Thursday, September 29, 2016

St. Jerome: Father and Doctor of the Church



September 30 is the feast of St. Jerome, a Father and Doctor of the Church. Translator of the Bible into its official Latin version (the Vulgate), brilliant scholar, monk, traveler, teacher, letter writer, and consultant to Popes and Bishops, St.Jerome is one of the most important figures in the history of the Church.

St. Jerome was born in Dalmatia (near Aquileia, north of Rome) around 340 to a wealthy Christian family. At the age of 20, Jerome was sent to study in Rome, where he became fluent in Latin and Greek and developed a love for the classical writers. Here he acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to control his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home. He travelled throughout western Europe with a friend but that ceased when he had a conversion experience in Trier and decided to become a monk. He joined a community in Aquileia in 370, where he met some who would become his close friends and others his enemies. When the community disbanded, he decided to go east and he lived for years in the the Syrian desert as a hermit. He studied Hebrew, which he hated, but used it as a distraction against sexual temptations. He was ordained a priest in Antioch and at the age of 40 went to Constantinople, where he met and befriended St. Gregory of Nazianzus (one of the four great Greek Doctors of the Church.)

St. Jerome became the secretary of Pope Damasus, who commissioned the Vulgate from him, which took him 30 years to write. His harsh temperament and his biting criticisms of his intellectual opponents made him many enemies in the Church and in Rome and he was forced to leave the city. Jerome went to Bethlehem, established a monastery, and lived the rest of his years in study, prayer, and asceticism. Jerome died at Bethlehem, September 30th, 420. Saint Jerome's remains are interred in the church of Saint Mary Major at Rome and his relics are in the Sistine chapel of Saint Mary Major in Rome.

Saint Jerome is the patron saint of archaeologists, archivists, Bible scholars, librarians, libraries, schoolchildren, students, and translators.

Quotes from St. Jerome:

"The measure of our advancement in the spiritual life should be taken from the progress we make in the virtue of mortification; for it should be held as certain that the greater violence we shall do ourselves in mortification, the greater advance we shall make in perfection."

"I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: 'Search the Scriptures,' and 'Seek and you shall find.' For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ."

"In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert, burnt up with the heat of the scorching sun so that it frightens even the monks that inhabit it, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome. In exile and prison to which for the fear of hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, I many times imagined myself witnessing the dancing of the Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them: in my cold body and in my parched-up flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion able to live. Alone with this enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and I tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, but I grieve that I am not now what I then was."

-- Saint Jerome's letter to Saint Eustochium

Prayer of St. Jerome for Christ's Mercy

O Lord, show Your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid. I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with Your will. Let me dwell in Your house all the days of my life and praise You for ever and ever with those who are there.

The Letters of St. Jerome

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Feast of the Archangels: Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael



September 29 is the feast of the Archangels: Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. These three Archangels are the only angels named in Sacred Scripture and all three have important roles in the history of salvation.

Michael's name means "Who is like God?"  St. Michael’s name is mentioned four times in the Bible: twice in Daniel and once in both the Book of Revelation and the Epistle of St. Jude. In the book of Revelation 12:7-9, we read of a great war that took place in heaven, in which Michael and his angels battled with Satan and the other fallen angels (devils). Michael became the great champion of faithfulness to God and the victor over evil. Today, he is our protector. He guards the people of God, defends the souls of the just, and brings the souls to their final judgment.  To combat the forces of evil in our world today, we pray the St. Michael the Archangel prayer.  Pope Leo XIII composed the prayer after experiencing a horrific vision of attacks against the Church. The prayer was said at the end of Mass prior to 1968.  Today, in some areas, parishioners continue to recite this powerful prayer after daily Mass.

Patron: Against temptations; against powers of evil; artists; bakers; bankers; battle; boatmen; cemeteries; coopers; endangered children; dying; Emergency Medical Technicians; fencing; grocers; hatmakers; holy death; knights; mariners; mountaineers; paramedics; paratroopers; police officers; radiologists; sailors; the sick; security forces; soldiers; against storms at sea; swordsmiths; those in need of protection; Brussels, Belgium; Caltanissett, Sicily; Cornwall, England; Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida; England; Germany; Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama; Papua, New Guinea; Puebla, Mexico; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Sibenik, Croatia; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Gabriel's name means "the power of God." He, too, is mentioned in the book of Daniel. He has become familiar to us because Gabriel is an important person in Luke's Gospel. This archangel announced to Mary that she was to be the mother of our savior. Gabriel announced to Zechariah that he and St. Elizabeth would have a son and call him John. Gabriel is the announcer, the communicator of the Good News. We can ask him to help us be good communicators as he was.

Patron: Ambassadors; broadcasting; childbirth; clergy; communications; diplomats; messengers; philatelists; postal workers; public relations; radio workers; secular clergy; stamp collectors; telecommunications; Portugal; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.

Raphael's name means "God has healed." We read the touching story of Raphael's role in the Bible's book of Tobit. He brought protection and healing to the blind Tobit. At the very end of the journey, when all was completed, Raphael revealed his true identity. He called himself one of the seven who stands before God's throne. We can ask St. Raphael to protect us in our travels. We can also ask him to help when illness strikes us or someone we love.

Patron: Blind; bodily ills; counselors; druggists; eye problems; guardian angels; happy meetings; healers; health inspectors; health technicians; love; lovers; mental illness; nurses; pharmacists; physicians; shepherds; against sickness; therapists; travelers  young people; young people leaving home for the first time; Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.

Prayer to all the Archangels

St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, be with me today. Protect me from whatever could cause spiritual or physical harm. Help me be faithful to Jesus and a good communicator of his divine love. Amen.

Prayer to St. Michael

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Prayer to St. Raphael

Blessed Saint Raphael, Archangel,We beseech thee to help us in all our needs and trials of this life, as thou, through the power of God, didst restore sight and give guidance to young Tobit. We humbly seek thine aid and intercession, that our souls may be healed,our bodies protected from all ills, and that through divine grace we may be made fit to dwell in the eternal Glory of God in heaven. Amen.

Prayer to St. Gabriel

O Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, do thou intercede for us at the throne of divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Five Fast Facts about Saint Wenceslas



Here are some amazing facts about Saint Wenceslas:

1. Wenceslas’ grandfather, Borivoj I of Bohemia, was converted by Saints Cyril and Methodius, who began the Christianization of Bohemia during Borivoj's reign.

2. His grandmother Ludmila of Bohemia is also a Czech saint and martyr. She was canonized shortly after her death. Her feast is September 16.

3. Wenceslas' father died when Wenceslas was a child. It was his own mother who had his grandmother martyred. When Wenceslas was 18 he assumed leadership of the government and brought in German priests to help strengthen the faith in his duchy.

4. Wenceslas himself was martyred by his younger brother known as Boleslav the Cruel at a feast in honor of Sts. Cosmas and Damien.

5. Wenceslas was considered a martyr and a saint immediately after his death. The biographies that were written in the first fifty years after his death had a powerful influence on the Middle Ages conceptualization of the "righteous king" whose power stems mainly from his great piety.

Quote about St. Wenceslas

In the year 1119 Cosmas of Prague wrote: "But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched."

~ Via Pauline Books and Media.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, martyrs



The saint of the day for September 28 is Saint Lorenzo (Lawrence) Ruiz (1600-1637), a husband and father, the first saint of the Philippines and the first Filipino martyred for the Christian Faith.  He and 15 others were martyred at Nagasaki, Japan in 1637. The group included two consecrated women, two other laymen, two brothers and nine priests.

Lorenzo Ruiz was born at Binondo, Manila, Philippines to a Chinese Father and a Filipino mother who were both Catholic.  Educated by the Dominicans, he was a devoted and active Catholic, a member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, and a third order Dominican.  He was a husband and father of two sons and a daughter.

In 1636, while working as a clerk for the Church, Lorenzo was falsely accused of murder and forced to leave his country. The Dominican fathers who knew Lorenzo arranged to have him take a ship to Japan. Soon after arriving in Japan, Lorenzo was captured for being Catholic and brought to Nagasaki, where he was tortured. He was promised a safe journey back to his family if he renounced his faith, but he refused. He was tortured for days and finally murdered on September 29, 1637 by a notorious Japanese torture tool known as "the pit." Their bodies were crushed while hanging upside down for three days, then they were burned. The ashes were thrown into the Pacific Ocean.

On February 18, 1981, Lorenzo Ruiz became the first person beatified outside the Vatican, when Pope St. John Paul II beatified him in the Philippines. He and his companions were canonized on October 18, 1987, in Rome. Saint Lorenzo is patron saint of the Philippines and the Filipino people.

Saint Quote

When government officials asked, "If we grant you life, will you renounce your faith?" Lorenzo replied: "That I will never do, because I am a Christian, and I shall die for God, and for him I will give many thousands of lives if I had them. And so, do with me as you please."

Prayer

Grant us, we pray, Lord God, the same perseverance shown by your Martyrs Saint Lawrence Ruiz and his companions in serving you and their neighbor, since those persecuted for the sake of righteousness are blessed in your Kingdom. 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.

St. Vincent de Paul, Apostle of the Poor



September 26 is the memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, the 17th century French priest known for his apostolic work among the poor and marginalized.

Born to a poor family in Pouy in the southwest of France in 1581, Vincent was an intellectually gifted youth who began his theological studies at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 20.

On a voyage to the Holy Land, Vincent's ship was boarded by pirates and he was captured and sold into slavery in Africa, where he was held for two years before he converted his master to Christianity and was freed.

He returned to France and was appointed to a parish near Paris, from where he began to initiate and organize missions for the poor, destitute, forgotten, sick, uneducated, and unemployed.

He founded the Congregation of Priests of the Mission and the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity and sent priests to Africa to minister to and ransom slaves.

He vigorously opposed Jansenism and helped reform orders of priests and religious, famously preaching retreats around France.

The humble St. Vincent often spoke on humility saying once, "The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it."

Vincent died in 1660 in Paris and his body still lays there in an incorrupt state. He was canonized June 16, 1737, by Pope Clement XII.

St. Vincent de Paul is the patron of: charitable societies; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; volunteers; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; Madagascar; diocese of Richmond, Virginia.

The History of Religious Life: St. Vincent de Paul: Apostle of Charity

Spiritual Insights from St. Vincent de Paul

“No matter what others say or do, even if the wicked succeed, do not be troubled: commit everything to God and put your trust in him.”

“Extend mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His mercy from us?”

"You have been chosen to be at the disposition of Divine Providence and, if you do not fully submit to it, you will lose much."

"But do you know what it is to labor in charity? It is to labor in God, for God is charity, and it is to labor for God purely and entirely; it is to do so in the grace of God."

"Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances."

"We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love."

"Free your mind from all that troubles you; God will take care of things. You will be unable to make haste in this (choice) without, so to speak, grieving the heart of God, because he sees that you do not honor him sufficiently with holy trust. Trust in him, I beg you, and you will have the fulfillment of what your heart desires."

"It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer.... Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity."

"Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord's words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint? Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills."

"He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower and animal part of his nature, deserves to be called a beast rather than a man."

"Whoever wishes to make progress in perfection should use particular diligence in not allowing himself to be led away by his passions, which destroy with one hand the spiritual edifice which is rising by the labors of the other. But to succeed well in this, resistance should be begun while the passions are yet weak; for after they are thoroughly rooted and grown up, there is scarcely any remedy."

"We ought to deal kindly with all, and to manifest those qualities which spring naturally from a heart tender and full of Christian charity; such as affability, love and humility. These virtues serve wonderfully to gain the hearts of men, and to encourage them to embrace things that are more repugnant to nature."

"It ought to be considered a great misfortune, not only for individuals, but also for Houses and Congregations, to have everything in conformity with their wishes; to go on quietly, and to suffer nothing for the love of God. Yes, consider it certain that a person or a Congregation that does not suffer and is applauded by all the world is near a fall."

"Humility and charity are the two master-chords: one, the lowest; the other, the highest; all the others are dependent on them. Therefore it is necessary, above all, to maintain ourselves in these two virtues; for observe well that the preservation of the whole edifice depends on the foundation and the roof. "

Prayers to St. Vincent de Paul

Dear Saint, the mere mention of your name suggests a litany of your virtues:
humility, zeal, mercy, self-sacrifice. It also recalls your many foundations:
Works of Mercy, Congregations, Societies.
And the Church gratefully remembers your promotion of the priesthood.
Inspire all charitable workers, especially those who minister to the poor
---both the spiritually and the materially poor. Amen.

- Via Catholic Doors.

Noble Saint Vincent de Paul,
beloved servant of the poor,
may we follow your example and do good works
among those whom society has abandoned,
enslaved, or forgotten.
Inspire us to feed the hungry,
to love a child,
to provide comfort and medicine to the sick,
to clothe those whose garments are threadbare,
and to offer hope and our Lord's words
to all who need respite.
Pray for us to our beloved God
that we may commit ourselves selflessly
to doing the same charitable acts
that you did all your life,
and intercede with him
that we may have the favor of his guidance
and strength and love upon this important and meaningful work.
Amen.



Monday, September 26, 2016

Saints Cosmas and Damian



Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian Dressing a Chest Wound by Antoine de Favray Photo Credit: Welcome Library


September 26 is the optional memorial of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. Cosmas and Damian were twin bothers born in Syria in the third century. They were also doctors, and they became known as “the holy money-less ones" because they cared for the sick free of charge. The strange practice of accepting no money for medical care was their way of embodying God’s providential love and care for his people. And folks took notice.
         
The twin brothers were arrested on September 27, during the persecution of Christians by Diocletian in 303. Soon after, the faithful brothers defied death by water, fire and crucifixion before they were finally beheaded in Cilicia, along with their three brothers. They were buried in Cyrrhus, Syria.        

Veneration to Cosmas and Damian began immediately. The faithful asked for their intercession, especially in matters of physical illness. St. Gregory of Tours spoke about the twin brothers in this way: “These two physicians cured as many people by their prayers as they did by their medical knowledge, and now in heaven they still care for the sick miraculously.”          

St. Cosmas and St. Damian are patron saints of pharmacists, physicians, and surgeons. In fine art, they are usually depicted in lined robes, hoods or cylindrical physicians’ hats, carrying surgeons’ bags and instruments. They are represented by a box of ointment and medical emblems.

Prayer to Saints Cosmas and Damian,  Physicians and Martyrs

O Physicians of souls, Saints Cosmas and Damian, stand before the Lord of All and ask Him to heal me and all those dear to me of any spiritual ills we may endure.

Drive away from us all sin and sadness of mind, all darkness and despair.  Make us then willing and loving servants of Christ, following your holy example of detachment from the things of this world and care for the needs of our neighbors.

On the glorious day of the Universal Resurrection may we shine with you in the full health of our nature restored by the mercies of Jesus who lives and reigns forever and ever.



Sunday, September 25, 2016

Novena to St. Francis of Assisi begins today




October 4th is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, “the little beggar”, who is perhaps the most popular saint in history. He is the patron saint of animals, the environment, families, and peace. His novena begins on September 25.

Lord,
make me an instrument of  peace
Where there is hatred,
Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master grant that I may
    Not so much seek to be consoled
    As to console;
    To be understood,
    As to understand;
    For it is in giving that we
    Receive, it is in pardoning that
    We are pardoned.
    And it is in Dying that we are
    Born to Eternal life.

DAY 1

O God, come to my assistance.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You know all things and nothing is hidden from You. In Your mercy and kindness, and through the intercession of Saint Francis, come to my aid in my present distress and grant my humble petition (mention your request). Amen.

Your offering today: Show your humility by doing a good deed for someone today.

Conclude with the Prayer for Peace (top of page)

DAY 2

Hear me O Lord, and have pity on me.

Prayer: Father in heaven, Your love for us never falters in spite of our transgressions and failures. Please show Your mercy for me in my difficulty (mention your request). Through the intercession of St. Francis and for the sake of Christ, Our Savior, have pity on me.  Amen.

Your offering today: See the suffering Christ in someone around you.

Conclude with the Prayer for Peace (top of page)


DAY 3

Lord, be not far from me.

Prayer: Loving Father, You are not far from any of us since in You we live, move and have our being. Increase my awareness of Your presence and through the intercession of Saint Francis take care of my pressing need (mention your request). Amen.

Your offering today: Throughout the day, give your cares to the Lord.

Conclude with the Prayer for Peace (top of page)

DAY 4

Make Your ways known to me, O Lord.

Prayer:  Father Almighty, Your ways and purpose are often hidden from us. Guide me now and through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, I beg You, in my sorrow, and by Your power, to let me know Your will regarding my special need (mention your request). Amen.

Your offering today: Consider today how you can do God's will.

Conclude with the Prayer for Peace (top of page)

DAY 5

O Lord grant safety to those who long for it.

Prayer: In You Heavenly Father, I confidently place my trust. In your hands, I leave all my anxieties with faith in Your care for me. From You, and through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, I await relief from my present distress (mention your request). Amen.

Your offering today: For God's sake, help some person whom you may not like.

Conclude with the Prayer for Peace (top of page)

DAY 6

O Lord, do not chastise me with Your anger.

Prayer: Merciful Father, You know my weakness and disobedience. Yet, You are ever ready to forgive and be gracious to me in my trouble. In Christ's name and through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi quickly come to help me (mention your request). Amen.

Your offering today: Banish from your mind and tongue unkind words and thoughts today.

Conclude with the Prayer for Peace (top of page)

DAY 7

The Lord is a stronghold in times of distress.

Prayer:   Father in Heaven, You never reject those who seek Your help and are ever ready to comfort the sorrowful. Through the intercession of Saint Francis and in Christ's name, I emplore You to have pity on me in my needs (mention your request), and to rescue me from all afflictions. Amen.

Your offering today: In imitation of Christ and St. Francis, do good to those who may dislike you.

Conclude with the Prayer for Peace (top of page)

DAY 8

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Prayer:  Your goodness, Heavenly Father, responds speedily to our sorrow. In my distress I call upon You to hear and answer my prayers (mention your request). In You, O God, I will continue to trust despite everything. I ask this request in Christ's name and through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi.   Amen.

Your offering today: Help someone you know who is in need of your friendship and support.

Conclude with the Prayer for Peace (top of page)

DAY 9

The Lord will set me free and rescue me because He loves me.

Prayer:  Gracious Father, I will thank You each day for Your merciful goodness to me. With Your help I will ever praise Your kindness in my trouble. Please assist me now as I faithfully follow Christ, my Savior, and call upon the friendship and intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, by granting my petition (mention your request).  Amen.

Your offering today: In gratitude, be good to others today.

Conclude with the Prayer for Peace (top of page)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

St. Padre Pio: Ten Tips to Improve Your Spiritual Life




September 23 is the Feast of St. Padre Pio, also known as St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968).  He was a priest, mystic, and stigmatist, and Spiritual Father to many.

Here are ten bits of advice to help us grow spiritually from this powerful saint:

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.


A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.


Pray, hope and don't worry. Anxiety doesn't help at all. Our Merciful Lord will listen to your prayer.

Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother.” 

Be souls of prayer. Never tire of praying, it is what is essential. Prayer shakes the Heart of God, it obtains necessary graces!

Fear nothing. On the contrary, consider yourself very fortunate to have been made worthy to participate in the sufferings of the Man-God .

If we earnestly endeavor to love Jesus, this alone will drive all fear from our hearts and soul will find that instead of walking in the Lord’s paths, it is flying.


Don't spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: Lift up your spirit, and love God.

I recommend calm and calm all the time.

Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity. Serve the Lord with laughter.



~ Via Rome Reports.

Novena to St. Therese of Lisieux begins today




The novena to St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, begins today, September 22, and is recited for nine days. St. Therese is a powerful intercessor. Also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus, she is a doctor of the Church and Pope Pius X called her the “greatest saint of modern times.”

Novena Prayers

Dearest Saint Therese of Lisieux, you said that you would spend your time in heaven doing good on earth.

Your trust in God was complete. Pray that He may increase my trust in His goodness and mercy as I ask for the following petitions…

(State your intentions)

Pray for me that I, like you, may have great and innocent confidence in the loving promises of our God. Pray that I may live my life in union with God’s plan for me, and one day see the Face of God whom you loved so deeply.

Saint Therese, you were faithful to God up until the moment of your death. Pray for me that I may be faithful to our loving God. May my life bring peace and love to the world through faithful endurance in love for God our savior.

St. Therese Novena DAY ONE

Loving God, you blessed St. Therese with a capacity for a great love. Help me to believe in your unconditional love for each of your children, especially for me.

I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

St. Therese Novena DAY TWO

Loving God, you loved St. Therese’s complete trust in your care. Help me to rely on your providential care in each circumstance of my life, especially the most difficult and stressful.

I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

St. Therese Novena DAY THREE

Loving God, you gave St. Therese the ability to see You in the ordinary routine of each day. Help me to be aware of your presence in the everyday events of my life.

I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

St. Therese Novena DAY FOUR

Loving God, You taught St. Therese how to find You through the “little way” of humility and simplicity. Grant that I may never miss the grace hidden in humble service to others.

I am humble, Lord. Give me more humility!
I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

St. Therese Novena DAY FIVE

Loving God, You gave St. Therese the gift of forgiving others even when she felt hurt and betrayed. Help me to be able to forgive others who have wounded me, especially…

I try to forgive, Lord. Help me to forgive 70 times 7 times!
I am humble, Lord. Give me more humility!
I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

St. Therese Novena DAY SIX

Loving God, St. Therese experienced every day as a gift from You. She saw it as a time to love You through other people. May I, too, see every day as an opportunity to say yes to You.

I accept your will, Lord. Help me to accept your will every day!
I try to forgive, Lord. Help me to forgive 70 times 7 times!
I am humble, Lord. Give me more humility!
I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

St. Therese Novena DAY SEVEN

Loving God, St. Therese offered to You her weakness. Help me to see in my weakness an opportunity to rely completely on you.

I rely on you, Lord. Help me to rely on you more!
I accept your will, Lord. Help me to accept your will every day!
I try to forgive, Lord. Help me to forgive 70 times 7 times!
I am humble, Lord. Give me more humility!
I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

St. Therese Novena DAY EIGHT

Loving God, You loved St. Therese with a powerful love and made her a source of strength to those who had lost faith in You. Help me to pray with confidence for those in my life who do not believe they can be loved.

I reflect you to the world, Lord. Help me to reflect you more clearly!
I rely on you, Lord. Help me to rely on you more!
I accept your will, Lord. Help me to accept your will every day!
I try to forgive, Lord. Help me to forgive 70 times 7 times!
I am humble, Lord. Give me more humility!
I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

St. Therese Novena DAY NINE

Loving God, St. Therese never doubted that her life had meaning. Help me to see how I can bless and love everyone in my life. Especially…

I love your people, Lord. Help me to love them more!
I reflect you to the world, Lord. Help me to reflect you more clearly!
I rely on you, Lord. Help me to rely on you more!
I accept your will, Lord. Help me to accept your will every day!
I try to forgive, Lord. Help me to forgive 70 times 7 times!
I am humble, Lord. Give me more humility!
I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Discovery by Karina Fabian: A Virtual Book Tour




By Jean M. Heimann

THE BOOK

I have to admit that while I enjoy watching science fiction films, I am not an avid reader of science fiction books, but I definitely enjoyed reading Discovery by Karina Fabian. In fact, I loved it! It is authentically Catholic – complete with saint quotes and filled with Catholic themes. Some of these themes include: mercy and redemption, evangelization, respect for human life, and surrender to God’s will.

Discovery is a gripping, suspense-filled science fiction tale that takes you on a journey into the unknown and the unexpected. It is an irresistible page turner! It grabs you by both arms and doesn't let go until the last page.  Discovery is an exhilarating, fun-filled read that contains all the makings of a great book. It has a titillating plot, complex characters, humor, mystery, and romance.

The plot of Discovery is intriguing. The Rescue Sisters, Sister Ann St. Joseph de Cupertino (Ann), Sister Thomas Aquinas Krueger (Tommie), and Sister Rita Aguilar (Rita) are part of a classified mission to explore an alien ship that has crash landed on an asteroid three billion miles from earth. The entire crew is expecting to have contact for the first time with creatures from beyond the solar system to unlock the mystery of life in the universe. However, they have their own secrets; hidden fears, desires, serious sins…and a mission to kill. Researchers discover something unique about the third arm of the ship: something wonderful, terrifying, and at the same time, holy. This secret discovery challenges Rita and Ann to confront their own pasts in order to secure the safety of the mission and the very souls of the crew.

Excerpt:

Augustus laughed and put a friendly arm around James' shoulder, leading him down to the ship's offices. He said nothing more until they got to the conference room. He held the door open for James, and when they had stepped through, announced, "Gentlemen, I'd like you to meet Dr. James Smith. He thinks I want him to find Atlantis."

Two men sat at the table. The younger dressed in jeans and a gray collared shirt with the Luna Technological University logo over the pocket; his mousy brown hair and pale brown eyes combined with a tense, nervous posture reminded James of many worried grad students he had known. The older, a fifty-something man dressed in a similar shirt but with tweed pants, nodded James' way. His relaxed full-throated chuckle was for Cole's benefit.

Augustus continued, "James, this is Dr. William Thoren, Dean of Astrophysics at LunaTech, and this is Chris Davidson." "My protégé," Thoren added when Augustus paused.

The entrepreneur's eyes flicked in annoyance. He hated having his dramatic moments spoiled. Nonetheless, he continued on as if the dean had not spoken. "Chris has been working on a rather uninspiring project for his doctorate that has had a surprising result. But wait!"

With that impish grin, he reached into his pockets and pulled out four small devices, which he set at four points of the room. When he pressed the remote in his hand, they heard a brief hum, then a shimmery fog formed a dome over them. No one outside the dome would be able to hear them and would only see vague shapes.

Scientists from the moon? Security fields? Well, if Augustus wants my attention, he's got it. James took a seat at the table, and cocked a brow at Augustus. "So you've found the Lost City of Atlantis in space?"

"Close, my friend. Close. Chris?"

Chris gave a brief glance at his supervisor, and Thoren nodded in a benign, "carry on." He pulled out a handheld computer, set it on the small table, and pressed some buttons. A holographic map of the solar system from the Sun to the asteroid belt appeared, beautifully detailed and large enough that James had to sit back a bit.

"Sir, are you familiar with the Kuiper Belt?" Chris asked.

James shrugged. What's going on? "Ky-per Belt? That's not like the asteroid belt?"

"This is the asteroid belt." Chris set his finger on the thin line of rocks just past Mars' orbit. He slowly pulled his finger toward himself. As he did, planets rushed past James' field of vision: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. A moment of black space, then the image stopped at a smattering of dots of various sizes.

"This is the Kuiper Belt. K-U-I-P-E-R, even though it’s pronounced ‘Kyper.’ It's really just the rubble left over from the formation of the solar system. Most of it isn't even rock, but ice. Comets come from here. We don't hear much about it because the distances even from the Outer Planets mean it's not really cost effective to live or work there. And since the commercialization of space, most people don't even care…"

"Excuse me, Chris, but why am I getting an astronomy lesson?"

The entrepreneur grinned. "Give him a minute." He jerked his head encouragingly at the grad student, who gave him a shy smile in return.

From the corner of his eye, James saw Thoren glower; then, the expression was smoothed away.
Chris didn't notice. "Okay, the last time anyone has bothered to explore the Kuiper Belt was with the Seeker Probe of 2215. The American President, Linda Montero-Fadil, pretty much pushed it through on personality and stubbornness, but they called it Fadil's Folly…” Thoren cleared his throat.

"Anyway!" Chris started, then floundered a moment, his train of thought derailed. He took a breath, touched an area of the map with two fingers and pulled it apart, expanding that area. He did it again and again, then rotated it and circled an object with a dark center. The rest of the map fell away.

"This is 2217RB86. Seeker did a flyby of it and its neighboring objects. That's what you call, um, objects in the Kuiper Belt. Or Ky-boes. That's what we call them at the university. So, this Ky-bo caught my attention because it's got some very unusual readings, especially around this dark dot... I won't bore you with the details. The point is, Dr. Thoren was able to get us some time on Old COOT — that's a telescope on L5 Station - and um…" He stopped to glance around, as if making sure the security field was still in place. Then he pressed another button and pulled up a different, sharper image of the Ky-bo.

"We found this."

"Oh, my." James leaned forward, his nose only inches from the image. The dark circle had resolved into six crescent arms jutting from a sphere. One arm was partially dug into the rock.

"He didn't find Atlantis," Augustus smirked.

No, he didn't.

Chris Davidson had discovered an alien starship.


Discovery is currently available on Kindle but will be available in paperback on October 1.

FREE BOOK!!  Author Karina Fabian is giving away a copy of Infinite Space, Infinite God II.  Leave a comment before October 1 to be entered!

THE INTERVIEW

Today I have the honor and pleasure of interviewing the gifted author of Discovery, Karina Fabian.

Where did you get the idea to write about “nuns in space”?

It started on a date. Rob (my husband) and I are very good at communicating, so instead of going out to eat to talk, we decided to write stories on our date. At that time, he was involved in Artemis Society, which was trying to start a commercial presence on the moon, and I was writing a series on different religious orders for Wyoming Catholic. The two combined and the Rescue Sisters were born. We’ve written a few short stories in the universe, adventures of the different nuns as well as some of the lay people. Fred Warren, a fellow Science Fiction writer, has also written a story or two in it.

My favorite character in Discovery has to be Sister Ann, who is quite unique in her thinking and speech. What does it mean to “speak Annese”?

Sister Ann was a ton of fun to write because her head is very full, and she does not think in straight lines. She has perfect recall of everything she’s ever read, from writings of the saints to tech manuals to theoretical physics and even some classical literature. Even more, it’s all tied together in a crazy mental geometry that makes complete sense…if you can take time to figure it out. Which is what “speaking Annese” really means: figuring out the common ties between what she’s said and then applying it to the situation at hand.

I was in a special place when I did most of her scenes, and truth to tell, it’s not easy to get back into her brain. I spent a lot of time googling quotes around specific topics, and of course, I was studying about the drive systems and spacework anyway. I had to make up some quotes, which meant adding to the history of the universe, which is always fun. And I had to be sure she didn’t speak in a straight line, but still said something useful and at least vaguely understandable.

It surprised me in the story that Sean, the documentarist, picked up on her way of speaking so quickly. At least, he understood she was making sense, even if he didn’t get it, and was patient to see where her thoughts led. He turned out to be an unexpected ally in more ways than one.

Which character in Discovery do you relate to and why?

If I think too hard, I can relate to something in each of them, even Ann. There are times I think I must be speaking Annese, though I don’t quote saints. However, I think Chris David reminds me the most of myself. He’s smart and talented and does great work, but doesn’t believe it. He takes criticism to heart, and doesn’t feel like any success is really his. It’s always because someone else made his “faltering efforts” something useful. It’s one thing to share the glory but another to feel your work has not worth of its own. I’ve struggled with these feelings my whole life – still do, sometimes. Fortunately, like Chris, I have a wonderful lifemate who helps me see my worth.

Discovery has a huge cast of characters, yet each is very much his or her own person. What is the best way to make a character seem like real individuals? 

You treat them like real people. Real people have a unique combination of background, quirks and preferences that makes them unique. Also, give them real problems. If they are not challenged by multiple things, big and small, they are not real.

You’ll notice I don’t have a lot of physical description. I don’t think visually – even in my own life, I get people mixed up when I only know their physical attributes rather than their personalities. I think that’s why I’m so awful at keeping track of movie starts and singers, too. I know the character, but not the actor. So I start with the personality: what do they believe, how do they react, what do they like and hate? Sometimes, a physical attribute comes in, like I knew Sister Ann was blonde with blue eyes. I didn’t plan it; she just popped in my head like that. Later, I put in just enough physical detail to distinguish them, but even then, it has to have a purpose. For example, it wasn’t until I explored Ann’s family history that I realized her eyes are slightly larger than normal and her fingers long.

Is it true you actually lost the entire manuscript once?

Yep! After a three-year struggle, the book was finally coming together, and I finally had a version I felt comfortable sharing. However, something went wrong with my laptop screen, so I decided to get it fixed before the warranty ran out. I had been backing everything up to my external hard-drive (or so I thought) and I told the repair people to just fix the screen and not mess with the rest, which was working fine. I thought nothing of it.

When it came back, not only had they not fixed my screen, but they wiped the hard drive. That’s when I discovered that my external drive was not backing things up, but just giving me a mirror image of my laptop’s directory. We never figured out why. I lost everything – including the manuscript. All I had were some CDs with old copies of the awful first attempts.

I cried for about a month. Then I got Carbonite to back things up to the cloud in real time, and I started over again. This story would not let me go. That’s one thing I love about it.

Thank you, Karina, for the interview and for writing this amazing book.




THE AUTHOR

Karina Fabian is an award-winning fantasy, science fiction, and horror author, whose books make people laugh, cry, and think.  Check out her latest at http://fabianspace.com

Find Karina at:

Website: http://fabianspace.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karina.fabian

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarinaFabian

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KarinaFabian

REMINDER: FREE BOOK!!  Author Karina Fabian is giving away a copy of Infinite Space, Infinite God II.  Leave a comment before October 1 to be entered!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist



Today is the feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. He is the traditional author of the first gospel. St. Matthew was born at Capernaum. He was working as a tax collector when Jesus called him to be one of the twelve apostles. He was sitting among the tax collectors, when Jesus said to him, "Follow me." "And he got up and followed him" (Matthew 9:9).

Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew. His gospel, with its familiar references to the messianic prophecies, throws light on the continuity between the covenants. Moreover, his vocation is one of the most popular episodes in the life of Jesus, because of the personality of the one called the tax collector and the revelation of redeeming love that concludes and crowns the story. Matthew's position as tax collector equated with collaboration with the enemy by those from whom he collected taxes. Jesus' contemporaries were surprised to see Christ with a traitor, but Jesus explained that he had come "not to call the just, but sinners."

"Mark and Luke call Matthew by his Jewish name Levi and Mark says that he was "the son of Alphaeus" (Mark 2:14). He may have been the brother of James, who is also called the "the son of Alphaeus" (Mark 3:18). The name Matthew means "gift of Yaweh" and it is possible that he was given this name when he followed Jesus.

Because of his profession, Jews of strict observance would have nothing to do with him, for he fell under a religious ban. He was despised by the Pharisees who hated all publicans (tax collectors for the Romans). Therefore, his response to the call of Jesus to follow him is all the more remarkable, as he stood up at once, "leaving everything behind" (Luke 5: 28).

Matthew's Gospel is given pride of place in the canon of the New Testament, and was written to convince Jewish readers that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. He preached among the Jews for 15 years; his audiences may have included the Jewish enclave in Ethiopia, and places in the East.

In art, St. Matthew is represented by an angel holding a pen or an inkwell.

Saint Matthew is the patron saint of: accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, financial officers, guards, money managers, Salerno, Italy, security forces, security guards, stockbrokers, tax collectors, the diocese of Trier, Germany.