Even a simple glance at St. John’s poetry reveals a depth and richness that can be understood only by living the reality spoken of. It was in St. John’s darkest time that Our Lord drew him close and gifted him with words to poignantly describe the journey of the soul, and the path to God that inevitably passes through darkness.
The saints are as different as they are similar. Some saints lived short lives; some long ones; some saints were married, others single; some saints came from prominence, others from obscurity; some saints were devoted to God their whole life, others only after a conversion of heart. The common thread that runs through the lives of the saints is a love for God. What made the saints extraordinary?
The Church dedicates the month of September to Our Lady of Sorrows. It’s a devotion that has become a favorite of mine. As a convert, it took me a while to become comfortable with Mary and to trust her to bring my cares and sufferings to Her Son.
During his earthly life, St. Joseph was the divinely-appointed guardian and protector of the Child Jesus and His Holy Mother. This God-given mission did not end when he died—death expanded his mission to include all members of the Body of Christ. St. Joseph continues his role from heaven as the guardian and protector of the Catholic […]
St. Lawrence (d. 258 A.D.) was likely a Spaniard by birth who lived in Rome while Christianity was outlawed under pain of death. He was appointed by Pope St. Sixtus II as archdeacon over the seven deacons of Rome, and held the sacred duty of tending to the Church’s wealth and distributing alms to the poor.
Prayer is “the necessary and sure means of obtaining salvation, and [contains] all the graces we need to attain [salvation]…To save one’s soul without prayer is most difficult, and even impossible…but by praying our salvation is made secure, and very easy…If we do not pray, we have no excuse, for the grace of prayer is given to everyone…if we are not saved, the whole fault will be ours, because we did not pray.” If Alphonsus’s words are indeed true, then how crucial is prayer to our daily life, and to our eternal destiny! Do we live as though such words are true?
St. Martha, the feisty sister of Mary of Bethany, tends to get a bad rap. After all, when Jesus came to visit the two sisters, Martha complains about Mary not helping—and Jesus’s response seems to be a scolding in which He praises contemplation and disregards practical action and service. However, the story isn’t as simple as that, and I don’t believe that Martha should be remembered as “the one who wasn’t doing it right.”
Saint Bridget of Sweden (1303 – 1373) was one of the most important and famous mystics of the Middle Ages, causing her to be named one of the patron saints not only of Sweden, but of all Europe. Among the many visions she records in her Revelations is this remarkable description of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her glory as the Queen of Heaven. In this vision St. Bridget sees Our Lady possessing seven lilies and seven precious stones in her heavenly crown. Each one symbolizes a different quality or characteristic. Seven, of course, is the biblical number symbolizing perfection.
Recently I encountered a slight problem when turning to the saints in regards to marriage and family, and perhaps you would too, because from the list of popular saints I know, it may often be the case that a favorite saint was, um, celibate. That being said, I decided to compile a list of thoughts and prayers on parenting and finding holiness at home – from 10 saints who were mothers and fathers themselves.
The White Cord of St Joseph is piously used as a remedy against physical ailments and a support in living the virtues of chastity and purity of heart. This beautiful devotion began almost 400 years ago in the small town of Antwerp, Belgium. An Augustinian nun was miraculously healed there after asking for St. Joseph’s intercession while wearing a cord blessing in his honor.