Friday, January 09, 2009

St. Gerard Majella

From an online article:

Saint Gerard Majella

St. Gerard was born on April 26, 1726, in Muro, Italy. As a baby, Gerard never cried and on certain days he even refused to be nursed by his mother. His mother often took him to Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of Graces. When he was five, he would often walk to this shrine to pray. Often he would return from these visits, with a loaf of bread. When asked from whom he got the bread he replied, "It was from a beautiful lady's child with whom I have been playing!" One day his sister Brigida followed him to the shrine. Gerard knelt down to pray, and the statue of Mary suddenly came to life. The Child Jesus left Mary's arms and came down to play with the boy. After some time the Child Jesus gave Gerard a loaf of bread and returned to His mother's arms.

Another time Gerard was with some children and he tied to a tree, a little cross which he had made, and asked his friends to kiss the cross. Suddenly the tree became sparkling with light, the Child Jesus came down from the tree and gave Gerard a little loaf of bread.

Gerard loved Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! One day, when he was only seven, he went up to receive Communion with the other people. But seeing the boy so young, the priest passed him by and Gerard went away in tears. Then on the following night, St. Michael the Archangel came and gave Gerard his First Holy Communion. And one day a priest found him kneeling near the altar and asked him what he was doing there. Gerard answered, "A little Child came out of the tabernacle and gave me Holy Communion!"

When Gerard was twelve, his father died, so it was necessary for him to leave school and begin work. He got a job helping a tailor so he could learn the trade but this tailor was very mean and would hit Gerard, and call him names.

At the age of fifteen, Gerard went to work as a servant for the Bishop. He was always meek and humble, even when the Bishop sometimes got angry at him. One day the Bishop went out for a walk. Gerard locked the door of the Bishop's house and went to the well to get some water. But as he leaned down to pull up the pail, he accidentally dropped the house key into the well. He ran to the church to get a statue of the Infant Jesus. He tied a rope around it and lowered it into the well saying, "It is for Thee Lord, to bring me the key, that the Bishop may not be put to trouble!" Then as the people stared, Gerard drew out of the well, the statue of Jesus, which was holding in His hand, the lost key!

In June 1744, the Bishop died and Gerard returned to Muro. He opened up a tailor shop in his mother's house. His sewing was perfect and his prices were fair, and he never took any money from the poor. Gerard did well in his tailor business and he was always very generous. He gave his mother a third of all his earnings, another third went to the poor in Muro, and the last third was used to have Masses said for the Souls in Purgatory. One day a poor man had sent him some material for a garment, but there was not enough material to make the garment. When Gerard picked up the material it suddenly became bigger and when the garment was finished, he even gave the man the left over cloth!

St Gerard did much penance. He was thin from all the fasting he did – he allowed himself only a little bread and rarely any vegetables. And he was pale looking from the long hours he spent on his knees, in prayer, at church.

Twice, Gerard tried to enter the Capuchin Monastery in Muro, but the monks thought that he was too sickly to become a monk. So Gerard continued working as a tailor and doing God's will, but he still wanted to become a brother. One day some Redemptorist priests came to Muro to give a mission at the church. Gerard asked one of the priests, Fr. Cafaro, if he could join their religious order but he was refused. The priest thought his health was not good enough for him to join their monastery. The lad was so determined to join them that he begged and begged, but to no avail. Gerard's mother and sisters didn't want him to join the Redemptorists, so they locked him in his room. But the next morning, when his mother opened the locked door, she found that Gerard had escaped through his bedroom window. He had left a note saying, "I am going to become a saint! Think no more of me!" Gerard caught up with the missionaries and was finally allowed to join the Redemptorists. But Fr. Cafaro sent a note with him saying, "I am sending you a useless lay brother!"

The priests in the Redemptorist Monastery at Iliceto, soon realized that Br. Gerard was not a "useless" brother at all; in fact, he was the best brother in the monastery!
He did the work of four men and helped others with their work as well. He was always praying, either in his heart or in the chapel. And what's more, Gerard could do the impossible! He read the minds of total strangers, he cured the sick – he worked miracles constantly. He knew the Redemptorist Rule by heart and obeyed his Superiors perfectly. Often they only had to think of a task for Br. Gerard to do, and he would immediately carry out their wishes! In July 1752, Br. Gerard made the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, and a vow of Perseverance until death, in the Redemptorist Order. Two months later he made a fifth vow: To always do that which is most pleasing to God. He loved to say, "I would give my life a thousand times, if it were possible, in order to help my neighbour." But one of the most beautiful things that Gerard ever said was, "Only one thing is necessary when you are upset. Bear everything with resignation to God's holy will, for this will help you to go to Heaven. Hope with a lively faith and you will receive everything from almighty God."

He travelled with the missionaries helping them in every way possible, as they went from town to village. During these travels, children flocked to Br. Gerard. He told them stories and taught them to pray. In Muro, one little boy tumbled off a cliff and lay as if dead. But Gerard said, "It is nothing!" He traced a little cross on the boy's forehead and the boy awoke!
St. Gerard truly loved the Virgin Mary. When he knelt to pray before an image of Mary, he could not tear himself away. He often said, "The Madonna has stolen my heart, and I have made her a present of it!" The mere thought of Mary or the sound of her name would make his heart thrill with joy!

In November 1753, the plague broke out in Lacedonia; people were dying like flies. Bishop Amato asked Br. Gerard to come to Lacedonia to help the plague stricken victims. The young man made his way to that city and at once started his rounds of mercy. He prepared some to die, others he told that the disease would soon pass and he cured many with a simple sign of the cross.

In 1754, Br. Gerard underwent a great trial. A girl named Neria had joined a convent and then left, shortly after. She started saying untrue things about the nuns and then she slandered Br. Gerard! She wrote to St. Alphonsus Liguori, the Superior of the Redemptorists, saying that Br. Gerard had committed sins of impurity with another woman, which of course was a lie! St. Alphonsus called Br. Gerard to his office and asked him if the letter was true. But Br. Gerard remained silent and would not defend himself, even though he was innocent. St. Alphonsus then told Gerard that he could not receive Communion and that he could not speak to anyone outside the monastery. Sometime later, Neria became deathly ill and wrote a letter to St. Alphonsus, confessing that she had lied about Br. Gerard! When St. Alphonsus realized that Br. Gerard was innocent, he called him into his office saying, "You were innocent all the time, my son, and you said nothing!" Br. Gerard replied, "How could I, my Father, when our rule forbids us to make excuses!"

Many other things happened in the life of Br. Gerard. He often went into ecstasy while meditating on God or God's holy will and often his body was seen raised several feet above the ground. He had the gift of bilocation and was seen in two places at the same time. He blessed a small amount of wheat belonging to a poor family and it lasted until the next harvest. Several times he multiplied the bread which he was distributing to the poor. One day he walked on top of the water to save a boatload of men who were being tossed about on the waves of a stormy sea! And many times Gerard told people the secret sins on their souls, which they had been ashamed to confess and brought them to repentance. The funniest miracle he worked was when his Superior had told him not to work any more miracles; he was testing Gerard's humility. A man fell from a scaffold and Gerard said, "Wait, I have to ask my Superior permission to work a miracle." The man remained floating in mid air! When Gerard arrived with his Superior, the Superior had no choice but to give Gerard permission!

Br. Gerard was often sick and in 1755, more than a month before he died, he began to haemorrhage; and he had a burning fever! A priest brought him Holy Communion, as he was expected to die soon. However, his Superior commanded him to get well, if it were God's will! Gerard then rose up and joined in with the rest of the community, for about one month. Then he prepared himself for death. He had this sign placed on his door, "THE WILL OF GOD IS DONE HERE, AS GOD WILLS IT, AND AS LONG AS HE WILLS IT." He died on October 15, 1755, and was canonized a saint in 1904, by Pope St. Pius X.

St. Gerard, Pray for Us!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Sister Faustina's Vision of Hell

"I, Sister Faustina Kowalska, by the order of God, have visited the Abysses of Hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence...the devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God, What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell." (Diary 741)

"Today, I was led by an angel to the Chasms of Hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw:

The First Torture that constitutes hell is: The loss of God.

The Second is: Perpetual remorse of conscience.

The Third is: That one's condition will never change.

The Fourth is: The fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it. A terrible suffering since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God's anger.

The Fifth Torture is: Continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own.

The Sixth Torture is: The constant company of Satan.

The Seventh Torture is: Horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies.

These are the Tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings.

Indescribable Sufferings

There are special Tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings related to the manner in which it has sinned.

I would have died

There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me.

No One Can Say There is No Hell

Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God's mercy upon them. O My Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend you by the least sin." (Diary 741)


The Popes and Latin

by Mgr Anton Gauci, Victoria, Gozo.

It was right and appropriate for 'A Christian Outlook' to remind us of the injunction contained in Vatican II's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy "Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rite" (The Sunday Times, March 25). I am also happy to note that, in The Times Mr Alfred Sladden pointed out that "Pope Benedict himself has urged the universal Church to revamp the use of Latin" (April 2).
It is several years that Popes have been hammering on the revival of the Latin language in the Catholic Church. And they want Church schools to take the matter seriously. They know that, for 2,000 years, Latin has been the chief means of expression for the Western Church. And they are aware that the major part, if not the totality, of the Church's traditional teaching has been through this language. Preserved for our use and benefit in the works the Fathers of the Church and Saints have bequeathed us.
Addressing members of the Latinitas foundation in 2005, Benedict XVI insisted that the study of Latin be encouraged and spread. The Pope noted that "Catholics cannot put aside the custom of using Latin as the official language of the Church", adding that "the great treasures of the Latin language cannot be lost". Nor did he fail to remind us of John Paul II's Constitution Veterum Sapientia confirming the role of Latin "as the international language of the Catholic Church and the city state of the Vatican".
I would not be so pessimist as to lament that, in our country, these eye-openings of the two Popes have been "cries in the desert". But neither will I refrain from noting that, these last 30 years, Latin has been given a deadly blow in our schools, not excluding those under the responsibility of the Church.
Apart from the fact that traditional courses of Theology and Philosophy are no longer led in Latin, the language itself is no longer taught in either the Church's secondary schools or those of the State.
And, in post-secondary courses here with us, a mere lesson a week is given for two years - which is not even enough for a rudimentary knowledge of the language, let alone the prose and poetry of the classics: of these not a mention is made. I believe it is no exaggeration to note that today's priests know Latin no better than religious Sisters knew the language when they chanted the Psalms in Latin in choirs.
I fail to understand how students proceeding abroad to read for degrees in such subjects as Theology and Canon Law can carry out appropriate research when they know not Latin. Obviously the blame lies not at the feet of these students, but on the shoulders of those who dealt the deadly blow to Latin in Church schools. There it used to be studied for nine years with a lesson a day. Moreover, lessons in the courses of Theology and Philosophy were delivered in Latin.
It is not only since 2005 that the Holy See has been insisting, even if with no success, on the study of Latin. Way back on November 27, 1978, and November 26, 1979, John Paul II pointed out this necessity in speeches to Certamen Vaticanum. And, in 1981 and 1986, to the foundation Latinitas. Here in Malta, I remember the late Mgr Joseph Lupi insisting on the same need in May 1997. In an article entitled "Reviving Latin", Bernard Vassallo on December 3, 1995 and in "Latinitatis studium, quo vadis Malitae?" Dr Horace Vella on May 25, 1997, did the same thing.
On October 30, 1993, news spread that the "European Community is now trying Latin". And, on April 14 of that same year, Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, then Minister of Education, had "vowed" to reawaken the study of classics in Malta: Dr Mifsud Bonnici was then speaking in a symposium at the University of Malta, and he deplored the decline of Latin and said that the study of Latin had to be "extended to various schools".
It was on this occasion that we had a remark very much to the point, when Professor Anthony Bonanno noted that "very few schools have reintroduced the teaching of Latin on a regular basis". In the symposium, I remember it had been made clear that it was the Catholic Church that had spread Latin throughout Western Europe. Dr Mifsud Bonnici had said that "the decline of Latin in Malta and abroad is a tragedy".
We do not lack people who goad us for the study of Latin. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and various others. But, so far, I am afraid efforts have fallen on deaf ears. Again, I do not blame teachers. The malady goes much beyond that. It comes from above, from upper quarters, those at the helm, whether it be in the Church or in State schools.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

St. Gemma Galgani Pray For Us!

Prayer to Saint Gemma Galgani

O Most Glorious St. Gemma, Mirror of innocence and penance, may we who humbly invoke thy Heavenly intercession obtain from thee the grace of purity in all our thoughts, words and actions. Amen

Prayer II

O Saint Gemma, help me to imitate your love for the Passion of Jesus and to offer back to him all the misfortunes and sufferings I experience in this world so that I can be with you and Him in the next. Amen

Prayer III

O Holy Gemma, I am near you, help me to pray. You who know what I and those near me need; look after my urgent needs, my spiritual and material wants. You take care of them! I confide in you and entrust all to your loving care. Offer up to Jesus that tender and constant care that you bore Him here on earth. O Holy Gemma, you who physically suffered all the pains of the Passion of Jesus, I beseech of you the grace to meditate on and live the Passion of Jesus and the sufferings of Holy Mary. Pray that I will be able to walk in the path of humility, simplicity, love and sacrifice, fulfilling at all times, and in all ways, the holy will of God. Let me live united with Jesus, the Blessed Virgin and you, for all eternity

Saint Gamma Galgani's Prayer to Our Lord Jesus Christ

O my crucified God, behold me at Your feet; do not cast me out, now that I appear before You as a sinner. I have offended You exceedingly in the past, my Jesus, but it shall be so no longer. Before You, O Lord, I place all my sins; I have now considered Your own sufferings and see how great is the worth of that Precious Blood that flows from Your veins. O my God, at this hour close Your eyes to my want of merit, and since You have been pleased to die for my sins, grant me forgiveness for them all, that I may no longer feel the burden of my sins, for this burden, Dear Jesus, oppresses me beyond measure. Assist me, my Jesus, for I desire to become good whatsoever it may cost; take away, destroy, utterly root out all that You find in me contrary to Your holy will. At the same time, I pray You, Lord Jesus, to enlighten me that I may be able to walk in Your holy light. Amen.

Saint Gemma's Prayers to the Blessed Mother

Grant me, O Mary, that I may get to know the cross; not only Jesus’ cross, but whatever cross fits me best. Amen

Prayer II

Jesus entrusted me to His Mother, and charged me to love her very much. You are then my heavenly Mother. You will be towards me like any mother towards her children. You see me weak? You will have mercy on my weakness. You see me poor in virtue? You will help me. O my Mother, do not forsake me! My dearest Mother, do not abandon me!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy Feast of St. Norbert!

St. Norbert
Founder and Bishop
June 6 (1080-1134)

Born near Cologne in 1080, Saint Norbert, of noble rank and rare talents, passed a frivolous youth, abandoning himself to the pleasures and vanities of the world. Though he was a canon of the church, he refused to receive ecclesiastical Orders so as to continue to live in his caprices. He went to the court of the Archbishop of Cologne, then to that of the Emperor Henry IV, the famous adversary of Pope Saint Gregory VII, known also as Hildebrand. His conduct then became a scandal to his sacred calling, since at the court of the Emperor, like many clerics of those times, he was leading a life of dissipation and luxury.

One day, when he was thirty-three years of age, he was thrown from his horse in the midst of a terrible storm, and on recovering his senses a half hour later, he resolved upon a new life. After a severe and searching preparation, he went to the Archbishop of Cologne and humbly asked to receive Holy Orders. He was ordained a priest and began to preach against all the abuses and vices of his time. He encountered enemies and was silenced at first by a local council; however, he obtained the Pope’s sanction and preached penance to listening crowds in France and the Netherlands. His example spoke still more eloquently than his words; he walked barefoot in the snows and wore a tunic which was a hair shirt, fasting all year long. He was compared to John the Baptist by his austerity and by the fervor of his preaching.

A chaplain of the bishop of Cambrai, impressed by the extraordinary changes in the former nobleman of the Emperor’s court, asked to join him; this good priest, by the name of Hugh, later would succeed him in the government of the new religious Order which he was soon to found. In every place where Saint Norbert preached, those in attendance saw sinners converted, enemies reconciled and usurers return extorted wealth.

The bishop of Cambrai desired that he found a monastery and a new Order in his diocese, and the holy monk recognized at once, in a wild vale later called Premontre, the place he should choose. There he was favored, during a night of prayer, with a vision of many white-robed monks in procession with crucifixes and candles; the Blessed Virgin also appeared to him and showed him the habit he should give his religious. It was in 1120 that he gave to some trained disciples the rule of Saint Augustine, with the white habit he had been shown, denoting the angelic purity proper to the priesthood. The Canons Regular, or Premonstratensians, as they were called, were to unite the active work of the country clergy with the obligations of the monastic life. The foundations multiplied, and the fervor of these religious priests renewed the spirit of the priesthood, quickened the faith of the people, and overcame heresy.

In the time of Saint Norbert a pernicious heretic named Tankelin appeared at Antwerp, denying the reality of the priesthood, and above all blaspheming the Holy Eucharist. The Saint was sent for, to quench the error and its source, since three thousand persons had followed this man, who was allowing every vice to pass for legitimate. By Saint Norbert’s burning words he exposed the impostor, corrected the erring, and rekindled faith in the Blessed Sacrament. Many of the apostates had proved their contempt for the Blessed Sacrament by burying it in walls and damp places; Norbert bade the converted ones search for the Sacred Hosts. They found them entire and uninjured, and the Saint bore them back in triumph to the tabernacle. Hence he is generally portrayed with the monstrance in his hand.

In 1126, Norbert was appointed Bishop of Magdeburg; and there, at the risk of his life, he zealously carried on his work of reform until he died, worn out with toil, at the age of fifty-three.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A Short Road To Perfection by Cardinal Newman

September 27, 1856
{285} IT is the saying of holy men that, if we wish to be perfect, we have nothing more to do than to perform the ordinary duties of the day well. A short road to perfection—short, not because easy, but because pertinent and intelligible. There are no short ways to perfection, but there are sure ones.
I think this is an instruction which may be of great practical use to persons like ourselves. It is easy to have vague ideas what perfection is, which serve well enough to talk about, when we do not intend to aim at it; but as soon as a person really desires and sets about seeking it himself, he is dissatisfied with anything but what is tangible and clear, and constitutes some sort of direction towards the practice of it.
We must bear in mind what is meant by perfection. It does not mean any extraordinary service, anything out of the way, or especially heroic—not all have the opportunity of heroic acts, of sufferings—but it means what the word perfection ordinarily means. By perfect we mean that which has no flaw in it, that which is complete, that which is consistent, that which is sound—we mean the opposite to imperfect. As we know well what imperfection in {286} religious service means, we know by the contrast what is meant by perfection.
He, then, is perfect who does the work of the day perfectly, and we need not go beyond this to seek for perfection. You need not go out of the round of the day.
I insist on this because I think it will simplify our views, and fix our exertions on a definite aim. If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first—Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God’s glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect.

O my Lord and Savior, support me in my last hour in the
strong arms of Thy Sacraments and by the fresh fragrance of
Thy consolations. Let the absolving words be said over me,
and the holy oil sign and seal me; and let Thine own Body
be my food, and Thy Blood my sprinkling; and let my sweet
Mother, Mary, breathe on me, and my Angel whisper peace to
me, and my glorious saints and my own dear patrons smile
upon me, that, in them all and through them all, I may
receive the gift of perseverence, and die as I desire to
live, in Thy faith, in Thy Church, in Thy service, and in
Thy love. Amen.

Good Night To Our Blessed Mother

Night is falling dear Mother, the long day is o'er!
And before thy loved image I am kneeling once more
To thank thee for keeping me safe through the day
To ask thee this night to keep evil away.
Many times have I fallen today, Mother Dear,
Many graces neglected, since last I knelt here;
Wilt thou not in pity, my own Mother mild,
Ask Jesus to pardon the sins of thy child?
I am going to rest, for the day's work is done,
Its hours and its moments have passed one by one;
And the God who will judge me has noted them all,
He has numbered each grace, He has counted each fall.
In His book they are written against the last day,
O Mother, ask Jesus to wash them away;
For one drop of His blood which for sinners was spilt,
Is sufficient to cleanse the whole world of its guilt.
And if ere the dawn I should draw my last breath
And the sleep that I take be the long sleep of death,
Be near me, dear Mother, for dear Jesus' sake
When my soul on Eternity's shore shall awake.
Copies of this item available from:
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11721 Hidden Creek Road
Prospect, KY 40059

Mission Accomplished

After about an hour or so, my very good friend "Civis" finally got his blog up and runnning. Actually, it did not take that long. All hosers beware: Civis has arrived! Look forward to some very good Catholic stuff.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pope encourages use, study of Latin

Vatican, Nov. 28, 2005 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) encouraged the use of Latin in the Church, and the study of Latin by young people, as he met on November 28 with the members of the Latinitas Foundation, a group dedicated to the promotion of Latin.
Latin should not merely be conserved, the Pope said; its use should be encouraged and spread, particularly among the young. He explained that "the great treasures" of the language must not be lost, nor should Catholics lose the habit of using Latin as the official language of the Church. The Latinitas Foundation was instituted in 1976 by Pope Paul VI to encourage the study of both classical and Church Latin, as well as the use of Latin in ecclesiastical life. In his apostolic constitution Veterum Sapientia of 1962, Pope John XXIII confirmed the role of Latin as the international language of the Catholic Church. Latin is also the official language of the Vatican city-state.