1/25 Feast Day of the Conversion of St. Paul

Conversion of St. Paul

St. Paul was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin and a zealous Pharisee.  St. Paul did not belong to the original group of the twelve apostles, but through his apostolic labors, his dedication, his superhuman sacrifices, and his sufferings in the service of Christ, he received the title, along with Peter, of the First Apostle.  He is the only one of the Apostles who was highly educated and was by birth a Roman citizen.  While Paul was on his way to Damascus, Christ Himself converted him in a miraculous manner and called him to be an Apostle.  After his conversion, from being a persecutor of Christians he became, in heart and soul, a zealous and courageous apostle of Christ.

“Paul was a wolf,” says St. Chrysostom, “But he became a lamb.  He was a thorn, but he became a fruitful vine.  From an enemy, he became a friend; from a weed, he became wholesome bread… The blasphemer b became a theologian; the persecutor, a herald of good news; the tormentor—a leader; the traitor—a fellow-champion.”

In his apostolic work, St. Paul distinguished himself as a man of uncompromising character, remarkable strength of will and fervent spirit.  For many years, he fearlessly preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ day and night.  His unlimited love for Christ knew no obstacles, recognized no difficulties, and placed no limit to sacrifice.  His love impelled him to undertake great missionary journeys and to establish new Churches; he was always ready to suffer and die for Christ.

The apostle of the Gentiles was not only an excellent preacher and a good organizer, but also an eminent theologian and writer.  From him we have fourteen letters addressed to various Chruches or persons in which he clearly expounds the teaching of Christ.  St. Paul gave up his life for Christ.  According to tradition, he died by the sword in Rome on June 29, 65 or 67 A.D.

S_St Paul baslicaBasilica of St. Paul outside the walls of Rome

Acts of Apostles 9:4
And falling on the ground, he (Saul, later named Paul) heard a voice saying to him:
Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?

Acts of Apostles 9:8
And Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing.
But they leading him by the hands, brought him to Damascus.

Acts of Apostles 9:11
And the Lord said to him (Ananias): Arise, and go into the street that is called Strait,
and seek in the house of Judas, one named Saul of Tarsus. For behold he prayeth.

Acts Of Apostles 9:17
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house. And laying his hands upon him,
he said: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus hath sent me, He that appeared to thee in the way as thou camest; that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Book of Heaven
The Call of the Creature to the Order, the Place and the Purpose
for which He was Created by God

Volume 8; December 16, 1908

The privation of Jesus is the greatest of all pains.

The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta the Little Daughter of the Divine Will:

Going through most bitter days, I was lamenting to Our Lord, saying: “How cruelly You have left me! You told me that You had chosen me as your little daughter, that You would keep me always in your arms – and now? You have thrown me to the ground, and instead of a little daughter, I see that You have changed me into a little martyr; but even though little, my martyrdom is just as cruel and harsh, bitter and intense.”

While I was saying this, He moved in my interior and told me: “My daughter, you are mistaken – my Will is not to make you a little martyr, but a great martyr. If I give you the strength to bear my privation with patience and resignation – which is the most painful and most bitter thing that can be found, and there is no other pain that equals it or resembles it either in Heaven or on earth – is this not heroism of patience and the ultimate degree of love, compared to which, all other loves remain behind, are almost nullified, and there is nothing that can compare to it or stand before it? Is this not, then, great martyrdom? You say that you are a little martyr because you feel you do not suffer so much. It is not that you do not suffer, but it is the martyrdom of my privation that absorbs your other pains, making them even disappear. In fact, in thinking that you are without Me, you neither bother about nor pay attention to your other sufferings; and by not paying attention to them, you reach the point of not feeling their weight, therefore you say you do not suffer.

And then, I (Jesus) have not thrown you (Luisa) to the ground; rather, I (Jesus) keep you (Luisa) more than ever clasped in My arms. Even more, I (Jesus) tell you (Luisa) that if to Paul I (Jesus) gave My efficacious grace at the beginning of his conversion, to you (Luisa) I (Jesus) give it almost continually – and this is the sign of it: that you continue in your interior everything that you used to do when I was with you almost continually – doing what now you seem to do by yourself. Your feeling all immersed in Me and bound to Me, always thinking of Me even though you do not see Me – this is not your own thing, nor an ordinary grace, but special and efficacious grace. And if I give you much, it is a sign that I love you much, and I want to be loved much by you.”

1/24 St. Francis De Sales

S_St Francis De SalesSt. Francis De Sales
(Click here for website)

St. Francis de Sales, besides being the founder of the Visitation Order, is also honored as patron of authors, journalists, teachers, writers, confessors, publishers, and the deaf. It may be worth considering why he might have been chosen as patron for these various professions.

He was an appealing and successful teacher who instructed our first sisters in the ways of religious life according to his particular spirit, and also helped to reform and renew other religious communities of men and women by his gentle and tactful guidance. He regularly gathered groups of children around himself to instruct them in the catechism, and thereby enticed their parents to attend these lessons as well So high was his esteem for learning that he made efforts to establish a “holy house of faith and science”, a spiritual and technical center for training new converts to become evangelists in the regions dominated by Protestants.

He was a renowned confessor, much sought-after for his enlightened spiritual direction and compassion toward sinners; he spared no efforts to bring sinners to accept the mercy of God, often humbling himself before them and making himself vulnerable to their insults. Another meaning for “confessor” is illustrated by his missionary activity – he was a persuasive and steadfast defender of the faith, never hesitating to debate leading Calvinists in public. He always defeated them – sometimes he won by default because his opponents failed to appear for a scheduled debate, thus incurring the jolly ridicule of the citizens gathered to hear them.

He wrote thousands of letters of instruction, guidance, comfort, and encouragement, in addition to his correspondence as a bishop and an unofficial diplomat employed by the Pope, the King of France and the Duke of Savoy. He was the author
of The Introduction to the Devout Life, drawn from some of his letters, and The Treatise on the Love of God, a unique philosophical and theological foundation for the life of prayer and union with God. At the time of his death, he was making plans for a companion treatise on the love of neighbor.

While laboring to re-convert the Chablais from the Protestant religion imposed upon it by its rulers, he published newsletters and pamphlets to reach the people who were afraid to come to hear him preach. He wrote out instructions on the teachings of the Church to counteract the false information given by the Calvinists and then made countless copies by hand. These were distributed in secret at night so that the people could receive them and read them without fear of reprisals from their magistrates. He regularly promoted the use of the printed word in his apostolic works and even had his own printing press which he made use of to proclaim the truth and to inform the consciences of his people.

He was one of the most popular preachers in Europe . Frequently he preached for missions and series of sermons during Lent and Advent, as well as for state funerals and weddings. Constantly he “preached the Word, in season and out of season”, by word and example. During one of his missions in a little town called La Roche, he encountered a deaf-mute named Martin. St. Francis de Sales took a personal interest in this man and worked out a kind of sign language as a means of communicating with him. He patiently instructed him in preparation for receiving his First Holy Communion and from then on became the man’s confessor, taking him into his household as a servant. It is no wonder that St. Francis de Sales is known for his gentleness and humility, charity and generosity, wisdom and learning, joyful self-forgetfulness and detachment from worldly values. He is a patron we can all study and confidently follow in the way of holiness.

***

Hours of the Passion: Second Hour
Reflections and Pratices

Jesus promptly departs from His Mother, although His most tender Heart undergoes a shock.

Are we ready to sacrifice even the most legitimate and holy affections in order to fulfill the Divine Volition?

(Let us examine ourselves especially in the cases of separation from the sense of the Divine Presence, or from sensible devotion).

Jesus did not take His last steps in vain.  In them, He glorified the Father and asked for the salvation of souls.  We must place in our steps the same intentions which Jesus placed – that is, to sacrifice ourselves for the glory of the Father and for the good of souls.  We must also imagine placing our steps in those of Jesus Christ; and as Jesus Christ did not take them in vain, but enclosed in His steps all those of creatures, repairing for all their missteps, to give the glory due to the Father, and life to all the missteps of creatures so that they might walk along the path of good – so we should do it in the same way, placing our steps in those of Jesus Christ with His own intentions.

Do we walk on the street modest and composed, so as to be an example for others?  As the afflicted Jesus walked, He talked to the Apostles every once in a while, speaking to them about His imminent Passion.  What do we say in our conversations?

When the opportunity arises, do we make the Passion of the Divine Redeemer the object of our conversations?

In seeing the Apostles sad and discouraged, loving Jesus tried to comfort them.  Do we place in our conversations the intention of relieving Jesus Christ?  Do we try to do them in the Will of God, infusing in others the spirit of Jesus Christ?  Jesus goes to the Cenacle.  We must enclose our thoughts, affections, heartbeats, prayers, actions, food and work in the Heart of Jesus Christ in the act of operating; and by doing this, our actions will acquire the Divine attitude.  However, since it is difficult to always keep this Divine attitude, because it is hard for the soul to fuse her acts continuously in Him, the soul can compensate with the attitude of her good will, and Jesus will be very pleased.  He will become the vigilant sentry of her every thought, of her every word and of her every heartbeat.  He will place these acts as cortege inside and outside of Himself, watching them with great love, as the fruit of the good will of the creature.  When then the soul, fusing herself in Him, does her immediate acts with Jesus, good Jesus will feel so attracted toward that soul that He will do what she does together with her, transmuting the work of the creature into Divine work.  All this is the effect of the Goodness of God which takes everything into account and rewards everything, even a tiny act in the Will of God, so that the creature may not be defrauded of anything.

O my Life and my All, may your steps direct mine, and as I tread the earth, let my thoughts be in Heaven!                

1/23 St. Annibale di Francia and Pope Pius X

ENGLISH TRANSLATION
(Portuguese Text follows)

St. Anibal and the Hours of the Passion (English translation)

(English translation of Portuguese Text of article by Eliane Donaire, published in www.divinavontade.com, January 2020)

Shortly after having met the servant of God Luísa Piccarreta, then Father Aníbal Maria di Francia (1851-1927), founder of the Rogationist Fathers and Daughters of the Divine Zeal, became her extraordinary confessor and ecclesiastical reviewer of her writings,  publishing the first four editions of the book “The 24 Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ”. One of the events that is most remembered about St. Anibal’s efforts to spread this work, which is piously believed to have been dictated by Jesus Himself, is that occasion when he took the book of the Hours of Passion to the Holy Father Saint Pius X and, while reading a few pages aloud, the Pope interrupted him saying: “Father, not like that; this book must be read on its knees, it is Jesus who speaks ”.

The first publication was made in 1915 and St. Aníbal planned to prepare the editions in French, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Polish.

In the following paragraph, extracted from one of his letters to Luísa Piccarreta, we can see the saint’s involvement in the mission that God himself had entrusted to him: “Yesterday when writing to my typographers from Oria, who told me that in order to be able to work faster they needed of buying new typefaces at the factory, I told them to buy them. Oh, if I found myself with strengths as in my youth, I would fly to Oria, to do this divine work myself! ”

When he was in poor health, St. Aníbal wrote to Luísa: “… A lay brother, very patient, has stayed every night, watching over my bed and praying the prayers of the Divine Will”.

It is clear that St. Aníbal not only devoted himself to spreading the Hours of the Passion but also meditated on them.

He knew the good that the reflections, the practice and the reparations contained in the meditation of these Hours would do to all humanity, not only for that time.

A century later, the Hours of Passion are meditated in different parts of the world, in several languages ​​and, of course, in Brazil, in Portuguese, as was the wish of Anibal, considered the first apostle of the Divine Will.

Live this experience!

***

PORTUGUESE

Santo Aníbal e as Horas da Paixão

(Portuguese Text of article by Eliane Donaire, published in www.divinavontade.com, January 2020)

Pouco depois ter conhecido a serva de Deus Luísa Piccarreta, o então padre Aníbal Maria di Francia (1851-1927), fundador dos Padres Rogacionistas e das Filhas do Divino Zelo, tornou-se seu confessor extraordinário e revisor eclesiástico de seus escritos, chegando a publicar as quatro primeiras edições do livro “As 24 Horas da Paixão de Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo”. Um dos acontecimentos que mais se recorda a respeito do empenho de Santo Aníbal em difundir esta obra, a qual acredita-se piedosamente ter sido ditada pelo próprio Jesus, é o daquela ocasião em que ele levou o livro das Horas da Paixão ao Santo Padre São Pio X e, enquanto lia em voz alta algumas páginas, o Papa o interrompeu dizendo: “Padre, assim não; este livro deve ler-se de joelhos, é Jesus Quem fala”.

A primeira publicação foi feita em 1915 e santo Aníbal planejava preparar ainda as edições em francês, português, espanhol, inglês e polaco.

No parágrafo seguinte, extraída de uma de suas cartas a Luísa Piccarreta, podemos ver o envolvimento do santo na missão que Deus mesmo lhe havia confiado: “Ontem ao escrever aos meus tipógrafos de Oria, que me diziam que para poderem andar mais depressa tinham necessidade de comprar na fábrica novos caracteres tipográficos, respondi-lhes que os comprassem. Oh, se eu me encontrasse com forças como na minha juventude, voaria até Oria, para ser eu próprio a fazer este trabalho divino!

Quando já estava com a saúde debilitada, Santo Aníbal escreveu a Luísa: “…Um irmão leigo, muito paciente, tem ficado todas as noites, velando junto da minha cama e reza-me as orações da Divina Vontade”.

Vê-se claramente que Santo Aníbal não somente dedicou-se em difundir as Horas da Paixão como também as meditou.

Ele sabia o bem que faria a toda humanidade as reflexões, a prática e as reparações contidas na meditação destas Horas, não só para aquela época.

Um século depois, as Horas da Paixão são meditadas em diversas partes do mundo, em vários idiomas e, claro, no Brasil, em português, como era o desejo de Aníbal, considerado o primeiro apóstolo da Divina Vontade.

Viva essa experiência!

1/23 The Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Saint Joseph

The Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Saint Joseph
[Historical]

Hail, Holy Mother! Giving Birth to Thy Child, Thou didst Bring Forth the King, Who Ruleth the heavens and the earth for ever and ever. [Ps.] My heart hath uttered a good word. I speak my works to the King. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Hail Mary…

COLLECT
Imbue Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, with the gift of Heavenly Grace: that having been exhorted to Salvation in the Childbearing of the Blessed Virgin; in celebrating the Solemnity of Her Espousal we may be granted an increase of Peace.  Through our Lord. Amen

COLLECT OF SAINT JOSEPH
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be helped by the Merits of the Spouse of Thy Most Holy Mother, so that what we cannot obtain of ourselves may be given to us through His Intercession. Amen

1/23 St. John Bosco Novena starts today

S_dream of don bosco

Click here for more on Dream of St. John Bosco

St. John Bosco, also known as St. Don Bosco, is famous for working with the youth.

St. John Bosco started the Salesian order which is the largest single religious order in the world today!

Here is a novena to St. John Bosco:

Novena Prayers:

Oh holy patron of the youth, I come to you with sincere confidence in your closeness to Jesus. Saint John Bosco, I need your help, I need your prayers, I need your intercession to God for His grace to help me with…

(state your intentions here)

With your love of Mary, our Mother, pray for me!

With your love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, pray for me!

With your love for all those who suffer, pray for me!

Don Bosco, please pray fervently for the grace that I now ask from God our Father. In addition, please pray that I may have a sincere acceptance of the Will of God and a perfect trust in Him.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

Find the Original Here
***

1/22 Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

  

Book of Heaven
6/9/99 – Vol. 2

The very grave sin of abortion. Union of sufferings and of prayers.

I spent this morning very anguished because of the many offenses which I saw Him receive from men, especially because of certain horrendous dishonesties. How much the loss of souls grieved Jesus! More so, since it was a newborn baby that they were going to kill, without administering holy baptism to him. It seems to me that this sin weighs so much on the scale of Divine Justice, that it is the one that most cries out for revenge before God. Yet, these sorrowful scenes are renewed so very often. My most sweet Jesus was so afflicted as to arouse pity. Seeing Him in such a state, I did not dare to tell Him anything, and Jesus just told me: “My daughter, unite your sufferings to Mine, your prayers to Mine, so that they may be more acceptable before the majesty of God, and may appear not as your things, but as my own works.” Then He continued to make Himself seen other times, but always in silence. May the Lord be always blessed.

1/22 More on the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children


A young Fr. Bucci, his Aunt Rosaria and his brother Agostino

In a recent statement of Fr. Bucci, he made known that after Luisa’s death, in addition to beginning the spread of devotion to Luisa, and having read all of her Writings, Aunt Rosaria had an earnest devotion to the protection and sanctification of the unborn. To honor Rosaria Bucci in this earnest intention, and to thank her for her forty years of dedication and care of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, with the following Writing of Luisa from Volume 36, we echo this same desire, linked with Luisa in the Holy Divine Will, praying for the Salvation and Sanctification of all unborn babies, past, present and future. May this be for the Glory of God and the Good of all souls, and hasten the Establishment of the Kingdom of the Divine Will on earth as It is in Heaven.

***

From the Easter Blessing given a few years ago by Padre Bernardino Bucci (who passed away July 17, 2020):

I give you my Priestly Blessing, In the Name of the +Father, +Son and +Holy Spirit.
Blessed Easter!

And also to pray with Rosaria Bucci, that she may continue to help stop abortions and all that may limit the life of the pregnancy of a woman and anything that ends the life of a preborn baby.

***

From a person who met with Padre Bucci:

Padre Bucci has told us that, a few weeks before Luisa died she informed his Aunt Rosaria, who helped with the care of Luisa for 40 years, that Jesus gave Rosaria the Mission of helping the Preborn in a similar way that Jesus gave Luisa the Mission of those Born to the Light of the Day, as in the following reading:

V36 – 4.12.38– “My Blessed daughter of My Will, how many Wonders My Will can make in the creature, as long as she gives It the First Place and All the Freedom to Operate. My Will takes the will, the word, the act that the creature wants to do, as part of Itself – Covers it with Its Creative Virtue, Pronounces Its Fiat in it, and Forms as many Lives for as many existing creatures. You were asking in My Will for the Baptism of All newborn babies that will come to the light of the day – and then, for Its Life to Reign in them. My Will did not hesitate for one instant; soon It Pronounced Its Fiat and Formed as many Lives from Itself for as many newborn babies coming to the Light – Baptizing them, as you wanted, with Its First Light, and then Giving each one of them Its Life…”