Tuesday, May 27, 2014

School is almost over....but I have less time than I have all year!

My list of things to do is lengthy--there is not doubt about that--but where has my time gone?!?

To say the least, sorry, I'm a week +/- behind writing this  blog.  More than anything I'm apologizing to myself.  To explore the saints and my faith was my Lenten promise to myself.  This is something I truly want to do, and I think I set pretty lax goals.  Exploring 3 saints every week is not difficult.  But then came the end of the school year.  Between field days, awards days, mommy breakfasts, PTA meetings, pep rallies, (the list is inexhaustible) the past few weeks feel like a whirlwind of kids and school and somewhere in there I pass my hubby at dinner and collapse into bed for a not-so-restful few hours of sleep.  I'm officially giving myself a break.  I will not be posting any of the saints for last week or this week.  I am going to attempt to slow the clock by just a bit, if only for a few days.

Honestly, at this point I feel quite a bit like the story of Martha and Mary.  I'm definitely not choosing wisely.
Here is the story, if you need a refresher.  I sure did.  This came from bible gateway.

Luke 10:38-42

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Martha and Mary

38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with [a]all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 10:40 Lit much service
So, enjoy yourself this week.  Seek the Lord in everything and honor him and the gifts he has given you. Remember to be more like Mary and less like Martha, even with your children, because essentially the only things that matter are your faith and your family. Everything else will survive without you.

Blessings!
Genevieve

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sts. Nereus & Achilleus

Happy feast of Nereus & Achilleus!

5/12/14

These 2 martyrs were members of the roman army.  They took part in the persecution of Christians during the reign of Trajan.  They were members of the elite Praetorian Guard and we're baptized by St. Peter after a "miracle of faith" converted them.  For their crime of impiety, they were excited from Rome with St. Flavian Domitilla and eventually beheaded.

This brings to mind the conversion of St. Paul in my mind.  The brutal Roman soldier out to follow orders and carry out his military career to the best of his ability, struck by the hand of God and made to see the error of their ways and light of The Lord.  Again, I wonder if my faith would be so strong? Thank you Lord for showing us the magnitude of your forgiveness.  Thank you for the example of your saints.

St. Pachomius

Happy feast of St. Pachomius!

5/9/14 (also listed as 5/14/14)

St. Pachomius was the founder of of Christian monasticism.  He was born a pagan in Egypt and even served in the Roman Legion in North Africa.  He converted to Christianity in 313 and quit his military career.  He withdrew into the desert and came under the deciles hip of Palaemon, a famed hermit.  After a while Pachomius founded a community of monks. His contribution to formative monasticism ranks him with other great innovators of the church.

Ok, that's cool.  This is the person who first gathered up men, drew up a rule, and created a place for those who wished to lead a consecrated life.  Before his death, there were 10 other communities (men & women) comprising of around 3000 people.  He literally gathered them out of the desert and brought them together.  Before that, there were hermits living in solitude in the caves of the desert.  We owe a lot to St. Pachomius!
image from catholic.org
 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

St. John of Beverley

Happy feast of St. John of Beverley!

5/7/2014

St. John was a Benedictine bishop in England. He was trained at Canterbury under Sts. Adrian & Thodore.  He succeeded St. Boas as Bishop of York.  There he ordained St. Bede to the priesthood. He was praised by St. Bede in his Ecclesiastical History.  He founded Beverley Abbey.

This is one of those saints again that takes a little more looking to find what is truly great about them.  Like so many others, when you read the blurb in a book he seems rather small in the saintly world, but you know there must be something, after all he is a saint.  St. John Beverley has many  miracles and headings associated with him.  He was celebrated for his scholarship and virtue.  Still, comparably, there is very little to go on.  As for me, I will look on St. John of Beverley as an example of virtue.  His life and sainthood will be the example that leading a virtuous life can lead to great things.

Monday, May 5, 2014

St. Maximus of Jerusalem

Happy Feast of St. Maximus of Jerusalem!

Maximus was bishop of Jerusalem around 335.  He lost one eye and had one foot burned and was condemned to forced labor during the tortures of the Diocletian persecutions earlier in his life.  As a priest in Jerusalem, his sufferings and character endeared him to the people, which made him the people's choice, so to speek, for bishop of Jerusalem.  He opposed St. Athanasius originally at the Council of Tyre, but realized his error and became a dedicated enemy of the Arian heresy and a firm supporter of the Nicene creed.  He was not favored during this controversy although he repented of his mistake.  While bishop of Jerusalem, he dedicated the newly built basilica of the Church of the Holy Seplechre.

Now, this is a priest that you can really understand.  My son said it best the other day, "it's hard to understand the saints when they always seem to be perfect."  This one was tortured, a priest, a bishop, and made a HUGE mistake on who to trust.  But, what can we get from him--even when we mess up, even when it's really bad like denying the true being of Jesus (Arainism asserted that the Son of God was subordinate to God the Father, he was not "consubstantial with the father") if we accept and confess our mistake and come back into accordance with the church's teachings we can be forgiven and we can even still become saints.  I am so glad that our God is a forgiving and loving God!

St. Zoe

Happy Feast of St. Zoe!

St. Zoe and her husband Exsuperius (also known as Hesperus) were both Christians and slaves during the reign of Emperor Hadrian in Asia Minor.  Both of them had been raised Christian and had raised both of their sons (Cyriacus and Theodulus) as Christians.  They had all remained true to their faith and had never taken of food offered to idols as their pagan masters did.  The boys hoped to run away from their master, but their mother refused to bless this endeavor.  They asked their mother if they could instead confess to their master, Catullus, their faith.  This she did allow.  Their master did not send them to torture at this point, but instead sent the family away on business, hoping the family would persuade the boys to deny their faith. Instead, while there, they prepared themselves for the possibility of martyrdom.  All of the slaves returned to the master's home for the birthday of Catullus' son.  A feast was prepared at the house in honor of the pagan goddess Fortuna.  Food and wine, including the meat and wine that had been sacrificed to the idol was sent to the slaves, Zoe and her family refused to partake.  When Catullus learned of this, he gave the orders to have the family tortured.  The boys were stripped down and tortured before their parents, who counselled the children to persevere to the end.  Next, the parents were tortured terribly.  Finally, they were all thrown into a furnace and burned.  There they surrendered their souls to the Lord.  Their bodies were preserved in the fire unharmed and angelic singing was heard glorifying the confessors of the Lord.

What an amazing family!  The strength of a mother to encourage her children to follow God even when life is truly at stake, is amazing.  I love learning about the lives of the martyrs.  I don't know what draws me to their stories, but if their is an option, I will always want to read their story first.  As you go through your day, remember St. Zoe.  Think about the incredibly tough decisions she was forced to make and her similarities to Our Lady in watching her sons suffer.  Make the commitment today to find one way (in addition to what you are currently doing) to lead your children to the Lord.  I am beginning Theology of the Body for Middle Schoolers with by older children today.  I have been intending to do this for quite a while, but have allowed life to get in the way.  I received my awakening, when I received the notice that my 6th grader is going through a 2 week "Worth the Wait" sex-ed program at school.  I know this in no way compares to St. Zoe and her decisions, but it does deal with the moral decisions that our children will face and what we face as parents.  If my child is called to learn the secular program (which thank God, is not too explicit) they will also learn the church's model.  Thank you St. JP II for this program!




Wednesday, April 30, 2014

St. Pius V, Pope

Happy Feast of St. Pius V, Pope!

Pope Pius V was head of the Catholic Church from 1566-1572 and a leader of the Catholic Reformation.  He was born to a poor Italian family and was a shepherd until he joined the Dominicans at he age of 14.  He taught theology and philosophy for 16 years before becoming master of novices and prior for several Dominican houses.  He was named inquisitor for Como and Bergamo, but fulfilled his position so well, he was named commissary general of the Inquisition  in 1551.  He quickly rose to bishop of Nepi and Sutri in 1556, cardinal in 1557, grand inquisitor in 1558, and on January 7, 1566 elected Pope.  As Pope, he saw him main objective as continuing to reform the church, specifically full implementation of the Council of Trent. He published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal (I think we are ALL grateful for these!).  He declared Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church, commanded a new edition of the works of Thomas Aquinas, ans created a commission to revise the Vulgate.  The decrees of Trent were published throughout all Catholic lands and the Pope insisted on strict adherence.  In 1571, Pius created the Congregation of the Index (what the index iswhat is on itliberal view of what is on it) to give help with the Church's resistance to Protestant and heretical writings and used the Inquisition to keep Protestant ideas from spreading in Italy.  There was a threat beyond the Protestants, the Ottoman Turks were advancing steadily across the Mediterranean.  Pius V organized an alliance between Benice and Spain, culminating in the Battle of Lepanto, which was a complete triumph over the Turks--the Feast Day for Our Lady of Victory was established on this day to recognizer Our Lady's intercession in answer to the Rosary being said all over Catholic Europe.  Pius led reforms of the Church by example.  For example, he wore his coarse Dominican robed, even underneath his papal vestments and devoted himself wholeheartedly to the religious life.  Only the Inquisition's oppression was left as a blemish on his papacy, often Jews of Rome were brutally treated; and the excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

I am so happy to be learning about a pope and a saint today, just a few days after 2 popes were canonized as saints.  How amazing is our church?  To have a succession of leaders that you can follow all of the way to Jesus' instillation of Peter.  I think that is one of the most amazing things about the Catholic Church.  Maybe I should insert here the reasons I converted to Catholicism, it really has nothing to do with St. Pius V, or maybe it has everything to do with him and his Reformation of the Church.  I was raised Methodist, by a mom who has a long, long line of Methodists in her family.  My dad was Catholic, but disliked the Latin (and later Spanish) that was spoken in his church (from what I understand that was his main grump about the church).  I was blessed to have Catholic God Parents.  They were amazing!  I loved to spend the night at their house, where a small shrine was in their bedroom and we prayed at night.  That moment in the evening felt like home to me.  They were a wonderful example of marriage and family, but also a wonderful example of Christ's light given to others.  Their faith was amazing and I always wanted more of it.  Going to mass with them or with my grandpa (Dad's Dad) was always a highlight.  Granted their mass was still in Spanish, but I was drawn in by the consistency of the service, I didn't know what they said, but when I went often I could follow along and it was comfortable.  You could always feel the Holy Spirit in the room--ALWAYS--even when I was young, it just felt different than church services at my church.  Then I met a Catholic man, and honestly, I was hoping beyond anything he would insist that I become Catholic before our marriage, but he didn't and we were married Methodist and did the church shuffle the first several years of our marriage.  It wasn't until and wonderful Catholic Priest came into our lives, and started praying for us, that everything changed and I converted.  I don't know that I would have wanted it any other way though.  The Holy Spirit was able to come into both of our lives at one time and change our whole family (children included, there were 2 before I converted).  So, thank you Pope Pius V, thank you to all of the Popes before and after who have led and guided our church through both good and bad times.  And thank you to all of the priests, and religious, who guide and have guided the flock constantly and consistently throughout the years.
(note:  I borrowed the images.  The top one is from another blog, source listed under it (the quote and picture together say it all!) and the image of the tomb is from Wikipedia (what can I say, I'm have not been blessed enough to go visit yet....one day!)