Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

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Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows


Saint Gabriel was born at Assisi in 1838. He was guided by Our Lady into the Passionist Order founded by Saint Paul of the Cross, and became a veritable Apostle of Her Sorrows. He was a very great and truly contemplative soul, whose only preoccupation was to unite himself to God at all times. He allowed no distractions to enter his spirit, and even though Italy, his country, was in a state of ferment when he entered religion, he wanted to know nothing of it.

The way to attain union with our Saviour and our God was, for Saint Gabriel, as for Saint Louis de Montfort, his Heavenly Mother. He wrote home to his father, from the first month of his noviciate, Believe your son, whose heart is speaking by his lips; no, I would not exchange one single quarter of an hour spent near the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, our consolatrix, our protectress and our hope, for a year or several years spent in the diversions and spectacles of the earth. Among his resolutions was that of visiting Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament each day, and praying for the gift of a tender and efficacious devotion to His Most Holy Mother. He wrote a beautiful Credo, worthy to be printed in letters of gold, expressing all that he believed of the Mother of God.

At twenty-four years of age Saint Gabriel died of tuberculosis, having already attained heroic sanctity by a life of self-denial and great devotion to our Lord’s Passion and the Compassion of His Mother.

Although his life was without any miraculous event, after his death in 1862 many miracles occurred at his tomb in Isola di Gran Sasso, Italy. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920, and his feast was extended to the entire church by Pope Pius XI in 1932. He is the patron of youth, and especially of young religious.

*On leap years, the feast day of this Saint is celebrated on February 28.

Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O. Cist., Ph.D. (Catholic Book Publishing Co.: New York, 1951-1955) 

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas – Friday After First Sunday

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Meditations for Each Day of Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday After First Sunday

The Feast of the Holy Lance and the Nails of Our Lord

One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water.–John xix. 34.

1. The gospel deliberately says opened and not wounded, because through Our Lord’s side there was opened to us the gate of eternal life. After these things I looked, and behold a gate was opened in heaven (Apoc. iv. i). This is the door opened in the ark, through which enter the animals who will not perish in the flood.

2. But this door is the cause of our salvation. Immediately there came forth blood and water a thing truly miraculous, that, from a dead body, in which the blood congeals, blood should come forth.

This was done to show that by the Passion of Christ we receive a full absolution, an absolution from every sin and every stain. We receive this absolution from sin through that blood which is the price of our redemption. You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation with the tradition of your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled (i Pet. i. 18).

We were absolved from every stain by the water, which is the laver of our redemption. In the prophet Ezechiel it is said, I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleaned from all your filthiness (Ezech. xxxvi. 28), and in Zacharias, There shall be a fountain open to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for the washing of the sinner and the unclean woman (Zach. xiii. i).

And so these two things may be thought of in relation to two of the sacraments, the water to baptism and the blood to the Holy Eucharist. Or both may be referred to the Holy Eucharist since, in the Mass, water is mixed with the wine. Although the water is not of the substance of the sacrament.

Again, as from the side of Christ asleep in death on the cross there flowed that blood and water in which the Church is consecrated, so from the side of the sleeping Adam was formed the first woman, who herself foreshadowed the Church.

The Sacred Lance and Nails

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The Sacred Lance and Nails
(Friday after the 1st Sunday in Lent)

This Feast is found in the Missae pro Aliquibus Locis of the Roman Missal. “The Supreme Pontiff, Innocent VI, in his decree establishing the Feast and Office of the Lance and Nails, which pierced the body of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ, exhorts all the faithful to have a special veneration for, and devotion to, all the sacred instruments of our Savior’s Passion. The following are his words: “We should honor the most holy Passion of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, in such manner that, meditating on all the mysteries and merits of the same Passion, we venerate also each sacred instrument thereof. Then this holy and zealous Pontiff, coming more directly to the honor due to the lance and nails, says: “Although the lance and nails, and the other sacred instruments of the Passion, should be everywhere venerated by the faithful of Christ, and though every year the Church celebrates the solemn offices of the same Passion, yet we deem it proper and fitting that a special solemn feast should be instituted and celebrated in honor of those particular instruments of the Passion, more especially in those places wherein these salutary instruments are preserved. Hence we wish to encourage this devotion by special office and privileges. ” (Innocent VI in Decret. de Fest. Lane, et Clav. Domini).”

The Lance, also known as the spear of Longinus is kept in the Vatican Basilica, given to Innocent VIII in 1492. The nails were kept with the Crown of Thorns, along with a small piece of the Lance of Longinus at Saint Chapelle, France and were subsequently lost during the French Revolution. The crown of thorns was the only relic saved and is now kept at Notre Dame Cathedral.