Angels are all the rage these days. Often depicted as plump little cherubs or New Age nymphs, put one of these winged creatures on the cover of a book or greeting card and it’s bound to sell. How much do we really know about the extraordinary beings who keep careful watch over us every day of our lives?
We all long for peace of soul, the kind of supernatural joy that can remain steadfast and robust even in the midst of the trials and anxieties of 21st century life. How can weak little souls achieve such a lofty goal? Simple! Look to the Little Flower of Lisieux who pioneered a path to this coveted peace that is specifically designed to fit the needs of “little souls” like us.
The seeds of the Little Flower, the beloved Saint Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897), were planted in unquestionably holy soil. The sanctity of her family is evidenced by the holiness of her parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, both canonized saints of the Catholic Church. All five of their daughters dedicated their lives to Christ by entering religious Orders; four, including Therese, as Carmelites.
I think it is safe to say that a mystique of sorts has evolved surrounding the beloved man popularly known as Padre Pio. The fact that since 2002, he has been numbered among the canonized saints of the Catholic Church, at times appears to be a mere afterthought.
Jesus’ words recorded in Sacred Scripture continue to speak to us just as clearly today as to the eager crowds who listened to Him on the hills of Galilee. The subject of prayer, which Jesus addressed often and practiced consistently throughout His time on earth, is one eminently worthy of revisiting. The Gospels make it clear that, by word and example, Jesus modeled for us the importance of a close personal relationship with the Father we share in common.
There are times when a mere book can be life-changing. One such book is entitled True Devotion to Mary, by Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, a spiritual introduction to the Marian devotion known as Total Consecration to Our Lady.
In his book, Queen of Militants, Father Emil Neubert teaches Christian militants that no attempt to spread the message of salvation to a soul should be attempted without prayer. But once we’ve done so, he lays out a plan on how to evangelize like Christ in a way that only Mary can teach us.
We find ourselves now well into that lengthy liturgical period termed Ordinary Time. For some of us, there is a tendency to take this season at its name, to treat these weeks as a ho-hum, colorless gap bridging the feasts of Corpus Christi and Christ the King. Give us Lent and Advent, when we can focus on the tough stuff!