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!
This August marks the 140th anniversary of an event of the highest spiritual significance for the people of Ireland, and in fact, for the faithful of the world.
We all know the story of the miraculous apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima and her messages beseeching the world to conversion and devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. However, the little-known impact of these apparitions on the country of Portugal, as recounted by Father Emil Neubert, S.M., S.T.D. in his book, Queen of Militants, reveals a steady stream of miraculous events that led to a dramatic restoration of the faith in that country.
August 11th, the Feast of Saint Clare of Assisi (1194 – 1253), offers an opportunity to explore the life of a woman of shining virtue. Her religious vocation was a direct outgrowth of that of her contemporary and mentor, the beloved Saint Francis (1182 – 1226).
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein, 1891 – 1942)
She was a brilliant scholar, a contemplative mystic, and a “liberated” feminist. At various times she was also a devout Jew, an atheist, a philosopher, a Catholic, and a Carmelite nun. Hers was a heart that hungered for truth, with a passion that burned with such purity and clarity that Pope John Paul II, whose own Mulieris Dignitatem and “Letter to Women” bear the unmistakable imprint of her spirit, canonized her less than fifty years after her death at Auschwitz. Read the rest…
For Franciscans worldwide, August 2nd marks a very important, special feast day – the Feast of Our Lady of Angels. The title of Our Lady which this feast commemorates has a direct connection to Saint Francis of Assisi (1182 – 1226) and to the Religious Orders which he founded. The “little portion,” or Portiuncula, brings to mind significant events which resound in our hearts as we celebrate this feast day once again.
I understand that as a loyal Catholic I should honor the Blessed Virgin. Perhaps I should pray to her more frequently. I firmly believe that I ought to give her a more prominent place in my piety. I realize that with her help it would be easier for me to resist certain temptation. If I were more intimate with her, undoubtedly I should also be more intimate with Christ. I am ready to follow the directives of Pius X more faithfully and to seek the Son at the side of the Mother.
“[Jesus] entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.’ The Lord said to her in reply, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her’” (Lk 10:38-42).
On this feast day of Sts. Joachim and Anne, being a wife and mother myself, I find it quite natural to feel myself being drawn to Saint Anne and the problems she must have encountered after the birth of her daughter, particularly following that world-changing event, the Annunciation (Lk 1:26-38).