The Sorrowful Heart of the Blessed Mother – An Example of Suffering


Two women, Fabiana Cecchino (35) and Serafina Giovanna Valentino (33), had a vision of Mary first as the Pieta and later as Our Lady of Sorrows in a cave at Castelpetroso, Italy.

In some areas of the world, the Catholic Faithful pay homage to Our Lady of Sorrows of Castelpetroso every year on March 22nd. It is the story about two women who were tending their sheep when they saw a vision of the Blessed Mother. In this first vision, the Blessed Mother was holding the dead body of her Beloved Son, Jesus in her arms. It was very similar to the statue which we all know as the Pieta. In the vision, the Blessed Mother’s  face was full of sorrow and I believe she was even crying tears of blood.

Mater Delarosa

In the second vision, She appeared to them with the seven swords piercing her Sorrowful Heart… As I researched the story, (which I hope to write a complete post about) I found myself gazing upon the most sorrowful face of our Dear Mother….and looking at the images, I was overcome with the fact that Our Blessed Mother…the Most Beloved Mother of Jesus…a sinless creature, chosen by God from the beginning of time.… suffered a most immeasurable pain. A pain that would bring many of us to our knees… a pain so intense that it would cause many of us to question our very Faith in God. 

All of the artistic renderings I viewed had one thing in common, they were all trying to convey just how much the Blessed Mother’s whole being was consumed with pain and compassion for the torments that Her Son would endure for us… It struck me, that today so many Christians today are preaching just the opposite… they preach a message of happiness and prosperity… According to them,  if we love God, He will comfort us and keep us snug and happy….giving us physical blessings that show us just how much He loves us. An error filled message that says, that if we are good and do what God wants, that He  will show us, as well as the rest of the world, just how pleasing we are to Him, by rewarding us with ease and plenty… by taking away our hurts and blessing us with happiness on earth. Somehow, as Christians, we have strayed from the teachings of Christ…from the Truth that we all will have to endure our crosses...our sufferings.…and Like the Blessed Mother we may even have moments when our hearts will feel as if they have just been pierced with a pain so deep that it causes us to shudder just to imagine it…

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We have begun to accept the twisted  notions of the world. Messages orchestrated by the very devil himself. These are messages that strive to separate us from the truth that Christ preached… from the Truth that Christ shared with His disciples and His Own Blessed Mother. There is a painful reality to it all. At times, your knees may buckle…you may fall flat on your face and feel that there is no hope left for you… But this is where the world has gotten it all wrong. This is where Christ will find you and lift you up towards His chest….His Heart …beating only with the love He has for us…each of us…you and me…

It is precisely in the moments of suffering that we are closest to Him. Closest to His own Mother. We must know this. Accept this as the Truth. We are called to suffer…some more so than others…and some will suffer in different ways and at different levels.  But we must know that even of we pray for God to heal us or for God to heal a loved one who is very dear to us… Sometimes the pain continuesand the suffering goes on.

We must understand that even if He doesn’t answer the prayers with the answers that we want, that doesn’t mean we have been abandoned. That doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love us. In fact, if we look at the face of His Mother…look at the immeasurable pain that she endured…was allowed to endure.even though she was the Mother of God…. even though she was pure and holy…even though she was spotless from the stain of sin…He could have stopped it, after all He is God. But He did not. He allowed her to suffer. He allowed for His most precious Mother to endure such unimaginable pain as an example for us…as a model for our own suffering…our own redemptive actions… In order to become more like God…so that one day we may find our way to be with Him in Heaven…we must imitate Him in everything…His love…His Charity, His Mercy and His pain.

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Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows
By St. Bridget

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mother of  God, who didst endure a martyrdom of love and grief, beholding the sufferings and sorrows of Jesus! Thou didst co-operate in the benefit of my redemption by thy innumerable afflictions and by offering to the Eternal Father His only-begotten Son as a holocaust and victim of propitiation for my sins. I thank thee for the unspeakable love which led thee to deprive thyself of the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus, true God and true Man, to save me, a sinner. Oh! make use of the unfailing intercession of thy sorrows with the Father and the Son. that I may steadfastly amend my life and never again crucify my loving Redeemer by new sins; arid that, persevering till death in His grace, I may obtain eternal life through the merits of His Cross and Passion. Amen.

Mother of love, of sorrow, and of mercy, pray for us.

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Feast of Saint Joseph – March 19th

st . joseph leading the Child Jesus.jpg

Saint Joseph Leading the Child Jesus

Prayer to St. Joseph for Assistance

O glorious St. Joseph, you were chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus, the most pure spouse of Mary ever Virgin, and the head of the holy family. You have been chosen by Christ’s Vicar as the heavenly patron and protector of the Church founded by Christ. Therefore, it is with great confidence that I implore your powerful assistance for the whole Church on earth. Protect in a special manner, with true fatherly love, the Pope and all bishops and priests in communion with the See of Peter. Be the protector of all who labor for souls amid the trials and tribulations of this life, and grant that all peoples of the world may follow Christ and the Church He founded.

Dear St. Joseph, accept the offering of myself, which I now make to you. I dedicate myself to your service, that you may ever be my father, my protector, and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me great purity of heart and a fervent love for the spiritual life. May all my actions, after your example, be directed to the greater glory of God, in union with the divine Heart of Jesus, the immaculate heart of Mary, and your own paternal heart.

Finally, pray for me that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Image borrowed from actual Jacksonville Eucharistic Congress site. The Monstrance is the one used in the procession.

Happy Saint Patrick’s day! Today I spent the day at a Eucharistic Congress that was being held this weekend in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. There were Catholics from all over the state and even some that had traveled from out of state to attend the celebrations and listen to prominent Catholic speakers. Among the guest speakers there were Father Larry Richards, who is known for his fabulous men conferences, and Dr. Ray Guarendi , who is a Catholic psychologist who has adopted and raised 10 children and has the hilarious stories to prove it. Last night there was a Living Stations of the Cross presentation, which was powerful and very moving….(click on the links to see a sample of what we experienced… it is worth the time, especially the Living Stations!)

There was confession offered by many of the priests throughout the duration of the event. This morning there was a Eucharistic Procession followed by Eucharistic adoration and the Holy Mass, which was celebrated by Archbishop Cardinal Wuerl, and many of the priests from our diocese. Just prior to the Mass, Cardinal Wuerl presented the keynote address. We did not get to attend the Mass, but the rest of the event was great and many faithful Catholics were able to spend the day re-evaluating the importance of the Eucharist and  the Catholic Faith in their day to day lives.

The focus of many of the talks was on the importance of the Eucharist, and how It is absolutely vital in our life….It is the Heart that beats Christ’s love into our day to day existence…It is the very source and summit of our lives...or rather…It should be…It nourishes us… Spiritually….as well as physically….We all need Christ. We all need the Eucharist. But unfortunately, many fail to understand this simple fact. As Christians we are called to be Christ to an often secular world. What better way to do this than by uniting ourselves with Him… We all need to recharge ourselves in the Lord….We need to allow ourselves to be filled with His Loveand His Words… Most of us do this at Mass…but this weekend...this Eucharistic Congress… was a  chance to get totally immersed in the message of the Eucharist and Christ’s Love. It was a special way to get away from the ordinary….A special way for us to prepare ourselves for this quickly approaching Holy Week….it was a time that reminded us that we need  to be able to rest in Christ….(Talk about the ultimate mini vacation.)…It was a nice break from the everyday… a nice escape from the secular world and the chaos that so often threatens the peace of our souls.

Anyway, back to Saint Patrick’s day. At the Eucharistic Congress there were quite a few people dressed in green for Saint Patrick’s day, but honestly not as many as I would have guessed, considering that it was a gathering of hundreds of faithful Catholics….and well, we all know Saint Patrick… was Catholic too. But after the Congress was over and we came home, I was unprepared for the amount of non-Catholics on television who were dressed in green! The local news was reporting from a  bar in town and everyone was wearing  green. Their shirts, and pants… many were even wearing glittering green hats and shamrock buttons! In fact it was a both sad and hilarious at the same time, because the whole news story was titled “Just who was Saint Patrick?” And no one they spoke to really knew who Saint Patrick was or why he was important… Several people even joked that it was just a drinking holiday that celebrated green Irish beer! It reminded me of the post I wrote last year…so instead of rewriting the same sentiments from last year, click here to read about the life of this truly remarkable saint who deserves to be remembered for more than a secular celebration that promotes green beer,  lucky clovers and leprechauns. Remember, we only have a few more days of Lent to help us prepare ourselves for Holy Week and Easter, so take it easy on the beer and maintain your focus on the Eucharistic Christ and  perhaps spend more time in prayer adoring the Lord who made you…adoring the Lord who loves you, more than you could ever know.

Religious People Can Be The Most Evil of All

Dear St. Patrick, in your humility, you called yourself a sinner, but you became a most successful missionary and prompted countless pagans to follow the Savior. Many of their descendants in turn spread the Good News in numerous foreign lands.

Through your powerful intercession with God, obtain the missionaries we need to continue the work you began.


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Pope Saint Innocent I

pope Innocent I

Throughout the entire history of the Catholic Church there have been many rumblings and uprisings against the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church…and the 5th century was no different. In fact, it was a time much like ours, in the way that people were grumbling amongst themselves and pagan groups were moving quickly throughout many lands, threatening the new Christianity, using  barbaric means to do so.

It was at this time that the 40th pope, Pope Innocent I, stressed the importance of the primacy of the Holy See of Rome, over all of the Church, both west and East alike. He preached not only in Europe, but in Africa and Asia as well…uniting the faithful world over. And  not only was he a confessor to many, he was a staunch defender of the True Faith…a warrior of a man willing to give his life…his strength for the Church. He was a man who was willing to battle for the Church, and he understood that he had been chosen as a successor to Saint Peter…chosen by Jesus Christ to continue the Apostolic mission…This knowledge gave him the courage he needed to  fulfill his role as best he could. He was a man ready and willing to lay down his life for the Holy Mother Church. And that willingness to do whatever he had to, gave him the passion needed to be a good teacher.

He instructed the faithful regarding the Sacraments, including the Eucharist, Penance, and the Sacrament of Confirmation. He also took special care to instruct the faithful about the importance of making use of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. He wrote a letter in which he reminded the faithful that if anyone among them was sick that they were to contact a presbyter to pray over the person and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. He promoted the teaching that the Eucharist and Reconciliation should never be denied to one who was dying. He instructed them that the prayer of Faith would save the sick man, perhaps not physically, but the Lord would be able to cleanse the soul of the anointed one with forgiveness. As far as the Sacrament of Confirmation is concerned, he said that only Bishops could offer the Sacrament and that the Chrism oil should be reserved for this purpose.

During Pope Innocent I pontificate, Rome endured much suffering at the hands of the barbarians. Much like today, there was a great separation of the Church and state. But unlike today, the Church’s voice was held in esteem, so much so that once St. Augustine penned the famous wrote, ” Roma locuta, causa finita est.” Which translates, “Rome has spoken, the matter is ended.” 

It was a time when the Fathers of the Church worked tirelessly for the Church and for peace. Sometimes they were successful and yet other times, not so much. But what sets them apart from many today is their dedication to the doctrine of Jesus Christ…their unwavering defense of the Truth. There was no mincing of words from Pope Innocent I. He had a job to do and he wasn’t going to allow the purity of the Faith to be distorted. He read the writings of Saint Augustine and Saint John Chrysostom, who labored with just as much zeal as he did in defending the Truth. He even became friends with the men, often corresponding with them about the teachings of the Holy Church, guiding the Faithful as a good Shepherd should. Throughout his papacy he kept his focus on discipline within the Church, rooting out sin and error. With the help of the Emperor of Rome, he passed decrees against heresy and immorality throughout Rome.

Under his pontificate, the foundation of the universality of the Church was strengthened. He strove to unite all the faithful, clerics and laity alike. He reinforced the doctrines of celibacy and self- deprivation, insisting on discipline within the ranks of clergy. He knew that the foundation of the Church and he spent his life defending that Truth. When he died he was buried in a basilica above the catacomb of Pontianus, next to his father’s tomb. As we remember this great and holy Pope…this great saint…let us pray to Pope Saint Innocent I so that we too may rise to end the crisis within the Church today… using our strength and energy to defend the teachings of Jesus Christ that have been the foundation of the One…Holy …Catholic….Apostolic Church for all of these years.

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Suffering as a Means of Attaining God’s Goodness and Mercy

Dream that the more you struggle, the more you pro by ...


Suffering is a great favor. Remember that everything soon comes to an end . . . and take courage. Think of how our gain is eternal.
-St. Teresa of Avila


It seems that in our modern day, and in our somewhat twisted sense of God and His goodness, we have allowed ourselves to be lulled by the songs of the siren…the songs of a cunning  world that has become green with envy… a world gone mad with the hatred of what is good, a world that is hellbent and warped with the lies of the devil. It appears that not only has man grown accustomed to the secular world’s sense of what is right and what is wrong, but he has padded his nest with it as well, in other words, he has placed the fate of his family on the lies of the evil one.

Take suffering for instance. If  in the course of our lives, we are called to suffer, we tend to look at it with a world view…. Not only that, but we also tend to adopt the woe is me mentality and feel that somehow because of who we are, or what we have accomplished on our own, that we deserve better from God, than this. We question God’s good motives… and we look at illness or suffering as a sort of punishment for something. We are also quick to blame God. How quickly we fall right into the snares of the world and  look at our suffering without the grace of God’s mercy… without the grace of God’s embrace. Viewing our suffering this way is wrong. It separates us from feeling the love of the Lord. And it hurts us. All the way to the core. It’s damage goes all the way to the very soul of man.

Because without His Grace, we have no strength. Without God’s Grace, we lack the courage needed to face the demon on the hill. We are in essence denying ourselves the hope that can only come from God, then without that hope, our trust in the Lord begins to waiver… We become  shaken and weakened by the blows, and we begin to allow ourselves to fall into the traps of doubt set by the evil one.  We fall right into the lies of the very one who wants us to believe that we should be able to choose if we can live or we can die. I beg you, to please remember, there is no charity in the heart of the one who will lie us right out of our dignity to suffer and lie us out of the ability to earn graces for our eternal souls. There is no compassion in euthanized care, only death.

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Dear brothers and sisters, I pray God may open your eyes and let you see what hidden treasures he bestows on us in the trials from which the world thinks only to flee. Shame turns into honor when we seek God’s glory. Present affliction become the source of heavenly glory. To those who suffer wounds in fighting his battles God opens his arms in loving, tender friendship. That is why he (Christ) tells us that if we want to join him, we shall travel the way he took.
from a letter by Saint John of Avila



If tragedy befalls us and we are faced with a life that doesn’t turn out the way we want, suddenly, we want to change the rules. We want a way out. An easy way out of the pain and suffering.  This humanistic way of thinking is probably the main lie that has grown and festered over the past fifty years or so, and it has become an all too popular way of approaching  our suffering and our illnesses. Unfortunately, it goes against God’s rightful dominion over all things and leads many into the lie that promotes mercy killing or pushes the ‘right of man’ to end their life because they wish to avoid suffering. But, by allowing ourselves or our loved ones to follow this mindset, we are in fact removing God from our lives. Removing God from our very souls. We are denying God His Glory, and we are taking away any chance of God’s goodness and mercy to shine through the dark and pain of suffering. Which by the way, is often the fire that God allows so as to purify our souls before we die.

If we only knew the precious treasure hidden in infirmities, we would receive them with the same joy with which we receive the greatest benefits, and we would bear them without ever complaining or showing signs of weariness.
-St. Vincent de Paul

When we choose death we are told that we are being courageous, we are being manipulated into thinking that we are being kind and merciful… but we are not God, and by becoming partakers in these schemes that are all born from the culture of death, we are putting ourselves  and our loved ones in grave danger of missing out on God’s mercy and in the end, we may wind up suffering an eternity of hell after death. Which by the way, will be much worse than anything we will face on earth.

‘Who of us can live with the consuming fire? Who of us can live with the everlasting flames?’ Isiah 33:14

This lie has come to be defined by many as mercy killing or dying with dignity, as if somehow wanting to abandon our crosses is being dignified. The devil is so clever that he has been able to promote the idea of suicide or assisted suicide as a dignified act. It has gotten so bad that many good people… even good Christian people, see nothing wrong with the idea of ending someone’s life if there is pain… if there is suffering. It is ironic that so much of the Christian message is that we are called to pick up our crosses and follow Christ. That we are all called to bear suffering for the conversion of sinners….that we are to abandon ourselves to the Will of God. But then as soon as we face a tragic situation…one that involves immense pain and suffering…we abandon those very teachings. We make excuses and we jump ship. There is a perilous storm raging between what is good and what is evil. We cannot abandon God’s Will because it makes us feel uncomfortable.

‘And thou shalt be left stripped of thy inheritance, which I gave thee: and I will make thee serve thy enemies in a land which thou knowest not: because thou hast kindled a fire in my wrath, it shall burn for ever. Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.’ Jeremiah 17:4-5

How many times do we hear of a person being referred to as being a vegetable…or that ‘so and so’ is in a vegetative state…or that their quality of life is so diminished that we should not even afford them the necessary food and water they require as minimal true compassionate care. Really! Have we fallen so far that we actual believe living breathing humans are the same as vegetables?! We should never allow ourselves to use these terms when referring to those with brain damage or disability…it is very dehumanizing to our brothers and sisters in pain. By the way, starvation is an agonizing means of achieving death. Death by dehydration is even worse. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But of course, now a days, many hospice centers are just covert death mills…with a steady drip of morphine to ‘alleviate the pain‘… Many of these centers are operating under the guise of compassionate care, and they are more than willing to make your death a reality…whether you want to die or not….

 “Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep appreciation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul.”
-from the writings of Saint Rose of Lima

As Christians, as Catholics, we must pray to stop this mentality among our families. So many people say they would want to die instead of lingering on in pain, but the reality of it is, that most people just don’t want to be a burden. This lie has been drilled into our heads by clever conductors. We have been told that by being incapacitated in some way that would require our families to take care of us, would mean that we have become a burden. We have been told that we should spare our families the troubles… There is no charity in that. There is no love in that. Ultimately, there is no God in that. We have been deceived into thinking that we should just end it all… without the benefit of redemptive suffering. Without the benefit of  the unimaginable graces that God has for all of us who offer our suffering to Him…

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We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God.
-Saint Vincent de Paul

The bottom line to all of this, is the taking away of life… the taking away of the trust that we owe to God. Even if we are faced with a way of life that would have us bedridden…in need of constant care…we…as humans…don’t have the right to take away what is only for God to decide. Regardless of man’s laws…we do not have the right to take away life. Period.

At a time in our lives when we should be praying to God for guidance, while clinging to our sufferings as a means to save us… as a means of sanctification… most of us lose hope. Most of us forget the bigger picture. Most of us just want an easy out. But their is no easy out, end of life decisions are a painful truth that we all will face. But by compromising our morality we stand to lose so much more. It is a difficult journey. One we will not be able to take alone. It is a journey that can only be trod with the hand of God to guide us… We must pray and unite our wills to the Lord. And we must endure and know that God will never leave us on our own. We must not allow our hearts to be manipulated by the lies of the evil one who knows that there is much to be lost… Blessings that would otherwise be gained, by the Christian faithful, if only they would accept their sufferings… their burdens and their crosses … with humility…with charity and with grace.



Behold me, my beloved Jesus, weighed down
under the burden of my trials and sufferings. I cast
myself at Your feet that You may renew my
strength and my courage while I rest here in Your
presence. Permit me to lay down my cross in Your
Sacred Heart, for only Your infinite goodness can
sustain me, only Your love can help me bear my
cross, only Your powerful hand can lighten its
weight. O Divine King, Jesus, whose heart is so
compassionate to the afflicted, I wish to live in
You, suffer and die in You. During my life, be to
me my model and my support. At the hour of my
be my hope and my refuge. Amen.
© 2006 Holy Reflections
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Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows


 Devotion to St. Gabriel of
Our Lady of Sorrows, Patron of Youth

The faithful, who devoutly recite Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, adding the invocation, “Saint Gabriel, pray for me,” before a representation of St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother, may gain an Indulgence of 300 days.

(From the 1943 Raccolta)

St. Gabriel OLOS

In the Tradition of the Holy Mother Church, today we celebrate the life of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. He was born March 1st, 1838, and was the eleventh of thirteen children. His given name was Francis Possenti. When he was only about five years old, his family moved to Spoleto so that the children would be able to get a better education, but unfortunately, shortly after the family moved, his mother died.

His father  who was already a religious man, depended more and more on his Faith when raising his children. He made sure to pray for at least an hour every morning and then took all of the children with him to Mass. Every night before his children were sent to bed, he questioned them as to what they had learned and what they had done that day. He made sure that all of his children prayed and more importantly, he made sure that his children did not get caught up with the bad crowd.

Francis received his education from the Brothers of St. John the Baptist de la Salle, and then continued his studies at the college of the Society of Jesus at Spoleto. As a youth, Francis showed self control and a generous nature. He also was obedient and docile. His heart was full of love for spiritual things. But like most boys, he also was impulsive and sometimes inclined towards anger. But even when he allowed his bad temper to lead him into occasions of sin, he was full of repentance and sought to change this vice of his, seeking God’s forgiveness.

As he grew he advanced in his studies, making good progress. Due to his agreeable nature and his joyful attitude, he had many friends and was commonly called “the genial Francis” by those who knew him. This flattery and attention fed his ego and his vanity, causing him to seek the acceptance of man rather than God. He grew to love things of the world. Mostly innocent in nature, he developed a love for reading novels, hunting and going to theaters to see the latest shows. And even though none of these things are considered bad, they did have a negative affect on the young Francis….they distracted him from what God wanted him to do.

While he was still young he contracted tuberculosis and fell very ill. While still suffering in the sick bed, he promised the Lord that he would devote his life to Him if he were healed, but like most promises made when one is sick…he changed his mind as soon as his body was well again. A second time he became violently ill with a throat malady … again he prayed and again he was healed. Once again turning his back on the promise he made if he were cured.

Then one day when he was out hunting, he was severely wounded. As he was recuperating in bed, his closest sister died suddenly. his heart was broke. and it was then that he remembered the broken promises he had made to his Heavenly Father. As he mourned the loss of his sister, and continued to recover from his own wounds, he told his family about his promise to God. His father, not believing that his son was called to the cloistered life, tried to dissuade him. He encouraged him to go to the theater and carry on with the things of the world. He even suggested to his son, that he should marry the daughter of a predominant family in town.  Francis agreed, and the preparations for the  wedding were begun… But, the Blessed Mother, who already held a place of honor in the young man’s heart, came to collect Francis for his true calling....

On the octave of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother, there was a solemn procession from the Cathedral of Spoleto which continued through the roads of the town. A highly venerated image of the Blessed Mother was carried high above the procession. As the image was carried passed Francis, it seemed to the young lad, that the Blessed Mother looked sharply at him, while an interior voice spoke to him. The voice said, ” You know that you are not made for the world. Why, then do you still remain in it? Enter soon into some Religious Order.”

At this, Francis was overcome with emotion. He had indeed felt ‘a calling’ his whole life, but due to his attachment to the things of the world, he had been hiding from his true vocation. When he heard the words of the Blessed Mother, he knew it was to be. His heart and soul were on fire… and overcome, he ran into the church and hid, trying to conceal his tears and his excitement. Later, when he revealed to his confessor what had happened, his confessor approved of the genuine nature of his vocation and agreed that he should join the Passionists.

saint gabriel of our lady of sorrows


O God, You taught blessed Gabriel to meditate constantly on the sorrows of Your most sweet Mother, and You exalted him by glorious virtues and miracles. Through his prayers and example may we share the sorrows of Your Mother and come to eternal life under Her motherly care; who lives and rules with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.



On the feast of the Mother of Sorrows, which is the third Sunday in September, he was given the habit of the Order, and given the name of Gabriel of the Mother of Sorrows. Afterwards, he wrote to his friends and apologized for not being a better example to them. His separation from his love of the things of the world was now complete… his heart now longed only for the Lord and the Blessed Mother. He no longer sought after empty satisfactions that he once sought after. Once he allowed God to penetrate his heart, he realized that true happiness could only be found by uniting himself to the Lord.

Saint Gabriel had a way with the young boys and his friendliness made him much sought after among the boys in the town. Saint Gabriel was a shining example as to how the Lord can move us to become the best that we can be. He used every opportunity to talk with the boys of some pious exhortation. He used every chance to bring the young boys closer to God. As Gabriel neared the end of his studies, he was stricken with consumption. And when he was only twenty three years old he died in Isola, on February 27, 1862. His last words were to the Blessed Mother.

Immediately after his death, miracles begin occurring at his tomb. Many people who were deaf, blind, lamb or unable to speak were healed. It is quite rare that so many miracles occur in such great succession, and so shortly after the death of a saint, that at his beatification, which took place on May 31, 1908, it was declared that “the miracles which glorified the beginnings of the Church, one could behold renewed at his grave.” 


His brother Michael Possenti, who was 87 years old at the time, was present at his beatification and laid a white rose at the feet of the statue that represented his saintly brother, Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. It is quite remarkable that it happened the way it did. There is a photo of the event. It combines the Church Triumphant with the Church Militant here on earth. To have been able to witness the canonization must have been a truly special occasion for all the family members involved. Since his death, the miracles surrounding this Saint have not ceased. He is recognized as a mighty protector of the youth, particularly in a time when their faith and morals are being exposed to such great dangers.

This picture also represents to us a vital truth that still holds true today. The Holy Church is still our Mother… She still seeks out those to serve Her… to love Her with a heart that is pure and holy. She is still calling us to live our lives in a heroic manner which exhibit our Christian virtues. And She still is coming to the aide of those who dedicate themselves to Her cause…with it’s sole purpose of uniting us in a closer union with the Almighty Lord, so that one day we may join with God and His elect…and be with Him in Heaven.

As I was researching this great an holy saint I found a bit about him that is particularly relevant for this day and age. It tells the story of the young Saint Gabriel and how he saved an entire village from a group of terrorists who had come kill all the people of the town. When he witnessed the marauders dragging off a young woman who they intended to rape, the young Saint had had enough, and even though he was unarmed, he ran out to confront them. Grabbing a pistol from one of the invaders, he managed to take control of the situation and save the entire town. Read the rest of the remarkable story here.

st gabriel and our lady of sorrows[7]

“Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I offer you my heart and soul. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul with you in peace.” – Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.



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Praying for the Peace of God


With the recent rumblings of violence in the world, it is beginning to seem that not a day goes by, in which we are not faced with an endless barrage of news stories coming at us from all corners of the globe, all with an abruptness that causes the quietness of our souls to flee… Then, With our  calmness and serenity shattered... we are left, with the peace of our hearts  corrupted by the nagging voice of doubt and chaos…

How are we to cope with such an un-tamable giant? We are well aware of the fact that anxiety is a monster of a force, with a grip of fingers that can cause even the most stout among us to choke… strangle on our fear….gasping for our breath...trying to remain calm instead of panic. It is almost as if we should die right on the spot,  from our smothering fear…Sometimes…even with all of our conditioning…all of our spiritual preparationswe forget ourselves, and allow our hearts and minds to be sucked into the rumblings and the trappings of a world gone mad. It is a slippery slope to navigate. As Christians how are we supposed to deal with these times when it seems that God has closed up shop and taken all His quiet and calm with Him. What, just what are we supposed to do? Well, in the Bible we find:

“Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice.” Isaiah 41:10

There you have it, do not fear. It’s quite easier said than done. For this, we must rely entirely on God. Actually, we must rely on Him, for everything. If we go back in the Church history and look at the saints and their lives. We would find that many of them bore great sufferings and many struggled with the same feelings of anxiety that we deal with today. Many others struggled with the same fears that plague us now… It was not until they conformed their lives to the Will of the One Who made them that they were able to become the saints that the Lord intended.

We must remember that God has created each of us as unique individuals…each of us from His own hands… We are created in His likeness and image…we are all destined for great things… but only if we follow Him… and allow ourselves to be filled with His love, and moved by His Spirit… This will only happen  if we allow ourselves to be guided by the very Words of Christ….

With so much talk about doomsday survival and SHTF scenarios, we as Christians don’t have to look far for a plan of keeping our heads about us when everyone else is losing theirs to fear and chaos. God has provided for us everything we need to remain calm in Him. We have the Holy Bible…His Sacred Words… the Inspirational whisperings of a loving Father… But we also have His bold instructions that command us to be strong….Words that we can literally pull our strength from.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”– Joshua 1:9

So if the world ever comes crashing down around you…or if  the world seems to crumble beneath you….crumble beneath the very feet you’re standing on…. hold fast to God…hold fast to your Faith…. and fall to your knees in prayer. Prayer builds us up. It holds us up, when we can’t find the courage to go on. It will be your strength until you regain your own. It will help you sort out the dark from the light and bring serenity to your heart again. When the world is shaking beneath you, it will help you regain your balance. But most importantly…. prayer will help you regain your hope.

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
 Deuteromony 31:6


While the rest of the world is screaming of the great apocalypse or ringing with fears of the ‘Big One’ that will divide us right down the middle…. we need to remember that even if it does occur, even if we are left with rubble all around…our towns and homes collapsed, our belongings all gone… We should not give into the monster of anxiety that will be there to devour our soul…Even then….We must not allow ourselves to fall under the influence of the trappings of the devil….He will destroy our souls if we let him…We must be strong… we must pray… pray… and pray. Then, we must trust in the Lord, allowing  His courage to fill us, so that we can face whatever comes next. Because whatever happens, and whether we want to admit it or not…there are much worse things for us than death.

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)


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