As the liturgical season of Advent gets underway, it is good to consider various ways to make this time of anticipation worthwhile and spiritually fulfilling. Daily meditations in print or electronic form certainly can be helpful, but nothing can outdo the efficacy of daily Mass.
I distinctly remember the first time I experienced real gratitude, the kind that goes beyond getting the puppy you always wanted for Christmas or a big fat tax refund. The kind of gratitude I’m talking about is the kind that changes your heart forever.
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.