Saint of the Day ~ September 23

SAINT PIO of PIETRELCINA (1887-1968), priest and mystic

Today, the Church honors Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, or as he is more affectionately known – Saint Padre Pio – who was a Capuchin friar of the Order of Saint Francis of Assisi and a renowned 20th century mystic.

He was born on May 25, 1887 to Grazio and Maria Forgione in the town of Pietrelcina in Southern Italy. He was baptized the next day and given the name Francesco. At the age of twelve he received the Sacrament of Confirmation and made his First Holy Communion.

On January 6, 1903, at the age of fifteen, Francesco entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at Morcone, where on January 22nd he took the Franciscan habit and the name Brother Pio. At the end of his novitiate year, he took simple vows, and on January 27, 1907 made his solemn profession.

After he was ordained a priest on August 10, 1910 at Benevento, he stayed at home with his family until 1916 for health reasons. In September of that year, Padre Pio was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo in the province of Foggia, about 75 miles from the seacoast city of Bari next to the Adriatic Sea, and remained there until his death.

On September 20, 1918, as he was making his thanksgiving after celebrating Mass, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he received the stigmata (the wounds of our Lord) in his hands, feet and side, which would sometimes bleed profusely and place him in considerable agony. The wounds of Christ would remain with Padre Pio throughout the remainder of his life.

As can be imagined, his life then became much more complicated. Medical doctors, Church authorities and curiosity seekers came to see Padre Pio. In 1924 and again in 1931, the authenticity of the stigmata was questioned; Padre Pio was not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to hear confessions. He did not complain of these decisions, all which were soon reversed each time.

Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, and, against his own wishes, the friar’s reputation for holiness and attending miracles began to attract huge crowds. Busloads of people soon began coming to see him. Each morning after he celebrated the 5 a.m. Mass in a crowded church, he would hear confessions until noon. He took a mid-morning break to bless the sick and all who came to see him.

Every afternoon he also heard confessions. In time, his confessional ministry would take 10 hours a day; penitents had to take a number so that the situation could be handled in an organized and unbiased way. Many of them commented that Padre Pio could read their souls and know details of their lives about which they had never mentioned, and which would allow them to reflect upon their past thoughts, words and deeds and make an even more perfect confession.

Padre Pio, conscious of the commitments which he had undertaken when he entered the consecrated life, observed with considerable generosity the vows he had professed. He was obedient in all things to the commands of his Superiors, even when they were burdensome.

He lived the spirit of poverty with total detachment from self, from earthly goods, from his own comfort and from public recognitions. He also had a great love for the virtue of chastity, his behavior being modest in all situations and with all people.

Known for patient suffering, fervent prayer, and compassionate spiritual guidance, Padre Pio also lent his efforts to the establishment of a major hospital on nearby Mount Gargano, which he would call the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering”.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio died from natural causes at the age of eighty-one. Pope St. Paul VI described him as “a man of prayer and suffering.” Padre Pio was beatified in 1999 and canonized a saint on June 16, 2002 in Rome, Italy by Pope Saint John Paul II.

There are many quotations for which Saint Pio is famous, but two which stand out are: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”

And “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.”

His incorrupt remains are interred in a glass sepulcher in the crypt of Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Rotondo.

We commemorate his feastday on September 23.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org, padrepio.catholicwebservices.com and vatican.va/news_services)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Franciscan Collect of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina)

“God our Father, in Saint Pio You gave a light to your faithful people. You made him a pastor of the Church to feed Your sheep with his word and to teach them by his example. Help us by his prayers to keep the faith he taught and follow the way of life he showed us.

“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.”

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)

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“Almighty, Eternal and Most Loving Father, we humbly pray, please strengthen us in the gift of faith which fills our hearts, so that we may refrain from speaking words and committing acts which are offensive to Your Divine Love, for we are all members of the one Body of Christ;

– with the help of Your grace, may we hold fast to our baptismal promises of rejecting all that does not come from You, so that our life of faith and all our words and deeds may always serve to give You praise and glory. We humbly pray this in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”

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

September 22 ~ Part Three of Conference:  “Sacrifice and Prayer”

Theme:  Jesus the Teacher

(Continued)

“Outwardly, your sacrifice must look like this: silent, hidden, permeated with love, imbued with prayer. I demand, My daughter, that your sacrifice be pure and full of humility, that I may find pleasure in it. I will not spare My grace, that you may be able to fulfill what I demand of you.” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1767c)

(To be continued)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, may my sacrifice be silent, hidden, loving, prayerful and joyful. May it be pure and humble, so that it may always please You. Please fulfill Your purpose for my life. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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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)

September 22 ~ Recollection in God

Theme:  Silence, Solitude

“When I feel that the suffering is more than I can bear, I take refuge in the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I speak to Him with profound silence.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 73)

“…in order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one’s soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence, but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in God.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 118)

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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.

Meditation for the Day

Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, September 22

In Jesus Christ, May God’s Love for Each One of Us Be Our Constant Guide for Choosing What Is Good in Our Daily Lives and Always Rejecting What Is Contrary to His Will.

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” – Jesus’ response for all who wish to follow the will of God in their lives.

In our Lord’s reply, which we read in today’s Gospel, we are prompted to ask the question – “What does it mean for you and me to be Christian in today’s world?” And our First Reading today prompts us to ask a second question – “What does it mean to be righteous in the eyes of God?”

In the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the official prayer of the Church, prayed at different hours throughout the day by clergy, religious and an ever increasing number of laity, there is a prayer which we offer to the Eternal Father which reads as follows – “May we be so dedicated to the service of others that the whole human family may become a pleasing sacrifice in Your honor.”

In a way, this prayer also reflects today’s Gospel Reading, when Jesus expresses very dramatically the absolute importance of building-up the family of God. Natural families are important, but Jesus also reminds us of the importance of building up the spiritual family – brothers and sisters working together building up the Body of Christ.

When our Lord answered, My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God…” – Jesus no more intended disregard for His mother than He intended for us to literally pluck out our eyes if they should cause us to sin!

Rather, our Lord wanted us to know that, while it is always a good thing to build up our family life, we are also called to build up the larger household – God’s family.

In theory, this calling from our Creator to build up the Body of Christ makes sense. We have all been baptized into one body. We are all adopted children of God our Heavenly Father. And, as such, we become spiritual brothers and sisters to each other, and are, in a particular sense, responsible for one another. When viewed in this way, we develop an insight as to how we can experience a deeper unity and kinship when we see their needs as our needs and their joys as our joys.

That’s the theory, but what about the practice? We do not have to go far to put this teaching into action. All we need to do is look at our First Reading today from the Book of Proverbs. In it, we find axioms, verses which guide us in a code of conduct which teach us the mind of God when it comes to moral and just behavior towards one another.

Each and every person with whom we come in contact, not just family and friends, but also co-workers, even strangers – those who sit next to us in a movie theater or restaurant, those who stand in line with us at the grocery check-out counter – all are members of our spiritual family, all are our spiritual brothers and sisters – regardless of their race, color, creed or religious persuasion.

I realize that in today’s very complex world, with opposing ideologies and cultures, this is not always an easy concept to grasp, much less accept. For it is so much easier for us to focus only on our own family members and loved ones, even close friends. But each and every one of us is a member of a much larger family – a family which God calls His own.

We have been taught that Church is not solely about buildings. It is not only about structures in which we worship together as a community of believers. Being Church is not about a particular parish or a particular place.

Rather, Church is about us as a people of God. Being Church is a truly profound reality, for it is about us as a people who, in our relationship with each other, form a community in which we profess our faith in a God who loves each of us beyond all means of human understanding or description.

And both communally and individually, we also profess our unique and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through our personal discipleship, not only in words but also in the life of faith which we live daily – in the witness which we give by living the teachings of our faith with charity and love for one another.

Our Lord speaks to us in today’s Gospel, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

I have written about this numerous times in the past, but it is a point which I believe bears repeating – being Christian in a world, in a society and culture which seems more and more determined to embrace the lies and deceits of secularism, and in several parts of the world a radical fundamentalism, is not easy! And being Christian is more than observance of doctrine, precepts, and commandments.

It is first and foremost a relationship – a relationship of faith and trust in our God, and a relationship of commitment, faithfulness, kindness, compassion, mercy, and so many other qualities that bind people together in mutual love and unity.

And God offers to each of us the greatest of relationships – a union of heart, mind, and spirit with Himself, the very Author and Source of both love and life!

God’s Love never fails, never forgets, never compromises, never lies, never lets us down nor disappoints. His Love is constant, unwavering, unconditional, and unstoppable! God is a Trinity of Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and a Community of Divine Love.

That is why Jesus challenged His followers and even His own earthly relatives to recognize that God is the True Source of all relationships. God wants all of our relationships to be rooted in His Love. And He gives us the instruction of how to do this with the words in today’s Gospel –

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

In Jesus Christ, may you and I find the meaning of true friendship and true love. In Jesus Christ, may God’s Love for each one of us be our constant guide for choosing what is good in our daily lives and always rejecting what is contrary to His will.

And in our intimate and personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, may we live the joy of what it truly means to be Christian, and what it truly means to be Church in today’s world!

In this way, we truly do become a righteous people – answering the question I asked in the beginning of this meditation – “What does it mean to be righteous in the eyes of God?”

When we find ourselves becoming a people filled with love not only for God, but also for each other, then we find ourselves, in this love, growing to become more God-like, growing to become more Christ-like.

And in this selfless nature found in our expression of love for one another, we truly begin to grow to become a holier people.

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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.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “[Jesus] said to them in reply, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.’(Luke 8:21)
  • “Make me understand the way of your precepts; I will ponder your wondrous deeds…Give me understanding to keep your law, to observe it with all my heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for that is my delight.” (Psalm 119:27, 34-35)
  • “All your ways may be straight in your own eyes, but it is the LORD who weighs hearts. To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:2-3)
  • “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
  • “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ…” (Philippians 1:27a)
  • “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)
  • “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
  • “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)
  • “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
  • “In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him.” (Colossians 2:3, 6)

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Prayer for the Day

“O Lord God, my Savior and my dearest Friend,
I pray for the grace and the strength
to remain faithful to Your teachings
and to the Sacramental life of the Church.

“Help me to persevere in the commitments
and promises I have made to You.
Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation
I received during my Baptism as Your faithful child.

“Help me to place love and service to You
before all else in my life,
remaining true to Your Truth,
not abandoning myself to the lies and deceits of Satan.

“Grant me the grace to be a holy example for others,
never abandoning Your laws for my own sake.
May I be a model of faithfulness and selfless love,
giving You honor and glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Anonymous

Saint of the Day ~ September 22

SAINT MAURICE and the THEBAN LEGION (?-c.286), martyrs – Patron saint of soldiers

Today, the Church honors Saint Maurice, a Christian and a Roman soldier, and his Legion of 6,600 Christian soldiers who gave their lives for the principle of preserving the sanctity of innocent life.

Maurice was born about the middle of the 3rd century in Thebes, an ancient city in Egypt near the site of the Aswan Dam. He was an acknowledged Christian at a time when the Church was considered to be a threat to the crumbling Roman Empire. Yet, he moved easily throughout the pagan society of his day.

He was considered by many to be a good soldier and a born leader. The Roman emperor, Probus, commissioned him to select and command a full Roman legion. His legion, the Theban Legion, was made up of 6,600 men. Most of them were Christians from Africa.

The Theban Legion was a well-trained battalion. It displayed exceptional intelligence, discipline and valor. Maurice was their leader in the truest sense. He was totally committed to God and was concerned with the spiritual and the temporal welfare of his men. He ate with them and worked with them. He engaged in play with them and prayed with them. He rejoiced in their victories and suffered with each loss. They were truly a military family.

In 284 A.D., Diocletian became emperor and divided the Roman Empire. He chose a soldier named Maximian to rule as the Caesar of the West from Milan. Besieged by nomadic tribes from Gaul, Maximian sent an appeal for reinforcements. Maurice and the Theban Legion were dispatched with orders to clear the Saint Bernard Pass across Mount Blanc, including ruthlessly pillaging and brutally massacring those who resisted. Before going into battle, they were instructed to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods and pay homage to the emperor.

Maurice pledged his men’s military allegiance to Rome, but he also replied that service to God superseded all else. To engage in wanton slaughter was inconceivable to Christian soldiers, and that he and his men refused to worship the Roman gods.

Enraged by such insubordination, and Diocletian being convinced by his soothsayers and fortune-tellers that the Christians were responsible for the reversals in the war, Maximian ordered the execution of the entire Theban Legion. About the year 286 A.D., 6,600 “conscientious objectors” chose martyrdom and glorification following the example of their leader, Maurice.

We commemorate their joint feastday on September 22.

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

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Several Martyrs)

“All-powerful and Ever-living God, turn our weakness into strength. As You gave Your martyrs Maurice and the Theban Legion the courage to suffer death for Christ, give us the courage to live in faithful witness to You.

“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.”

A Death in the Family

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

With a heavy heart, I wish to inform you that my Dad has come to his final rest and is eternally in the loving embrace of our Lord and Savior. Recently, I was able to spend some quality time with him for his 99th birthday. After receiving his final anointing from the Sacrament of the Sick, his body finally succumbed to the effects of ageing

The funeral Mass and Rite of Committal (burial) will take place this coming Saturday, September 19th. Needless to say, there will not be any postings from today (Thursday) through Monday. Prayerfully all postings will resume once again on Tuesday, September 22nd.

Take special time today to hold all those whom you hold dear in your life, and tell them that you love them – for we never know when any of us shall breathe our last. We can only entrust this gift of life and every beat of our heart to the providential Love of Almighty God.

Also, please know that I will periodically check for your individual prayer requests.

Peace and God’s blessings to each of you, †

Ed

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)

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“Most Loving and Eternal Lord Jesus, You call each of Your faithful children to be imitators of Your holiness and extensions of Your Love to all whom we meet;

– with the help of Your grace and the indwelling of Your Spirit, may each of us give witness to others about the truth, the joy and the hope of the Gospel message, especially in a world which seems so lost at times. For it is in this message where we shall find our true peace and happiness, and, ultimately, our eternal life! We humbly pray this in Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”