Saints Perpetua and Felicitas

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Saints Perpetua and Felicitas, Martyrs

The real Feast of these two illustrious heroines of the Faith is to-morrow, which is the anniversary of their martyrdom and triumph; but the memory of the Angel of the Schools, St. Thomas of Aquin, shines so brightly on the seventh of March, that it almost eclipses the two glorious stars of Africa. In consequence of this, the Holy See allows certain Churches to anticipate their Feast, and keep it today. We take advantage of this permission, and at once offer to the Christian reader the glorious spectacle, of which Carthage was the scene, in the year 203. Nothing could give us a clearer idea of that spirit of the Gospel, according to which we are now studying to conform our whole life. Here are two women, two mothers; God asks great sacrifices from them; he asks them to give him their lives, nay, more than their lives; and they obey with that simplicity and devotedness which made Abraham merit to be the Father of Believers. Continue reading

The Mystery of Lent

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The Mystery of Lent

Lent is filled with mystery. During the Septuagesima Time the number seventy recalls to our minds the seventy years of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, where, after having purified themselves from their sins by penance, they returned again to their country and to their city of Jerusalem, then they celebrated their Easter. Now the holy Church, our Mother, brings before our minds the severe and mysterious number forty, that number which, as St Jerome says, is always filled with self-denial and with penance (In Ezech., c. xxix). When the race became corrupt, God wiped out the sin of man by the rain of forty days and forty nights upon the world, but after forty days Noah opened a window in the ark and found the water gone from the earth. When the Hebrews were called from the land of Egypt for forty years they fasted on manna, wandering in the desert, before they came to the promised land. When Moses went up the Mount of Sinai, for forty days and nights he fasted from food before he received the law graven on tablets of stone. When Elias came near to God, on Horeb, for forty days and nights he fasted (St. Augustine Sermon). Thus these two, the greatest men of old, whom the hand of the Lord hath raised up to do His mighty will, Moses on Mount Sinai, Elias on Mount Horeb, what do they figure but the law and the prophecy of the Old Testament pointing to the fast of forty days and nights of our Lord in the desert? Like shadowy forms they prefigured the Son of God, Who first established Lent when the Christians, His disciples, fast, following the example of our Master, when they keep the Lenten Services of the Church. Continue reading

Ash Wednesday

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Ash Wednesday
by Rev. James Luke Meagher, 1883

The fast of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts till Easter Sunday. During this time there are forty-six days, but as we do not fast on the six Sundays falling in this time, the fast lasts for forty days. For that reason it is called the forty days of Lent. In the Latin language of the Church it is called the Quadragesima, that is, forty. St. Peter, the first Pope, instituted the forty days of Lent. During the forty-six days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, we are to spend the time in fasting and in penance for our sins, building up the temple of the Lord within our hearts, after having come forth from the Babylon of this world by the rites and the services of the Septuagesima season. And as of old we read that the Jews, after having been delivered from their captivity in Babylon, spent forty-six years in building their temple in place of the grand edifice raised by Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians, thus must we rebuild the temple of the Holy Ghost, built by God at the moment of our baptism, but destroyed by the sins of the past year. Again in the Old Testament the tenth part of all the substance of the Jews was given to the Lord (Exod. xxli. 29). Thus we must give him the tenth part of our time while on this earth. For forty days we fast, but taking out the Sundays of Lent, when there is no fast, it leaves thirty-six days, nearly the tenth part of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. According to Pope Gregory from the first Sunday of Lent to Easter, there are six weeks, making forty-two days, and when we take from Lent the six Sundays during which we do not fast, we have left thirty-six days, about the tenth part of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. Continue reading

DEVOTION TO THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS 

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DEVOTION TO THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS

This ancient and venerable Catholic practice is rooted in the representation of the face of Christ said to have been left on the towel or veil used by a holy woman thought to be named, Veronica. An Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was established in Tours, France, 1884; its members make reparation for the blasphemies hurled at Christ. Since St. Therese’s devotion to the Holy Face has become known, this devotion has spread worldwide.

In addition, a devout and pious nun, Sr. Pierina, who died in 1945, was given many visions through Our Blessed Lady who appeared to her, as did Our Lord Jesus. They urged her to make reparation for the many insults Jesus suffered in His Passion, such as to be slapped, spit upon and kissed by Judas, as well as now being dishonored in many ways in the Blessed Sacrament by neglect, sacrileges, and profanations.

She was given a medal which on one side bore a replica of the Holy Shroud and the inscription: “Illumina, Domine, vultum tuum super nos.” [O Lord, the light of Thy countenance shine upon us.] On the reverse side was a radiant host with the words: “Mane nobiscum, Domine.” [Stay with us, O Lord.] After great difficulties, Sr. Pierina obtained permission to have the medal cast. Even the expenses for the casting were miraculously met when she found on her desk an envelope with the exact amount of the bill—–11,200 lire.

The Evil Spirit showed his chagrin and rage at the medals by flinging them down and burning the pictures of the Sacred Face, and beating the nun savagely.

In 1940, when the Second World War had the world in turmoil, Italy saw a wide distribution of the medal: soldiers, sailors and pilots were provided with the replica of the Holy Face since the medal was already famous for its miracles and countless spiritual and temporal favors.

In Our Blessed Mother’s own word, the medal is a weapon for defense, a shield for courage, a token of love and mercy and which her Divine Son wished to give the world in these troubled days of lust and hatred for God and His Church. Devilish snares have been set to rob the hearts of men of their faith while evil spreads the world over. Genuine apostles are few. A Divine remedy to all these evils will be the Adorable Face of her Son, Jesus.

Whoever wears this medal and, if possible, pays a visit to the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesday in a spirit of reparation for the outrages received by the Holy Face of Our Blessed Savior during His Passion and those bestowed on Him every day in the Sacrament of His Divine Love, will be granted the gift of a strong Faith and the grace to fly to its defense, conquering if need be, all exterior and interior difficulties. Moreover, they are promised a happy death with special assistance of Christ Himself.

The very first medal of the Holy Face was offered to our glorious Pontiff, Pius XII; then the whole world became acquainted with this special object of holy favors and devotion. No soldier taken as a prisoner of war, and who wore the medal was ever executed. Our Blessed Lord requested that a special feast be instituted to honor His Holy Face on Shrove Tuesday. Pope St. Pius XII obeyed and had this day set aside to honor the Holy Face in 1958.