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.
Church & Faith
Over the centuries, as the saints and theologians reflected on what it means for Our Lady to have pondered and treasured the sacred events from the life of Jesus in her heart, as attested in Scripture, Mary’s heart began to be recognized as something to be imitated in daily practice. Devotion to Mary’s holy heart then developed, in much the same way as it did for the Sacred Heart, which was physically pierced by the lance on the Cross to give Eternal Life to men. So also does Mary’s heart, which was also pierced (as prophesied by Simeon) in union with her Son, give life—that is, grace—to the Christian soul.
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.
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.
The Monday after Pentecost is a Marian feast day. Didn’t you know? It’s alright if you didn’t. After all, Pope Francis only just declared the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, to be a permanent memorial this past March. Why Mary, Mother of the Church? Since the earliest days of Christian history, Catholics have referred […]
When it comes to our health and the health of loved ones, we often turn to prayer. We pray for disease prevention, for physical healing or for peace. Fortunately, there seems to be a special saint for every illness and health concern we can think of! Here is a list of both popular and not-so-well-known saints to invoke for common ailments:
“Remember man that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These words, which derive from the Book of Genesis, were spoken in the liturgy on Ash Wednesday when ashes were placed on the foreheads of the faithful. We naturally begin this season of Lent with a contemplation of our death. Join us for […]
On February 3rd, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Blaise. St. Blaise was born into a wealthy Christian family in Armenia. He was trained as a physician before becoming a priest. Later he was ordained as the Bishop of Sebastea. When a wave of Christian persecution began, God instructed St. Blaise to hide […]
Who are the first five women who come to mind when you think of female saints? (Take a moment to name those five before continuing to read.) When I stopped to consider five female saints, I thought of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Agnes, and St. Clare. […]