Second Council of Lyons (1274)

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Second Council of Lyons (1274)

The Second Council of Lyons was one of the most largely attended of conciliar assemblies, there being present five hundred bishops, sixty abbots, more than a thousand prelates or procurators. Gregory X, who presided, had been a canon of Lyons; Peter of Tarentaise, who assisted as Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, had been Archbishop of Lyons. It opened 7 May, 1274, in the church of St. John. There were five other sessions (18 May, 7 June, 6 July, 16 July, 17 July). At the second session Gregory X owing to the excessive numbers rejected the proxies of chapters, abbots, and unmitred priors, except those who had been summoned by name. Among those who attended the council were James I, King of Aragon, the ambassadors of the Kings of France and England, the ambassadors of the Emperor Michael Palaeologus and the Greek clergy, the ambassadors of the Khan of the Tatars. The conquest of the Holy Land and the union of the Churches were the two ideas for the realization of which Gregory X had convoked the council. Continue reading

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

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Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is a title which originated with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart founded by Fr. J Chevalier in 1854 at Issoudun/France. This religious congregation was founded to revive and regenerate the Christian faith, thanks to a special devotion to the Sacred Heart and to Our Lady. The spirituality of this group is based on a strong faith in the love of God the Father which revealed itself in the Heart of Jesus. This Christocentric orientation is linked with a lively devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. It is said in the Rule of Life of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart: “Since Mary was so intimately related to the mystery of her Son’s heart, we pray to her as did Fr. Chevalier, and we invoke her under the title of Our Lady of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. She knew of the inexhaustible riches of Christ; she was totally filled with his love. She leads us to him and directs us to his heart, which is the source of love, accepting all and everybody, and the source from which a new world will arise.” (12/8/1984 #18)
The Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Heart of Jesus (Hiltrup), founded in 1900, share a similar spirituality and also use the title of Our Lady of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (see Rule of Life, 3/25/1984 #66). These missionary congregations promoted the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and were instrumental for its worldwide dissemination. Maybe even more important for the rapid and worldwide expansion of this title was the 1864 founded archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Established first in the diocese of Bourges, the archconfraternity was successively erected in Rome(1873 for the whole church), New York (Watertown, 1877), Holland (Sittard, 1873), Belgium (Averbode, 1885), Colombia (Bogota, 1912), and Canada (Quebec, 1912). Over time, hundreds of other confraternities and archconfraternities were affiliated with the archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and even today several million people claim membership in this organization whose goal it is to extol the Heart of Jesus through Mary.
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Mary belongs to the more generic veneration given to the heart of Mary which originated in the ninth century and culminated with St. John Eudes (1601-1680), and Catherine Labour?(Miraculous Medal, 1830), and more recently with the Fatima message regarding the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Prayer to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Remember, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, what ineffable power thy divine Son hath given thee over His own adorable Heart. Full of trust in thy merits, we come before thee and beg thy protection. O heavenly Treasurer of the Heart of Jesus, that Heart which is the inexhaustible source of all graces, which thou mayest open to us at thy good pleasure, in order that from it may flow forth upon mankind the riches of love and mercy, light and salvation, that are contained therein; grant unto us, we beseech thee, the favors which we seek . . . We can never, never be refused by thee, and since thou art our Mother, O our Lady of the Sacred Heart, graciously hear our prayers and grant our request. Amen.

Apparition of Saint Michael the Archangel

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Apparition of Saint Michael the Archangel

Monte Gargano, Italy (492)

It is evident from Holy Scripture that God is pleased to make frequent use of the ministry of the heavenly spirits in the dispensations of His providence in this world. The Angels are all pure spirits; by a property of their nature they are immortal, as is every spirit. They have the power of moving or conveying themselves at will from place to place, and such is their activity that it is not easy for us to conceive of it. Among the holy Archangels, Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are particularly distinguished in the Scriptures. Saint Michael, whose name means Who is like unto God?, is the prince of the faithful Angels who opposed Lucifer and his followers in their revolt against God. Since the devil is the sworn enemy of God’s holy Church, Saint Michael is given to it by God as its special protector against the demon’s assaults and stratagems.

Various apparitions of this powerful Angel have proved the protection of Saint Michael over the Church. We may mention his apparition in Rome, where Saint Gregory the Great saw him in the air sheathing his sword, to signal the cessation of a pestilence and the appeasement of God’s wrath. Another apparition to Saint Ausbert, bishop of Avranches in France, led to the construction of Mont-Saint-Michel in the sea, a famous pilgrimage site. May 8th, however, is destined to recall another no less marvelous apparition, occurring near Monte Gargano in the Kingdom of Naples.

In the year 492 a man named Gargan was pasturing his large herds in the countryside. One day a bull fled to the mountain, where at first it could not be found. When its refuge in a cave was discovered, an arrow was shot into the cave, but the arrow returned to wound the one who had sent it. Faced with so mysterious an occurrence, the persons concerned decided to consult the bishop of the region. He ordered three days of fasting and prayers. After three days, the Archangel Saint Michael appeared to the bishop and declared that the cavern where the bull had taken refuge was under his protection, and that God wanted it to be consecrated under his name and in honor of all the Holy Angels.

Accompanied by his clergy and people, the pontiff went to that cavern, which he found already disposed in the form of a church. The divine mysteries were celebrated there, and there arose in this same place a magnificent temple where the divine Power has wrought great miracles. To thank God’s adorable goodness for the protection of the holy Archangel, the effect of His merciful Providence, this feast day was instituted by the Church in his honor.

It is said of this special guardian and protector of the Church that, during the final persecution of Antichrist, he will powerfully defend it: At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince who protects the children of thy people. (Dan. 12:1) Compare this text with Chapter 10 of the Apocalypse of Saint John.

Reflection. Saint Michael is not only the protector of the Church, but of every faithful soul. By humility he defeated the devil; we who are enlisted in the same warfare must adopt his weapons — humility and ardent love of God. Regarding this Archangel as our leader under God, let us courageously resist the devil in all his assaults with our protector’s famous exclamation: Who is like unto God?

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); Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950)

Solemnity of St. Joseph

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Solemnity of St. Joseph

The Easter mysteries are superseded today by a special subject, which is offered for our consideration. The holy Church invites us to spend this Sunday in honouring the Spouse of Mary, the Foster-Father of the Son of God. And yet, as we offered him the yearly tribute of our devotion on the 19th of March, it is not, properly speaking, his Feast that we are to celebrate today. It is a solemn expression of gratitude offered to Joseph, the Protector of the Faithful, the refuge and support of all that invoke him with confidence. The innumerable favours he has bestowed upon the world entitle him to this additional homage. With a view to her children’s interests, the Church would, on this day, excite their confidence in this powerful and ever ready helper.

Devotion to St. Joseph was reserved for these latter times. Though based on the Gospel, it was not to be developed in the early ages of the Church. It is not that the Faithful were, in any way, checked from showing honour to him who had been called to take so important a part in the mystery of the Incarnation; but Divine Providence had its hidden reasons for retarding the Liturgical homage to be paid, each year, to the Spouse of Mary. As on other occasions, so here also; the East preceded the West in the special cultus of St. Joseph: but, in the 15th Century, the whole Latin Church adopted it, and, since that time, it has gradually gained the affections of the Faithful. We have treated upon the glories of St. Joseph, on the 19th of March; the present Feast has its own special object, which we will at once proceed to explain.
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