Saint Gertrude the Great – November 16th

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Bodily and spiritual affliction are the surest sign of Divine predilection. Gratitude for suffering is a precious jewel for our heavenly crown… Man should firmly believe that God sends just that trail which is most beneficial for him. – Saint Gertrude the Great

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As St. Gertrude was about to receive the Sacred Host, she asked O Lord, what gift are You going to grant me?”

And Jesus answered, The gift of My Whole Being with My Divine nature, as formerly my Virgin Mother received it.”
“When I give way to the kindness of My Heart,” said Christ to St. Gertrude, When I humble Myself in the Sacrament of Life to be united to a soul which is free from mortal sin, all those who dwell in heaven, on earth, and in Purgatory receive inestimable favors.”

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PRAYER OF ST. GERTRUDE THE GREAT

OUR LORD TOLD ST. GERTRUDE THE GREAT THAT THE FOLLOWING PRAYER WOULD RELEASE 1000 SOULS FROM PURGATORY EACH TIME IT IS SAID. THE PRAYER WAS EXTENDED TO INCLUDE LIVING SINNERS AS WELL.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. AMEN.

“I understand that, each time we contemplate with desire and devotion the Host in which is hidden Christ’s Eucharistic Body, we increase our merits in heaven and secure special joys to be ours later in the beatific vision of God,”

– St. Gertrude

 

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November 9th- Memorial of the Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War

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It seems that the more things change…the more they stay the same. In the history of the world…a world created by God….Nothing falls into this pattern quite as much as the perpetual efforts of the evil one to destroy the good that God has created… Stretching all the way back into the garden of Eden ( that is of course, if we don’t include his infamous battle with St. Michael in heaven.) The truth is, that the devil despises Christ so much so, that he will stop at nothing to destroy the Holy Church that Christ Himself founded…The Church He built upon the rock of Peter….“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” – Matthew 16:18

Just as God gave us His only begotten Son, Christ, as our Redemption… to further that work and ‘make Disciples out of all nations‘ (Mark 28:19)…He  gave us the Catholic Church, starting with His very Apostles, as an aid in that redemption. This Church, founded by Christ …the Holy Mother Church…His Bride… is our guide us as we journey here on earth and make our path towards heaven. The devil knows this…and loathes it, precisely for this reason …  Even as Christ told His disciples that He would be with them until the end of time… the devil’s pride still tries to defeat Christ’s redeeming action… he cannot let it rest, he simply cannot let it go…Pride does horrid things, and as we scroll through the vast pages of history, particularly Church history, we see that every couple of years or so….he rears his ugly head…spitting forth blasphemy from his tongue of lies.  With a cunning smoothness that earned him the title as ‘Father of Lies’….his errant whispers stir the corners of  darkened souls… and the scourge against the Church…against God’s Christians begins again….

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As I was combing through the list of saints who we honor today, I came upon a list so long that I had to investigate. Name after name after name….. were listed as Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, which occurred from 1936 – 1939. At first, so much of  my research was thwarted by all the propaganda and anti-Catholic rhetoric…So much misinformation surrounds this horrible event…It’s as if somehow all of these holy men and women deserved the brutality they received…that somehow … these men and women who vowed to live their lives for God, somehow deserved their terrible fate…

It became quite clear to me, that so much of the history that Americans are taught as being fact, is just a continuation of the erroneous lies that fill the secular schools these days. The ‘history‘ that is taught about the Spanish Civil War goes something along the  story lines of an oppressed working class, who called themselves republicans (but who were really socialists) and rose up against a tyrannical aristocracy that was  allied with the Roman Catholic Church. We are told they wanted only what was best for their country. We are also led to believe that their people’s revolution was brutally suppressed by a fascist military dictator named Francisco Franco, who was a puppet of the German Nazi regime.

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When what really happened is this: during the municipal elections of 1931, a Second Spanish Republic was triggered, and an anticlerical (read anti-Catholic) government was brought into power. The Prime Minister Manuel Azaña felt that the Catholic Church was to blame for the way Spain was perceived as being a backward nation, much too traditional and conservative... and he wished it to be more progressive. As an admirer of the 1914 French Republic, he wanted the Second Spanish Republic to copy it.  As with all communists, he wanted to remove Christianity from the schools, from the hospitals and even from the Churches. One of the first things he did, was to remove the crucifixes from the classrooms…(a case of out of sight out of mind…you might say)  He wanted all of the schools to become secular institutions. And because he wanted to influence a larger number of youth, he wanted these schools to be tuition free.

Communist militias moved in, and Spain was then overcome with a diabolical terror that seized her and waged war against the Roman Catholic Church and her faithful. It was the greatest period of clerical executions since the French Revolution, only the brutality  carried out here, was done on a much larger scale. For the faithful it was a war waged to free Spain and the Church from the grip of Marxist tyranny.

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The whole of Spain was unsettled and many Churches were destroyed…bombings were a daily occurrence and Spain was wrought in a terrible battle. Many Catholics were killed simply because they could not in good conscience support a communist revolution. The number of Christians martyred during this religious persecution rose into the thousands.  According to historical studies the number of people killed during this time, runs into the tens of thousands, with over four thousand being clergy, twelve bishops, numerous seminarians, over two thousand brothers and over two hundred sisters and many…many more Catholic laymen.

The Spanish Civil War was clearly the plan of the devil. It was an evil attempt to open the gates of hell in Spain… and for a time, hell was loosed on the Christians in Spain. There were likely many more who were killed and brutally martyred that we will never know. Many of those killed, were murdered, execution style for the mere ‘crime’ of practicing their faith and refusing communism. Many were killed as they knelt and prayed for their killers. But God is good…He is Awesome, and He uses the sacrifice of the martyrs…joining it to Himself, and He uses their blood as a pool of graces for the faithful that remain.

In the end, the defenders of tradition, order, and Christianity won the war after which, Spain enjoyed decades of prosperity and vitality and a culture rich with Catholic influence.  As Christians, we always need to be on guard against the whisperings that contradict our Faith…that contradict the teachings of Christ. We need to guard ourselves with the armor of the Lord and be prepared to battle. Our own country seems to be entering a climate of hostility towards Christianity and the freedoms associated with it. I feel that  we may be entering into another period of time in which the evil one rears his ugly head….(think of the Christians in Texas…) But no matter what, we must remember that regardless of how desperate things look….how desperate things get… it is a battle that God has already won. so as we close, let us pray for the intercession of the Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, that their blood may be for us a seed of Christ’s Church, not only in Spain, but in the rest of the world as well, particularly those areas where communism and socialism are chomping at the bit, threatening to take Christianity with it, which in essence is the very soul of humanity. May the good Lord have mercy on us all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Praying For Those Who Have Died… And For Those Who Mourn Their Loss

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In the tradition of the Holy Mother Church, November has long been a time set aside as a month dedicated to remembering those who have gone before us… a time in the Church calendar for the offering of prayers and alms giving for the souls of our beloved deceased who may now be in purgatory,( which, by the way)…. are all of those who have died in a state of grace, but are now caught in a state of purification so that they may be cleansed of any blemish and made totally clean so as to be made worthy to join God in heaven….

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As we enter into the second week of our November journey… our prayer list continues to grow as we hear the tragic news from a small town in Texas….the mass shooting of Christians. Christians who had come together on the Sabbath day, to pray and worship  our Heavenly Father... A heavy burden has been laid upon their hearts… A heavy burden has been laid upon their congregation….. a heavy burden has been laid upon us allbrothers and sisters in Christ….

With the onslaught of terrorist-ic events that have occurred just in the last couple of weeks… we are faced with the truth that there is an evil in this world that wishes to destroy all that God has made good… And as Christians who desire that all should be reconciled to the same body of Christ…we must unite ourselves to those who are suffering …We must reach out to those who feel lost, with the love and knowledge that Christ’s teachings left with us. And even if only in prayer… we should unite ourselves with their mourning… Lifting them up to the good God in Heaven…asking for His mercy to be rained down upon them and their families….to ease the severity of their pains while they struggle to piece their lives together. We should be praying that God will comfort them in their time of need…and that He will let His mercy be upon those who have died…So this November, as we offer our prayers to God the Father in Heaven, He Who created all things,  let us not only pray for our loved ones, but also for those who mourn… and more specifically  for the souls of the faithful departed who died …in these recent horrific events.

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Out of the depths I have cried to Thee O Lord! Lord, hear my voice. Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord! wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall stand it? For with Thee there is mercy: and by reason of Thy law I have waited on Thee, O Lord!
My soul hath relied on His word: my soul hath hoped in the Lord. From the morning watch even until night:
let Israel hope in the Lord. For with the Lord there is mercy; and with Him plentiful Redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord! And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.
Amen.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Bless, O my God! the repose I am about to take, that, renewing my strength, I may be better enabled to serve Thee. Pour down Thy blessings, O Lord! on my parents, relations, friends, and enemies. Protect the Pope, our Bishop, and all the Pastors of Thy holy Church. Assist the poor and the afflicted, and those who are now in their last agony. Look with an eye of pity on the suffering souls in purgatory, particularly N… N…; put an end to their torments, and lead them forth into everlasting joy. Amen.

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Feast of All the Holy Souls – November 2nd

 

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“On this day is observed the commemoration of the faithful departed, in which our common and pious Mother the Church, immediately after having endeavored to celebrate by worthy praise all her children who already rejoice in heaven, strives to aid by her powerful intercession with Christ, her Lord and Spouse, all those who still groan in purgatory, so that they may join as soon as possible the inhabitants of the heavenly city.”Roman Martyrology

All Souls’ Day is celebrated at the end of the liturgical year when the Church examines the fruits of the redemption. The first fruits, or the holy Saints in Heaven, were honored yesterday. But today, on this feast of the Holy Souls, we focus our prayers on the souls of those who have gone through their earthly battle and are now confirmed in a state of grace, but who for the time being are now in the cleansing fires of Purgatory….a place defined as ‘holy hell’ or ‘sad heaven’.

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The Holy Mother Church, whose members rejoiced yesterday for all of the Church’s children who have entered into the glory of heaven, today, now pray for all of those who have entered into their eternal sleep, not yet purified enough for the beatific vision of the Lord. These souls are in the purifying state of purgatory, awaiting the day when they will be  made pure and be able to join the company of the saints in heaven. At no place in the liturgy of the Church, is there a more striking example of the mysterious union between the Church triumphant, the Church militant and the Church suffering; than on this feast of the holy souls.

On this feast, the action that is required of us…the Church militant...  is our steadfast prayers and alms…or offerings…. Not only are we called to remember the suffering souls…but also, to have Masses said for them… this act for us, remains an upmost act of charity. In calendar of days  within the Church, there is  never a more clearer example of the union that exists between all the bodies of the Church, than in the feasts we celebrate on these two days.

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The need or rather, the duty, of the faithful to pray for the departed souls has been acknowledged by the Church since Her very beginnings. We find that it is referenced in the Scriptures of the Old Testament…(2nd Maccabees 12:46)  It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins”. Not only is it customary to pray for the souls in private, but also publicly, especially in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. These Masses help the holy souls, both because the Mass is so powerful in itself and because the faithful have coupled their sacrifice (this offering) with the Sublime Sacrifice.

The customary dates for these Masses for the holy souls, are on the day of the person’s death and then again, on the day of the burial, which is known as the funeral Mass. In the traditional ways of the Church, many people would have Masses said on the seventh and the thirtieth day after the death of their loved one, it was called the Month’s Mind Mass. Another important date to have a Mass said is on the anniversary of their death. In the Church today, the only Mass that we have an obligation to have said, is the funeral Mass, but as Catholics who want what is best for our deceased, it is still a good and holy practice to offer alms and have Masses said for our departed at other times as well.

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As faithful Catholics, we must remember that the holy souls in purgatory know how long they must remain there, but they can do nothing to shorten this stay. They are at the mercy of others…they no longer can plead for themselves…they must rely on us…the Church militant and on our prayers for them. I once read that the holy souls in purgatory are like the poor man at the football stadium of a sold out game- without a ticket. He sees the crowds going into the stadium and he hears the cheers, but because the tickets are gone, he cannot buy one on his own, therefore he is unable to join them until someone who has a ticket gives him one….he is at the mercy of others.…Just as the holy souls in purgatory are dependent on the mercy of others…and their prayers and offerings to God, for them, to get them to heaven.

A good prayer to use when praying for the dead is one suggested by Cardinal Newman in his hymn for the dead:

Help, Lord, the souls which Thou hast made, The souls to Thee so dear, In prison for the debt unpaid Of sins committed here.- Amen.

Many Christians who have fallen away from the teachings of the One True Church, like to pretend that praying for the dead is a “Catholic superstition,” and that somehow praying for the dead goes against the teachings of the Bible, but we find that these sacrifices are indeed Bible based, and taken right out of Sacred Scripture…  from the same book of Macchabees (12:43) where Judas Macchabeus had his soldiers send drachmas to Jerusalem to offer up a sacrifice for the soldiers who had fallen in battle. So as we remember our departed loved ones, let us travel to their grave site and pray that God’s mercy will be upon them and that He will in His goodness, release their souls to heaven.

Just as a side note, if you are not near the cemetery of your loved ones…or perhaps your loved one’s body isn’t resting in a grave as of yet, you can still pray for the souls of all the faithful departed…God will still hear your prayers. And during this month of November, when you travel to a cemetery to pray for the dead, it is twofold…you can gain yourself an indulgence as well. So go to Mass, then visit the cemetery and make it a happy feast for all the holy souls in purgatory.

Collect Prayer for All Souls’ Day

Listen kindly to our prayers, O Lord, and, as our faith in your Son, raised from the dead, is deepened, so may our due hope of resurrection for your departed servants also find new strength. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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Happy All Saints Day- Feast of the Church Triumphant – November 1st

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Today, November 1st is the Feast of all the Holy Saints in Heaven… the Church Triumphant! It includes all the saints throughout the vast history of our wonderful Holy Mother Church…those known and unknown…from the very first martyrs to those who were most recently canonized. It also includes those who have a made their way to heaven, their path known only to God. It spans the entire history of the Church’s glorious past. It is a great way for us… the Church militant to renew our vigor…to renew our resolve to serve the Lord with all of our strength…all of our hope…all of our love.

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The saints are in communion with Jesus in heaven…which means they are enjoying the beatific vision that God afforded them due to their uniting themselves to His Will as they served Him here on earth…it is through the goodness of God and His mercy…that anyone merits heaven at all.  Among the saints are included the heavenly angels  who remained faithful to the Lord when Lucifer became defiant to God and fell from heaven, taking with him all the angels who chose to disobey God, losing their place in heaven.

This feast is also a day to remember the Blessed Mother, who was kept pure by the grace of God, yet, whose own freewill allowed her to say yes…Her fiat to the Lord…allowing her to become the vessel which God would use to save mankind… Chosen by God, She is the greatest among all the saints...in Luke’s gospel we read how she was inspired by the Holy Spirit to say that “all generations shall call me blessed.” So on this feast let us remember that She holds a place of honor among the saints… crowned by God, as Queen of Heaven.

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As we celebrate the saints, we should get into the habit of not only remembering them, but also venerating them and praising God for allowing them the grace needed to fulfill their role on earth with purity and resolve….And we should get in the habit of asking them for their intercession as we make our way, so that one day we too shall be able to hear the words that each of us should long to hear….”Well, done my good and faithful servant.

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                              Catholic Prayer for Veneration of the Holy Saints

How shining and splendid are your gifts, O Lord
which you give us for our eternal well-being
Your glory shines radiantly in your saints, O God
In the honor and noble victory of the martyrs.
The white-robed company follow you,
bright with their abundant faith;
They scorned the wicked words of those with this world’s power.
For you they sustained fierce beatings, chains, and torments,
they were drained by cruel punishments.
They bore their holy witness to you
who were grounded deep within their hearts;
they were sustained by patience and constancy.
Endowed with your everlasting grace,
may we rejoice forever
with the martyrs in our bright fatherland.
O Christ, in your goodness,
grant to us the gracious heavenly realms of eternal life.
Unknown author, 10th century

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Almighty and Everlasting God,
who dost enkindle the flame of Thy love in the hearts of the saints,
grant unto us the same faith and power of love;
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs
we may profit by their examples, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gothic Missal

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Saint Isaac Jogues and Companions – Martyrs

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My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings. – Saint Isaac Jogues

 

As Catholics, I hope that we understand the importance of learning about the lives of  saints. These were men and women, much like you and I, except in their love for the Lord and their zeal to serving His Will. For the most part, they were not men equipped with great physical strength or above average intelligence. No, for all intents and purposes, they were average….created in the same way as we were. What separates them from us though, is their love and their devotion to serving the God Who created them. By submitting their will, and accepting the graces that God bestowed upon them, they were able to develop a prayer life that allowed them to unite their will to that of the Lord…in all things..their sufferings and their joys alike. How many of us can say the same? We are more likely to turn away from our sufferings… or pray that God will take it from us…instead of embracing it…. that’s human nature...As Catholics striving to reach our eternal reward...which is to be with God in Heaven... we need to familiarize ourselves with holiness. Of course, the first way to accomplish this is by reading Sacred Scripture, but we also need to read about these saints and the lives they led, and condition ourselves…condition our hearts… our minds…and our wills to do God’s nature…and follow their examples, and do what God created us to do.

A  perfect example of this holiness….and uniting one’s will to that of the Lord, can be found in the lives of Saint Isaac Jogues and the other Jesuit priests who were his companions. These brave men left their lives of comfort and traveled to the New World…to North America, to spread the Word of God to the people who lived in the wild untamed lands….They were among the first missionaries to serve the North American Indians.

In 1624, Isaac Jogues and several of his companion priests traveled to Quebec with a group of missionaries, under the leadership of John de Brebeuf. After sailing on the rough seas for several months, they headed up the coast and landed in Quebec. Upon arrival, St. Isaac wrote to his mother: “I do not know what it is to enter Heaven, but this I know—that it would be difficult to experience in this world a joy more excessive and more overflowing than I felt in setting foot in the New World, and celebrating my first Mass on the day of the Visitation.” His later letters show the same exaltation of spirit and a willingness to do whatever the Lord requested. (Wow…can you image anything so beautiful)

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Once there, the priests worked with to the Hurons, converting many to the Faith. For six years, the Jesuits lived among the Huron people, working side by side with them. Saint Isaac Jogues learned the language and became a skilled woodsman with great determination and stamina. He was sent on many missions to make acquaintance with the Indians that were further south, and then later, he traveled to  those further to the North.

On the latter trip, he and his companions traveled on uncharted lands and waterways, perhaps becoming the first white men to set foot on the shore of Lake Superior. Upon their arrival, there were about 2000 Ojibway Indians gathered at the site to celebrate their Feast of the Dead. Father Jogues addressed them, and erected a cross facing west towards the country of the Sioux. Good will was enjoyed from the Native people they encountered. Many of the Native people converted and it was a time of spiritual growth. But all the while, the Mohawks, who were another tribe who despised the Hurons and the Euoropeans, developed a hatred for the priests and never forgot the ‘black coats’ and sent out scouts to find and kill the priests, and any of their detested Huron neighbors who were living with them, especially those who converted to Christianity.

After living among the native people for several years, Father Jogues along with several of their Huron converts were traveling the waterways in canoe and were captured by an  Iroquois war party. Once captured, they were paraded through the village and tortured repeatedly. The Iroquois were brutal in their methods of torture, and repeated it often, just sparing the prisoners life, so they could continue the torture another day. They had a hatred in their heart for the Hurons who had converted, and forced one such prisoner to cut Saint Isaac Jogues’ thumb and finger off. Fortunately for Father Jogues, one of the elderly Mohawk woman took  a liking to him, and brought him into her hut and cared for him. She referred to him as her nephew and he was afforded some protection, because she was a respected elder of the tribe. During this time, he would secretly pray and would often baptize any of the children he would find that were sick and dying.

After over a year of being help captive and being  tortured, word was sent back to his homeland that Father Jogues was still alive, and the French sent in a group to secure Father Jogues’ freedom. At first it seemed that it was not to be, but after the first failed attempt to escape, Father Isaac Jogues was able to escape  on his second try and was able to make his way home to France, where he was welcomed as  a hero. His bravery did not go unnoticed by the Holy See. For even though the mutilated condition of his tortured hands would have made it impossible for him to celebrate Mass according to the canonical norms, Pope Urban VII allowed him the very exceptional privilege of celebrating Mass. This was the first time such a concession had been granted. The Holy Father stated, “It would be unfitting to refuse permission to drink the blood of Jesus Christ to one who has testified to Christ with his blood.”

After living in the comfort of his home, he realized that the Lord’s work was not yet done in the New World. And after convincing his superiors, he returned to the untamed land to continue his work with the native people there.  While on the trail traveling south, his party was met with a Mohawk war party. He was led back to the hut of the Chief. There he spoke with the Chief saying:  “I am a man like yourselves. I do not fear death or torture. I do not know why you wish to kill me. I come here to confirm the peace and show you the way to Heaven, and you treat me like a dog.” His words moved the council, and  the majority of them were ready to allow the priest to regain his freedom, but the younger members of the tribe, the Bear Clan, took matters into their own hands. They invited the priest to pay them a visit, and even though he knew that this was a dangerous journey, to refuse the invitation of the Bear Chief, was an insult to the young clan leader. Placing his trust once again in the Lord, St. Isaac entered the cabin where he was immediately attacked. The clan members brutally beat him with a tomahawk, and beheaded him. His companion was also attacked and killed. Their bodies were thrown into the river and their heads placed atop poles facing the trail which they had traveled… as a warning to other priests…or Black robes, as they were called, that they were not welcome among these lands.

Shortly after the martyrdom of the Jesuit priests, the Iroquois tribe continued to attack and plunder the Huron villages, killing all of the inhabitants they encountered, whether they had converted to the Faith or not. But the Mohawk tribe did not forget the example of Saint Isaac Jogues’ bravery. The gentle priest had been able to win over the elders due to his gentle nature, but more importantly, the courage he displayed in his daily struggles. Years later, when the area was enjoying a time of peace, more Jesuit priests were sent from Canada to establish missions there. Even some of the Mohawk people who converted began to travel to the seminary in Quebec to become trained as Christian leaders.

Today in the same area where the first Jesuit martyrs shed their blood, there is a Catholic Shrine dedicated to the martyrs. Many faithful continue to travel and make pilgrimages to honor the memory of these brave Jesuits of the 17th century who faced the untamed wilderness armed only with the grace of God, who with their gentle courage were able to tame a wild nation. The eight martyrs -Jogues, Lalande, Brebeuf, Lalemant, Garnier, Daniel, Goupil, and Chabanel—were solemnly beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1930. An interesting fact is, that only ten short years after Saint Isaac Jogues blood was spilled upon the land in an area known as Mohawk Valley, Blessed Kateri Tekawitha was born in a Mohawk village. Because of her purity and devout nature she became known as Lilly of the Mohawks. Once again proving to us the Faithful that where ever the blood of martyrs spills upon the land…new Christian growth will sprout.

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The eight martyrs -Jogues, Lalande, Brebeuf, Lalemant, Garnier, Daniel, Goupil, and Chabanel

So as we read the stories and familiarize ourselves with the lives of these brave souls, let us pray for their intercession, that if we may ever be in a situation that calls for courage and a willingness to lay down our life for our Faith, or even lay down our life for another …let us not forget to invoke the intercession of these brave and holy men. Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.

 

 

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Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist – October 18th

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Saint Luke, one of the four evangelists who wrote one of the four gospels, actually  is responsible for writing not only the Gospel of Luke, but the Acts of the Apostles, as well. Having converted from his pagan ways, he used all the graces given to him by God, to share the faith with others. Saint Luke was a physician a writer, and an artist as well. There are several images that he painted of the Blessed Mother with the Child Jesus. But one of the more important images he ‘painted’ of the Blessed Mother is in the Magnificat, which is actually a beautiful prayer, and not a painting at all. It is a beautiful hymn of praise to the Lord. Most scholars agree that Luke actually spent time with the Blessed Mother, writing down the details that filled her life, beginning with the Annunciation and the days leading up to the birth of Christ.  He also vividly provides a comprehensive account of Jesus’ journey towards Jerusalem, which is read on Palm Sunday and leads the Faithful right into Holy Week. His accounts have become vital parts of the way we pray…the way we worship.

Even though St. Luke was not one of Christ’s apostles, nor one of  72 disciples,  he was a close friend of Saint Paul and remained with him through thick and thin. His Gospel writings  include six miracles and 18 parables. Because he paid special attention to the poor and downtrodden peoples of the day…his gospel is often referred to as “The Gospel of Mercy,” stressing God’s mercy in the cures that Jesus brought to the people…not only the physical cures…but the spiritual healing that He offered…and continues to offer.… to those who suffer. One such example of mercy is found in the story of the Prodigal Son, (Luke 15: 11-23) which is the tale of a Merciful Father, who welcomes back his son who was lost. Welcoming him back with open arms and an open heart. His writings stress Christ’s directive to “Be merciful as your Father is merciful.”(Luke 6:36)

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Saint Luke is a perfect example of how when we follow God, and use the gifts…the talents which He has given us.…we can accomplish great things. Because of his devotion to the Faith and his attention to detail, we not only have the details concerning the Annunciation and the Nativity, but also three beloved canticles which the Church prays every day in the Liturgy of the Hours. St. Luke, the Evangelist, pray for us.

 

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