machabees, Brothers, with Their Mother

Image may contain: one or more people

The Seven Machabees, Brothers, with Their Mother, Martyrs

THE SEVEN brothers, called Machabees, are holy Jewish martyrs who suffered death in the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, the impious king of Syria. The Jews returned from the Babylonish captivity in the first year of the reign of Cyrus, 1 and were allowed to form themselves into a republic, to govern themselves by their own laws, and live according to their own religion. Their privileges were much extended by Artaxerxes Longimanus; but their liberty was limited and dependant, and they lived in a certain degree of subjection to the Persian kings, and shared the fate of that empire under Alexander the Great, and after his death under the Seleucidæ, kinga of Syria. Antiochus III. (the sixth of these kings) was complimented with the surname of The Great, on account of his conquests in Asia Minor, and his reduction of Media and Persia; though these two latter provinces soon after submitted themselves again to the Parthians. But this prince met afterwards with great disgraces, especially in his war with the Romans, who curtailed his empire, taking from him all his dominions which lay west of Mount Taurus, a good part of which they bestowed on Eumenes. 2 He was likewise obliged to give up to them all his armed galleys, and all his elephants, to pay to them for twelve years the annual tribute of one thousand talents (or two hundred and fifty-eight thousand three hundred and thirty-three pounds sterling), and one hundred and forty thousand modii of the best wheat (or thirty-five thousand English bushels), and to send to Rome twenty hostages, of which his son Antiochus was to be one. In Elymais, a province of Persia, between Media and the Persian gulf, which, from the death of Alexander, was governed by its own kings, there stood two famous rich temples, the one of Diana, the other of Jupiter Belus. Antiochus, after his fall, being in extreme want of money, marched to Elymais, and in the night plundered this temple of Belus; but the inhabitants pursued and slew him, and recovered the treasure. 3 The Jews had often done important services to this king, and to several of his predecessors, particularly in the reign of his father, Seleucus II. When a numerous army of Gauls or Galatians had invaded Babylonia, and the Syrians and Macedonians had not courage to meet them in the field, six thousand Jews boldly attacked, and, by the divine assistance, defeated and repulsed them, having slain a hundred and twenty thousand of them. 4 1 Continue reading

The Month of the Immaculate Heart

Image may contain: 1 person

The Month of the Immaculate Heart

O Mary Immaculate, inflame our hearts with one ray of the burning love of thy pure heart.

Saturdays and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The month of August (Overview – Calendar) is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart. Since the 16th-century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of August is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The physical heart of Mary is venerated (and not adored as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is) because it is united to her person and is the seat of her love (especially for her divine Son), virtue, and inner life. Such devotion is an incentive to a similar love and virtue.

This devotion has received new emphasis in this century from the visions given to Lucy Dos Santos, oldest of the visionaries of Fatima, in her convent in Tuy, in Spain, in 1925 and 1926. In the visions, Our Lady asked for the practice of the Five First Saturdays to help make amends for the offenses committed against her heart by the blasphemies and ingratitude of men. The practice parallels the devotion of the Nine First Fridays in honor of the Sacred Heart.

On October 31, 1942, Pope Pius XII made a solemn Act of Consecration of the Church and the whole world to the Immaculate Heart. Let us remember this devotion year-round, but particularly through the month of August.

Excerpted from The Prayer Book by Reverend John P. O’Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A.