November 29, 2012

November 29th - OUR LADY'S APPARITIONS - BEAURAING, 1932-33

MOVIE: VOICES FROM HEAVEN 5 - OUR LADY'S APPARITIONS - BEAURAING

The Apparitions at Beauraing, 1932-33  

Beauraing is a small town in the southern, French speaking, part of Belgium, and it was here that the Blessed Virgin appeared to a group of children, between late November 1932 and January 1933.

The five children came from the Voisin and Degeimbre families, neither of which were particularly convinced Catholics. On the evening of 29 November 1932, Fernande Voisin, a fifteen year old girl, Andree Degeimbre, aged fourteen, and her sister Gilberte, aged nine, were with Albert Voisin, aged eleven. They made their way to the local convent school to meet Albert's sister, Gilberte Voisin, who was staying on until six-thirty to study. They entered the grounds and passed a small Lourdes grotto in front of the railway embankment that skirted the convent garden.

 

While waiting for the front door bell to be answered, Albert looked towards the embankment over the grotto and cried out: "Look! The Blessed Virgin, dressed in white, is walking above the bridge!" The girls looked and could see the luminous figure of a lady dressed in white walking in mid air, her feet hidden by a little cloud. The sister who answered the door could see nothing, but as soon as Gilberte Voisin reached the door she too saw the figure.

Over the next few evenings a pattern gradually developed in which the children would see Mary by a hawthorn tree near the grotto, but from outside the convent grounds. They knelt in the street and looked through the railings, from the outside of the convent gate. The children would simultaneously drop to their knees, on the cobble-stoned street, with a force that made bystanders wince, and yet they suffered no injury; moreover people were astonished with the high-pitched quality of the children's voices as they prayed.

They later told how they saw a beautiful Lady wearing a white gown and holding her hands together as in prayer, with rays of light surrounding her head. On 2 December, Albert asked her if she was the Immaculate Virgin, to which she smiled and nodded her head, and in answer to what she wanted she said simply: "Always be good."

On Thursday 8 December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a crowd of about fifteen thousand assembled expecting a great miracle, but they only saw the children in ecstasy, impervious to lighted matches held underneath their hands, pin pricks, or lights shone in their eyes. Meanwhile, the local priest, Fr. Lambert, and the Church authorities generally, were taking a very prudent and circumspect attitude towards events at Beauraing, and refusing to get involved: the local bishop ordered his priests not to go to the site.

The apparitions did not occur every night, although the children assembled and said the rosary; if Mary did appear they would fall to their knees in unison. They were closely watched to ensure they could not talk to each other, and when the apparition was over were questioned separately. On 28 December the children said that she had said that: "My last apparition will take place soon."


The next day Fernande saw the Blessed Virgin with a heart of gold surrounded by rays, and this was also seen by two of the children on 30 December, as Mary repeated the phrase: "Pray, pray very much," which was only heard by Fernande. On the last day of 1932 all the children saw Mary's golden heart. On 1 January 1933, Mary spoke to Gilberte Voisin asking her to, "Pray always," with the emphasis on always; the next day she told the children that on 3 January, at what was to prove to be the final apparition, she would speak to each of them separately.

A very large crowd, estimated at between thirty and thirty-five thousand people, assembled that evening as the children began their rosary. After two decades four of them called out and fell to their knees, leaving Fernande, the oldest, in tears because she could see nothing. Mary spoke to Gilberte Voisin, imparting to her what has been seen as the main promise of Beauraing, "I will convert sinners," and then: "Goodbye." To Andree she said: "I am the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. Pray always," before disappearing.

Fernande remained kneeling while the other children went inside for questioning, when suddenly, she, and many in the crowd, heard a loud noise like thunder and saw a ball of fire on the hawthorn tree. Mary appeared and spoke to Fernande asking her if she loved her Son and herself; when Fernande replied that she did, the response was: "Then sacrifice yourself for me." At this the Blessed Virgin glowed with extraordinary brilliance and extended her arms, so that the girl could see her golden heart, before saying, "Goodbye," and disappearing.

Although there were problems from some quarters opposition to Beauraing had practically ceased by the time the bishop appointed a commission of inquiry in 1935, with the work continuing under his successor. In February 1943 Bishop Charue authorised public devotions to Mary at Beauraing, but it was not until July 1949, following the Second World War, that the shrine was officially recognised and two important documents issued. The first dealt with two of the many cures that had taken place at Beauraing, declaring them to be miraculous.

The second document was a letter to the clergy in which the bishop said, "we are able in all serenity and prudence to affirm that the Queen of Heaven appeared to the children of Beauraing during the winter of 1932-1933, especially to show us in her maternal Heart the anxious appeal for prayer and the promise of her powerful mediation for the conversion of sinners."

Mary's words at Beauraing
At Beauraing, as at Lourdes, very little was said by Mary, almost as if to emphasise the importance of Fatima. These few lines could easily be fitted on the back of a postcard.

"Always be good."

Mary indicated that she was the Immaculate Virgin when questioned, and told the children to return on 8 December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. When asked by Fernande if she wanted a chapel built, she replied, "Yes," before disappearing.

Mary again asked for a chapel.

"My last apparition will take place soon."

"Pray, pray very much."

"Pray always"

Mary told the children that she would speak to each of them separately and gave each a secret before bidding them farewell.

"Goodbye." (to Gilberte Degeimbre)
"I will convert sinners. Goodbye." (to Gilberte Voisin)
"Goodbye." (to Albert Voisin)
"I am the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. Pray always, Goodbye." (to Andree Degeimbre)

Mary appeared later and spoke to Fernande Voisin asking her if she loved her Son and herself; when Fernande replied that she did, the response was: "Then sacrifice yourself for me." "Goodbye."

Sources: Sharkey & Debergh, Our Lady of Beauraing; F. Toussaint & C. Joset, Beauraing, Les apparitions; Sharkey, "The Virgin with the Golden Heart," in A Woman clothed with the Sun.

November 28, 2012

Cenacle of November 25th, 2012, in the Apparitions's Chapel, in Jacareí - SP-Brazil

Most Sacred Meditated Rosary 22 - (PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE)

November 28: Saint James of the Marches

 

"Beloved and most holy word of God! You enlighten the hearts of the faithful, you satisfy the hungry, console the afflicted; you make the souls of all productive of good and cause all virtues to blossom; you snatch souls from the devil’s jaw; you make the wretched holy, and men of earth citizens of heaven!" 

Today, November 28, we celebrate the feast day of Saint James of the Marches (Giacomo della Marca, 1391-1476), Franciscan friar, missionary, preacher, and opponent of heresy. The life of Saint James is remarkable for his commitment to defense of Church doctrine, his tireless preaching and conversions of sinners, miracle working, and austerity.

 
James Gangala was born into an extremely poor family at Montebrandone (in the Marche of Ancona), in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. Drawn to the Lord, he began his studies at Offida under the guidance of his uncle, a priest, who soon afterwards put him to school at Ascoli. At the University of Perugia he took the degree of Doctor in Civil Law. After a short stay at Florence as tutor in a noble family, and as judge of sorcerers, James was received into the Order of the Friars Minor, the Franciscan order at Assisi, at the age of 25. Studying under Saint Bernardino of Siena, James was widely recognized for his oratory, delivering both forceful and effective sermons, and converting thousands of souls. Ordained at age twenty-nine, James was sent on mission with Saint John Capistrano, traveling throughout Italy, German, Bohemia, Poland, and Hungary.


 Noting his orthodoxy, Pope Saint Martin V appointed him inquisitor to root out heretical sects that were growing in power throughout Italy. He continued his travels, preaching, working against heresy, and attempting to reconcile various branches of the Franciscan Order. He attended the Council of Florence in 1438, working diligently to reconcile the Eastern and Latin Churches, with little success. 


 Elected bishop of Milan, James humbly declined the position, preferring to continue his itinerant lifestyle, traveling, preaching, and confirming the truth of Church doctrine. Saint James preached every day for 40 years, beginning on the date of his ordination, and ending on the date of his death. He preached a message of penance, which he also put into practice. James slept only three hours each evening, and fasted nine months of the year. Thin, dressed always in the same tattered brown robe, and susceptible to illness, Saint James ate little, giving all he had to the needy. As he grew older, and his health began to observably fail, Pope Martin V ordered him to eat regularly, as a public service, so that he could continue his ministry. Charitable, Saint James instituted several montes pietatis, (literally, “mountains of money”), which provided low-interest loans to all who needed them. 


 

Saint James founded several monasteries in Bohemia, Hungary, and Austria. Especially devoted to the Precious Blood of Jesus, he, himself, was brought up on heresy charges during the Dominican Inquisition in 1462. The Pope intervened, ordering the case put on permanent hold, with no decision ever rendered on his statements. However, during the course of the inquisition, James was the victim of attempted assassination twice, both times in the form of a poisoned chalice (as he is frequently depicted in art).

Saint James spent the last three years of his life at Naples, and was buried there in the Franciscan church of San Maria la Nuova, where his body is still to be seen, preserved beneath the alter. Numerous miracles have been reported through his intercession, both while he lived and subsequent to his death.





On today, the feast of Saint James of the Marches, we pray for the fortitude, steadfastness, and endurance that this holy man displayed each day of his life. Saint James, pray for us!

 
A Prayer for Fortitude

O Holy Spirit who descended upon the twelve as they stood in anxiety, come unto me in my endeavors. Banish from my heart all timidity and false pride; strengthen my soul to avoid all sin, to practice virtue, and to prefer ridicule to the denial of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let not the goodness of purity, obedience and charity be obscured in the face of adversity. Instill in me the virtue of Fortitude so that I may courageously profess and practice my holy Catholic faith. Open my eyes, O Holy Spirit, that I may recognize my state in life. Give me the confidence to embrace it and the strength to live it as a son of God. I pray that Your guidance, protection and consolation may be with me now and throughout my life. Amen.

November 27, 2012

Feastday: November 27th - Miraculous Medal's Revelation

MOVIE- VOICES FROM HEAVEN 6 - OUR LADY APPARITIONS TO SAINT CATHERINE LABOURE - MIRACULOUS MEDAL'S REVELATION
http://gloria.tv/?media=189297

Virgin Mary appears in Paris ( 1830)


Catherine Laboure was born at Fain-lès-Moutiers, Burgundy, France to the farmer Pierre Labouré and Louise Laboure as the ninth of eleven children on May 2, 1806. From an early age felt a call to the religious life. When Catherine was nine years old, her saintly mother died on October 9, 1815. After the burial service, little Catherine retired to her room, stood on a chair, took our Lady's statue from the wall, kissed it, and said: "Now, dear Lady, you are to be my mother." On January 25, 1818, Catherine made her First Communion. One day she had a dream in which a priest said to her: "My daughter, you may flee me now, but one day you will to come to me. Do not forget that God has plans for you." Sometime later, while visiting a hospital of the Daughters of Charity at Chatillon-sur-Seine, she noticed a priest's picture on the wall. She asked a sister who he might be, and was told: "Our Holy Founder Saint Vincent de Paul." This was the same priest Catherine had seen in the dream. Catherine knew she was in the right place.

Later, on January 1830, Catherine began her postulancy at Chatillon. On Wednesday, April 21, 1830, Catherine Labouré entered the novitiate of the Daughters of Charity, located at their motherhouse, Rue du Bac 140, Paris. taking the name Catherine. On the eve of the Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, July 19, the Sister Superior spoke to the novices about the virtues of their Holy Founder and gave each of the novices a piece of cloth from the holy founder's surplice. Because of her extreme love, Catherine split her piece down the middle, swallowing half and placing the rest in her prayer book. She earnestly prayed to Saint Vincent that she might, with her own eyes, see the Mother of God. 

1st apparition of the Blessed Virgin: 19th July, 1830 Chapel Rue du Bac 140, Paris


It is 11.30 pm; Sister Catherine Laboure (24 years old) wakes up as she hears her name called three times. She opens the curtains of her cell and sees her Guardian Angel in de form of a 5 year old child. He says: "follow me to the chapel, where the Virgin Mary awaits you". Catherine Laboure hastily dresses herself and follows him to the chapel. The chapel is lit as for midnight-Mass, but she can't see the Blessed Virgin. She then kneels and prays. After half an hour her guardian angel says: "there is the Blessed Virgin Mary". Catherine Laboure hears a rustle like that of silk and to the left of St. Joseph she sees the Blessed Virgin Mary descend and sit herself on the chair of the Priest. Within a moment she is on her knees in front of the Blessed Virgin, with her hands confidently folded on Mary's knees. This is the beginning of a two hour long conversation. The Blessed Virgin Mary tells her that God will charge her with a mission. In the process she will experience many difficulties. The Blessed Virgin already speaks of bad times ahead. The whole world will be plunged into confusion through all sorts of incidents. The Cross will be treated with contempt; it will be cast to earth. The side of our Lord will be pierced again. The Blessed Virgin says this with a very sorrowful look on her face. Encouragingly though, she adds:


"but come to the foot of this altar and here graces will be bestowed upon all, 
who ask with confidence and fervour. they will be given to the rich and to the poor"

2nd apparition of the Blessed Virgin: 27th November, 1830 Chapel Rue du Bac 140, Paris

It is 5.30pm, and the Sisters are in the chapel for the hour of Meditation. Suddenly Catherine Laboure hears, to her right, the same rustle as before; it is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She stops to the left near the painting of St. Joseph. This whole apparition is conducted in scenes and sign-language. The Blessed Virgin "standing in space". She was dressed in white, standing on a globe and holding a golden ball, with rings on her fingers flashing with light. An inner voice told her that the ball represented the whole world and that the rays coming from Mary's fingers represented graces for individuals. Then, a second phase: The golden ball then vanished as this apparition changed to represent Mary with her arms outstretched, inside an oval frame with golden lettering:

O Mary conceived without Sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee

Mary gave her this instruction: "have a medal struck on this model. All those who carry this will receive Grace in abundance, especially if they wear the medal around their neck and say this prayer confidently, they will receive special protection from the Mother of God and abundant graces". Then it is although the whole scene turns around and Catherine Laboure can see the back of the medal: in the centre is the letter M, from where a Cross ascends with at its base a cross-beam which passes through the letter M and below this the two hearts of Jesus and Mary, one crowned with thorns the other pierced by the sword of sorrow. The whole is surrounded with a crown of 12 stars recalling the vision of St. John in the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse or Book of Revelation. Catherine Laboure hears: "the M with the Cross and the two hearts say enough".



During the next year this apparition occurred five times and each time with the same instructions: "have a medal struck on this model, and all those who wear it will receive great graces, especially when worn around the neck". Sister Catherine endured many humiliations, but she persevered. It took two years before her confessor, Father Aladel, a Vicentian priest, had the medal struck. 

The original name of the medal is that of holy Mary’s Immaculate Conception; only after 7 years was the name changed to the “Miraculous Medal”. Because of the many answered prayers, the conversions and the cures, some 10 million medals were sold during the first 5 years. The short prayer: "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee", has since been prayed innumerable times by believers, so that the entire Christianity became familiar with Mary's "Immaculate Conception". It was Pope Pius IX who made it a rule of faith. This was received with great joy by the entire Church. Four years later, Mary came as though to confirm this, when She said to Bernadette at Lourdes:

I am the Immaculate Conception

Catherine Laboure died on 31st December 1876. When her body was exhumed, after fifty-seven years of burial, it was found to be completely incorrupt and supple. Her eyes were as blue as the day she died. On 28th May, 1933 she was beatified by Pope Pius XI. This occasion was witnessed by 50,000 people, of which there were 8,000 children of Mary, veiled in white, all wearing the Miraculous Medal. On 27th July, 1947 Catherine Laboure was canonized by Pope Pius XII. Here again many believers were present, including more than 10,000 children of Mary, veiled in white.

Body Catherine Laboure


Many healings, including those of people for whom there was totally no hope, were attributed to the "Miraculous Medal". Just in the American city of Philadelphia alone, between 1930 and 1950, more than 750.000 favours were granted and registered. Catherine Laboure is still lying in state at the right of the altar in the chapel Rue du Bac 140, in Paris and she still looks as though she only died yesterday!

Patroness of architects, miners, and prisoners.


"These apparitions of Mary and the Miraculous Medal by Catherine Laboure are fully approved by the Holy See: 1836"

MOVIE - VOICES FROM HEAVEN 6 - OUR LADY APPARITIONS TO SAINT CATHERINE LABOURE - MIRACULOUS MEDAL'S REVELATION

http://gloria.tv/?media=364263

November 24, 2012

St. Catherine of Alexandria


Feast Day: St. Catherine of Alexandria, c. 310 AD 

St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr

St. Catherine was born at Alexandria, of pagan parents. Living in the capital—the centre of Hellenistic knowledge—and possessed of an uncommon beauty and intellect, Catherine received a most splendid of educations, having studied the works of the finest philosophers and teachers of antiquity. Young men from the most worthy families of the empire sought the hand of the beautiful Catherine, but none of them was chosen. She declared to her parents that she would be agreeable to enter into marriage only with someone who surpassed her in illustriousness, wealth, comeliness, and wisdom. She, of course, was speaking of the God-child Jesus.

She was gifted with great personal beauty, and possessed so extraordinary a mind, that she mastered all the sciences which, at that period, flourished in her native city. The only science of which she had no knowledge was that of eternal salvation; but this, too, she at last obtained in the following manner: It seemed to her, in her sleep, that the Queen of Heaven was standing before her in wondrous beauty, carrying her divine Son in her arms. But the latter, turning His face from her in displeasure, said that Catherine was ugly, because she had not been baptized. Catherine awoke, and, while thinking over her dream, she was inspired by Heaven to resolve to become a Christian. 

The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria

When sufficiently instructed, she received holy baptism, after which the Blessed Virgin again appeared to her with Christ, who, looking tenderly at Catherine, placed a ring on her finger, as a sign that He had chosen her for His bride. On awaking, she found a ring on her finger, and, without delay, determined to consecrate her virginity to the Lord, and to become a more zealous Christian.

Maximin, the emperor, had appointed a certain day to celebrate a public sacrifice in honor of the false gods, and all the inhabitants of the city were commanded to take part in it. Catherine was deeply grieved to see that the people should thus honor the devil, and not have any knowledge of the true God. Arming herself with courage, she went fearlessly into the temple, where the emperor personally assisted at the sacrifice, and, addressing him with Christian freedom, she represented to him his blindness in worshipping idols, and endeavored to convince him of the truth of Christianity. The emperor was greatly surprised that a maiden should dare to speak thus to him, but was, at the same time, fascinated by the appearance and eloquence of Catherine. No sooner had he returned to his palace, than Catherine again appeared before him, and spoke so forcibly of the falsity of the heathen gods, and of the truth of the Christian religion, that the emperor knew not what to reply. 




What he was unable to do, he thought others could do for him; therefore he summoned some of the most learned men into his presence, to answer Catherine's arguments, and persuade her to renounce the Christian faith. But the Almighty, Who, by a feeble maiden, could bring to naught the wisdom of the pagan sages, inspired St. Catherine with such eloquence, that she succeeded in convincing them of their error so completely, that they publicly renounced it, and proclaimed the Christian faith as the only true one. The emperor, enraged at so unexpected an issue, ordered these new confessors of Christ to be immediately executed. He then endeavored to win Catherine from her faith by flatteries and promises; and when he found that his words made no impression on the mind of the virgin, he began to threaten, and finally sent her away to be tortured. She was scourged so cruelly and so long, that her whole body was covered with wounds, from which the blood flowed in streams. The spectators wept with pity; but Catherine, strengthened by God, stood with her eyes raised to heaven, without giving a sign of suffering or fear. 


After this cruel treatment she was dragged into a dungeon, and, by the command of the emperor, was left without food, in order that she might slowly pine away. But God sent an Angel, who healed her wounds and filled her heart with indescribable comfort. The Lord Himself appeared to her, encouraged her to fight bravely, and promised her the crown of everlasting glory. Some writers add, that the empress, having heard much of Catherine's wonderful learning, eloquence and fortitude, had deep compassion upon her, and secretly went at night with Porphyrius, the captain of the guard, to visit her in her dungeon. When she beheld Catherine's wounds healed, and the virgin resplendent with more than human beauty, she was speechless with surprise. Catherine made this miracle an occasion to speak to her of the omnipotence of the Most High, and of the falsity of the heathen gods. She spoke with such overwhelming eloquence, that the empress, as well as Porphyrius, promised to embrace Christianity.

Some days later, when the emperor was informed that Catherine was not only still alive but in better health than ever, he had her brought before him, and again assailed her with promises and menaces. Finding, however, that she was as firm as before, he gave orders that she should be bound to a wheel studded with sharply-pointed spikes and knives. The Christian heroine was not horrified at this inhuman order, but called with unwavering trust on God. When the executioners had seized her, and bound her on the wheel, the Almighty sent an Angel, who loosened the fetters and broke the wheel to pieces. Many of the spectators, on beholding this miracle, cried aloud: "Great is the God of the Christians! He alone is the true God!" 



Maximin remained blind, and was thinking of new torments, when the empress came forward, reproached him with his barbarity towards a weak and innocent maiden, and boldly confessed that she herself recognized and worshipped no other god but the God of the Christians. The tyrant, hearing these words, lost all control over himself, and ordered the empress and Porphyrius to be immediately beheaded, and Catherine, as an enemy of the gods, to be taken to the public market-place and put to death by the sword. The fearless virgin went joyfully to the appointed place, exhorted all the people who had come to witness her death to abandon idolatry, prayed to God for their conversion, and then received the stroke that sent her soul to heaven. Ancient authors testify that milk flowed from the body of St. Catherine instead of blood, as had formerly happened at the death of St. Paul. Her body, they add, was miraculously carried by angels and buried on Mount Sinai, in Arabia.

Because of the fabulous character of the account of her martyrdom and the lack of reliable documentation,the Roman Catholic Church in 1969 removed her feast day from the General Roman Calendar. But she continued to be commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on November 25.In 2002, her feast was restored to the General Roman Calendar as an optional memorial. In the Catholic Church she is traditionally revered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Hers was one of the heavenly voices heard by St. Joan of Arc.

Guidi Reni
The Martyrdom of St. Catherine of Alexandria

November 23, 2012

New movie: Voices from Heaven 18

The Apparitions of Our Lady and St Joseph in Cotignac-France
The Apparitions of Our Lady in France-Pellevoisin
http://gloria.tv/?media=359128

St. Felicity and her seven sons martyrs

MESSAGE OF THE SAINT FELICITY
JACAREI, OCTOBER 16th, 2011
http://gloria.tv/?media=362730
SAINT FELICITY and
her SEVEN SONS
Martyrs
(†150)

Saint Felicity was a noble Roman matron, distinguished above all for her virtue. This mother of seven children raised her sons in the fear of the Lord, and after the death of her husband, served God in continence, concerning herself only with good works. Her good examples and those of her children brought a number of pagans to renounce their superstitions, and also encouraged the Christians to show themselves worthy of their vocation. The pagan priests, furious at seeing their gods abandoned, denounced her. She appeared with her pious sons before the prefect of Rome, who exhorted her to sacrifice to idols, but in reply heard a generous confession of faith.

“Wretched woman,” he said to her, “how can you be so barbarous as to expose your children to torments and death? Have pity on these tender creatures, who are in the flower of their age and can aspire to the highest positions in the Empire!” Felicity replied, “My children will live eternally with Jesus Christ, if they are faithful; they will have only eternal torments to await, if they sacrifice to idols. Your apparent pity is but a cruel impiety.” Then, turning to her children, she said: “Look towards heaven, where Jesus Christ is waiting for you with His Saints! Be faithful in His love, and fight courageously for your souls.”

The Judge, taking the children one by one, tried to overcome their constancy. He began with Januarius, but received for his answer: “What you advise me to do is contrary to reason; Jesus, the Saviour, will preserve me, I hope, from such impiety.” Felix, the second, was then brought in. When they urged him to sacrifice, he answered: “There is only one God, and it is to Him that we must offer the sacrifice of our hearts. Use all artifices, every refinement of cruelty, you will not make us betray our faith!” The other brothers, when questioned, answered with the same firmness. Martial, the youngest, who spoke last, said: “All those who do not confess that Jesus Christ is the true God, will be cast into a fire which will never be extinguished.”

When the interrogation was finished, the Saints underwent the penalty of the lash and then were taken to prison. Soon they completed their sacrifice in various ways: Januarius was beaten until he died by leather straps capped with lead; Felix and Philip were killed with bludgeons; Sylvanus was thrown headfirst from a cliff; Alexander, Vitalis and Martial were beheaded. Felicity, the mother of these new Maccabees, was the last to suffer martyrdom.

St. Cecily

MESSAGE OF THE SAINT CECILY
JACAREI, MAY 20th,  2007


Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr. St. Cecilia is one of the most famous and most venerated of Roman martyrs. Her body was discovered in 822 and transferred to the title church that bears her name in Trastevere in Rome. It is difficult to determine the date at which she lived. The legend which recounts the Saint's martyrdom and that of her husband St. Valerian, as also of St. Tiburtius, her brother-in-law, places her martyrdom in the pontificate of Urban I (222-230); but the authenticity of this account cannot be established, nor can we be sure of the persons who suffered with her nor of the date of her martyrdom.

St. Cecilia

Cecilia was so highly venerated by the ancient Roman Church that her name was placed in the Canon of the Mass. Already in the fourth century there was a church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere, erected on the site where her home had stood. Her martyrdom probably occurred during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus, about the year 230. In 1599 her grave was opened and her body found in a coffin of cypress wood. It lay incorrupt, as if she had just breathed forth her soul. Stephen Maderna, who often saw the body, chiseled a statue that resembled the body as closely as possible. Since the Middle Ages, Cecilia has been honored as patroness of Church music, a practice having its source in a false application of a passage from the Office (cantantibus organis).

Apart from the fact of her martyrdom, we know practically nothing about her that is historically genuine. Among other details the breviary offers the following:


Cecilia led a life of prayer and meditation and had vowed lifelong virginity, but a youth by the name of Valerian, relying upon the approval of her parents, hoped to marry her. When the wedding night arrived, she confided to Valerian, "There is a secret, Valerian, I wish to tell you. I have as a lover an angel of God who jealously guards my body." Valerian promised to believe in Christ if he would be enabled to see that angel. Cecilia explained how such was impossible without baptism, and Valerian consented to be baptized. After he was baptized by Pope Urban and had returned "He found Cecilia in her little room lost in prayer, and next to her the angel of the Lord was standing. When Valerian saw the angel, he was seized with great terror." The angel handed to them a bouquet of fiery red roses and snow-white lilies as a reward for Cecilia's love of chastity, a bouquet that would not wither, yet would be visible only to those who love chastity. As a further favor Valerian besought the conversion of his brother Tiburtius.

 

Upon arriving to congratulate the newlyweds, Tiburtius was astounded by the unspeakably beautiful roses and lilies. As soon as he was informed regarding their origin, he too asked for the waters of baptism. "St. Cecilia said to Tiburtius: Today I acknowledge you as a brother-in-law, because the love of God has made you despise the idols. Just as the love of God gave me your brother as a spouse, so it has given you to me as a brother in-law." When Almachius, the prefect, heard of the conversions, he ordered Maximus, his officer, to arrest and imprison all of them. Before being put to death, they instructed Maximus and his family, and baptized them during the night preceding execution.

At dawn Cecilia roused the two brothers to struggle heroically for Christ, as the glow of morning disappeared, Cecilia called: "Arise, soldiers of Christ, throw away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." Cecilia pursued her victory as the soldiers willingly listened, "We believe that Christ is the true Son of God, who has chosen such a servant." Led before the prefect, she professed her faith in Christ, "We profess His holy Name and we will not deny Him."

In order to avoid further show, the prefect commanded her to be suffocated in the baths. She remained unharmed and prayed, "I thank You, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, that through Your Son the fire was extinguished at my side." Beheading was next in order. The executioner made three attempts (the law prohibited more) and let her lie in her blood. She lived for three days, encouraging the poor and dedicating her home into a church.

November 21, 2012

November 21th - The Presentation of Our Lady at the Temple




Book 2, Chapter 1,
The Mystical City of God, The Divine History and Life of The Virgin Mother of God

Treats of the Presentation of the Princess of Heaven in the Temple, the Favors She Received at the Hand of God, the Sublime Perfection with which She Observed the Rules of the Temple, the Heavenly Excellence of Her Heroic Virtues and Visions, Her Most Holy Espousal and other Events up to the Incarnation of the Son of God

HER PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE.


The three years’ time decreed by the Lord having been completed, Joachim and Anne set out from Nazareth, accompanied by a few kindred and bringing with them the true living Ark of the covenant, the most holy Mary, borne on the arms of her mother in order to be deposited in the holy temple of Jerusalem. The beautiful Child, by her fervent and loving aspirations, hastened after the ointments of her Beloved, seeking in the temple Him, whom She bore in her heart. This humble procession was scarcely noticed by earthly creatures, but it was invisibly accompanied by the angelic spirits, who, in order to celebrate this event, had hastened from heaven in greater numbers than ordinary as her bodyguard, and were singing in heavenly strains the glory and praise of the Most High. The Princess of heaven heard and saw them as She hastened her beautiful steps along in the sight of the highest and the true Solomon. Thus they pursued their journey from Nazareth to the holy city of Jerusalem, and also the parents of the holy child Mary felt in their hearts great joy and consolation of spirit.

They arrived at the holy temple, and the blessed Anne on entering took her Daughter and Mistress by the hand, accompanied and assisted by saint Joachim. All three offered a devout and fervent prayer to the Lord; the parents offering to God their Daughter, and the most holy Child, in profound humility, adoration and worship, offering up Herself. She alone perceived that the Most High received and accepted Her, and, amid divine splendor which filled the temple, She heard a voice saying to Her: "Come, my Beloved, my Spouse, come to my temple, where I wish to hear thy voice of praise and worship." Having offered their prayers, they rose and betook themselves to the priest. The parents consigned their Child into his hands and he gave them his blessing. Together they conducted Her to the portion of the temple buildings, where many young girls lived to be brought up in retirement and in virtuous habits, until old enough to assume the state of matrimony. It was a place of retirement especially selected for the first-born daughters of the royal tribe of Juda and the sacerdotal tribe of Levi.

Fifteen stairs led up to the entrance of these apartments. Other priests came down these stairs in order to welcome the blessed child Mary. The one that had received them, being according to the law one of a minor order, placed Her on the first step. Mary, with his permission, turned and kneeling down before Joachim and Anne, asked their blessing and kissed their hands, recommending herself to their prayers before God. The holy parents in tenderest tears gave Her their blessing; whereupon She ascended the fifteen stairs without any assistance. She hastened upward with incomparable fervor and joy, neither turning back, nor shedding tears, nor showing any childish regret at parting from her parents. To see Her, in so tender an age, so full of strange majesty and firmness of mind, excited the admiration of all those present. The priests received Her among the rest of the maidens, and saint Simeon consigned Her to the teachers, one of whom was the prophetess Anne. This holy matron had been prepared by the Lord by especial grace and enlightenment, so that She joyfully took charge of this Child of Joachim and Anne. She considered the charge a special favor of divine Providence and merited by her holiness and virtue to have Her as a disciple, who was to be the Mother of God and Mistress of all the creatures.

Sorrowfully her parents Joachim and Anne retraced their journey to Nazareth, now poor as deprived of the rich Treasure of their house. But the Most High consoled and comforted them in their affliction. The holy priest Simeon, although he did not at this time know of the mystery enshrined in the child Mary, obtained great light as to her sanctity and her special selection by the Lord; also the other priests looked upon Her with great reverence and esteem. In ascending the fifteen stairs the Child brought to fulfillment, that, which Jacob saw happening in sleep; for here too were angels ascending and descending: the ones accompanying, the others meeting their Queen as She hastened up; whereas at the top God was waiting in order to welcome Her as his Daughter and Spouse. She also felt by the effects of the overflowing love, that this truly was the house of God and the portal of heaven.

The child Mary, when brought to her teacher, knelt in profound humility before her and asked her blessing. She begged to be admitted among those under her direction, obedience and counsel, and asked her kind forbearance in the labor and trouble, which She would occasion. The prophetess Anne, her teacher, received Her with pleasure, and said to Her: "My Daughter, Thou shalt find in me a helpful mother and I will take care of Thee and of thy education with all possible solicitude." Then the holy Child proceeded to address Herself with the same humility to all the maidens which were then present; each one She greeted and embraced, offering Herself as their servant and requesting them, as older and more advanced than She in the duties of their position, to instruct and command Her. She also gave them thanks, that without her merit they admitted Her to their company.

When the heavenly child Mary had dismissed her parents and entered upon her life in the temple, her teacher assigned to Her a place among the rest of the maidens, each of whom occupied a large alcove or little room. The Princess of heaven prostrated Herself on the pavement, and, remembering that it was holy ground and part of the temple, She kissed it. In humble adoration She gave thanks to the Lord for this new benefit, and She thanked even the earth for supporting Her and allowing Her to stand in this holy place; for She held Herself unworthy of treading and remaining upon it. Then She turned toward her holy angels and said to them: "Celestial princes, messengers of the Almighty, most faithful friends and companions, I beseech you with all the powers of my soul to remain with me in this holy temple of my Lord and as my vigilant sentinels, reminding me of all that I should do; instructing me and directing me as the teachers and guides of my actions, so that I may fulfill in all things the perfect will of the Most High, give pleasure to the holy priests and obey my teacher and my companions." And addressing in particular those whom I mentioned above as the twelve angels of the Apocalypse, She said: "And I beseech you, my ambassadors, if the Almighty permit you, go and console my holy parents in their affliction and solitude."

While the twelve angels executed her command, Mary remained with the others in heavenly conversation. She began to feel a supernal influence of great power and sweetness, spiritualizing Her and elevating Her in burning ecstasy, and immediately the Most High commanded the seraphim to assist in illumining and preparing her most holy soul. Instantly She was filled with a divine light and force, which perfected and proportioned her faculties in accordance with the mysteries now to be manifested to Her. Thus prepared and accompanied by her holy angels and many others, in the midst of a refulgent host, the celestial Child was raised body and soul to the empyrean heaven, where She was received by the holy Trinity with befitting benevolence and pleasure. She prostrated Herself in the presence of the most mighty and high Lord, as She was wont to do in all her visions, and adored Him in profound reverence and humility. Then She was further transformed by new workings of divine light, so that She saw, intuitively and face to face, the Divinity itself. This was the second time that It manifested Itself to Her in this intuitive manner during the first three years of her life.

By no human tongue or any sensible faculty could the effects of this vision and participation of the divine Essence ever be described. The Person of the Father spoke to the future Mother of his Son, and said: "My Dove, my beloved One, I desire thee to see the treasures of my immutable being and of my infinite perfections, and also to perceive the hidden gifts destined for the souls, whom I have chosen as heirs of my glory and who are rescued by the life-blood of the Lamb. Behold, my Daughter, how liberal I am toward my creatures, that know and love Me; how true in my words, how faithful in my promises, how powerful and admirable in my works. Take notice, my Spouse, how ineffably true it is, that he who follows Me does not walk in darkness. I desire that thou, as my chosen One, be an eye-witness of the treasures which I hold in reserve for raising up the humble, enriching the poor, exalting the downtrodden, and for rewarding all that the mortals shall do and suffer for my name."

Other great mysteries were shown to the holy child in this vision of the Divinity, for as the object presented to the soul in such repeated intuitive visions is infinite, that which remains to be seen will always remain infinite and will excite greater and greater wonder and love in the one thus favored. The most holy Mary answered the Lord and said: "Most high, supreme and eternal God, incomprehensible Thou art in thy magnificence, overflowing in thy riches, unspeakable in thy mysteries, most faithful in thy promises, true in thy words, most perfect in thy works, for Thou art the Lord, infinite and eternal in thy essence and perfections. But, most high Lord, what shall my littleness begin to do at the sight of thy magnificence? I acknowledge myself unworthy to look upon thy greatness, yet I am in great need of being regarded by it. In thy presence, Lord, all creation is as nothing. What shall I thy servant do, who am but dust? Fulfill in me all thy desire and thy pleasure; and if trouble and persecutions suffered by mortals in patience, if humility and meekness are so precious in thy eyes, do not consent, O my Beloved, that I be deprived of such a rich treasure and pledge of thy love. But as the rewards of these tribulations, give them to thy servants and friends, who deserve them better than I, for I have not yet labored in thy service and pleasure."

The Most High was much pleased with the petition of the heavenly Child and He gave Her to understand that He would admit Her to suffering and labor for his love in the course of her life, without at the time revealing to Her the order and the manner in which He was to dispense them. The Princess of heaven gave thanks for this blessing and favor of being chosen to labor and suffer for the glory of God’s name. Burning with desire of securing such favor, She asked of his Majesty to be allowed to make four vows in his presence: of chastity, of poverty, of obedience, and of perpetual enclosure in the temple whither He had called Her. To this petition the Lord answered and said to Her: "My Spouse, my thoughts rise above all that is created, and thou, my chosen one, dost not yet know what is to happen to thee in the course of thy life, and thou dost not yet understand why it is impossible to fulfill thy fervent desires altogether in the manner in which thou now dost imagine. The vow of chastity I permit and I desire that thou make it; I wish that from this moment thou renounce earthly riches. It is also my will that as far as possible thou observe whatever pertains to the other vows, just as if thou hadst made them all. Thy desire shall be fulfilled through many other virgins in the coming law of grace; for, in order to imitate thee and to serve Me, they will make these same vows and live together in community and thou shalt be the Mother of many daughters."
The most holy Child then, in the presence of the Lord, made the vow of chastity and as for the rest without binding Herself, She renounced all affection for terrestrial and created things. She moreover resolved to obey all creatures for the sake of God. In the fulfillment of these promises She was more punctual, fervent and faithful than any who have ever made these vows or ever will make them. Forthwith the clear and intuitive vision of the Divinity ceased, but She was not immediately restored to the earth. For, remaining in the empyrean heaven, She enjoyed another, an imaginary vision of the Lord in a lower state of ecstasy, so that in connection with it, She saw other mysteries.

In this secondary and imaginary vision some of the seraphim closest to the Lord approached Her and by his command adorned and clothed Her in the following manner. First all her senses were illumined with an effulgent light, which filled them with grace and beauty. Then they robed Her in a mantle or tunic of most exquisite splendor, and girded Her with a cincture of vary-colored and transparent stones, of flashing brilliancy, which adorned Her beyond human comprehension. They signified the immaculate purity and the various heroic virtues of her soul. They placed on Her also a necklace or collar of inestimable and entrancing beauty, which contained three large stones, symbolic of the three great virtues of faith, hope and charity; this they hung around her neck letting it fall to her breast as if indicating the seat of these precious virtues. They also adorned her hands with seven rings of rare beauty whereby the Holy Ghost wished to proclaim that He had enriched Her with his holy gifts in a most eminent degree. In addition to all this the most holy Trinity crowned her head with an imperial diadem, made of inestimable material and set with most precious stones, constituting Her thereby as his Spouse and as the Empress of heaven. In testimony whereof the white and refulgent vestments were emblazoned with letters or figures of the finest and the most shining gold, proclaiming: Mary, Daughter of the eternal Father, Spouse of the Holy Ghost and Mother of the true Light. This last name or title the heavenly Mistress did not understand; but the angels understood it, who, lost in wonder and praise of the Author, were assisting at this new and strange ceremony. Finally the attention of all the angelic spirits was drawn toward the Most High and a voice proceeded from the throne of the blessed Trinity, which, addressing the most holy Mary, spoke to Her: "Thou shalt be our Spouse, our beloved and chosen One among all creatures for all eternity; the angels shall serve thee and all the nations and generations shall call thee blessed" (Luc. 1, 48).

The sovereign Child being thus attired in the court dress of the Divinity, then celebrated a more glorious and marvelous espousal than ever could enter the mind of the highest cherubim and seraphim. For the Most High accepted Her as his sole and only Spouse and conferred upon Her the highest dignity which can befall a creature; He deposited within Her his own Divinity in the person of the Word and with it all the treasures of grace befitting such eminence. Meanwhile the most Humble among the humble was lost in the abyss of love and wonder which these benefits and favors caused in Her , and in the presence of the Lord She spoke: "Most high King and incomprehensible God, who art Thou and who am I , that thy condescension should look upon me who am dust, unworthy of such mercy? In Thee, my Lord, as in a clear mirror seeing thy immutable being, I behold and understand without error my lowliness and vileness, I admire thy immensity and deprecate my nothingness. At the sight of Thee I am annihilated and lost in astonishment, that the infinite Majesty should stoop to so lowly a worm, who can merit only oblivion and contempt of all the creatures. O Lord, my only Good, how art Thou magnified and exalted in this deed! What marvel dost Thou cause through me in thy angelic spirits, who understand thy infinite bounty, magnificence and mercy in raising up from the dust her who in it is poor, and placing her among the princes (Ps. 112, 7)! I accept Thee, O my King and my Lord, as my Spouse and I offer myself as thy slave. Let not my understanding attend to any other object, nor my memory hold any other image, nor my will seek other object or pleasure than Thee, my highest Good, my true and only Love. Let not my eyes look upon human creature, nor my faculties and senses attend upon anything beside Thee and whatever thy Majesty shall direct. Thou alone for thy spouse, my Beloved, and she for Thee only, who art the immutable and eternal Good."

The Most High received with ineffable pleasure this consent of the sovereign Princess to enter into the new espousal with her most holy soul. As upon his True Spouse and as Mistress of all creation, He now lavished upon Her all the treasures of his grace and power, instructing Her to ask for whatever She desired and assuring Her that nothing would ever be denied Her. The most humble Dove at once proceeded to beseech the Lord with the most burning charity, to send His Onlybegotten to the world as a remedy for mortals; that all men be called to the true knowledge of his Divinity; that her natural parents, Joachim and Anne, receive an increase of the loving gifts of his right hand; that the poor and afflicted be consoled and comforted in their troubles; and that in Herself be fulfilled the pleasure of the divine will. These were some of the more express petitions addressed by the new Spouse on this occasion to the blessed Trinity. And all the angelic host sang new songs of admiration in praise of the Most High, while those appointed by his Majesty, midst heavenly music, bore back the holy Child from the empyrean heaven to the place in the temple, from which they had brought Her.

In order to commence at once to put in practice what She had promised in the presence of the Lord, She betook Herself to her instructress and offered all that her mother, saint Anne, had left for her comfort and sustenance, with the exception of a few books and clothes. She requested Her to give it to the poor or use it for any other purpose according to her pleasure, and that She command and direct Her what She was to do. The discreet matron, (who was, as I have already said, the prophetess Anne) by divine impulse accepted and approved of the offering of the beautiful Child and dismissed Her entirely poor and stripped of everything except the garments which She wore. She resolved to take care of Her in a special manner as one destitute and poor; for the other maidens each possessed their spending money and a certain sum assigned and destined for their wearing apparel and for other necessities according to their inclinations.

The holy matron, having first consulted the high priest, also gave to the sweetest Child a rule of life. By thus despoiling and resigning Herself the Queen and Mistress of creation obtained a complete freedom and detachment from all creatures and from her own Self, neither possessing nor desiring anything except only the most ardent love of God and her own abasement and humiliation.
 
WORDS OF THE QUEEN. (The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain.)

My daughter, among the great and ineffable favors of the Omnipotent in the course of my life, was the one which thou has just learned and described; for by this clear vision of the Divinity and of the incomprehensible essence I acquired knowledge of the most hidden sacraments and mysteries, and in this adornment and espousal I received incomparable blessings and felt the sweetest workings of the Divinity in my spirit. My desire to take the four vows of poverty, obedience, chastity and enclosure pleased the Lord very much, and I merited thereby that the Godfearing in the Church and in the law of grace are drawn to live under these vows, as is the custom in the present time. This was the beginning of that which you religious practice now, fulfilling the words of David in the forty-fourth psalm: "After Her shall virgins be brought to the King;" for the Lord ordained that my aspirations be the foundation of religious life and of the evangelical law. I fulfilled entirely and perfectly all that I proposed to the Lord, as far as was possible in my state of life; never did I look upon the face of a man, not even on that of my husband Joseph, nor on that of the angels, when they appeared to me in human form, though I saw and knew them all in God. Never did I incline toward any creature, rational or irrational, nor toward any human operation or tendency. But in all things I was governed by the Most High, either directly by Himself or indirectly through the obedience, to which I freely subjected myself.

Be careful therefore, my daughter, and fear so dreadful a danger; by divine assistance of grace raise thyself above thyself, never permitting thy will to consent to any disorderly affection or movement. I wish thee to consume thyself in dying to thy passions and in becoming entirely spiritualized, so that having extinguished within thee all that is of earth, thou mayest come to lead an angelic life and conversation. In order to deserve the name of spouse of Christ, thou must pass beyond the limits and the sphere of a human being and ascend to another state and divine existence. Although thou art earth, thou must be a blessed earth, without the thorns of passion, one whose fruit is all for the Lord, its Master. If thou hast for thy Spouse that supreme and mighty Lord, who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, consider it beneath thy dignity to turn thy eyes, and much more thy heart, toward such vile slaves, as are the human creatures, for even the angels love and respect thee for thy dignity as spouse of the Most High. If even among men it is held to be a daring and boundless insolence in a plebeian to cast longing eyes upon the spouse of a prince, what a crime would it be to cast them on the spouse of the heavenly and omnipotent King? And it would not be a smaller crime if she herself would receive and consent to such familiarity. Consider and assure thyself that the punishment reserved for this sin is inconceivably terrible and I do not show it to thee visibly, lest thou perish in thy weakness. I wish that for thee my instructions suffice to urge thee to the fulfillment of all I admonish and to imitate me as my disciple, as far as thy powers go. Be also solicitous in recalling this instruction to the mind of thy nuns and in seeing that they live up to it.

My daughter, the greatest happiness, which can befall any soul in this mortal life, is that the Almighty call her to his house consecrated to his service. For by this benefit He rescues the soul from a dangerous slavery and relieves her of the vile servitude of the world, where, deprived of true liberty, she eats her bread in the sweat of her brow. Who is so dull and insipid as not to know the dangers of the worldly life, which is hampered by all the abominable and most wicked laws and customs introduced by the astuteness of the devil and the perversity of men? The better part is religious life and retirement; in it is found security, outside is a torment and a stormy sea, full of sorrow and unhappiness. Through the hardness of their heart and the total forgetfulness of themselves men do not know this truth and are not attracted by its blessings. But thou, O soul, be not deaf to the voice of the Most High, attend and correspond to it in thy actions: I wish to remind thee, that one of the greatest snares of the demon is to counteract the call of the Lord, whenever he seeks to attract and incline the soul to a life of perfection in his service.

Even by itself, the public and sacred act of receiving the habit and entering religion, although it is not always performed with proper fervor and purity of intention, is enough to rouse the wrath and fury of the infernal dragon and his demons; for they know that this act tends not only to the glory of the Lord and the joy of the holy angels, but that religious life will bring the soul to holiness and perfection. It very often happens, that they who have received the habit with earthly and human motives, are afterwards visited by divine grace, which perfects them and sets all things aright. If this is possible even when the beginning was without a good intention, how much more powerful and efficacious will be the light and influence of grace and the discipline of religious life, when the soul enters under the influence of divine love and with a sincere and earnest desire of finding God, and of serving and loving Him?
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