12/5 Eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

Saint Nicholas

Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
(† 342)

(Click here for website)

Saint Nicholas, the patron Saint of Russia, has won the warmest of praises from other Saints such as Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Peter Damian, who called him the glory of young men, the honor of the elderly, the splendor of priests and the light of Pontiffs. All the world was filled with his praises, Saint Peter added. The universal Church, in the Collect of his office, claims that God made known his nobility by an infinite number of miracles.

He was born during the third century, nephew of the Archbishop of Myra. He had lost his parents while still very young, and he desired not to conserve his rich heritage. Gradually he gave away everything of which he could dispose, establishing dowries for poor maidens and seeking out the needy wherever they could be found. The Archbishop, his uncle, already aware of his vocation to sanctity, ordained Saint Nicholas priest and appointed him Abbot of the monastery of Holy Sion near Myra. He undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, resurrecting a sailor who fell from a mast during the voyage; he prayed for the frightened passengers in a near-fatal tempest and calmed it. He visited Saint Anthony of the Desert and healed many sick persons in Alexandria during a stopover in Egypt.

On the death of the Archbishop of Myra, he was elected to the vacant see. Immediately after the pontifical Mass, he resurrected an infant who had fallen into a fire.

A persecution broke out under the emperor Licinius; Saint Nicholas was banished and kept in chains. He suffered from severe mistreatment but returned to his church when Constantine the Great defeated Licinius, and in 313 then put a definitive end to the persecutions. Saint Nicholas labored in his domains to stop the worship of false gods, still practiced there as elsewhere. With his own hands he cut down a huge tree, site of a sacrilegious cult of the goddess Diana. During a famine his prayers multiplied the provisions of wheat which he had ordered for the port of Myra, to such an extent that what would have sufficed for his people for only a few days, was found to be sufficient for more than two years. He rescued from death, just before they were hanged, three innocents condemned by a judge who had been corrupted by money, reprehended the latter for his crime and sent these liberated ones home, entirely exonerated.

Throughout his life he retained the bright and simple manners of his early years; no one could converse with him without finding himself spiritually renewed. Saint Nicholas was the special protector of the innocent and the wronged. He is usually represented at the side of a container in which a cruel butcher had concealed the bodies of three young persons, whom he had killed and was intending to use in his commerce, but who were restored to life by the Saint. This miracle was reported by Saint Bonaventure in a sermon.

Saint Nicholas rejoiced when God made known to him that the end of his pilgrimage was near. He retired to his Monastery of Holy Sion, and after a short but intense episode of fever, died in the year 342. He is the patron of schoolchildren, sailors, travelers and pilgrims, prisoners and many others. His relics were translated in 1087 to Bari, Italy, where a church was built in their honor. And there, after fifteen centuries, the manna of Saint Nicholasstill flows from his bones and heals all kinds of illnesses.

Reflection: Those who would enter heaven must become like little children, whose greatest glory is their innocence. Two duties impose themselves on Christians: first, either to preserve our innocence by sage precautions or regain it by penance; secondly, to love and shield it in others.

12/4 How did the Bishop of Myra become ‘Saint in Bari’?

It’s a long way from Lycia to the eastern coast of Italy.

S_St. Nicholas Church, Myra_Demre, Turkey
St. Nicholas Church, Myra, Demre, Turkey
St. Nicholas’ Feast Day is December 6th

St. Nicholas’ tomb in Myra was a popular place of pilgrimage. As Myra was a seaport, sailors heard the stories of the saint’s shrine and carried them to many distant places. If a town were fortunate enough to host such a significant religious site, it enjoyed considerable commercial benefit because pilgrims needed to be housed, fed, and otherwise provided for. After Myra fell under the control of the Seljuks, who were not sympathetic to Christian faith, Italian merchants in both Venice and Bari, saw an opportunity to bring such advantage to their cities. Their motives were opportunistic, but also spiritual, as there was real fear that pilgrimage could become difficult and dangerous or that the shrine might even be desecrated.

Early in 1087, three ships with sailors and merchants from Bari stopped in Myra on their way home from Antioch. When they visited Nicholas’ tomb, the monks showed them where the manna was extracted. The sailors then asked where the saint’s body lay. The monks, perhaps naively, showed them. But the monks became suspicious and questioned the visitors about their intentions, “Surely you do not intend to take the saint’s remains to your own region? If so, we won’t allow it.” However, in the end the Barians prevailed and broke open the tomb with an iron bar. The sailors spirited the bones away to the ship, escaping just ahead of the townspeople coming in hot pursuit.

The men of Bari sailed away on the long voyage back to the southeast coast of Italy. Before getting there, they stopped at a nearby port to make a beautiful box (casket) to hold the saint’s relics. When they arrived in Bari, May 9, 1087, the townspeople thronged to the harbor to welcome the saint’s remains. The returning men made a solemn vow to build a magnificent church to honor St. Nicholas. The crypt was completed by October 1089 and Pope Urban II laid the relics of St. Nicholas beneath the crypt’s altar, consecrating a shrine that became one of medieval Europe’s great pilgrimage centers. The main church was built in ten years, but it wasn’t until the middle of the 12th century that the imposing and majestic Basilica di San Nicola was complete.

From the earliest time St. Nicholas devotees have asked for protection and health in mind and body through the use of the manna. It was diluted and made available in bottles decorated with images of the saint. Over the centuries a unique art of painting these glass bottles developed in Apulia. Every year the translation of the Nicholas relics to Bari is celebrated with a great festival which culminates in the extraction of the manna by the rector of the Basilica.

The “manna of Saint Nicholas”, which was once commonly called ‘oil’, is actually transparent pure water that is formed in the tomb of the Saint in the crypt of the Basilica in Bari. This phenomenon is not easily explainable. It is absolutely excluded that there is some kind of infiltration of water from the outside for it has been proven that the casket containing the bones of the Saint is impermeable. Notwithstanding the various solutions that are arrived at from numerous hypothesis forwarded, whether supernatural or natural explanations of the phenomenon, the manna is an authentic relic, because it is a liquid that remained in contact with the bones of the Saint, and therefore explains the very reason why there is such a great devotion springing up from this relic. The manna also exuded in the tomb of the Basilica of Myra immediately after the death of Saint Nicholas, as attested to by numerous biographies and eulogies, all are in accord of the exemplary virtue of the miracle worker.

The Legends of the translation likewise affirm that the urn containing the remains of Saint Nicholas of Myra was full of “manna”. After the translation to Bari the phenomenon continued uninterruptedly. It is also fully proven that the pilgrims coming to Bari, are attracted to the tomb of the Saint in view of the fact that the “manna” is famous because of the miracles St. Nicholas accomplishes through it. Between 1954 and 1957, the authenticity that this liquid truly came from the bones of the Saint, as was commonly held, was put into question. In 1954, because of the renovation being done in the crypt, the tomb was opened and the bones were exhumed. Then they were placed inside an urn, where it remained exposed to the public to see and venerate for three years in the hall of the treasures (of the Saint in the Basilica). Sometimes it was observed that the bones “perspired” a certain kind of fluid; one time the linen sheet which held the relics was found to be soaking wet when the mortal remains of St. Nicholas were re-interred in the tomb. This linen cloth has been preserved up to this day.

Translated from the Italian by Fr. Winston Fernandez-Cabading, OP
—from the Centro Studi Nicolaiani di Bari

12/03 With the Divine Will we are everything; without It we are nothing.

Book of Heaven
12/3/03 – Vol. 6

Continuing in my usual state, my blessed Jesus came for a little, telling me:  “My daughter, any human action which has no connection with the Divine Will puts God out of His own creation.  Even suffering itself, as holy, noble and precious as it might be before my eyes, if it is not a birth from my Will, instead of pleasing Me, makes Me indignant and is disgusting to Me.”

Oh, power of the Will of God, how holy, adorable and lovable You are!  With You we are everything, even if we did nothing, because your Will is fecund and gives birth to all goods for us.  Without You we are nothing, even if we did everything, because the human will is sterile and makes everything sterile.

12/2 December 8th is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – Hour of Grace from 12 Noon to 1 PM

REQUEST OF BLESSED MOTHER FOR THE HOUR OF GRACE

 

1. Day and time of Hour of Grace – December 8th Feast of the Immaculate Conception – to be started at 12 noon and will continue until 1 PM (one full hour of prayer)

 

2. During this hour the person making the ‘Hour of Grace’ either at home or in the Church must put away all distractions (do not answer the telephone or answer any doors or do anything but totally concentrate on your union with God during this Special Hour of Grace)

 

3. Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three times the 51st Psalm with outstretched arms. Psalm 51 can be found below.

 

4. The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with God meditating upon the Passion of Jesus saying the Holy Rosary, praising God in your own way or by using favorite prayers, singing hymns, meditating upon other Psalms, etc.

 

 

Psalms

Chapter 51

 

1
For the leader. A psalm of David,
2
when Nathan the prophet came to him after his affair with Bathsheba.
3
Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
4
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
5
For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.
6
Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight that you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.
7
True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
8
Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.
9
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.
10
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
11
Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.
12
A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
13
Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
14
Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
15
I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
16
Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
17
Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.
18
For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.
19
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.
20
Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
21
Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on your altar.

Reminders about the Hour of Grace abounded in the days before December 8th.

Below, some of Our Lady’s words embedded in this particular sharing of the message.

While it focuses on the Hour of Grace, it doesn’’t mention that Our Lady came in these apparitions appealing especially to the consecrated souls of clergy and religious, promising to protect them and deepen their vocations if they but honor Her in this devotion as Rosa Mystica. Consecrated souls today have been under great attack and they need our prayers.

 http://www.marypages.com/MontichiariEng.htm

 

May no soul be lost! Maria Rosa Mystica, pray for us!

 During the period of November 24, 1946 to December 8, 1947, the Blessed Mother appeared to Sister Pierrina in a little church in Montichiari, Italy, eleven times.

 On the first appearance the Blessed Mother told Sister Pierrina that She wanted to be known as the ‘Mystical Rose’ and that an hour of grace should be kept at noon, December 8th in all the Catholic Churches of the world. The Blessed Mother wanted this to be known through all of Italy and the entire world.

 It was November 16, 1947 when Sister Pierrina was finishing her thanksgiving after Holy Communion when she saw a great light. She then saw a vision of the Blessed Mother as the ‘Mystical Rose’.

 Sister was so deeply moved by the stunning beauty of Our Lady that she began talking to Her. All of a sudden a gentle force made her kneel down in front of Our Lady. The Blessed Mother spoke these words. “My Son is greatly offended by the sins of impurity. He is already planning to send the deluge upon the people, for their destruction, but I have asked him to show mercy and not send the destruction. So that is why I have appeared to ask for penance and atonement for the sins of impurity.”

 Then the Blessed Mother asked for an Act of Humility by Sister Pierrina. She asked her to make the sign of the cross with her tongue on each of the stones in the Sanctuary. “This shall be a reminder to the people that I have appeared here and do not have the people step on those stones.”

 The Blessed Mother then stepped on each of the stones so that Her gown touched all four stones.

 On the 22nd of November, Sister Pierrina felt the overwhelming urge to go to Church at 4:00. The Mother Superior, four Sisters and a group of friends accompanied her. They were all saying the Rosary when the Blessed Mother appeared as before.

 She instructed Sister Pierrina to make the sign of the cross on the stones and fence them off so that no one would step on them.

 Again Our Lady asked for penance. She said, “Penance is nothing more than accepting all our crosses daily willingly. No matter how small, accept them with love. “At this time, she told sister Pierrina to come again on December 8th at noon.” This will be My Hour of Grace.” The Sister asked how she was to prepare for this Hour of Grace. To which the Blessed Mother said, “With Prayers and Penance. Pray the 51st Psalm with outstretched arms three times. During the Hour of Grace, many spiritual graces would be granted. The most hard-hearted sinners will be touched by the grace of God.”

 The Blessed Virgin promised that whatever a person asked Her for during this Hour of Grace (even in impossible cases) would be granted to them, if it was in accordance with the will of the Eternal Father.

 It was December 7th when Sister Pierrina felt the urge to go to Church. This time she was accompanied by the Priest and the Mother Superior.

 The Blessed Mother appeared with a young boy and girl dressed in beautiful white clothing. Sister Pierrina was sure these little ones were angels because they were so beautiful.

 The Blessed Mother said, “Tomorrow I will show you My Immaculate Heart which is so little known among the people.” She asked people to pray for Russia.” There are so many people being held prisoners which their families know nothing of because they have been gone for so many years. Pray for the conversion of Russia, the suffering of the soldiers and their sacrifices and martyrdom will bring peace to Italy.

 The little children are Francisco and Jacinta. I am giving them to you as your companions. You will have much to suffer for My sake. I want simplicity and goodness from you as of these little children.” TheBlessed Mother then blessed Sister Pierrina, the Priest and all those who were gathered there.

 On the morning of December 8th people began arriving at the little Church at 8:00 in the morning from neighboring towns. By noon, some 10,000 people had gathered to see the Blessed Mother, many of whom had to stand outside because the Church did not have enough room for the large crowd.

 Sister Pierrina was accompanied to Church by her Mother and Brothers, the Mother Superior and the Chief of Police from Montichiari. Sister was reciting the Rosary with the crowd in the middle of the Church. Suddenly a brilliant white light appeared from the ceiling. Stairs were coming from the light down to the floor of the Church about fifteen feet in length.

 The staircase was beautifully decorated with red, white and yellow roses. The Blessed Virgin appeared so radiant, dressed in white, with Her Hands folded. She was standing on a splendid carpet at the top of the stairs made of the red, white and yellow roses.

 In the most gentle and loving voice, Our Lady smiled and began to speak. “I am the Immaculate Conception, the Mother of all graces and the Mother of my Beloved Son, Jesus. I want to be known as the Mystical Rose. My wish is that every year on the 8th of December at noon an ‘Hour of Grace’ will be installed. Many spiritual graces and physical blessings will be received by those who pray undisturbed during this hour.” Then slowly she began to ascend the staircase gracefully scattering roses as She went along until She reached midway of the staircase. Here again the Blessed Mother spoke, “I am very happy to see this great demonstration of Faith.”

 Sister Pierrina asked for many of the sinners to be forgiven. The Blessed Mother replied. “My Divine Son will show his Greatest Mercy as much as the people will pray for them. I want this to be known and told to Pope Pius XII. Tell him I want him to install the ‘Hour of Grace’ throughout the whole world and even for those who are not able to go to Church during this time, can obtain this grace in their homes at noon time.”

 She also asked that a Statue be made and placed on the spot where she stood. This should be called the ‘Rosa Mystica’ and carried in procession through the town at which time many graces will be given and cures will take place. Then the Statue is to be returned to the Church.

 Our Lady prayed for the sick, some will be cured others not. Many men, women and children were cured at that very instant.

 A twenty-six year old woman who could not say a word for nine months, suddenly began shouting, “I see Her. I see the Blessed Virgin.” An eighteen year old girl with ulcers was instantly cured. A five year old boy who had been paralyzed was told by the Blessed Mother, “Come to Me, you will be walking now.” He was placed on the Blessed Stones and was able to walk.

 There were three others who were very sick and were immediately cured. But of course, the greatest miracles taking place were those of the spiritual blessings being shed upon the people gathered in the Church.

 The Blessed Mother said, “This is the last time I will appear here. Pray, weep and do penance on these Stones and you will receive the care of My Motherly Heart.” She then left the little Church, but because of the Unending Love of Our Heavenly Mother, She has given us the ‘Hour of Grace’ to be spread through the entire world. She had given all the opportunity to demonstrate our love and trust to Her and to help make reparation for the grievous sins offending Her Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

REQUEST OF BLESSED MOTHER FOR THE HOUR OF GRACE

 

1. Day and time of Hour of Grace – December 8th Feast of the Immaculate Conception – to be started at 12 noon and will continue until 1 PM (one full hour of prayer)

 

2. During this hour the person making the ‘Hour of Grace’ either at home or in the Church must put away all distractions (do not answer the telephone or answer any doors or do anything but totally concentrate on your union with God during this Special Hour of Grace)

 

3. Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three times the 51st Psalm with outstretched arms. Psalm 51 can be found below.

 

4. The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with God meditating upon the Passion of Jesus saying the Holy Rosary, praising God in your own way or by using favorite prayers, singing hymns, meditating upon other Psalms, etc.

Psalms

Chapter 51

1
For the leader. A psalm of David,
2
when Nathan the prophet came to him after his affair with Bathsheba.
3
Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
4
Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
5
For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.
6
Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight that you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.
7
True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
8
Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.
9
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.
10
Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
11

Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.
12
A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
13
Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
14
Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
15
I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
16
Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
17
Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.
18
For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.
19
My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.
20
Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
21
Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on your altar.

 

Please distribute this message to as many people as you can. Remember to pray for your country during this hour. The Blessed Mother has requested that Her message be sent throughout the entire world. Please help the Blessed Virgin Mary to fulfill Her Mission well … that all souls be drawn to God and that Jesus will be loved in every heart. This is the Perpetual song of her Heart. Let it also be ours.

 

12/1 The Liturgical Year – Is Christ Living and Active

J_courpus_christi_2003

For us the festivals of the Liturgical Year, according to the Church, should not be mere commemorations of past historical events, but should rather be opportunities, here and now, to re-live these events and participate in them as though they are just now taking place.  The person of Jesus Christ in whom the whole cycle of the Ecclesiastical Year is centered is not a dead person, who once lived, worked, and passed into history.  Jesus Christ is eternally alive and active.  Just as He once did on earth, so He does now.  He teaches and admonishes us, sanctifies and forgives us, offers Himself up for us, saves us, and draws us to Himself by His example.  “Jesus Christ,” says St. Paul, “is the same today as He was yesterday, and as He will be forever.”  (Heb. 13,8)  The Liturgical Year, then, is a continuation of Christ’s life, work and doctrine among us today.  It is the mystical repetition of the mysteries of Christ’s life in the hearts of the faithful.

In his encyclical letter of November, 1947, “Mediator of God”, Pius XII wrote:  “The Liturgical Year devoutly fostered and accompanied by the Church is not a cold and lifeless representation of the past, nor a simple, bare record of a former age.  Rather, it is Christ Himself who is ever living in His Church.  Here He continues that Journey of immense mercy which He lovingly began in His moral life ‘going about doing good’ with the design of bringing men to know His mysteries and in a way live by them.  These mysteries are ever present and active … they are shining examples of Christian perfection as well as sources of Divine grace.”  (§165)  Similarly, the decree of the Second Vatican Council on the “Constitution on the Liturgy” states that: “Recalling thus the mysteries of redemption, the Church opens to the faithful the riches of her Lord’s powers and merits, so that these are in some way made present for all times, and the faithful are enabled to lay hold upon them and become filled with saving grace. (§102)

Book of Heaven
3/24/14 – Vol. 11

Continuing in my usual state, I (Servant of God, the Little Daughter of the Divine Will, Luisa Piccarreata) was lamenting with Jesus who had not come yet. Finally He came and told me: “My daughter, my Will hides my very Humanity within Itself. This is why, sometimes, I hide my Humanity from you as I speak to you about my Will. You feel surrounded by Light; you can hear my voice but cannot see Me, because my Will absorbs my Humanity within Itself, since my Humanity has its limits while my Will is eternal and without limits. In fact, when my Humanity was on earth, It did not cover all places, all times or all circumstances; however, my interminable Will compensated for It and arrived where my Humanity could not reach.. So, when I find souls who live completely from my Will, they compensate for my Humanity – for the times, for the places, the circumstances and even for the sufferings, because they live in my Will and therefore I can use them just as I used my Humanity. What was my Humanity, if not the organ of my Will? Such are those who do my Will.”