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Sep
13
The Feast of the Golden-Mouthed Father of the Church
Posted by Ian on 13 September 2016 11:00 AM

“The greatest of the Greek Fathers, St. John Chrysostom, is remembered on September 13, a man celebrated for his preaching and his orthodoxy”

September 13 – St. John Chrysostom

September 13th is the feast day of St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, Father of the Greek Church, and considered to be the greatest preacher ever heard. St. John was dubbed with the name “Chrysostom” some decades after his death, during the papacy of Pope Vigilius in year 553.

The term means “Golden Mouthed” and was applied to St. John because of his eloquence in giving homilies and writing letters. The Great Liturgy which he codified, and which is named after him, is still the primary Eucharistic Liturgy in both the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

The saint was born in Antioch; his father died when he was young and the boy was raised by a pious mother. He was well educated and studied under Libanius, considered one of the greatest orators of the time. Around the age of 20, after meeting the bishop Meletius, he began to move away from classical studies to study scripture. In a few years he was ordained a lector (in the Greek and other Eastern churches, a minor order preparatory to the diaconate) and after some time lived withdrawn in a cave near Antioch for 4 years. He then returned to Antioch because of his health, where he was in time, ordained a deacon, and later priest.

As a priest in Antioch, John’s chief task was preaching and his education had prepared him well for speaking. His homilies were always on point and explained scriptures with great clarity. He encouraged justice, prayer, fidelity in marriage, and charity, among other moral things. His preaching was so highly regarded that he was well-known not only in Antioch but in areas throughout the Byzantine empire. Upon the death of Nectarius, John was appointed bishop at Constantinople. He reformed Greek liturgy and preached, as he had as a priest, against extravagance. His homilies were upsetting to many nobles and bishops who succeeded in banishing him to Pythius; John died on his way there. He died in the year 407 and many of his homilies have been well preserved, their eloquence and truth as relevant today as ever. – Adapted from the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia entry on St. John Chrysostom

 

 

Interested in Eastern Catholicism, or want to know more about this branch of the Catholic Church? Our Eastern Catholicism specialty page has links to resource sites about it, as well as all our Eastern Catholic related items such as icons, three bar crosses, and books on the subject. Visit the specialty page here.

 

Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving his own “to the end,” he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again:

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.”

Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.” The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: “charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

-from the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1822-1825

Other Related Gifts

 St. Andrew/St. Olga Cross

Antique Bronze St. Andrew CrossAntique Bronze St. Andrew Cross
Church FathersChurch Fathers Saint John Chrysostom Silver Baby Badge   Saint John Chrysostom Baby Badge

More St. John Chrysostom Gifts

Let Us Pray

Dear Saint John, your oratorical gifts inspired thousands and earned you the name “golden-mouthed.” Continue to inspire Christians through your writings and grant us a rebirth of Christian preaching for the spiritual renewal of the Church. Obtain from God preachers like yourself who, animated by the Holy Spirit, deserve to be called other Christs and forcefully preach the Good News. Amen.

Saint John Chrysostom Quote


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Sep
7
St. Cloud – More Than Just the Name of a City in Minnesota.
Posted by Ian on 07 September 2016 06:00 AM

I noticed on Monday, looking at my Catholic wall calendar, that today (September 7) is the feast of St. Cloud. “St. Cloud” I wondered. Hmm. Was there ever such a person? He’s known as St. Clodoald in France.

Yes, he was a real man, and a real saint. Nope, not just the name of the city in Minnesota. Here’s a photo of the parish church in France which holds his relics:

Parish Church at St. Clodoald, France
Parish Church at St. Clodoald, France

Saint Clodoald (Cloud) is the most well-known saint among the princes of the royal family of the earliest French dynasty, the Merovingians (499-752). Born in 522, he was the son of Chlodomir, King of Orleans and eldest son of Clovis and Saint Clotilda. He was not yet three years old when his father was killed during a war. His grandmother, Saint Clotilda, brought him and his two brothers to Paris to be educated, and doted over them with loving care.

Their ambitious and sinister uncles, however, covetous of the kingdom of Orleans, murdered the youngest boys with their own hands. Clodoald alone was saved from the massacre. Later, renouncing the world, he privately consecrated himself to the service of God. After distributing to the poor what he could salvage of his heritage, he retired to a hermitage to be a disciple pf the holy recluse St. Severinus, who dwelt near the gates of Paris and who clothed him with the monastic habit. His uncles left him alone, seeing his final decision to live as a religious, and conceded certain heritages to him. When he became famous through an act of charity rewarded by a miracle, he withdrew secretly to Provence. There again, his hermitage was sought out by petitioners. He decided to return to Paris, where he was welcomed back with the great joy.

Saint Cloud

The people petitioned the bishop and Clodoald was ordained a priest in 551 by Eusebius, Bishop of Paris, and served the Church of that city for some time in the sacred ministry. Again he found himself held in great honor, so he retired to Nogent, a place now known as Saint Clodoald, several miles south of Paris, where he built a monastery. There he was joined by many pious men, who fled from the world for fear of losing their souls through it. Saint Clodoald was chosen by them to be their Superior, and he animated them to virtue both by word and example. He was tireless in instructing and exhorting the faithful of the surrounding area. He died at Nogent in 560, and the major part of his relics remain still in the parish church of the village (see pictures).

Commemoration of the holy confessor, St. Cloud – Collect for September 7:

O God, Who didst exalt Blessed Clodoald thy confessor, humbled for Thy sake in this world, both by raising him to the dignity of the priesthood and by enduring him with the splendor of many virtues: grant unto us, following his example, to do thee worthy service and, helped by his prayers, ever to grow in virtue and merit. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

St. Clodoald, pray for us and especially for all those who call upon you for aid.


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Aug
20
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Church Doctor
Posted by kenneymg on 20 August 2016 05:02 AM

“You wish me to tell you why and how God should be loved. My answer is that God himself is the reason he is to be loved.”

(1090-1153) Born in France, Bernard was a Cistercian abbot and legendary speaker who fought for the peace and unity of the Church against schism. He wrote many treatises on the Blessed Virgin and Jesus Christ, as well as many works of theology and ascetism. His life manifested a profound recognition of the importance of obedience in one’s spiritual life.

Bernard’s spiritual writing as well as his extraordinary personal magnetism began to attract many to Clairvaux and the other Cistercian monasteries, leading to many new foundations. He was drawn into the controversy developing between the new monastic movement which he preeminently represented and the established Cluniac order, a branch of the Benedictines. This led to one of his most controversial and most popular works, his Apologia. Bernard’s dynamism soon reached far beyond monastic circles. He was sought as an advisor and mediator by the ruling powers of his age.

St. Bernard Of Clairvaux Ceramic Plaque

More than any other Bernard helped to bring about the healing of the papal schism which arose in 1130 with the election of the antipope Anacletus II. It cost Bernard eight years of laborious travel and skillful mediation. At the same time he labored for peace and reconciliation between England and France and among many lesser nobles. His influence mounted when his spiritual son was elected pope in 1145. At Eugene III’s command he preached the Second Crusade and sent vast armies on the road toward Jerusalem. In his last years he rose from his sickbed and went into the Rhineland to defend the Jews against a savage persecution.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux Large Sterling Silver Medal

Bernard died at Clairvaux on 20 August 1153. He was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. Pope Pius VII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1830.                                                                                                                        (http://www.osb.org/cist/bern.html)

 You can learn more about the life of this extraordinary Saint, or purchase some of his writings here.


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Aug
15
What You Don’t Know About the Assumption
Posted by Ian on 15 August 2016 06:22 AM

We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. – Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII, 1950

On August 15th we celebrate the Assumption of Mary, a feast that has been celebrated as far back as the fifth century. In the East the feast is also called “The Dormition” which means “Falling Asleep”. This isn’t to say that Mary didn’t die, both the East and West agree that she did physically die.

The Death and Assumption of Mary

Icon of The Dormition of MaryIn Orthodox tradition, Mary died in her 50’s and the Apostles, except for Thomas, were miraculously brought to her deathbed where they witnessed Jesus take her soul to Heaven. The apostles then buried her near Gethsemane. St. Thomas was absent but he arrived three days later and because he wished to see her body, the apostles opened the tomb and found Mary’s body to be gone.

In the West, according to some venerable visionaries, Mary died when she was 63 and as in the East, St. Thomas was not present because he was returning from the Orient.

The History of the Feast of the Assumption

Emperor Mauricius FlaviusThe Feast of the Assumption has been celebrated in the East since the fifth century. Emperor Mauricius Flavius (582-602) ordered that it be celebrated on the 15th of August throughout the Byzantine Empire. A basilica was built over her tomb and after this church was destroyed, a new church was built in the eleventh century by the Crusaders (see below).

The Church of the Assumption in Jerusalem

Rome officially adopted the feast in the seventh century and the name was officially changed to the Feast of the Assumption by Pope St. Adrian in the eighth century.

The celebration of the feast has always assumed (no pun intended) the bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven as writers in both the East and West were in almost unanimous agreement about this from the earliest times that the story of her death was discussed.
By the sixteenth century, the Feast of the Assumption had become the most prominent Marian feast and one of the most important feasts on the liturgical calendar.

Celebrating the Feast of the Assumption

In the Eastern Church, as is common before major feasts, a time of fasting is required. The Eastern Church holds a two week fast leading up to this feast with only a slight break where fish is allowed on the Feast of the Transfiguration. In some parishes, the people bring flowers to be blessed which they then use to decorate the icon of the Dormition in their homes.
In the West the Assumption of Mary is celebrated as a Holy Day of Obligation.
Listen to the Byzantine Chant for the feast:

Traditions Related to the Feast of the Assumption

Poland: In Poland, the Feast of the Assumption is also known as the Feast of Our Lady of Herbs because people bring herbs to be blessed at Mass on this day, similar to the flower blessing in the Eastern Church.
Italy: In the city of Siena, an annual horse race called the Palio is held in the main square of the city. During the pageant, the horses from each of the parishes around the city are blessed at the cathedral before the race. The participants wear mideaval costumees and race on a dirt track around the shell-shaped piazza. In many cities statues of Mary are carried in procession.

Armenia: On the Sunday closest to the feast, grapes are brought to the churches for a blessing before the parishioners take a bunch home. Following the blessing there are feasts in the vinyards and the first grapes of the season are eaten. (Picture source)

Blessing of the Grapes in Armenia

The making of the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary

As when any dogmatic statement is made by the Church, it is necessary to remember that the Church doesn’t, and can’t, make up theological propositions out of thin air. All dogmatic statements are made after long discussion and reflection and are only made because the Holy Spirit, as guardian of the Faith, allows such decrees to be made.

The first thing that makes this dogma notable is the lack of controversy surrounding its proclamation. Many things that have been dogmatically declared throughout Church history including the nature of Christ, the Queenship of Mary, the Infallibility of the Pope and others have all been subject to long disagreement, schism and sometimes wars but the Dogma of the Assumption avoided all of that.

From the earliest records – parchment fragments from the late 500’s, the narrative of Mary’s death and assumption have remained consistent and free from dispute. Homilies from this time are unified on addressing the topic and the celebration of the feast has always been about both Mary’s physical death and her miraculous assumption.

May saints, including St. Bellarmine, St. Francis de Sales and St. Alphonsus Liguori all promoted the teaching and between 1849 and 1950, when the dogma was proclaimed, thouasands of petitions were sent to Rome asking for the declaration. The petitioners included 113 cardinals, 18 patriarchs, 2,505 bishops, 32,000 priests and brothers, 50,000 women religious and over 8 million lay people.

In 1946 Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Deiperae Virginis which asked the bishops of the world if the Dogma of the Assumption should be officially defined. After receiving an overwhelming “yes”, the Pope issue Munificentissimus Deus on November 1st, 1950.

Encyclopedia of Mary

Encyclopedia of Mary

The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics

The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics


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Aug
14
Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest & Martyr
Posted by kenneymg on 14 August 2016 05:56 AM

A beautiful story of sacrifice and martyrdom

St. Maximillian was born in the Poland in 1894. He entered the novitiate of the Conventual Franciscans in 1910. In 1914 and three years later help organized the association The Militia of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. He was ordained in Rome in 1918. In 1922, he began publishing the magazine, “Knight of the Immaculate,” first in Polish and then in other languages.

In 1927, he began building a whole town with property donated by a wealthy nobleman, called the “Town of the Immaculate,” outside of Warsaw. There he began training people with vocations among the laity and prospective Religious and Priests, to become apostles of Mary. The first Marian Missionaries to Japan were trained in the “Town of the Immaculate.” In 1930, Maximillian opened a Marian publication apostolate in Nagasaki, Japan one of the two cities in Japan which would later be ravaged by a nuclear bomb during the Second World War. As popes have been saying ever since, God chose His most faithful people as a sacrifice to insure future peace in the world.

Glory Stories Maximillian Colbe
Glory Stories Maximillian Colbe

In 1939, Maximillian was arrested by the Nazis who had taken over Poland and sent to Auschwitz. Two years later, in July of 1941, at Block Fourteen, where Saint Maximilian was being kept, revealed that a prisoner had escaped. The policy was to assemble all the prisoners from the block in the yard where they would stand at attention the whole day. If, by the end of the day, the escapee had not been recovered, ten others would be chosen at random to die in his place.

By three o’clock the prisoner was still not found. One of the ten chosen to die was Francis Gajowniczek. Mr. Gajowniczek cried out, “My poor wife, my poor children! What will happen to my family!” That is when Fr. Kolbe came forward, asked to exchange places with Gajowniczek and took the place of the condemned man.

Statue of Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Father Kolbe was sent to the starvation bunker. He lead those with him in prayer. After two weeks, he was still alive. On the morning of August 14, 1941 a lethal dose of carbolic acid was injected into him.

He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 10, 1982.  

Militia Immaculata Prayer of Marian Consecration 
(Composed by St. Maximilian Kolbe)

O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.

If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin
R. Give me strength against your enemies

(attribution wf-f.org)

More Saint Maximilian Kolbe gifts.


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