Patron Saints and Angels
Saint Mark's feast day is April 25th.
The Gospels are probably the most important written works of all of Christianity. It is from their words, that the Word of God has been carried in writing to millions of people throughout the centuries. Each of these writers is represented by a creature. As one of the four Gospel writers, and one of the seventy disciples of Jesus Christ, Saint Mark is considered by the Church to represent the Lion. This was taken from a vision seen by the Prophet Ezekiel around 625 years B.C.:
And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was a human face, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. - Ezeckiel 10:14
St. Joseph's humility and obedience to God in the exact fulfillment of his duties is what makes him a model in heroic virtue.
St. Joseph is the model of heroic virtue. So much so, that he has a whole month every year in his honor, as well as multiple feast days. March is the official month of St. Joseph, with March 19th being especially dedicated to him, as the husband of Mary. When he was engaged to Mary, and when he learned about her pregnancy -- they were a chaste couple -- he considered breaking up with her. An angel appeared to him in a dream and told him that Mary had not sinned against him; the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit and would be the Saviour of the world. St. Joseph then stayed with Mary and protected her and Jesus his whole life. His role in their life was absolutely necessary for the Incarnation. For at that time, Jewish law would have required that Mary --pregnant outside of wedlock-- be stoned.
May 1st celebrates St. Joseph the Worker. St. Joseph was considered a "just man" and earned his living as a carpenter. A carpenter's life was not glorious, and he lived in daily simplicity providing for the needs of his family. more...
Saint Valentine is infamous because of the holiday that surrounds his name.
Cards. Gifts. Flowers. Romantic feats. These are expected by lovers to be given every February 14 -- St. Valentine's Day. But who is the man behind the tradition of offering signs of love? There are many Saint Valentines recognized by the Catholic Church, including a woman. (Her name was St. Valentina.) The identity celebrated on this famous day is a man who lived in the third century. He is thought to have died around A.D. 270. In fact, Saint Valentine was a prisoner of the State and eventually beheaded. His was sentenced to death because he had married Catholics. This was during a time when it was illegal to be a Catholic. It is no surprise then, that as a priest, and a martyr for celebrating marriage, Saint Valentine is now the patron of engaged couples and happy marriages. more...
February is honored as the month of the Passion of Our Lord. This is fitting because this is when Lent begins. Lent is a period of time set aside to specifically commemorate Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection. Ash Wednesday kicks it off through fasting and repentance. Penitents are blessed with ashes and reflect on conversion that they need in their life. They promise amendment and focus on one thing to change, and for forty days they practice that change. It takes about thirty days to break a bad habit, so this structured forty days helps it to become a permanent change.
Now the Church hasn't arranged the season of Lent to force a sinner to repent, or for gruesome reflections on Christ's Passion, rather it is offered because of the love relationship between Christ and His members. If you know you are hurting your spouse/lover, you'd want to stop, right? Also, it is appropriate to reflect on and be grateful for the sacrifices that your lover made/makes for you. The Church sees Lent as an opportunity for her members to be better lovers to Our Lord. more...
January 2015: MONTH OF THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS
The name "Jesus" is powerful.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10)
Among the Ten Commandments, God ordered that His name shall not be said in vain. Adam was given authority to name creatures. Many names in Bible are changed when something new is happening. What is it about a name and naming that commands so much respect and power?
Names say "this is what I am in my essence", and thus, informs all who hear and speak it the person's purpose. God's name tell us who He is. "Jesus" is the "God is help". " meaning, more..."
St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain and lived around the fifth century. As a teenager, he was captured by pirates and brought to Ireland as a slave, where he was forced to work as a shepherd. It was during this captivity that St. Patrick had a deep spiritual awakening. In a locution he was told that he needed to escape his slavery. He listened to this voice, snuck away to a seaport, and convinced a captain to take him aboard. Once safely back to Britain, St. Patrick began to study Christianity, and then specifically for the priesthood. He eventually became a Bishop.
Years later, he had a vision that urged him to return to Ireland, the place of his captivity, and free the inhabitants from a deeper type of slavery: sin. He started with himself. Having experienced the mercy of God in his own soul, he forgave his captors, and this enabled him to devote his life to the conversion of the Druids and pagans of Ireland. Though he baptized thousands of persons, he did it at personal risk. At times, he was beaten, robbed, re-enslaved, and threatened with execution by local authorities. more...
“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:3-6)
As seen in the above passage and throughout history, idol building and worshipping clearly angers God. So what is going on? How can the statues, pictures and prayers to Mary, and the saints be justified? Catholics make the claim that they reserve worship alone for God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, but they allow veneration for Mary, saints, and earthy heroes. From an outside perspective, this does seem hypocritical, or at least somewhat shady. However, by looking at the definitions that the dictionary offers, it is clear that the words “worship” and “veneration” are very distinct from another, and are appropriately applied. more...