Saint of the Day ~ July 28

SAINT VICTOR I (?-199), pope and martyr

Today, the Church honors Saint Victor I, the 13th successor to Saint Peter, who was pope from the years 189 to 199.

Victor was the first African pope, coming from one of the Roman provinces of Africa. He is known for having obtained the release of Christians who had been deported to the mines of Sardinia.

During his pontificate, he is most renowned for decreeing that Easter be universally celebrated on a Sunday. Internal dissensions during this era affected the Church at Rome, and the dispute over the celebration of Easter grew more acute.

The Christians who were residing in Rome, and who had come from the province of Asia, were accustomed to observing Easter on the 14th day of Nisan, which is the seventh month of the civil year in the Jewish calendar, usually falling within March and April.

This difference inevitably led to some difficulties, so Pope Victor decided to bring about unity in the observance of the Easter Solemnity. His decree did not sit well with some of the Eastern bishops; but, over time, the Roman practice in the observance of Easter on Sunday gradually became universal.

Pope Victor is also known as the first Vicar of Christ to celebrate the liturgy and write Church documents in Latin rather than Greek. Saint Jerome refers to him as the first Latin writer in the Church, but only his letters concerning Easter have survived to the present day.

According to unconfirmed tradition, Pope Victor I died a martyr’s death in the year 199 during the reign of the Roman emperor, Septimius Severus.

We commemorate his feastday on July 28.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com and newadvent.org)

******************************************************************

PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Pastors ~ pope)

“All-powerful and Ever-living God, You called Saint Victor to guide Your people by his word and example. With him, we pray to You: watch over the pastors of Your Church with the people entrusted to their care, and lead them to salvation.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, § 1731)

******************************************************************

“Almighty and Most Merciful Father, after having taken flesh upon Himself, our Lord Jesus instructed us to be holy as You, Father, are holy, so that we, Your faithful children, may always walk in innocence;

– please help each of us to love what is truly perfect, so that we may neither speak what is evil nor do anything which is offensive to Your Love. In Your Divine Mercy, may we forever stand in Your sight, pleasing in appearance, and may we celebrate with You the wonders of Your Eternal Love and Justice. We humbly pray this in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”

Mercy Minutes with Jesus (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

July 26 ~ This Firm Resolution

Theme:  Strive for Sanctity

“I want to become a saint, and I trust that God’s mercy can make a saint even out of such misery as I am, because I am utterly in good will. In spite of all my defeats, I want to go on fighting like a holy soul and to comport myself like a holy soul.”(Diary, 1333)

“O Lord, You who penetrate my whole being and the most secret depths of my soul, You see that I desire You alone and long only for the fulfillment of Your holy will, paying no heed to difficulties or sufferings or humiliations or to what others might think.”(Diary, 1360)

“This firm resolution to become a saint is extremely pleasing to Me. I bless your efforts and will give you opportunities to sanctify yourself. Be watchful that you lose no opportunity that My providence offers you for sanctification.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1361a)

(To be continued)

My prayer response:

Lord, bless my efforts to become a saint, and may I please You in my every thought, word and deed. May I take advantage of the opportunities You give me to grow in sanctity, and please help me to be watchful for every opportunity. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

******************************************************************

Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

July 26 ~ Knowledge of God’s Will

Theme:  Knowledge of God

“…the knowledge of God’s will came to me; that is to say, I now see everything from a higher point of view and accept all events and things, pleasant and unpleasant, with love, as tokens of the heavenly Father’s special affection.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 956)

“Oh, if only the suffering soul knew how it is loved by God, it would die of joy and excess of happiness! Some day, we will know the value of suffering, but then we will no longer be able to suffer. The present moment is ours.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 963)

******************************************************************

Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

Saints of the Day ~ July 26

SAINTS JOACHIM and ANNE (? B.C.-?), parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, the universal Church honors Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of our Blessed Mother. The couple’s faith and perseverance brought them through the sorrow of childlessness, to the joy of conceiving and raising the immaculate and sinless woman who would give birth to Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, the Eternal Word made flesh who would save us from our slavery to sin.

The New Testament contains no specific information about the lives of the Virgin Mary’s parents, but other documents outside of the Biblical Canon do provide some details. Although these writings are not considered authoritative in the same manner as the Bible, they outline some of the Church’s traditional beliefs about Joachim, Anne and their daughter, Mary.

The Protoevangelium of James, which was probably put into its final written form in the early second century, describes Mary’s father, Joachim, as a wealthy member of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Joachim was deeply grieved, along with his wife Anne, by their childlessness.

Joachim and Anne began to devote themselves to rigorous prayer and fasting, in isolation from one another and from society. They regarded their inability to conceive a child as a surpassing misfortune, and a sign of shame among the Tribes of Israel. As it turned out, however, they were blessed with a daughter who would one day be known by the entire world as the Theotokos, the Mother of God.

According to the Protoevangelium of James, Mary was dedicated to God at an early age (possibly three years old). It goes on to describe how Mary’s parents, along with the Temple priests, subsequently decided that she would be offered to God as a consecrated virgin for the rest of her life, and enter into a chaste marriage with one who would be just and holy and honor her consecration.

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne have been a part of the Church’s liturgical calendar for many centuries. Devotion to their memory is particularly strong in the Eastern Catholic Churches, where their intercession is invoked by the priest at the end of each Divine Liturgy.

The parents of Mary represent that entire unspoken series of generations who faithfully perform their duties, practice their faith and establish an atmosphere for the coming of the Messiah, all the while remaining obscure and fulfilling God’s Divine will quietly and faithfully.

We commemorate their joint feastday on July 26.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)

******************************************************************

PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saints Joachim and Anne)

“God of our fathers, You gave Saints Joachim and Anne the privilege of being the parents of Mary, the Mother of Your Incarnate Son. May their prayers help us to attain the salvation You have promised to Your people.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Meditation for the Day

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 25

As Faithful Children of God the Father and Brothers and Sisters of Jesus Christ, May We Reach Out with a Selfless Love and Charity to All Who Are in Most Need, Feeding One Another with the Same Love and Compassion Which God Feeds Each of Us:

“You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” – words which we read in today’s Responsorial Psalm.

As we look at the world in which we live today, I am sure that we can all agree that there are many kinds of hunger experienced by peoples of all different races, creeds, ethnicities and religious persuasions.

At first glance, one would normally think of physical hunger, for we see this in the faces of all those pictured in countries which are struggling with extreme poverty and sickness – the gaunt faces and bloated stomachs of small children – images which would touch even the hardest of hearts.

And this kind of hunger is very much alive even in developed, industrialized nations where, in a 2016 survey, almost 13% of all Americans were living in poverty and suffering from the effects of physical hunger. And this percentage is continually growing due to the economic climate in which many are living today – increased unemployment, foreclosures on homes, even an increase in homelessness.

Even in the United States, over 3½ million people, 39% of them children, currently experience homelessness each year. Sadly, 60% of all new homeless cases are single mothers with children. And all this is sadly right in our own “backyard”.

In approaching this particular issue of human suffering, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his June 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate [Charity in Truth] writes, “The right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life. It is therefore necessary to cultivate a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination.”

The question that each one of us needs to ask ourselves is – “Are we, you and I, doing all that we can, with the gifts which God has given us, to help those who are much less fortunate than ourselves?”

Another hunger, which almost everyone experiences from time-to-time, is emotional – the need to feel emotionally satisfied, whether the satisfaction takes the form of feeling loved, feeling needed, feeling contented or happy in one’s job, feeling financially secure – to name only a few. Emotional hunger, and the satisfaction which feeds that hunger, can take many different forms, shapes and sizes.

The last hunger, and probably the most important one for people of faith, is spiritual – the desire, the need to be fed, the need to be nourished with God’s Truth – a Truth which feeds us with Divine Love, a Truth which feeds us with hope, a Truth which fills us with an everlasting joy.

In today’s Readings, we hear about God feeding His children. On the surface, we hear about loaves of bread and fish – physical sustenance for the body.

But there is a much deeper truth, a much deeper meaning behind these events. And, Saint Paul addresses it with his Letter to the Ephesians: “I…urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”

By virtue of our Baptism into the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are adopted into the family of God. And, as God the Father is our Father, and as Jesus, His Son, is our elder Brother, we are invited to become heirs of His Kingdom. And, as heirs, we are called to live the gift of faith, a gift which God has freely given us, by always staying focused on what is truly most important in our daily lives.

Imagine faith, which is a gift freely offered and freely given by God to His children as a present – gift wrapped and placed at our feet. We can either leave it there and ignore it – or we can pick it up, unwrap it and embrace what is inside.

Embracing this gift of faith, living this gift as our Lord invites us, and as our Church teaches us, nourishes us, sustains and strengthens us on our journey through this life – a life which has many wonderful peaks, but which also has many deep and unpleasant valleys.

And it is the grace which God gives us in living our faith which helps to sustain and strengthen us, especially when our journeys take us through some of our darkest valleys – some of the most difficult times in our lives.

In a small community in South Jersey, there was a bakery which created only rolls and loaves of bread. If you get there at the right time of the day, generally early afternoon, as soon as you open the front door to this bakery, the aroma of freshly baked bread fills the senses to such an extent, that you think you are gaining weight just by smelling the richness of the air which surrounds and permeates every cell of your body!

It is an aroma so delectable, that you can’t resist buying some of the freshly baked bread or rolls! It is the anticipation of eating this freshly baked, warm bread which gives you a feeling of pleasure and a longing for satisfaction in its consumption! And yet, this satisfaction is temporary, for it only feeds the needs of the body.

How much more so, then, does our soul need the same sort of satisfaction in its nourishment, not with a bread which feeds and satisfies our physical needs for but a few moments in time, but with a bread which nourishes and sustains the human spirit, the human soul for all eternity?

As we progress through the Readings for the next few Sundays, we will begin to understand the importance of this spiritual nourishment, the Bread of Life which becomes our true strength, the Bread of Life which we receive as Eucharist – which is the source and summit of our Christian life of faith, from which we are constantly nourished and fed with God’s Love and His Real and Living Presence within us, and from which all other Sacraments derive their true meaning in the life of the Church.

Remember the words of our psalmist today, “You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

In today’s Readings, Elisha fed one hundred people with twenty loaves and some corn, and Jesus fed over five thousand with just five loaves and two fish. And, in both instances, there were fragments left over!

The fragments remind us that the gift of God’s Love will never run dry. The gift of His grace will never run out for those who open their hearts and embrace the gifts He freely offers.

For those of us who choose to pick up these gifts and unwrap them, we are able to believe in God’s Fatherly Love and concern for His children, especially when we remember our Lord’s words given to us in Matthew’s Gospel, “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?”

In the feeding of the five thousand in today’s Gospel, Jesus is also telling us that He will feed us too. He will nourish us in all the ways we need to be fed. But He is also asking for OUR help.

By virtue of our baptismal call, we are each asked to become the extension of Christ to all those who are in need. We are each called to imitate the compassion and love which Christ gave, as an example for each of us to follow; for as Jesus once said to His disciples, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

In humility, may each of us, as faithful children of God the Father, and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, reach out with a selfless love and charity to all those who are in most need. As Jesus fed the multitude in today’s Gospel, may we also feed each other with the same selfless love and compassion which God feeds each of us.

And may everything we do in the Most Holy Name of Jesus Christ always begin with His inspiration, and always continue with His saving help, so that the saving work we do, for all our brothers and sisters in Christ, may always find its origin in Him, and through Him, reach its ultimate completion, all for the greater honor and glory of Almighty God!

May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you.

******************************************************************

Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

******************************************************************

Scripture for the Day

  • “You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16)
  • “Elisha again said, ‘Give it to the people to eat, for thus says the LORD: ‘You will eat and have some left over.’’” (2 Kings 4:43bc)
  • “Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.’ So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.” (John 6:11-13)
  • “I…urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
  • “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6:38)
  • “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:16-17a)
  • “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
  • “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Matthew 10:8bc)
  • “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:15)

******************************************************************

Prayer for the Day

“Jesus, Loving Companion of Your children,
You have extended Your friendship to all.
You opened Your arms without discrimination,
offering Your warmth and hope through Your Spirit,
and Your Merciful Love to those seeking comfort.

“Endow me with the virtue of such a friendship,
to know, love and trust all on an equal basis;
To share my friendship without prejudice,
and to be compassionate and charitable
towards those who are less fortunate.

“Fashion my heart to reflect Your qualities,
those befitting a loving and caring spirit.
Jesus, You showed me the way to true friendship;
Help me to be more like You in the world around me,
so that I may remain with You forever. Amen.”

Anonymous

DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, § 1731)

******************************************************************

“Eternal and Most Loving Father, You have given to us the example of true discipleship by the lives of many holy men and women throughout the ages, including the “apostle to the Apostles”, Saint Mary Magdalene, whom we honor in a special way today;

– as members of the Body of Christ, may we truly embrace our baptismal calling by living our lives faithfully and selflessly, always being of service to the needs of one another. For in this way, we truly become the extension of Christ, Himself, in our individual walks of faith. In Jesus’s Most Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.”