7/27 Feast of SS. Nazarius and Celsus, Martyrs

 S_Nazarius_Celsus

SS. Nazarius and Celsus, Martyrs

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         From two sermons delivered on their festival, the one by St. Ennodius, the other passes under the name of St. Ambrose, and was written soon after his time, perhaps by St. Gaudentius of Brescia; also from Paulinus the Deacon, in his life of St. Ambrose. See Tillemont. t. 2, and Pinius the Bollandist, t. 6, Julij, p. 503.
About the Year 68.

St. Nazarius’s father was a heathen, and enjoyed a considerable post in the Roman army. His mother Perpetua was a zealous Christian, and was instructed by St. Peter, or his disciples, in the most perfect maxims of our holy faith. Nazarius embraced it with so much ardour that he copied in his life all the great virtues he saw in his teachers; and out of zeal for the salvation of others left Rome, his native city, and preached the faith in many places with a fervour and disinterestedness becoming a disciple of the apostles. Arriving at Milan he was there beheaded for the faith, together with Celsus, a youth whom he carried with him to assist him in his travels. These martyrs suffered soon after Nero had raised the first persecution. Their bodies were buried separately in a garden without the city, where they were discovered and taken up by St. Ambrose in 395. In the tomb of St. Nazarius a vial of the saint’s blood was found as fresh and red as if it had been spilt that day. The faithful stained handkerchiefs with some drops, and also formed a certain paste with it; a portion of which St. Ambrose sent to St. Gaudentius, bishop of Brescia. St. Ambrose conveyed the bodies of the two martyrs into the new church of the apostles, which he had just built. A woman was delivered of an evil spirit in their presence. St. Ambrose sent some of these relics of St. Paulinus of Nola, who received them with great respect, as a most valuable present, as he testifies.

  1
  The martyrs died as the outcasts of the world, but are crowned by God with immortal honour. The glory of the world is false and transitory, and an empty bubble or shadow; but that of virtue is true, solid, and permanent, even in the eyes of men; for, to use the comparison of St. Basil, 2 as the more we look upon the sun the more we admire it, and by reviewing it never find it less bright or less beautiful; so the memory of the martyrs which we celebrate, after so many years, is only more fresh in our minds, and will be more flourishing in all ages to come.
Note 1. St. Paulin. Carm. 24, and ep. 12. On the relics of St. Nazarius at Milan, see the life of St. Charles Borromeo, by Guissiano, in the new Latin edition, l. 5, c. 9, p. 435, and the notes of Oltrocci, ibid.
Note 2. S. Bas. hom. de S. Gordio.

7/26 St. Anne and St. Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Sts. Joachim and Ann
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and Click here for more information from the selection below,

Who does not know about the great shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre in Canada, where miracles abound, where cured cripples leave their crutches, and where people come from thousands of miles to pray to the grandmother of Jesus? At one time, July 26 was the feast of St. Anne only, but with the new calendar the two feasts of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary have been joined and are celebrated today. Our information about Mary’s parents comes from an apocryphal Christian writing, the Protoevangelium Jacobi (or Gospel of James), written about the year 170. According to this story, Joachim was a prominent and respected man who had no children, and he and his wife, Anne, looked upon this as a punishment from God. In answer to their prayers, Mary was born and was dedicated to God at a very early age.

From this early Christian writing have come several of the feast days of Mary, particularly the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of Mary, and her Assumption into Heaven. Very early also came feast days in honor of SS. Joachim and Anne, and in the Middle Ages numerous churches, chapels, and confraternities were dedicated to St. Anne. The couple early became models of Christian marriage, and their meeting at the Golden Gate in Jerusalem has been a favorite subject of Christian artists.

Anne is often shown in paintings with Jesus and Mary and is considered a subject that attracts attention, since Anne is the grandmother of Jesus. Her two great shrines — that of Ste. Anne d’Auray in Britanny, France, and that of Ste. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec in Canada — are very popular. We know little else about the lives of Mary’s parents, but considering the person of Mary, they must have been two very remarkable people to have been given such a daughter and to have played so important a part in the work of the Redemption.

There is a church of St. Anne in Jerusalem and it is believed to be built on the site of the home of SS. Joachim and Anne, when they lived in Jerusalem.

Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens

7/25 Traditional Feast Day of St. Christopher

S_St Christopher

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
A martyr, probably of the third century. Although St. Christopher is one of the most popular saints in the East and in the West, almost nothing certain is known about his life or death.

Some more information on St. Christopher can be read here.

***

5/28/37 – Vol. 34

Living in the Divine Volition continues, so much is His Love, that He (Our Lord Jesus Christ) hides me (Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta) in Its Light so that nothing but His Most Holy Will is seen, felt, touched. Rather, this morning My Celestial Mother made me a sweet and dear surprise. Having received Holy Communion, She made seen in my interior that She was as harmonized with Baby Jesus. She held Him so clasped to Her Maternal Heart, covered with Her arms, that in order to see Him and delight Him with my little love, I had to abandon myself in Her arms in order that I too was harmonized with Them so that I could Love as Jesus and the Queen Mama Loved. O! how content They were that I wanted to Live together with Them.

Now, while I was clasped with Them, the Sovereign Queen, all Goodness and Tenderness, told me: “My beloved daughter, you must know that I am the Bearer of Jesus. This was a Gift that the Supreme Being entrusted to Me. And when He was certain that I had Grace, Love, Power, and the Divine Will Itself, in order to keep Him guarded, defended, and Loved, then He consigned the Gift to Me, that is, the Eternal Word, who Incarnated Himself in My Womb, telling Me: ‘Our daughter, We make You the Great Gift of the Life of the Son-God, such that You are Mistress of Him. And You, give Him to whomever You want. However, know Him, keep Him defended, never leave Him alone with whomever You give Him to, in order to fill in if they do not love Him, in order to make reparation to Him if they offend Him. You will act in a way that nothing is lacking to the Decency, to the Sanctity, to the Purity that befits Him. Be attentive, He is the Greatest Gift that We make You. And We give You the Power of Bilocating Him however many times You want, so that one who wants Him can receive this Great Gift and posses Him.’

M_Bearer of Jesus
Theotokos
(detail from the Virgin of the Sign Icon)

 

7/25 Feast Day of St. James the Greater, the Apostle


St. James the Greater
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Nothing is known of St. James the Greater’s early life, though it has been established that he is the son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of John the disciple.

The title “the Greater” was added to St. James’ name to help distinguish him from the Apostle James “the Less,” who is believed to have been shorter than James “the Greater.”

Saint James the Greater was one of Jesus’ first disciples. James was fishing with his father and John the Apostle when Jesus came to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and called for the fisherman, who were unable to catch any fish that day, to dip their nets in the water once again.

When the fishermen followed Jesus’ instructions, they found their nets full, and after emptying the fish on board, the boats nearly sank from their weight.

Later, James was one of only three called by Jesus to witness his Transfiguration, and when he and his brother wanted to call fire upon a Samaritan town, both were rebuked by Jesus.

Following Christ’s Ascension, James spread the Gospel across Israel and the Roman kingdom as well. He traveled and spread the Word for nearly forty years in Spain.

It is said that one day, as he prayed, The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and asked him to build her a church, which he did.

Later, James returned to Jerusalem but was martyred for his faith by King Herod, who decapitated him. Saint James the Greater is known as the first apostle to die.

As he was not allowed to be buried following his martyrdom, his remains were taken to Compostela, Spain, by some of his followers, who buried him.

In the ninth century his remains were discovered and moved to a tomb in Santiago de Compostela. Today, his remains can still be found in the Cathedral of Santiago.

Because Santiago de Compostela is the most frequently visited place pilgrims migrate to following Rome and Jerusalem, Pope Leo declared it a shrine.

St. James the Greater Prayer

O glorious Apostle,
St. James, who by reason of thy fervent and generous heart
wast chosen by Jesus to be a witness of His glory on Mount Tabor,
and of His agony in Gethsemane;
thou, whose very name is a symbol of warfare and victory:
obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending warfare of this life,
that, having constantly and generously followed Jesus,
we may be victors in the strife and deserve to receive the victor’s crown in heaven.
Amen.

7/24 St. Sharbel (St. Charbel) Makhluf, Priest; Feast Day

Great Healings

St. Sharbel (Charbel) Makhluf, Priest
1828 – 1898
Feast Day July 24th

Youssef Antoun Makhlouf was born in 1828, in Bekaa Kafra (North Lebanon). He had a true Christian upbringing, which had given him a passion for prayer. Then he followed his two hermit uncles in the hermitage of the St Antonious Kozhaya monastery and was converted to monastic and hermetical life.

In 1851, he left his family village and headed for the Our Lady of Maifouk monastery to spend his first monastic year, and then he went to the St Maron monastery in Annaya, where he entered the Maronite Order, carrying the name Charbel, a name of one of theAntioch church martyrs of the second century. On November 1st. 1853, he exposed his ceremonial vows in St Maron’s monastery – Annaya. Then he completed his theological studies in the St Kobrianous and Justina monastery in Kfifan, Batroun.

He was ordained a priest in Bkerky, the Maronite Patriarchate, on July 23rd, 1859. He lived 16 years in the St Maron’s monastery – Annaya. From there, he entered, on February 15th, 1875, the St Peter & Paul hermitage, which belongs to the monastery. He was a typical saint and hermit, who spent his time praying and worshipping. Rarely had he left the hermitage where he followed the way of the saintly hermits in prayers, life and practice.

St Charbel lived in the hermitage for 23 years. On December 16th, 1898 he was struck with an illness while performing the holy mass. He died on Christmas’ eve, December 24th, 1898, and was buried in the St Maron monastery cemetery in Annaya.

Few months later, dazzling lights were seen around the grave. From there, his corpse, which had been secreting sweat and blood, was transferred into a special coffin. Hordes of pilgrims started swarming the place to get his intercession. And through this intercession, God blessed many people with recovery and spiritual graces.

In 1925, his beatification and canonization were proposed for declaration by Pope Pious XI. In 1950, the grave was opened in the presence of an official committee which included doctors who verified the soundness of the body. After the grave had been opened and inspected, the variety of healing incidents amazingly multiplied. A multitude of pilgrims from different religious facets started flocking to the Annaya monastery to get the saint’s intercession.

Prodigies reached beyond the Lebanese borders. This unique phenomenon caused a moral revolution, the return to faith and the reviving of the virtues of the soul.

***

From the Catholic.org website
Note:  Wikipedia identifies the Feast Day of St. Sharbel (Charbel) Makhluf as July 17, so that is probably why Catholic.org also did.

Another website forSt. Sharbel (Charbel) Makhulf is here.

7/24 Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy

Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy
(Saturday before the fourth Sunday of July)

Book of Heaven
4/16/04 – Vol. 6

Jesus and God the Father speak about Mercy.

Continuing in my usual state, I found myself outside of myself, and I saw a multitude of people, and in their midst one could hear noises of bombs and gun shots.  People were dropping dead or wounded, and those who were left would flee up to a palace nearby; but the enemies would go up there and kill them, more surely than those who remained outside.  So I said to myself:  ‘How I wish I could see whether the Lord is there in the midst of these people, so as to say to Him:  ‘Have mercy – pity on these poor people!’  So I went round and round and I saw Him as a little Child; but little by little He kept growing, until He reached the perfect age.  I drew near Him and I said:  ‘Amiable Lord, don’t You see the tragedy that is happening?  You don’t want to make use of mercy any more?  Do You perhaps want to keep this attribute as useless, which has always glorified your Incarnate Divinity with so much honor, forming a special crown on your august head, and bejeweling You with a second crown, so wanted and loved by You – which is souls?’

Now, while I was saying this, He told me:  ‘Enough, enough, do not go any further; you want to speak of Mercy, and what about Justice – what are we going to do with It?  I have told you and I repeat to you:  ‘It is necessary that Justice follow Its course’.”

So I replied:  ‘There is no remedy – why then leave me on this earth when I can no longer placate You and suffer in the place of my neighbor?  Since it is so, it is better if You let me die.’

At that moment I saw another person behind the shoulders of blessed Jesus, and He told me, almost making a sign with His eyes:  “Present yourself to my Father and see what He tells you.”

I presented myself, all trembling, and as soon as He saw me, He told me:  “Why have you come to Me?”  And I (Luisa):  ‘Adorable Goodness (God the Father), infinite Mercy, knowing that You are Mercy Itself, I have come to ask for your Mercy – Mercy on your very images, Mercy on the works created by You; Mercy on nothing else but your creatures themselves.’ 

And He said to me:  “So, it is Mercy that you want.  But if you want true Mercy, after Justice has poured Itself out It will produce abundant fruits of Mercy.”

Not knowing what else to say, I said:  ‘Father, infinitely Holy, when servants or people in need present themselves before their masters or rich people, if these are good, even if they do not give everything that is necessary for them, they always give something.  And to me, who have had the good of presenting myself before You, absolute Master, rich without limit, infinite Goodness, don’t You want to give anything of what this poor little one has asked of You?  Does a master perhaps not remain more honored and content when he gives, than when he denies what is necessary to his servants?’

After a moment of silence He (God the Father) added:  “For love of you (Luisa), instead of doing ten, I will do five.”  Having said this, They disappeared, and in several places of the earth, especially of Europe, I saw wars, civil wars and revolutions multiply.