Sunday, February 7, 2016

February 7, 2016 - Litany Lane Blog: Reverence, Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalms 138:1-8, Luke 5:1-11, Pope Francis's Catchesis, Hymn of the Week - Pange Lingua Glorioso, Our Lady of Medjugorje's Monthly Message, Saint Scholastica, Saint Padre Pio, Stigmata, Mystical City of God Book 4 Chapter 8 & 9 - Exodus to Egypt, Catholic Catechism - Part Two - The Celebration of the Christian Mystery - Section Two the Seven Sacraments - Chapter Three The Sacraments at the Service of of Communion - Article 7 Sacrament of Matrimony, RECHARGE: Heaven Speaks to Young Adults

February 7, 2016 - Litany Lane Blog:

Reverence, Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalms 138:1-8, Luke 5:1-11, Pope Francis's Catchesis, Hymn of the Week - Pange Lingua Glorioso,  Our Lady of Medjugorje's Monthly Message, Saint Scholastica,  Saint Padre Pio, Stigmata, Mystical City of God Book 4 Chapter 8 & 9  - Exodus to Egypt, Catholic Catechism - Part Two - The Celebration of the Christian Mystery - Section Two the Seven Sacraments - Chapter Three The Sacraments at the Service of of Communion - Article 7 Sacrament of Matrimony,  RECHARGE: Heaven Speaks to Young Adults

JESUS I TRUST IN YOU (2016 Year of Mercy). "Unwavering Trust in Jesus" ~ Zarya Parx 2016

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). A remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience, tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7. ~ Zarya Parx 2015

"Where There is a Will, With God, There is a Way", "There is always a ray of sunshine amongst the darkest Clouds, the name of that ray is Jesus" ~ Zarya Parx 2014

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge, reason and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012



Pope Francis has declared an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. This Holy Year of Mercy began December 8, 2015, the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. It will close November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King. This year’s motto is “Merciful Like the Father.”

Sometimes, when we think of the word mercy, we picture someone throwing themselves on their knees before a cruel villain, pleading to be spared some punishment. This is not our understanding of God’s mercy. We do not ask for God’s mercy because we are afraid of incurring his wrath as punishment for our sins. Rather, when we call on God to have mercy, we are calling on God in the only way we know him—as one who responds with compassion to those in need. When we show mercy to others, we are responding as God responds, with compassion.

Liturgical Cycle:  C - Gospel of Luke-  5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Daily Rosary
 (MON, SAT) - Joyful Mysteries
(TUES, FRI) - Sorrowful Mysteries
(WED,SUN) -  Glorious Mysteries
(THURS) - Luminous Mysteries


Hymn of the Week

Pange Lingua Gloriosi (Glorious Body Telling)
Standard YouTube License
Available at Amazon -   (Google Play • AmazonMP3 • iTunes)


**Copyright Disclaimer - Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research under the term "fair use", which is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational, and personal use also tips the balance in favor of fair use.


Our Lady of Medjugorje Monthly Messages

February 2, 2016 message form our Lady of Medjugorje:

"Dear children, I have called you and am calling you anew to come to know my Son, to come to know the truth. I am with you and am praying for you to succeed. My children, you must pray much in order to have all the more love and patience; to know how to endure sacrifice and to be poor in spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, my Son is always with you. His Church is born in every heart that comes to know Him. Pray that you can come to know my Son; pray that your soul may be one with Him. That is the prayer and the love which draws others and makes you my apostles. I am looking at you with love, with a motherly love. I know you; I know your pain and sorrows, because I also suffered in silence. My faith gave me love and hope. I repeat, the Resurrection of my Son and my Assumption into Heaven is hope and love for you. Therefore, my children, pray to come to know the truth; to have firm faith which will lead your heart and which will transform your pain and sufferings into love and hope. Thank you." ~ Blessed Mother Mary

January 25, 2016 message from our Lady of Medjugorje:

“Dear children! Also today I am calling all of you to prayer. You cannot live without prayer, because prayer is a chain which brings you closer to God. Therefore, little children, in humility of heart return to God and to His commandments so that with all of your heart you are able to say: as it is in Heaven so may it be on earth. You, little children, are free to in freedom decide for God or against Him. See where Satan wants to pull you into sin and slavery. Therefore, little children, return to my heart so that I can lead you to my Son Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Thank you for having responded to my call.”


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis Catechesis:

February 7, 2016 

The Pope speaks about prayer to the faithful gathered to venerate the body of Padre Pio - Full text

Vatican City, 6 February 2016 (VIS) –

On Saturday morning, 6 February, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father met with prayer groups of Padre Pio and pilgrims from the “Casa sollievo della Sofferenza” and the Archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo. The following is a translation of the Pope's reflection, which was given in Italian. 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Good morning!

I welcome you — I see there so very many of you! — and I thank Msgr Castoro for the words he addressed to me. I greet all of you who have come from many countries and regions, united in great love and gratitude to St Pio of Pietrelcina. You are filled with gratitude, because he helped you to discover life's treasure, which is the love of God, and to experience the beauty of the Lord's forgiveness and mercy. And this is a science which we must day by day, for it is beautiful: the beauty of the Lord's forgiveness and mercy.

We can say that Padre Pio was precisely a servant of mercy. He was full-time, serving sometimes to the point of exhaustion, “the apostleship of listening”. He became, through the ministry of Confession, the living caress of the Father, who heals the wounds of sin and revives the heart with peace. St Padre Pio never tired of welcoming people and listening to them, spending time and energy in order to spread the perfume of the forgiveness of the Lord. He could do this because he was always connected to the source: he ceaselessly quenched his thirst with Jesus Crucified, and thus became a channel of mercy. He bore in his heart many people and many sufferings, uniting all to the love of Christ who gave himself “to the end” (Jn 13:1). He lived the great mystery of sorrow offered up for love. In this way his little drop became a great river of mercy, which brought water to the deserts of the heart and created oases of life in so many parts of the world. 

I thinking of the prayer groups, which St Padre Pio called “nurseries of the faith, cradles of love”; they were not just centres for happy gatherings of friends and for support, but cradles of divine love. This is what prayer groups are! Prayer, in fact, is a true and proper mission, which bears the fire of love to the whole of humanity. Padre Pio said that prayer is a “force that moves the world”. Prayer is a force that moves the world! Do we believe this? Because it is. Try it! He – he said - “spreads the smile and the blessing of God over every languor and weakness” (2nd International congress of prayer groups, 5 May 1966).

Prayer, then, is not a nice practice for finding a little peace of heart; nor is it just a means of devotion for obtaining useful things from God. Were it, then it would be an act of subtle selfishness: I pray to be well, just as I would to take an aspirin. But this is just making a deal. It's not like this. Prayer is something else, it is something else. Prayer, rather, is a work of spiritual mercy, which means bringing everything to the heart of God. “You take this, you are the Father”. It should be like this, speaking to him in a simple way. Prayer is saying: “You, the Father, take this. Look at us, You who are the Father”. It is a relationship with the Father. Prayer is this. It is a gift of faith and love, an intercession needed just as bread is needed. In a word, it means to entrust: entrust the Church, entrust people, entrust situations to the Father - “I entrust this to you” - that you will take care of it. That is why prayer, as Padre Pio liked to say, is “the greatest love we have, a key that opens the heart of God”. A key that opens the heart of God: it is an simple key. The heart of God is not “sealed” with security measures. You can open it with one common key, with prayer. For his is a heart of love, the heart of a father. And it is the greatest strength of the Church, one which we must never leave, for the Church bears fruit only if she does as Our Lady and the Apostles did, who “with one accord devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14), as they waited for the Holy Spirit. Persevering and united in prayer. Otherwise we risk resting somewhere else: on means, on money, on power; then evangelization vanishes and joy is extinguished and the heart grows dull. Do you want a dull heart? [the people respond: No!] Do you want a joyful heart? [Yes!] Pray! This is the recipe.

While I thank you for your commitment, I encourage you, that prayer groups be “centers of mercy”: centers that are always open and active, which through the humble power of prayer bring the light of God to the world and the energy of love of the Church. Padre Pio, who called himself “a poor brother who prays”, wrote that prayer is “the highest apostolate that a soul can exercise in the Church of God” ( Epistolario II, 70). May you always be joyful apostles of prayer! Prayer works miracles. The apostle of prayer works miracles. 

Along with the work of spiritual mercy in prayer groups, St Padre Pio desired an extraordinary work of corporal mercy: the ”Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” , inaugurated 60 years ago. They wanted to be not just an excellent hospital, but a “temple of science and of prayer”. In deed, “human beings always need something more than technically proper care. They need humanity. They need heartfelt concern” (Deus Caritas est, n. 31). This is so important: care for the disease, but above all care for one who is ill. These are two different things, and both are important: care for the disease, and care for the one who is sick. It can happen that, while medicating the wounds of the body, the wounds of the soul fester, which are slower to detect and often difficult to heal. Even the dying, sometimes seemingly unconscious, take part in the prayer offered with faith by their side, and they entrust themselves to God, to his mercy. I remember the death of a priest friend. He was an apostle, a man of god. But he had been in a coma for a long time, a long time.... The doctors were saying: “we don't know how he is still managing to breath”. Another priest friend came in, he came close to him and spoke to him. He heard him. “Let the Lord take you. Let yourself go forward. Have faith, trust in the Lord”. And with these words, he went in peace. So many people are in need, so many sick, may they be spoken to, may they be embraced, may they be given the strength to bear their illness or go to meet the Lord. They need our help as they entrust themselves to the Lord. I am so grateful to you and to those who serve the sick with great competence, love and faith. Let us ask for the grace to recognize the presence of Christ in those who are sick and suffering; as Padre Pio said again and again, “the sick man is Jesus”. The sick one is Jesus. He or she is the flesh of Christ. 

I would also like to congratulate in a special way the faithful of the Archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo. St John Paul II said: “Those who went to San Giovanni Rotondo to attend his Mass, to seek his counsel or to confess to him, saw in him a living image of Christ suffering and risen. The face of Padre Pio reflected the light of the Resurrection (Homily for the Beatification of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, 2 May 1999). May whoever comes to your beautiful land – I myself would like to go there! - find in you too a reflection of the light of Heaven! I thank you, and I ask you please to not forget to pray for me. Thank you.
All together let us pray, let us knock on the door of God's heart who is the Father of mercy: Our Father...

And we are not an orphan Church: we have a mother. Let us prayer to our mother, let us pray to our mother. Hail Mary...

(2016-02-07 Vatican Radio)


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2016 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed - 02/07/2016


Monthly Intentions by Pope Francis:  2016

Vatican City, Winter 2016 (VIS)

The following is the English text of the intentions – both universal and for evangelization – that, as is customary, the Pope entrusted to the Apostleship of Prayer for 2016. 

February 2016

UniversalCare for Creation - That we may take good care of the gift of creation and our biosphere cultivating and protecting it for future generations.

EvangelizationAsia - That opportunities may increase for dialogue and encounter between the Christian faith and the peoples of Asia.

  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2016 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 2/7/2016.


Today's Word:  reverence  [rev-er-uh ns]

Origin: 1250-1300; Middle English < Latin reverentia respect, fear, awe. See revere1, -ence

1. a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.
2. the outward manifestation of this feeling: to pay reverence.
3. a gesture indicative of deep respect; an obeisance, bow, or curtsy.
4. the state of being revered, or treated with respect tinged with awe.
5. (initial capital letter) a title used in addressing or mentioning a member of the clergy (usually preceded by your or his).
verb (used with object), reverenced, reverencing.
6. to regard or treat with reverence; venerate:
One should reverence God and His laws.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 138:1-8

1 [Of David] I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart, for you have listened to the cry I uttered. In the presence of angels I sing to you,
2 I bow down before your holy Temple. I praise your name for your faithful love and your constancy; your promises surpass even your fame.
3 You heard me on the day when I called, and you gave new strength to my heart.
4 All the kings of the earth give thanks to you, Yahweh, when they hear the promises you make;
5 they sing of Yahweh's ways, 'Great is the glory of Yahweh!'
7 Though I live surrounded by trouble you give me life -- to my enemies' fury! You stretch out your right hand and save me,
8 Yahweh will do all things for me. Yahweh, your faithful love endures for ever, do not abandon what you have made.



Today's Epistle -   Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8

1 In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne; his train filled the sanctuary.
2 Above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings: two to cover its face, two to cover its feet and two for flying;
3 and they were shouting these words to each other: Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh Sabaoth. His glory fills the whole earth.
4 The door-posts shook at the sound of their shouting, and the Temple was full of smoke.
5 Then I said: 'Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh Sabaoth.'
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding in its hand a live coal which it had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.
7 With this it touched my mouth and said: 'Look, this has touched your lips, your guilt has been removed and your sin forgiven.'
8 I then heard the voice of the Lord saying: 'Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I, send me.'


Today's Gospel Reading -   Luke 5:1-11

Faith in the word of Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish
The call of the first disciples

Luke 5: 1-11
1. Opening prayer

Father, now your Word has come! It has appeared like the sun after a dark night, empty and solitary. When your Word is not present, it is always thus, I know. Grant me the soft breeze from the sea of your Holy Spirit and may it gather me, walk with me towards Christ, your living Word to whom I wish to listen. I shall not move from this shore, where he teaches and speaks, but I shall stay here until such time as he takes me with him. Then I shall follow him wherever he takes me.

2. Reading
a) Placing the passage in its context:

This passage, full of great theological intensity, comes at the centre of a journey of faith and of meeting with the Lord Jesus, who leads us from deafness to being able to hear, from the most paralysing sickness to the saving healing that makes us capable of helping our brothers and sisters to be reborn with us. Jesus has begun his preaching in the synagogue of Nazareth, giving sense and light to the words in the scroll of the Torah (4: 16 ss.). He has defeated sin (4: 31-37) and sickness (4: 38-41), driving them away from the heart of human beings and he has announced the mysterious force that sent him to us and by which he moves, running like a giant who reaches every corner of the earth. It is a this point that we hear the answer that is the beginning of what follows, that is, the obedience of faith. It is at this point that the Church and a new people are born, those able to hear and respond with a yes.

b) To help us with the reading of the passage:

vv. 1-3: Jesus is on the shore of lake Genesareth and before him is a large crowd of people, eager to listen to the Word of God. He goes into a boat and pushes off a little. As teacher and guide, he sits on the waters and rules them, and from there he offers salvation to those who listen to and welcome the Word of God
vv. 4-6: Jesus invites some to go fishing and Peter trusts him, believes in the Word of the Master. In faith he launches into the deep and casts his nets. Because of his faith, the catch is over-abundant, it is miraculous.
v.7: Meeting Jesus is never a closed matter. The meeting always leads to communication, sharing. Indeed, the gift is too great and cannot be held by one person. Peter calls his mates in another boat and the gift is doubled and grows continually. 

vv. 8-11: Peter kneels before Jesus, adores him and recognises his sinfulness, his nothingness, but Jesus calls him with the same authority that made so many seas obey him throughout Scripture: “Fear not!”. God reveals himself and becomes the companion of men and women. Peter accepts the mission of delivering men and women, his brothers and sisters, from the waters of the world and of sin, just as he was delivered. He leaves his boat, his nets, the fish and follows Jesus, he and his mates.

c) The Gospel - Luke 5, 1-11

1 While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesareth. 2 And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simons, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." 5 And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, 7 they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men." 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

3. A moment of prayerful silence
During this time of silence and solitude accorded to me so that I can stay with Him, I go away from the shore a little way, take to the deep and, trusting in the Lord, I cast the net into the deep and I wait…

4. Some questions
a) “He sat down and taught the people from the boat”. Jesus comes down, sits and takes up his abode among us, he bends down even to touching our earth and from this smallness he offers us his teaching, his Word of salvation. Jesus offers me time, space, full availability to meet him and know him, but do I know how to pause, to stay, to take root in Him and before Him?

b) “He asked him to put out a little from the land”. The Lord’s request is gradual, in fact, after this first putting out from the land, He asks him to launch into the deep. “Put out into the deep!”: an invitation addressed to every man and woman. Do I have faith, trust and confidence in him to let go of my concerns? Do I look at myself sincerely and seriously? Where do the treasures of my life lie?

c) “I will let down the nets”. Peter gives us a brilliant example of faith in the Word of Jesus. In this passage, the verb “let down” occurs twice: the first time it refers to the nets and the second to the person of Peter. The significance is clear: before the Lord we can let down our whole being. We let down, but He gathers, always and with an absolute and infallible faithfulness. Do I feel like taking my life, today, just as it is, and letting it down at the feet of Jesus, in Him, so that He, once more, may gather me, heal and save me, making of me a new person?

d) “They beckoned to their partners in the other boat”. Again Peter becomes a guide on my journey and shows me how to be open to others, to share, because it is not possible to remain isolated and closed in the Church. We are all sent: “Go to my brethren and say to them” (Jn 20: 17). Am I able to bring my boat close to that of others? Am I able to share with my brothers and sisters the gifts and riches the Lord has given me to hold in trust?

5. A key to the reading
* The sea and the theme of the exodus:
Jesus is standing by the seashore. He stands above the dark, menacing and unknown tides of the sea and of life. He stands before this crowd of people gathered, ready to listen to him and ready for the journey, He who is the good shepherd with the staff of his Word. He wishes to take us across the seas and oceans of this world on a journey of salvation that brings us before Him, as had already happened at the Red Sea (Ex 14: 21-23) and on the banks of the Jordan (Jn 3: 14-17). Even the sea of sand in the desert is overcome by the power of his Word and opens up, becoming a garden, a level and passable road (Is 43: 16-21) for those who decide to go on the return journey to God and allow themselves to be guided by Him. In these few verses of the Gospel, the Lord once more prepares for us the great miracle of the exodus, of the coming out of the darkness of death through the saving crossing to the green pastures of friendship with Him and the listening to his voice. All is ready: our name has been called with infinite love by the good shepherd, who knows us from all eternity and who guides us for all eternity, never allowing us to fall from his hand.

* Listening in faith that leads to obedience:
This passage from Luke is the second concerning the glorious journey that the Lord Jesus presents to us. The crowd gathers closely around Jesus, urged by the intimate desire to “hear the Word of God”; this is the answer to the constant invitation of the Father, which we find throughout the Scriptures: “Hear, O Israel!” (Dt 6: 4) e “If only my people would hear me!” (Ps 80: 14). It is as if the crowd were saying: “Yes, I will hear what God proclaims, the Lord” (Ps 85: 9). But the kind of hearing that is mentioned and suggested is complete, not superficial; it is alive and life-giving, not dead; it is the hearing of faith, not of incredulity and of hardness of heart. It is the hearing that says: “Yes, Lord, at your word I will let down my nets”. The call addressed to us just now is the call to faith, to trust in him and in every word that comes from his lips, certain that whatever he says will come true. As God said to Abraham: “Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?” (Gen 18: 14) or to Jeremiah: “Is anything impossible to me?” (Jer 32: 27); cfr. also Zac 8: 6. Or as it was said to Mary: “Nothing is impossible for God” (Lk 1: 37) and she replied: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word”. That is the point we must reach; like Mary, like Peter. We cannot be just hearers, otherwise we would be deceiving ourselves, as James says (1: 19-25); we would continue to be deceived by forgetfulness and we would be lost. The Word must be realised, put into practice, fulfilled. Great is the ruin of the one who hears the Word but does not put it into practice; we must dig deep and lay foundations on the rock, that is, faith in practice (cfr. Lk 6: 46-49).

* Fishing as the mission of the Church:
Fidelity to hearing and the faith leads to mission, that is, to enter into that society that Jesus instituted for the spreading of the kingdom. It seems that Luke, in this passage, wishes to present the Church living the post-paschal experience of the encounter with the risen Jesus. We note, in fact, the many allusions to the passage in Jn 21:1-8. Jesus chooses a boat and chooses Peter and, from the boat, he calls men and women, sons and daughters, to carry on his mission. We note that the verb “put out into the deep” is in the singular, referring to Peter who is given the task of guide, but the act of fishing is in the plural: “let down your nets”, referring to all those who wish to adhere to and participate in the mission. This one mission and common task of all is beautiful and sparkling, it is joyful! It is the apostolic mission, which begins now, in obedience to the Word of the Lord and that will reach the deep, even to the ends of the earth (cfr. Mt 28: 19; Acts 1: 8; Mk 16: 15; 13: 10; Lk 24: 45-48). 

It is interesting to note the word that Luke uses to point out the mission given by Jesus to Peter, and to all of us, when he says: “Do not be afraid, henceforth you shall catch men”. Here we do not come across the term found in Mt 4: 18 ff., and in Mk 1: 16 or even in this passage in v. 2, which is simply fishing; here we find a new word, which appears only twice in the whole of the New Testament and which derives from the verb “to capture”, in the sense of “taking alive and keeping alive”. Indeed, the fishing people of the Lord, let down their nets into the sea of the world to offer to people Life, to tear them from the abyss and make them come back to true life. Peter and the others, we and our sailing partners in this world, can continue, if we wish, wherever we are, his wonderful mission as sent by the Father “to save what was lost” (Lk 19: 10).

6. A time of prayer: Psalm 66
A hymn of praise to the Lord,
who has opened our hearts to faith.

Rit. My strength and my song is the Lord; he has saved me!
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, "How terrible are your deeds!
All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you,
sing praises to your name.
Come and see what God has done:
he is terrible in his deeds among men.
He turned the sea into dry land;
men passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him.
Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us;
You have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us forth to a spacious place.
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.
I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.
But truly God has listened;
he has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!

7. Closing prayer
Lord, you opened the sea and came to me; you split the night and began a new day in my life! You spoke your Word to me and touched my heart; you made me go with you into the boat and brought me to the deep. Lord, you have done great things! I praise you, I bless you and thank you, in your Word, in your Son Jesus and in the Holy Spirit. Always take me into the deep with you, in you and you in me, so that I may let down many nets of love, friendship, sharing and seeking your face and your kingdom here on earth. Lord, I am a sinner, I know! But for this too I thank you, because you did not come to call the just but sinners and I hear your voice and follow you. Behold, Father, I leave everything and come with you…

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item from Litany Lane

View more Inspirational Designs at Litany Lane.


Saint of the Day: 

Saint Scholastica

Feast DayFebruary 10

Patron Saint:  convulsive children; nuns; invoked against storms and rain; Le Mans

Attributes: nun with crozier and crucifix; nun with dove flying from her mouth

Scholastica (c. 480 – 10 February 547) is a saint of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Born in Italy, she was the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia.[2]


Scholastica was born in 480 in Nursia, Umbria, of wealthy parents and according to Gregory the Great's Dialogues, was dedicated to God from a young age. She and her brother Benedict were brought up together until the time he left to pursue studies in Rome.
A young Roman woman of Scholastica's class and time would likely have remained in her father's house until marriage (likely arranged) or entry into religious life. But wealthy women could inherit property, divorce, and were generally literate. On occasion several young women would live together in a household and form a religious community.[3]

Benedictine tradition holds that Scholastica lived in a convent at Plumbariola about five miles from Monte Cassino and that this was the first "Benedictine" convent.[4] However, it has been suggested that it is more likely that she lived in a hermitage with one or two other religious women in a cluster of houses at the base of Mount Cassino where there is an ancient church named after her. Ruth Clifford Engs notes that since Dialogues indicates that Scholastica was dedicated to God at an early age, perhaps she lived in her father's house with other religious women until his death and then moved nearer to Benedict.[3]

The most commonly told story about her is that she would, once a year, go and visit her brother at a place near his abbey, and they would spend the day worshiping together and discussing sacred texts and issues.[5]

One year at the end of the day, they had supper and continued their conversation. When Benedict indicated it was time for him to leave, she protested, and begged him to stay with her for the evening so they could continue their discussions. He refused, insisting that he needed to return to his cell. At that point, Scholastica closed her hands in prayer, and after a moment, a wild storm started outside of the guest house in which they were housed. Benedict asked, "What have you done?", to which she replied, "I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery." Benedict was unable to return to his monastery, and they spent the night in discussion. [2]

According to Gregory's Dialogues, three days later, from his cell, he saw his sister's soul leaving the earth and ascending to heaven in the form of a shining white dove.[6] Benedict had her body brought to his monastery, where he caused it to be laid in the tomb which he had prepared for himself.[7]


The Christian Religious Orders commemorative coin

Her memorial is 10 February. Scholastica is the patron saint of nuns, convulsive children, and is invoked against storms and rain.

Scholastica is the foundress of the women's branch of Benedictine Monasticism.

She was selected as the main motif for a high value commemorative coin: the Austria €50 'The Christian Religious Orders', issued 13 March 2002. On the obverse (heads) side of the coin Scholastica is depicted alongside Benedict.

Scholastica is the patron saint of nuns, and convulsive children, and is invoked against storms and rain. Her memorial is 10 February. She is the Patron Saint of Nuns. She sacrificed many opportunities for her and her brother, just so they could get closer to God.


  1. ^ a b "Patron Saints Index: Saint Scholastica". Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  2. ^ Foley O.F.M., Leonard, rev. McCloskey O.F.M., Pat "Saint Scholastica", Saint of the Day, American Catholic 
  3. "Engs, Ruth Clifford. "St. Scholastica: Finding Meaning in her Story", St. Meinrad, In: Abbey Press, 2003
  4. "Saint Scholastica", Order of Saint Benedict
  5. Gregory the Great. Dialogues, Book II, Chapter 34
  6. Butler, Alban. "St. Scholastica", The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol.I, D. & J. Sadlier, & Company, 1864


    Featured Item from Litany Lane

    View more Inspirational Designs at Litany Lane.

    Today's Snippet I:  St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

    Feast Day: September 23
    Patron Saint:  Pietrelcina, Italy

    Saint Pio (Pius) of Pietrelcina, O.F.M. Cap., (May 25, 1887 – September 23, 1968) was a Capuchin Catholic priest from Italy who is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church. He was born Francesco Forgione, and given the name Pius (Italian: Pio) when he joined the Capuchins, thus he was popularly known as Padre Pio. He became famous for his bearing the stigmata. On 16 June 2002, he was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

    Francesco Forgione was born to Grazio Mario Forgione (1860–1946) and Maria Giuseppa de Nunzio Forgione (1859–1929) on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, a farming town in the southern Italian region of Campania. His parents made a living as peasant farmers He was baptized in the nearby Santa Anna Chapel, which stands upon the walls of a castle. He later served as an altar boy in this same chapel. Restoration work on this chapel was later undertaken by the Padre Pio Foundation of America based in Cromwell, Connecticut. His siblings were an older brother, Michele, and three younger sisters, Felicita, Pellegrina, and Grazia (who was later to become a Bridgettine nun). His parents had two other children who died in infancy. When he was baptized, he was given the name Francesco, which was the name of one of these two. He stated that by the time he was five years old he had already made the decision to dedicate his entire life to God. He also began inflicting penances on himself and was chided on one occasion by his mother for using a stone as a pillow and sleeping on the stone floor. He worked on the land up to the age of 10, looking after the small flock of sheep the family owned. This delayed his education to some extent.

    Pietrelcina was a highly religious town (feast days of saints were celebrated throughout the year), and religion had a profound influence on the Forgione family. The members of the family attended daily Mass, prayed the Rosary nightly, and abstained from meat three days a week in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Although Francesco's parents and grandparents were illiterate, they memorized the Scriptures and narrated Bible stories to their children. It is asserted by his mother that Francesco was able to see and speak with Jesus, the Virgin Mary and his guardian angel, and that as a child, he assumed that all people could do so.

    As a youth Francesco reported that he had experienced heavenly visions and ecstasies. In 1897, after he had completed three years at the public school, Francesco was drawn to the life of a friar after listening to a young Capuchin friar who was, at that time, seeking donations in the countryside. When he expressed his desire to his parents, they made a trip to Morcone, a community 13 miles (21 km) north of Pietrelcina, to find out if their son was eligible to enter the Capuchin Order. The Friars there informed them that they were interested in accepting Francesco into their community, but he needed more educational qualifications.

    Francesco's father went to the United States in search of work to pay for private tutoring for his son, so that he might meet the academic requirements to enter the Capuchin Order. It was in this period that Francesco received the sacrament of Confirmation on 27 September 1899. He underwent private tutoring and passed the stipulated academic requirements. On January 6, 1903, at the age of 15, he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at Morcone where, on January 22nd, he took the Franciscan habit and the name of Fra (Friar) Pio, in honor of Pope St. Pius V, the patron saint of Pietrelcina. He took the simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.


    To commence his six-year study for priesthood and to grow in community life, he traveled to the friary of St. Francis of Assisi by oxcart. Three years later on January 27, 1907, he made his solemn profession. In 1910, Brother Pio was ordained a priest by Archbishop Paolo Schinosi at the Cathedral of Benevento. Four days later, he offered his first Mass at the parish church of Our Lady of the Angels. His health being precarious, he was permitted to remain with his family until early 1916 while still retaining the Capuchin habit.

    On September 4, 1916, Father Pio was ordered to return to his community life. Thus he was moved to an agricultural community, Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, located in the Gargano Mountains in San Giovanni Rotondo in Foggia. At that time, with Father Pius the community numbered seven friars. He stayed at San Giovanni Rotondo until his death, except for his military service.

    Bodgan, 2010
    A strong believer in Christian meditation, Padre Pio stated: "Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him".
    When World War I started, four friars from this community were selected for military service. At that time, Padre Pio was a teacher at the seminary and a spiritual director. When one more friar was called into service, Padre Pio was put in charge of the community. Then, in the month of August 1917, Padre Pio was also called to military service. Although not in good health, he was assigned to the 4th Platoon of the 100th Company of the Italian Medical Corps. Although hospitalized by mid-October, he was not discharged until March 1918, whereupon he returned to San Giovanni Rotondo and was assigned to work at Santa Maria degli Angeli (Our Lady of the Angels) in Pietrelcina. Later, in response to his growing reputation as a worker of miracles, his superiors assigned him to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo.In all, his military service lasted 182 days.

    Padre Pio then became a spiritual director, guiding many spiritually, considering them his spiritual daughters and sons. He had five rules for spiritual growth, namely, weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience.

    He compared weekly confession to dusting a room weekly, and recommended the performance of meditation and self-examination twice daily: once in the morning, as preparation to face the day, and once again in the evening, as retrospection. His advice on the practical application of theology he often summed up in his now famous quote, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry". He directed Christians to recognize God in all things and to desire above all things to do the will of God.

    Poor health

    According to the diary of Father Agostino da San Marco, his spiritual director in San Marco in Lamis, the young Francesco Forgione was afflicted with a number of illnesses. At six he suffered from a grave gastroenteritis, which kept him bedridden for a long time. At ten he caught typhoid fever. At 17, he suddenly fell ill, complaining of loss of appetite, insomnia, exhaustion, fainting spells, and terrible migraines. He vomited frequently and could absorb only milk and cheese.

    The hagiographers say that it was during this time, together with his physical illness, that inexplicable phenomena began to occur. According to their stories, one could hear strange noises coming from his room at night – sometimes screams or roars. During prayer, brother Pio remained in a stupor, as if he were absent. One of Pio's fellow friars claims to have seen him in ecstasy, levitating above the ground.

    In June 1905, Padre Pio's health was so weak that his superiors decided to send him to a mountain convent, in the hope that the change of air would do him some good. His health got worse, however, and doctors advised that he return to his home town. But, even there, his health continued to worsen.

    In addition to his childhood illnesses, throughout his life Padre Pio suffered from "asthmatic bronchitis". He also had a large kidney stone, with frequent abdominal pains. He further suffered from a chronic gastritis, which later turned into an ulcer. He also suffered from inflammations of the eye, of the nose, of the ear and of the throat, and eventually formed rhinitis and chronic otitis.

    In the summer of 1915, in spite of poor health, he was drafted into the army. But after 30 days he was sent home on leave because of bad health. He returned to military service, and was put on leave again, this time for six months at a friary in a mountain village, San Giovanni Rotondo, where the weather was relatively cool, even in the summer. After six months in this friary he returned to military service, but was sent home again two months later. On his return he was declared fit for service, and sent to the Sales barracks in Naples, where he remained until March 1917, at which time he was found to have pulmonary tuberculosis, certified by a radiological exam. He was then discharged from the army.

    In 1925, Padre Pio was operated on for an inguinal hernia, and shortly after this a large cyst formed on his neck and which had to be surgically removed. Another surgery was required to remove a malignant tumor on his ear. After this operation Padre Pio was subjected to radiological treatment, which was successful, it seems, after only two treatments.

    In 1956, he came down with a serious case of "exudative pleuritis". The diagnosis was certified by Professor Cataldo Cassano, who personally extracted the serous liquid from the body of Padre Pio. He remained bedridden for four consecutive months.  In his old age Padre Pio was tormented by arthritis.

    Spiritual suffering

    Padre Pio stated that he believed the love of God is inseparable from suffering and that suffering all things for the sake of God is the way for the soul to reach God. He felt that his soul was lost in a chaotic maze, plunged into total desolation, as if he were in the deepest pit of hell. During his period of spiritual suffering, his followers believe that Padre Pio was attacked by the Devil, both physically and spiritually. His followers also believe that the Devil used diabolical tricks in order to increase Padre Pio's torments. These included apparitions as an "angel of light" and the alteration or destruction of letters to and from his spiritual directors. Padre Augustine confirmed this when he said:
    The Devil appeared as young girls that danced naked without any clothes on, as Christ Crucified, as a young friend of the friars, as the Spiritual Father or as the Provincial Father; as Pope Pius X, a Guardian Angel, as St. Francis and as Our Lady.
    Now, twenty-two days have passed since Jesus allowed the devils to vent their anger on me. My Father, my whole body is bruised from the beatings that I have received to the present time by our enemies. Several times, they have even torn off my shirt so that they could strike my exposed flesh.
    Fr. Gabriele Amorth, senior exorcist of Vatican City stated in an interview that Padre Pio was able to distinguish between real apparitions of Jesus, Mary and the Saints and the illusions created by the Devil by carefully analysing the state of his mind and the feelings produced in him during the apparitions. In one of Padre Pio's letters, he states that he remained patient in the midst of his trials because of his firm belief that Jesus, Mary, his Guardian Angel, St. Joseph and St. Francis were always with him and helped him always.

    Transverberation and visible stigmata

    Based on Padre Pio's correspondence, even early in his priesthood he experienced less obvious indications of the visible stigmata for which he would later become famous. In a 1911 letter, Padre Pio wrote to his spiritual advisor, Padre Benedetto from San Marco in Lamis, describing something he had been experiencing for a year:
    Then last night something happened which I can neither explain nor understand. In the middle of the palms of my hands a red mark appeared, about the size of a penny, accompanied by acute pain in the middle of the red marks. The pain was more pronounced in the middle of the left hand, so much so that I can still feel it. Also under my feet I can feel some pain.
    His close friend Padre Agostino wrote to him in 1915, asking specific questions such as when he first experienced visions, whether he had been granted the stigmata, and whether he felt the pains of the Passion of Christ, namely the crowning of thorns and the scourging. Padre Pio replied that he had been favoured with visions since his novitiate period (1903 to 1904). He wrote that although he had been granted the stigmata, he had been so terrified by the phenomenon he begged the Lord to withdraw them. He did not wish the pain to be removed, only the visible wounds, since at the time he considered them to be an indescribable and almost unbearable humiliation. The visible wounds disappeared at that point, but reappeared in September 1918. He reported, however, that the pain remained and was more acute on specific days and under certain circumstances. He also said that he was indeed experiencing the pain of the crown of thorns and the scourging. He was not able to clearly indicate the frequency of this experience, but said that he had been suffering from them at least once weekly for some years.

    These experiences are alleged to have caused his health to fail, for which reason he was permitted to stay at home. To maintain his religious life as a friar while away from the community, he said Mass daily and taught at school.

    St. John of the Cross describes the phenomenon of transverberation as follows:
    The soul being inflamed with the love of God which is interiorly attacked by a Seraph, who pierces it through with a fiery dart. This leaves the soul wounded, which causes it to suffer from the overflowing of divine love.
    World War I was still going on, and in July 1918, Pope Benedict XV, who had termed the World War "the suicide of Europe," appealed to all Christians urging them to pray for an end to the World War. On 27 July of the same year, Padre Pio offered himself as a victim for the end of the war. Days passed and between 5 August and 7 August, Padre Pio had a vision in which Christ appeared and pierced his side.[2][9] As a result of this experience, Padre Pio had a physical wound in his side. This occurrence is considered as a "transverberation" or piercing of the heart indicating the union of love with God.

    As a side-note, a first-class relic of Padre Pio, which consists of a large framed square of linen bearing a bloodstain from "the wound of the transverberation of the heart" in Padre Pio's side, is exposed for public veneration at the St. John Cantius Church in Chicago.

    With his transverberation began another seven-week long period of spiritual unrest for Padre Pio. One of his Capuchin brothers said this of his state during that period:
    During this time his entire appearance looked altered as if he had died. He was constantly weeping and sighing, saying that God had forsaken him.
    In a letter from Padre Pio to Padre Benedetto, dated 21 August 1918, Padre Pio writes of his experiences during the transverberation:
    While I was hearing the boys’ confessions on the evening of the 5th [August] I was suddenly terrorized by the sight of a celestial person who presented himself to my mind’s eye. He had in his hand a sort of weapon like a very long sharp-pointed steel blade which seemed to emit fire. At the very instant that I saw all this, I saw that person hurl the weapon into my soul with all his might. I cried out with difficulty and felt I was dying. I asked the boy to leave because I felt ill and no longer had the strength to continue. This agony lasted uninterruptedly until the morning of the 7th. I cannot tell you how much I suffered during this period of anguish. Even my entrails were torn and ruptured by the weapon, and nothing was spared. From that day on I have been mortally wounded. I feel in the depths of my soul a wound that is always open and which causes me continual agony.
    On 20 September 1918, accounts state that the pains of the transverberation had ceased and Padre Pio was in "profound peace." On that day, as Padre Pio was engaged in prayer in the choir loft in the Church of Our Lady of Grace, the same Being who had appeared to him and given him the transverberation, and who is believed to be the Wounded Christ, appeared again and Padre Pio had another experience of religious ecstasy. When the ecstasy ended, Padre Pio had received the Visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ. This time, however, the stigmata were permanent and would stay on him for the next fifty years of his life.

    In a letter from St. Padre Pio to Padre Benedetto, his superior and spiritual advisor, Padre Benedetto from San Marco in Lamis dated October 22, 1918, Padre Pio describes his experience of receiving the Stigmata as follows:
    On the morning of the 20th of last month, in the choir, after I had celebrated Mass I yielded to a drowsiness similar to a sweet sleep. I saw before me a mysterious person similar to the one I had seen on the evening of 5 August. The only difference was that his hands and feet and side were dripping blood. This sight terrified me and what I felt at that moment is indescribable. I thought I should have died if the Lord had not intervened and strengthened my heart which was about to burst out of my chest. The vision disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were dripping blood. Imagine the agony I experienced and continue to experience almost every day. The heart wound bleeds continually, especially from Thursday evening until Saturday. Dear Father, I am dying of pain because of the wounds and the resulting embarrassment I feel deep in my soul. I am afraid I shall bleed to death if the Lord does not hear my heartfelt supplication to relieve me of this condition. Will Jesus, who is so good, grant me this grace? Will he at least free me from the embarrassment caused by these outward signs? I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him until in his mercy he takes away, not the wound or the pain, which is impossible since I wish to be inebriated with pain, but these outward signs which cause me such embarrassment and unbearable humiliation.
    He quoted, "the pain was so intense that I began to feel as if I were dying on the cross."

    Though Padre Pio would have preferred to suffer in secret, by early 1919, news about the stigmatic friar began to spread in the secular world. Padre Pio’s wounds were examined by many people, including physicians.[2] People who had started rebuilding their lives after World War, began to see in Padre Pio a symbol of hope.[9] Those close to him attest that he began to manifest several spiritual gifts including the gifts of healing, bilocation, levitation, prophecy, miracles, extraordinary abstinence from both sleep and nourishment (one account states that Padre Agostino recorded one instance in which Padre Pio was able to subsist for at least 20 days at Verafeno on only the Eucharist without any other nourishment), the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues, the gift of conversions, and the fragrance from his wounds.


    It is claimed that no more than Anecdotal evidence supports Pio’s alleged mystical abilities, some of his bilocations are consistent with hallucinations and the supposed odor of sanctity was purported to be Eau de Cologne. He was never watched continuously to ensure that chemicals like carbolic acid or iodine were not used to prevent wounds healing, as has been claimed. Pio over many years wore fingerless gloves which concealed his wounds or prevented him having to tend the wounds, yet near his death Pio avoided covering his hands and there was no sign of injury.

    The founder of Milan's Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, friar, physician and psychologist Agostino Gemelli, who met Padre Pio once, for a few minutes, but was unable to examine his stigmata, concluded Padre Pio was "an ignorant and self-mutilating psychopath who exploited people's credulity." In short, he was accused of infractions against all three of his monastic vows: poverty, chastity and obedience. Agostino Gemelli also speculated that Padre Pio kept his wounds open with carbolic acid. As a result of the Gemelli assessment, the wounds were wrapped in cloth. According to believers, the bleeding continued for some 50 years until they closed within hours of his death.

    On 29 July 1960, an Italian monsignore, Carlo Maccari, later to become the archbishop of Ancona, began yet another investigation on behalf of Pope John XXIII and the Holy Office. The 200-page report he compiled, though never published in full, is said to be devastatingly critical. Vatican gossip long had it that the “Maccari dossier” was an insuperable obstacle to Padre Pio’s sainthood. According to official Capuchin literature, however, Maccari later recanted and prayed to Padre Pio on his deathbed.

    In 1940, Padre Pio began plans to open a hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, to be named the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza or "Home to Relieve Suffering"; the hospital opened in 1956. Barbara Ward, a British humanitarian and journalist on assignment in Italy, played a major role in obtaining for this project a grant of $325,000 from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). In order that Padre Pio might directly supervise this project, Pope Pius XII, in 1957 granted him dispensation from his vow of poverty. Padre Pio's detractors used this project as another weapon to attack him, charging him with misappropriation of funds.

    Padre Pio was subject to numerous investigations. Fearing local riots, a plan to transfer Padre Pio to another friary was dropped and a second plan was aborted when a riot almost happened. In the period from 1924 to 1931 the Holy See made various statements denying that the happenings in the life of Padre Pio were due to any divine cause. At one point, he was prevented from publicly performing his priestly duties, such as hearing confessions and saying Mass.

    By 1933, the tide began to turn, with Pope Pius XI ordering the Holy See to reverse its ban on Padre Pio’s public celebration of Mass. The Pope said, "I have not been badly disposed toward Padre Pio, but I have been badly informed." In 1934, he was again allowed to hear confessions. He was also given honorary permission to preach despite never having taken the exam for the preaching licence. Pope Pius XII, who assumed the papacy in 1939, encouraged devotees to visit Padre Pio. According to a recent book, Pope John XXIII (1958–1963) apparently did not espouse the outlook of his predecessors, and wrote in 1960 of Padre Pio’s “immense deception." However, it was John XXIII's successor, Pope Paul VI, who, in the mid-1960s, firmly dismissed all accusations against Padre Pio.

    Alleged supernatural phenomena

    Padre Pio celebrating mass. His Mass would often last hours, as the mystic received visions and experienced sufferings. Note the coverings worn on his hands to cover his stigmata.
    Even the Vatican was skeptical about supernatural claims but Padre Pio acquired fame as a worker. He was purported to have the gift of reading souls, he is alleged to have been able to bilocate according to eyewitness accounts.

    In 1947, Father Karol Józef Wojtyła, a young Polish priest who would later go on to become Pope John Paul II, visited Padre Pio, who heard his confession. Austrian Cardinal Alfons Stickler reported that Wojtyła confided to him that during this meeting Padre Pio told him he would one day ascend to "the highest post in the Church though further confirmation is needed." Cardinal Stickler further went on to say that Wojtyła believed that the prophecy was fulfilled when he became a Cardinal, not Pope, as has been reported in works of piety. (John Paul's secretary, Stanisław Dziwisz, denies the prediction, while George Weigel's biography Witness to Hope, which contains an account of the same visit, does not mention it)

    According to oral tradition  Bishop Wojtyła wrote to Padre Pio in 1962 to ask him to pray for Dr. Wanda Poltawska, a friend in Poland who was thought to be suffering from cancer. Later, what was thought to be Dr. Poltawska's cancer was found to be in Spontaneous remission; medical professionals were unable to offer an explanation for the phenomenon (see frequency of spontaneous remission).

    Because of the unusual abilities Padre Pio possessed, the Holy See twice instituted investigations of the stories surrounding him. However, the Church has since formally approved his veneration with his canonization by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

    In the 1999 book, Padre Pio: The Wonder Worker, a segment by Irish priest Malachy Gerard Carroll describes the story of Gemma de Giorgi, a Sicilian girl whose alleged blindness some believe was corrected during a visit to the Capuchin priest. Gemma, who was brought to San Giovanni Rotondo in 1947 by her grandmother, was born without pupils. During her trip to see Padre Pio, the little girl reportedly began to see objects including a steamboat and the sea. Gemma's grandmother did not believe the child had been healed.[ After Gemma forgot to ask Padre Pio for Grace during her Confession, her grandmother reportedly implored the priest to ask God to restore her sight.  Padre Pio, according to Carroll, told her, "The child must not weep and neither must you for the child sees and you know she sees." The section goes on to say that oculists were unable to determine how she gained vision.

    Padre Pio is alleged to have waged physical combat with Satan and his minions, similar to incidents described concerning St. John Vianney, from which he is said to have sustained extensive bruising. He is said to communicate with angels and grant favors and healings before any written or verbal request.

    On the day of his death, mystic and Servant of God Maria Esperanza de Bianchini from Caracas, Venezuela reported that Padre Pio appeared to her in a vision and stated "I have come to say good-bye. My time has come. It is your turn."  It is reported that her husband then watched as his wife's face transfigured into that of Padre Pio. On the following day, they heard of the death of Padre Pio. Witnesses claim to have seen Esperanza herself levitating during Mass and engaging in bilocation Padre Domenico da Cese a fellow Capuchin stigmatist reported that on Sunday, September 22, 1968 he saw Padre Pio kneeling in prayer before the Holy Face of Manoppello, although it was known that Padre Pio hadn't left his room.


    Padre Pio showing the stigmata
    On 20 September 1918, while hearing confessions, Padre Pio is said to have had his first occurrence of the stigmata: bodily marks, pain, and bleeding in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. This phenomenon continued for fifty years, until the end of his life. The blood flowing from the stigmata is said to have smelled of perfume or flowers, a phenomenon mentioned in stories of the lives of several saints and often referred to as the odour of sanctity.

    His stigmata, regarded by some as evidence of holiness, was studied by physicians whose independence from the Church is not known. The observations were reportedly unexplainable and the wounds never became infected. His wounds healed once but reappeared. They were examined by Luigi Romanelli, chief physician of the City Hospital of Barletta, for about one year. Dr. Giorgio Festa, a private practitioner also examined them in 1920 and 1925. Professor Giuseppe Bastianelli, physician to Pope Benedict XV agreed that the wounds existed but made no other comment. Pathologist Dr. Amico Bignami of the University of Rome also observed the wounds but could make no diagnosis. Both Bignami and Dr. Giuseppe Sala commented on the unusually smooth edges of the wounds and lack of edema. Dr. Alberto Caserta took X-rays of the hands in 1954 and found no abnormality in the bone structure.

    It was reputed, however, that his condition caused him great embarrassment, and most photographs show him with red mittens or black coverings on his hands and feet where the bleedings occurred. At Padre Pio's death in 1968, his body appeared unwounded, with no sign of scarring. Allegedly, there was a report that doctors who examined his body found it empty of all blood.

    Those who have accused Padre Pio of faking his stigmata, both religious and non-religious, such as historian Sergio Luzzatto and others, claim that Padre Pio used carbolic acid to self-inflict the wounds. The sole piece of evidence for this is a single document found in the Vatican's archive — the testimony of a pharmacist at the San Giovanni Rotondo, Maria De Vito, from whom he ordered 4 grams of the acid. This letter was amongst the material gathered by those who disputed Padre Pio's stigmata at the time. According to De Vito, Padre Pio asked her to keep the order secret, saying it was to sterilise needles (he also asked for other things, such as Valda pastilles). The document was examined but dismissed by the Catholic Church during Padre Pio's beatification process.

    One commentator expressed the belief that the Church likely dismissed the claims based on witnesses that stated the acid was in fact used for sterilization: "The boys had needed injections to fight the Spanish Flu which was raging at that time. Due to a shortage of doctors, Padres Paolino and Pio administered the shots, using carbolic acid as a sterilizing agent.”


    St. Pio of Pietrelcina Chapel, San Giovanni Rontondo, Italy
    The deterioration of Padre Pio's health started during the 1960s in spite of which he continued his spiritual works. On 21 September 1968, the day after the 50th anniversary of his receiving the Stigmata, Padre Pio experienced great tiredness. The next day, on 22 September 1968, Padre Pio was supposed to offer a Solemn High Mass, but feeling weak and fearing that he might be too ill to complete the Mass, he asked his superior if he might say a Low Mass instead, just as he had done daily for years. Due to the large number of pilgrims present for the Mass, Padre Pio's superior decided the Solemn High Mass must proceed, and so Padre Pio, in the spirit of obedience to his superior, went on to celebrate the Solemn High Mass. While celebrating the Solemn High Mass, he appeared extremely weak and in a fragile state. His voice was weak when he said the Mass, and after the Mass had concluded, he was so weakened that he almost collapsed as he was descending the altar steps and needed help from a great many of his Capuchin confreres. This would be Padre Pio's last celebration of the Mass.

    Early in the morning of 23 September 1968, Padre Pio made his last confession and renewed his Franciscan vows. As was customary, he had his rosary in his hands, though he did not have the strength to say the Hail Marys aloud.  Till the end, he repeated the words "Gesù, Maria" (Jesus, Mary). At around 2:30am, he said, "I see two mothers" (taken to mean his mother and Mary). At 2:30 a.m. he breathed his last in his cell in San Giovanni Rotondo with his last breath whispering, "Maria!"

    His body was buried on 26 September in a crypt in the Church of Our Lady of Grace. His Requiem Mass was attended by over 100,000 people. He was often heard to say, "After my death I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death." The accounts of those who stayed with Padre Pio till the end state that the stigmata had completely disappeared without even leaving a scar. Only a red mark "as if drawn by a red pencil" remained on his side which then disappeared.

    St. Pio of Pietrelcina is currently known as the patron saint of civil defense volunteers, after a group of 160 of them petitioned the Italian Bishops’ conference. The Bishops forwarded the request to the Vatican, which gave its approval to the designation. He is also “less officially” known as the patron saint of stress relief and the “January blues,” after the Catholic Enquiry Office in London proclaimed him as such. They designated the most depressing day of the year, identified as January 22, as Don’t Worry Be Happy day, in honor of Padre Pio’s famous advice: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

    Sainthood and later recognition

    In 1982, the Holy See authorized the Archbishop of Manfredonia to open an investigation to discover whether Padre Pio should be considered a saint. The investigation went on for seven years, and in 1990 Padre Pio was declared a Servant of God, the first step in the progression to canonization.

    Beginning in 1990, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints debated how heroically Padre Pio had lived his life, and in 1997 Pope John Paul II declared him venerable. A discussion of the effects of his life on others followed, including the cure of an Italian woman, Consiglia de Martino, which had been associated with Padre Pio's intercession. In 1999, on the advice of the Congregation, John Paul II declared Padre Pio blessed.

    After further consideration of Padre Pio's virtues and ability to do good even after his death, including discussion of another healing attributed to his intercession, the Pope declared Padre Pio a saint on 16 June 2002. Three hundred thousand people were estimated to have attended the canonization ceremony.
    Padre Pio is one of only two saints who were priests living after the Second Vatican Council; the other being Saint Josemaria Escriva. Both priests had permission from the Pope to offer the traditional Latin Mass without any of the liturgical reforms that stemmed from the Council.

    On 1 July 2004, Pope John Paul II dedicated the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church in San Giovanni Rotondo to the memory of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. A statue of Saint Pio in Messina, Sicily attracted attention in 2002 when it reportedly wept tears of blood. Padre Pio has become one of the world's most popular saints. There are more than 3,000 "Padre Pio Prayer Groups" worldwide, with three million members. There are parishes dedicated to Padre Pio in Vineland and Lavallette, New Jersey and Sydney, Australia, and there is a St. Padre Pio Shrine in Buena, New Jersey. A 2006 survey by the magazine Famiglia Cristiana found that more Italian Catholics pray to Padre Pio than to any other figure. This prayer, more properly understood as a request, is not to be confused with worship which the Catholic Church teaches is due only to God himself.

    A statue of Padre Pio will be built on a hill near the town of San Giovanni Rotondo in the southern province of Puglia, Italy, close to the town where he is commemorated. The project will cost several million pounds, with the money to be raised from his devotees around the world. The statue will be coated in a special photovoltaic paint which will enable it to trap the sun's heat and produce solar energy, making it an "ecological" religious icon.

    On 3 March 2008, the body of Saint Pio was exhumed from his crypt, 40 years after his death, so that his remains could be prepared for display. A church statement described the body as being in "fair condition". Archbishop Domenico D'Ambrosio, Papal legate to the shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo, stated "the top part of the skull is partly skeletal but the chin is perfect and the rest of the body is well preserved". Archbishop D’Ambrosio also confirmed in a communiqué that “the stigmata are not visible.” He went on to say that St. Pio's hands "looked like they had just undergone a manicure". It was hoped that morticians would be able to restore the face so that it will be recognizable. However, because of its deterioration, his face was covered with a lifelike silicone mask.

    Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, celebrated Mass for 15,000 devotees on 24 April at the Shrine of Holy Mary of Grace, San Giovanni Rotondo, before the body went on display in a crystal, marble, and silver sepulcher in the crypt of the monastery. Padre Pio is wearing his brown Capuchin habit with a white silk stole embroidered with crystals and gold thread. His hands hold a large wooden cross. 800,000 pilgrims worldwide, mostly from Italy, made reservations to view the body up to December 2008, but only 7,200 people a day were able to file past the crystal coffin. Officials extended the display through September, 2009.

    Saint Pio's remains were placed in the church of Saint Pio, which is beside San Giovanni Rotondo. In April 2010 they were moved to a special golden "Cripta".


    • Ruffin, Bernard C. (1991). Padre Pio: The True Story. Our Sunday Visitor. pp. 444. ISBN 978-0-87973-673-6
    • Gerhold, Ryan (2007-02-20). "The Second St. Francis". The Angelus: 12–18."Padre Pio the Man Part 1". Retrieved 2012-09-19
    • Peluso, Paul (2002-06-17). "Back to Pietrelcina". Padre Pio Foundation. Retrieved 2012-09-20
    • olan, Geraldine. Padre Pio A living Crucifix. Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary Editions. Retrieved 2012-09-19
    • Pelletier, Joseph A (2007-02-20). "PADRE PIO, MARY, AND THE ROSARY". Garabandal. Retrieved 2012-09-19
    • Michael Freze (1989). They Bore the Wounds of Christ: The Mystery of the Sacred Stigmata. OSV Publishing. pp. 283–285. ISBN 0-87973-422-1.


    Today's Snippet II:   Stigmata

    Stigmata (singular stigma) are bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, such as the hands and feet. In some cases, rope marks on the wrists have accompanied the wounds on the hands.

    The term originates from the line at the end of Saint Paul's Letter to the Galatians where he says, "I bear on my body the marks of Jesus." Stigmata is the plural of the Greek word στίγμα stigma, meaning a mark or brand such as might have been used for identification of an animal or slave. An individual bearing stigmata is referred to as a stigmatic or a stigmatist.

    Stigmata are primarily associated with the Roman Catholic faith. Many reported stigmatics are members of Catholic religious orders. St. Francis of Assisi was the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history. For over fifty years Padre Pio of Pietrelcina of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin reported stigmata which were studied by several 20th century physicians, whose independence from the Church is not known. The observations were reportedly unexplainable and the wounds never became infected.

    A high percentage (perhaps over 80%) of all stigmatics are women. In his Stigmata: A Medieval Phenomenon in a Modern Age, Edward Harrison suggests that there is no single mechanism whereby the marks of stigmata were produced.

    Stigmata Description

    Reported cases of stigmata take various forms. Many show some or all of five Holy Wounds that were, according to the Bible, inflicted on Jesus during his crucifixion: wounds in the wrists and feet, from nails, and in the side, from a lance. Some stigmatics display wounds to the forehead similar to those caused by the Crown of Thorns. Stigmata as crown of thorns appearing in the 20th century, e.g. on Marie Rose Ferron have been repeatedly photographed. Other reported forms include tears of blood or sweating blood, and wounds to the back as from scourging.

    Many stigmata show recurring bleeding that stops and then starts, at times after receiving Holy Communion and a large percentage of stigmatics have shown a high desire to frequently receive Holy Communion. A relatively high percentage of stigmatics also exhibit Inedia, living with minimal (or no) food or water for long periods of time, except for the Holy Eucharist, and some exhibit loss of weight.

    The ecstasy and sufferings usually began for the Saints who suffered stigmata starting on Thursday and ending on Friday afternoon around 3 or 4 o' clock. All the recipients of this mystical wounding suffered dreadfully. Many of the stigmatics experienced cruel rejection and suspicion before their wounds were authenticated. Saints who suffered stigmata were carefully watched day and night so that tampering with the wounds could not be performed. When these methods were used, a number of false stigmatics were exposed. Sometimes this stigmata became invisible on express request and prayers by the Saints who suffered them.

    Some stigmatics claim to feel the pain of wounds with no external marks; these are referred to as invisible stigmata. In other claims, stigmata are accompanied by extreme pain. Some stigmatics' wounds do not appear to clot, and stay fresh and uninfected. The blood from the wounds is said, in some cases, to have a pleasant, perfumed odor, known as the Odour of Sanctity.

    Odour of sanctity

    The odour of sanctity or odor of sanctity, according to the Catholic Church, is commonly understood to mean a specific scent (often compared to flowers) that emanates from the bodies of saints, especially from the wounds of stigmata.

    The odour of sanctity can be understood to mean two things:
    1. An ontological state (a state of being), not usually related to an actual olfactory sensation, indicating that the individual possessing it is in a state of grace (i.e., a state characterized by the absence of mortal sin). Usually refers to the state of an individual's soul at the time of death. Some canonized saints are said to have died in an odour of sanctity.
    2. An actual odour (scent or aroma) present at the time of death and for some time thereafter.
    The term "odour of sanctity" appears to have emerged in the Middle Ages, at a time when many saints were raised to that status by acclamation of the faithful. In the absence of carefully written records, either by or about the individual, evidence of a saintly life was attested to only by personal recollections of those around him or her. It appears that the odour of sanctity occurring at the person’s death carried some weight in convincing the local ecclesiastical authority to "canonize" the saint – to allow the faithful to venerate and pray to him or her.

    Religious ecstasy

    Individuals who have obtained the stigmata are many times described as ecstatics. At the time of receiving the stigmata they are overwhelmed with emotions. No case of stigmata is known to have occurred before the thirteenth century, when the depiction of the crucified Jesus in Western Christendom emphasized his humanity.

    Religious ecstasy is an altered state of consciousness characterized by greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual awareness which is frequently accompanied by visions and emotional/intuitive (and sometimes physical) euphoria. Although the experience is usually brief in time, there are records of such experiences lasting several days or even more, and of recurring experiences of ecstasy during one's lifetime. Subjective perception of time, space and/or self may strongly change or disappear during ecstasy.

    In his paper Hospitality and Pain, Christian theologian Ivan Illich states: "Compassion with Christ... is faith so strong and so deeply incarnate that it leads to the individual embodiment of the contemplated pain." His thesis is that stigmata result from exceptional poignancy of religious faith and desire to associate oneself with the suffering Messiah.

    Specific cases

    St. Francis of Assisi

    St Francis Assisi with Stigmata,  Murillo C1680
    St. Francis of Assisi is the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history. In 1224, two years before his death, he embarked on a journey to Mt. La Verna for a forty day fast. One morning near the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, a six winged angel allegedly appeared to Francis while he prayed. As the angel approached, Francis could see that the angel was crucified. He was humbled by the sight, and his heart was filled with elation joined by pain and suffering. When the angel departed, Francis was purportedly left with wounds in his hands, feet, and side as if caused by the same lance that pierced Christ’s side. The image of nails immediately appeared in his hands and feet, and the wound in his side often seeped blood.

    St. Francis' first biographer, Thomas of Celano, reports the event as follows in his 1230 First Life of St. Francis:
    "When the blessed servant of God saw these things he was filled with wonder, but he did not know what the vision meant. He rejoiced greatly in the benign and gracious expression with which he saw himself regarded by the seraph, whose beauty was indescribable; yet he was alarmed by the fact that the seraph was affixed to the cross and was suffering terribly. Thus Francis rose, one might say, sad and happy, joy and grief alternating in him. He wondered anxiously what this vision could mean, and his soul was uneasy as it searched for understanding. And as his understanding sought in vain for an explanation and his heart was filled with perplexity at the great novelty of this vision, the marks of nails began to appear in his hands and feet, just as he had seen them slightly earlier in the crucified man above him. His wrists and feet seemed to be pierced by nails, with the heads of the nails appearing on his wrists and on the upper sides of his feet, the points appearing on the other side. The marks were round on the palm of each hand but elongated on the other side, and small pieces of flesh jutting out from the rest took on the appearance of the nail-ends, bent and driven back. In the same way the marks of nails were impressed on his feet and projected beyond the rest of the flesh. Moreover, his right side had a large wound as if it had been pierced with a spear, and it often bled so that his tunic and trousers were soaked with his sacred blood."

    Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

    A young Padre Pio showing the stigmata.
    For over fifty years, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina reported stigmata which were studied by several 20th century physicians, whose independence from the Church is not known. The observations were reportedly unexplainable and the wounds never became infected. His wounds healed once, but reappeared. The wounds were examined by Luigi Romanelli, chief physician of the City Hospital of Barletta, for about one year. Dr. Giorgio Festa, a private practitioner, also examined them in 1920 and 1925. Professor Giuseppe Bastianelli, physician to Pope Benedict XV, agreed that the wounds existed but made no other comment. Pathologist Dr. Amico Bignami of the University of Rome also observed the wounds, but could make no diagnosis. Both Bignami and Dr. Giuseppe Sala commented on the unusually smooth edges of the wounds and lack of edema. Dr. Alberto Caserta took X-rays of the hands in 1954 and found no abnormality in the bone structure.

    Notable stigmatics

    • Saint Paul the Apostle
    • Blessed Lucia Brocadelli of Narni
    • Saint Catherine of Ricci
    • Saint Catherine of Siena
    • Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
    • Saint Francesco di Assisi
    • Saint Gemma Galgani
    • Saint Veronica Giuliani
    • Saint John of God
    • Saint Faustina Kowalska
    • Saint Marie of the Incarnation
    • Marie Rose Ferron
    • Marcelline Pauper, member of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers
    • Marthe Robin
    • Therese Neumann
    • Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
    • Saint Rita of Cascia
    • Zlatko Sudac
    • Natuzza Evolo


    • Saint Francis of Assisi by Jacques Le Goff 2003 ISBN 0-415-28473-2
    • Harrison, Ted (1994-10). Stigmata: A Medieval Phenomenon in a Modern Age. St Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-11372-2.
    •  Poulain, A. (1912). Mystical Stigmata. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 21, 2012 from New Advent:
    • Thurston, Herbert (2007-02-01). The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism. Roman Catholic Books. ISBN 1-929291-91-4, 9781929291915..
    • Michael Freze, 1989, They Bore the Wounds of Christ: The Mystery of the Sacred Stigmata, OSV Publishing ISBN 0-87973-422-1
    • Living Miracles - Stigmata, Zentropa Real ApS. & Wonders Unlimited, 2005.
    • Sadaputa Dasa, Religion and Modern Rationalism: Shifting the Boundary Between Myth and Science, ISKCON Communications Journal #1.2, July/December 1993.


        Featured Item from Litany Lane




        Mystical City of God, the miracle of His omnipotence and the abyss of His grace the divine history and life of the Virgin Mother of God our Queen and our Lady, most holy Mary expiatrix of the fault of eve and mediatrix of grace. Manifested to Sister Mary of Jesus, Prioress of the convent of the Immaculate Conception in Agreda, Spain. For new enlightenment of the world, for rejoicing of the Catholic Church, and encouragement of men. Completed in 1665.

        Venerable Mary of Agreda
        Translated from the Spanish by  Reverend George J. Blatter
        1914, So. Chicago, Ill., The Theopolitan; Hammond, Ind., W.B. Conkey Co., US..
        IMPRIMATUR:  +H.J. Alerding Bishop of Fort Wayne
        Translation from the Original Authorized Spanish Edition by Fiscar Marison (George J. Blatter). Begun on the Feast of the Assumption 1902, completed 1912.
        This work is published for the greater Glory of Jesus Christ through His most Holy Mother Mary and for the sanctification of the Church and her members.

        Book 4, Chapter 8


        Our heavenly Pilgrims left Jerusalem and entered upon their banishment while yet the silence and obscurity of night held sway. They were full of solicitude for the Pledge of heaven, which they carried with them into a strange and unknown land. Although faith and hope strengthened them (for in no other beings could these virtues be more firmly and securely established than in our Queen and her most faithful spouse), nevertheless the Lord afforded them occasion for anxiety. Their love for the Infant Jesus would naturally excite in them anxiety and suffering on an occasion like this. They knew not what would happen during such a long journey, nor when it should end, nor how they would fare in Egypt, where they would be entire strangers, nor what comfort or convenience they would find there for raising the Child, nor even how they would be able to ward off great sufferings from Him on the way to Egypt. Therefore the hearts of these holy Parents were filled with many misgivings and anxious thoughts when they parted with so much haste from their lodging–place; but their sorrow was much relieved when the ten thousand heavenly courtiers above mentioned again appeared to them in human forms and in their former splendor and beauty, and when they again changed the night into the brightest day for the holy Pilgrims. As they set forth from the portals of the city the holy angels humiliated themselves and adored the incarnate Word in the arms of the Virgin Mother. They also encouraged Her by again offering their homage and service, stating that it was the will of the Lord that they guide and accompany Her on the journey.

        In this town of Gaza they remained two days, for saint Joseph and the beast of burden which carried the Queen were worn out by the fatigue of the journey. From that place they sent back the servant of saint Elisabeth, taking care to caution him not to tell any one of their whereabouts. But God provided still more effectually against this danger; for He took away from this man all remembrance of what saint Joseph had charged him to conceal, so that he retained only his message to saint Elisabeth. Most holy Mary expended the presents sent by Elisabeth in entertaining the poor; for She, who was Mother of the poor, could not bear to pass them by unassisted. Of the clothes sent to Her She made a cloak for the divine Infant, and one for saint Joseph, to shelter Them from the discomforts of the season and of the journey. She also used other things in their possession for the comfort of her Child and of saint Joseph. The most prudent Virgin would not rely on miraculous assistance whenever She could provide for the daily needs by her own diligence and labor; for in these matters She desired to subject Herself to the natural order and depend upon her own efforts. During the two days which they spent in that city the most pure Mary, in order to enrich it with great blessings, performed some wonderful deeds. She freed two sick persons from the danger of death and cured their ailments. She restored to another person, a crippled woman, the use of her limbs. In the souls of many, who met Her and conversed with Her, She caused divine effects of the knowledge of God and of a change of life. All of them felt themselves moved to praise their Creator. But neither Mary nor Joseph spoke a word about their native country, nor of the destination or object of their journey; for if this information had been added to the public notice caused by their wonderful actions, the attention of Herod’s agents might have been drawn toward them, and they might have found sufficient inducement to follow them after their departure.

        On the third day after our Pilgrims had touched Gaza, they departed from that city for Egypt. Soon leaving the inhabited parts of Palestine, they entered the sandy deserts of Bersabe, which they were obliged to traverse for sixty leagues in order to arrive and take their abode in Heliopolis, the present Cairo in Egypt. This journey through the desert consumed a number of days, for the distance they could travel each day was but short, not only on account of the laborious progress over the deep sand, but also on account of the hardships occasioned by the want of shelter. There were many incidents on their way through this solitude; I will mention some of them, from which others can be conjectured; for it is not necessary to relate all of them. In order to understand how much Mary and Joseph and also the Infant Jesus suffered on their pilgrimage, it must be remembered that the Almighty permitted his Onlybegotten, with his most holy Mother and saint Joseph, to suffer the inconveniences and hardships naturally connected with travel through this desert. And although the heavenly Lady made no complaints, yet She was much afflicted, which was also true of her most faithful husband. For both of them suffered many personal inconveniences and discomforts, while the Mother, in addition thereto, was afflicted still more on account of the sufferings of her Son and of saint Joseph; and the latter was deeply grieved not to be able by his diligence and care to ease the hardships of the Child and his Spouse.

        During all this journey of sixty leagues through desert they had no other night–shelter than the sky and open air; moreover, it was in the time of winter, for journey took place in the month of February, only six days after the Purification, as was indicated in the last chapter. In the first night on these sandy plains they rested at the foot of a small hill, this being the only protection they could find. The Queen of heaven with the Child in her arms seated Herself on the earth, and with her husband She ate of the victuals brought with them from Gaza. The Empress of heaven also nursed the Infant Jesus at her breast and He on his part rejoiced his Mother and her husband by his contentment. In order to furnish them with some kind of shelter against the open air; however narrow and humble it might be, saint Joseph formed a sort of tent for the divine Word and most holy Mary by means of his cloak and some sticks. During that night the ten thousand angels who, full of marvel, assisted these earthly Pilgrims in visible human shapes, formed a guard around their King and Queen. The great Lady perceived that her divine Son offered up to the eternal Father the hardships and labors both of Himself and of Mary and Joseph. In these prayers and in the other acts of his deified Soul, the Queen joined him for the greater part of the night. The divine Infant slept for a short time in her arms, while She continued wakeful and engaged in heavenly colloquies with the Most High and his angels. Saint Joseph slept upon the ground, resting his head upon the chest, which contained the clothing and other articles of their baggage.

        On the next day they pursued their journey and their little store of fruit and bread was soon exhausted, that they began to suffer great want and to feel the hunger. Although Joseph was more deeply concerned, yet both of them felt this privation very much. On one of the first days of their journey they partook of no sustenance until nine o’clock at night, not having any more even of the coarse and poor food which until then had sustained them in their hardships and labor. As nature demanded some refreshment after the exertion and weariness of travel, and as there was no way of supplying their want by natural means, the heavenly Lady addressed Herself to the Most High in these words: “Eternal, great and powerful God, I give Thee thanks and bless Thee for thy magnificent bounty; and also that, without my merits, only on account of thy merciful condescension, Thou gavest me life and being and preservest me in it, though I am but dust and a useless creature. I have not made a proper return for all these benefits; therefore how can I ask for myself what I cannot repay? But, my Lord and Father; look upon thy Onlybegotten and grant me what is necessary to sustain my natural life and also that of my spouse, so that I may serve thy Majesty and thy Word made flesh for the salvation of men.”

        In order that the clamors of the sweetest Mother might proceed from yet greater tribulation, the Most High permitted the elements to afflict them more than at other times and in addition to the sufferings caused by their fatigue, destitution and hunger. For there arose a storm of wind and rain, which harassed and blinded them by its fury. This hardship grieved still more the tender–hearted and loving Mother on account of the delicate Child, which was not yet fifty days old. Although She tried to cover and protect Him as much as possible, yet She could not prevent Him from feeling the inclemency of the weather, so that He shed tears and shivered from the cold in the same manner as other children are wont to do. Then the anxious Mother, making use of her power as Queen and Mistress of creatures, commanded the elements not to afflict their Creator, but to afford Him shelter and refreshment, and wreak their vengeance upon Her alone. And, as related once before, at the occasion of the birth of Christ and of the journey to Jerusalem, again the wind immediately moderated and the storm abated, not daring to approach Mother and Child. In return for this loving forethought, the Infant Jesus commanded his angels to assist his kindest Mother and to serve Her as a shield against the inclemency of the weather. They immediately complied and constructed a resplendent and beautiful globe round about and over their incarnate God, his Mother and her spouse. In this they were protected and defended more effectually than all the wealthy and powerful of the world in their palaces and rich garments. The same they did several times during the journey through the desert.

        Nevertheless, they were in want of food, and they were destitute of other things unprovidable by their own mere human effort. But the Lord allowed them to fall into this need in order that, listening to the acceptable prayers of his Spouse, He might make provision also for this by the hands of the angels. They brought them delicious bread and well–seasoned fruits, and moreover a most delicious drink; all of which they administered and served with their own hands. Then all of them together sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, who gives food to all creatures at opportune times, in order that the poor may eat and be filled (Ps. 135, 25) whose eyes and hopes are fixed upon his kingly Providence and bounty. Of such a kind was the delicate feast, with which the Lord regaled his three exiled Wanderers in the desert of Bersabe (III Ivings 19, 3), for it was the same desert in which Elias, fleeing from Jezabel, was comforted by the hearth cake, brought to him by the angel in order that he might travel to Horeb mount.

        So then the Infant Jesus, with his Mother and saint Joseph, reached the inhabited country of Egypt. On entering the towns the divine Infant, in the arms of his Mother, raised his eyes and his hands to the Father asking for the salvation of these inhabitants held captive by satan. And immediately He made use of his sovereign and divine power and drove the demons from the idols and hurled them to the infernal abyss. Like lightning flashed from the clouds they darted forth and descended to the lowermost caverns of hell and darkness (Luke 10, 4). At the same instant the idols crashed to the ground, the altars fell to pieces, and the temples crumbled to ruins. The cause of these marvelous effects were known to the heavenly Lady, for She united her prayers with those of her most holy Son as Co–operatrix of his salvation. Saint Joseph also knew this to be the work of the incarnate Word; and He praised and extolled Him in holy admiration. But the demons, although they felt the divine power, knew not whence this power proceeded.

        The Egyptian people were astounded at these inexplicable happenings; although among the more learned, ever since the sojourn of Jeremias in Egypt, an ancient tradition was current that a King of the Jews would come and that the temples of the idols would be destroyed. Yet of this prophecy the common people had no knowledge, nor did the learned know how it was to be fulfilled: and therefore the terror and confusion was spread among all of them, as was prophesied by Isaias (Is. 9, 1). In this disturbance and fear, some, reflecting on these events, came to our great Lady and saint Joseph; and, in their curiosity at seeing these strangers in their midst, they also spoke to them about the ruin of their temples and their idols. Making use of this occasion the Mother of wisdom began to undeceive these people, speaking to them of the true God and teaching them that He is the one and only Creator of heaven and earth, who is alone to be adored, and acknowledged as God; that all others are but false and deceitful gods, nothing more than the wood, or clay, or metal of which they are made, having neither eyes, nor ears, nor any power; that the same artisans that made them, and any other man, could destroy them at pleasure; since any man is more noble and powerful than they; that the oracles which they gave forth were answers of the lying and deceitful demons within them; and that the latter had no power, since there is but one true God.

        The heavenly Lady was so sweet and kind in her words, and at the same time so full of life and force; her appearance was so charming, and all her interaction was accompanied by such salutary effects, that the rumor of the arrival of these strange Pilgrims quickly spread about in the different towns, and many people gathered to see and hear Them. Moreover, the powerful prayers of the incarnate Word wrought a change of hearts, and the crumbling of the idols caused an incredible commotion among these people, instilling into their minds knowledge of the true God and sorrow for their sins without their knowing whence or through whom these blessings came to them. Jesus, Mary and Joseph pursued their way through many towns of Egypt, performing these and many other miracles driving out the demons not only from the idols, but out of many bodies possessed by them, curing many that were grievously and dangerously ill, enlightening the hearts by the doctrines of truth and eternal life. By these temporal benefits and others, so effectual in moving the ignorant, earthly–minded people, many were drawn to listen to the instructions of Mary and Joseph concerning a good and salutary life.

        The traditions, which in many parts of Egypt kept alive the remembrance of wonders wrought by the incarnate Word, gave rise to differences of opinion among the sacred and other writers in regard to the city, in which our Exiles lived during their stay in Egypt. Some of them assert that they dwelt in this city, some in another. But all of them may be right and in accordance with facts, since each one may be speaking of a different period of the sojourn of our Pilgrims in Memphis, or Babylon of Egypt, or in Matarieh; for they visited not only these cities, but many others. I for my part have been informed that they passed through these and then reached Heliopolis, where they took up their abode. Their holy guardian angels instructed the heavenly Queen and saint Joseph, that They were to settle in this city. For, besides the ruin of the temples and idols, which, just as in other places, took place at their arrival here, the Lord had resolved to perform still other miracles for his glory and for the rescue of souls; and the inhabitants of this city, (according to the good fortune already prognosticated in its name as “City of the Sun”), were to see the Sun of justice and grace arise over them and shine upon them. Following these orders, saint Joseph sought to purchase for a suitable price some dwelling in the neighborhood; and the Lord ordained that he should find a poor and humble, yet serviceable house, at small distance from the city, just such as the Queen of heaven desired.

        The most prudent Lady and her spouse, forsaken and destitute of all temporal help, accommodated themselves joyfully to the poverty of their little dwelling. Of the three rooms, which it contained, they assigned one to be the sanctuary or temple of the Infant Jesus under the tender care of the most pure Mother; there they placed the cradle and her bare couch, until, after some days, by the labor of the holy spouse, and through the kindness of some pious women, they could obtain wherewith to cover it. Another room was set aside for the sleeping place and oratory of saint Joseph. The third served as a workshop for plying his trade. In view of their great poverty, and of the great difficulty of sufficient employment as a carpenter, the great Lady resolved to assist him by the work of her hands to earn a livelihood. She immediately executed her resolve by seeking to obtain needlework through the intervention of the pious women, who, attracted by her modesty and sweetness, were beginning to have interactions with Her. As all that She attended to or busied Herself with was so perfect, the reputation of her skill soon spread about, so that She never was in want of employment whereby to eke out the slender means of livelihood for her Son, the true God and man.

        In order to obtain the indispensable victuals and clothing, furnish the house ever so moderately, and pay the necessary expenses, it seemed to our Queen that She must employ all day in work and consume the night in attending to her spiritual exercises. This She resolved upon, not for any motives of gain, or because She did not continue in her contemplations during the day; for this was her incessant occupation in the presence of the infant God, as I have so often said and shall repeat hereafter. But some of the hours, which She was wont to spend in special exercises, She wished to transfer to the night–time in order to be able to extend the hours of manual labor, not being minded to ask or expect God’s miraculous assistance for anything which She could attain by greater diligence and additional labor on her own part. In all such cases we ask for miraculous help more for our own convenience than on account of necessity. The most prudent Queen asked the eternal Father to provide sustenance for her divine Son; but at the same time She continued to labor. Like one who does not trust in herself, or in her own efforts, She united prayer with her labors, in order to obtain the necessities of life like other men.

        On account of the excessive heat prevailing in Egypt, and on account of many disorders rampant among the people, the distempers of the Egyptians were wide–spread and grievous. During the years of the stay of the Infant Jesus and his most holy Mother, pestilence devastated Heliopolis and other places. On this account, and on account of the report of their wonderful deeds, multitudes of people came to them from all parts of the country and returned home cured in body and soul. In order that the grace of the Lord might flow more abundantly, and in order that his kindest Mother might have assistance in her works of mercy, God, at the instance of the heavenly Mistress, ordained saint Joseph as her helper in the teaching and healing of the infirm. For this purpose He was endowed with new light and power of healing. The holy Mary began to make use of his assistance in the third year of their stay in Egypt; so that now he ordinarily taught and cured the men, while the blessed Lady attended to the women. Incredible was the fruit resulting from their labors in the souls of men for her uninterrupted beneficence and the gracious efficacy of her words drew all toward our Queen, and her modesty and holiness filled them with devoted love. They offered her many presents and large possessions, anxious to see Her make use of them: but never did She receive anything for Herself, or reserve it for her own use; for they continued to provide for their wants by the labor of her hands and the earnings of saint Joseph. When at time the blessed Lady was offered some gift that seemed serviceable and proper for helping the needy and the poor, She would accept it for that purpose. Only with this understanding would She ever yield to the pious and affectionate importunities of devout persons; and even then She often made them a present in return of things made by her own hands. From what I have related we can form some idea how great and how numerous were the miracles wrought by the holy Family during their seven years’ stay in Egypt and Heliopolis; for it would be impossible to enumerate and describe all of them.

        Neither the tongue of creatures can describe nor intellect comprehend, the vast merits and increase of sanctity accumulating in the most holy Mary through these continued and wonderful works; for in all things She acted with a prudence more than angelic. What moved Her to the greatest admiration, love and praise of the Almighty was to see how, at the intercession of Herself and her Son for the holy Innocents, his providence showed itself so liberal toward them. She knew as if She were present the great number of children that were killed and that all of them, though some were only eight days, two or six months old, and none of them over two years, had the use of their reason; that they all received a high knowledge of the being of God, perfect love, faith and hope, with which they performed heroic acts of faith, worship, and love of God, reverence and compassion for their parents. They prayed for their parents and, in reward for their sufferings, obtained for them light and grace for advance in spiritual things. They willingly submitted to martyrdom, in spite of the tenderness of their age, which made their sufferings so much the greater and consequently augmented their merits. A multitude of angels assisted them and bore them to limbo or to the bosom of Abraham. By their arrival they rejoiced the holy ancients and confirmed them in the hope of speedy liberation. All these were effects of the prayers of the divine Child and his Mother. Aware of all these wonders, She was inflamed with ardor and exclaimed: “Praise the Lord, ye children”; and joined with them in the praise of the Author of these magnificent works, so worthy of his Goodness and Omnipotence. Mary alone knew of them and appreciated them properly.


        The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain

        My daughter, in what thou hast written I wish that thou learn a lesson from the very sorrow and apprehension with which thou hast performed this task. Well–founded is thy sorrow to see how such a noble creature as man, made according to the likeness and image of the Lord, endowed with such divine qualities, and gifted with the power of knowing, loving, seeing, and enjoying God eternally, should allow himself to be degraded and defiled by such brutal and abominable passions as to shed the innocent blood of those who can do no harm to any one. This should induce thee to weep over the ruin of so many souls; especially in the times in which thou livest, when that same ambition which incited Herod has kindled such great hatred and enmity among the children of the Church, occasioning the ruin of countless souls and causing the waste and loss of the blood of my most holy Son, poured out for the salvation of men. Do thou bitterly deplore this loss.

        But likewise be warned by what thou hast seen in others; ponder the effects of passions admitted into the heart; for if once they have mastered the heart, they will either smother it in lust when it finds success, or consume it with wrath at meeting any opposition. Fear thou, my daughter, this danger, not only on account of the results thou seest of ambition in Herod, but also on account of what thou seest going on every hour in other persons. Be very careful not to allow thyself to be mastered by anything, be it ever so small; for in order to start a great conflagration the smallest spark is sufficient. I have often repeated to thee this same warning, and I shall continue to do so more often in the future; for the greatest difficulty in practicing virtue consists in dying to all that is pleasurable to the senses. Thou canst not be a fit instrument in the hands of the Lord, such as He desires thee to be, if thou dost not cleanse thy faculties even of the images of all creatures, so that they do not find entrance into thy desires. I wish it to be to thee an inexorable law that all things, except God, his angels and saints, be to thee as if they did not exist. These should be thy sole possession; on this account the Lord has opened to thee his secrets, honors thee with his familiarity and intimacy, and for this purpose also do I honor thee with mine, that thou neither live nor wish to live without the Lord.

        Book 4, Chapter 9


        During one of the conversations of Mary with Joseph concerning the mysteries of the Lord, the Infant Jesus, having reached the age of one year, resolved to break the silence and speak in plain words to Joseph, who so faithfully fulfilled the duties of a foster–father. As I have already mentioned in chapter the tenth, He had thus conversed with his heavenly Mother from the time of his Birth. The two holy Spouses were speaking of the infinite being of God, of his goodness and excessive love, which induced Him to send his Onlybegotten Son as the Teacher and Savior of men, clothing Him in human form in order that He might converse with them and suffer the punishments of their depraved natures. Saint Joseph was lost in wonder at the works of the Lord and inflamed by affectionate gratitude and exaltation of the Lord. Seizing upon this occasion the infant God, resting upon the arms of his Mother as upon the seat of wisdom, began to speak to saint Joseph in an intelligible voice, saying: “My father, I came from heaven upon this earth in order to be the light of the world, and in order to rescue it from darkness of sin; in order to seek and know my sheep as a good Shepherd, to give them nourishment of eternal life, teach them the way of heaven, open its gates, which had been closed by their sins. I desire that you both be children of the Light, which you have so close at hand.”

        These words of the Infant Jesus, being full of divine life, filled the heart of the patriarch saint Joseph with new love, reverence and joy. He fell on his knees before the infant God with the profoundest humility and thanked Him for having called Him “father” by the very first word spoken to him. He besought the Lord with many tears to enlighten him and enable him to fulfill entirely his most holy will, to teach him to be thankful for the incomparable benefits flowing from his generous hands. Parents who love their children very much are touched with consolation and pride to see their children show great signs of wisdom and virtue; and even when this is not the case, they are naturally inclined to extol and make much of their childish pranks and sayings; for all this is the result of their tender affection for their young offspring. Although saint Joseph was not the natural, but the foster–father of Jesus, his love for Him exceeded by far all the love of parents for their children, since in him grace, or even natural love, was more powerful than others, yea than in all the parents together. Hence the joy of his soul is to be measured by this love and appreciation of saint Joseph as being the foster–father of the Infant Jesus. For he at the same time heard himself called the father of the Son of the eternal Father, and saw Him so beautiful in grace, while listening to such exalted wisdom and knowledge in the Child.

        During the whole of this first year his sweetest Mother had wrapped the infant God in clothes and coverings usual with other children; for He did not wish to be distinguished in this from others, and He wished to bear witness to his true humanity and to his love for mortals, enduring this inconvenience otherwise not required of Him. His boundless love for mortals inflamed Her with loving gratitude toward the Lord and produced in her heroic acts of many virtues. Seeing that the Child Jesus desired no footgear and only one garment, She said to Him: “My Son and my Lord, thy Mother has not the heart to allow Thee to go barefoot upon the ground at thy tender age; permit me, my Love, to provide some kind of covering to protect them. I also fear that the rough garment, which Thou askest of me, will wound thy tender body, if thou permit no linen to be worn beneath.” “My Mother, I will permit a slight and ordinary covering for my feet until the time of my public preaching shall come, for this I must do barefooted. But I do not wish to wear linen, because it foments carnal pleasures, and is the causes of many vices in men. I wish to teach many by my example to renounce it for love and imitation of Me.”

        Immediately the great Queen set diligently about fulfilling the will of her most holy Son. Procuring some wool in its natural and uncolored state, She spun it very finely with her own hands and of it She wove a garment of one piece and without any seam, similar to knitted stuff, or rather like twilled cloth; for it was woven of twisted cords, not like smooth–woven goods. She wove it upon a small loom, by meshes, crocheting it of one seamless piece in a mysterious manner (John 19, 23). Two things were wonderful about it: that it was entirely even and uniform, without any folds, and that, at her request, the natural color was changed to a more suitable one, which was a mixture of brown and a most exquisite silver–gray, so that it could not be called either, appearing to be neither altogether brown, nor silvery, nor gray, but having a mixture of them all. She also wove a pair of sandals of strong thread, like hempen shoes, with which She covered the feet of the infant God. Besides these She made a half tunic of linen, which was to serve as an undergarment. In the next chapter I shall tell what happened when She clothed the Infant Jesus.

        From the time the Child Jesus was on his feet He commenced to retire and spent certain hours of the day in the oratory of his Mother. As the most prudent Mother was anxious to know his wishes in regard to her interactions with Him, the Lord responded to her mute appeal, saying: “My Mother, enter and remain with Me always in order that thou mayest imitate Me in my works for I wish that in thee be modeled and exhibited the high perfection which I desire to see accomplished in the souls. For if they had not resisted my first intentions (I Tim. 2, 4), they would have been endowed with my most abundant and copious gifts; but since the human race has hindered this, I have chosen thee as the vessel of all perfection and of the treasures of my right hand, which the rest of the creatures have abused and lost. Observe me therefore in all my actions for the purpose of imitating Me.”

        Thus the heavenly Lady was installed anew as the Disciple of her most holy Son. Thenceforward passed such great and hidden mysteries between these Two, that not until the day of eternity will they be known. Many times the divine Child prostrated Himself on the ground, at others He was raised from the ground in the form of a cross, earnestly praying to the eternal Father for the salvation of mortals. In all this his most loving Mother imitated Him. For to Her were manifest the interior operations of his most holy soul, just as well as the exterior movements of his body. Of this knowledge of most pure Mary I have spoken in other parts of this history and it is necessary to point it out often, because this was the source of the light which guided Her in her holy life. It was such a singular blessing that all creatures together will not be able to understand or describe it by their united powers. The great Lady did not always enjoy visions of the Divinity; but always the sight of the most holy humanity and soul of her Son with all their activities. In a special manner She was witness of the effects of the hypostatic and beatific union of the humanity with the Divinity. Although She did not always see this glory and this union substantially; yet She perceived the interior acts by which his humanity reverenced, loved and magnified the Divinity to which it was united; and this privilege was reserved solely to most holy Mary.

        On these occasions it often happened that the Child Jesus in the presence of his most holy Mother wept and perspired blood, for this happened many times before his agony in the garden. Then the blessed Lady would wipe his face interiorly perceiving and knowing the cause of this agony, namely the loss of the foreknown and of those who would be ungrateful for the benefits of their Creator and Redeemer and in whom the works of the infinite power and goodness of the Lord would be wasted. At other times the blessed Mother would find Him refulgent with heavenly light and surrounded by angels that sang sweet hymns of praise; and She was made aware, that the heavenly Father was pleased in his beloved and Onlybegotten Son (Matth. 17, 5). All these wonders commenced from the time when at the age of one year He began to walk, witnessed only by his most holy Mother, whose heart was to be the treasure–house of his wonders. The works of love, praise and worshipful gratitude, his petitions for the human race, all exceed my ability to describe. I must refer the understanding of it to the faith and piety of the Christians.

        Many of the children of Heliopolis gathered around the Child Jesus, as it is natural with children of similar age and condition. Since they were free from great malice and were not given to inquire, whether He was more than man, but freely admitted the heavenly light, the Master of truth welcomed them as far as was befitting. He instilled into them the knowledge of God and of the virtues; He taught and catechised them in the way of eternal life, even more abundantly than the adults. As his words were full of life and strength. He won their hearts and impressed his truths so deeply upon them, that all those, who had this good fortune, afterwards became great and saintly men; for in the course of time they ripened in themselves the fruit of this heavenly seed sown so early into their souls.

        The Child Jesus reached the end of his seventh year while in Egypt, which was also the term set by the eternal Wisdom for his mysterious sojourn in that land. In order that the prophecies might he fulfilled, it was necessary that He return to Nazareth. This decree the eternal Father intimated to his most holy Son on a certain day in the presence of his holy Mother and while She was with Him in prayer. She saw it mirrored in his deified soul and She saw how He submitted to it in obedience to the Father. Therein the great Lady joined Him, although they had already become better acquainted and habituated to their present abode than to their own native city of Nazareth. Neither the Mother nor the Son made known to saint Joseph this new decree of heaven. But in that very night the angel of the Lord spoke to him in his sleep, as Matthew relates (Matth. 2, 19), and bade him take the Child and its Mother and return to the land of Israel for Herod and those who with him had sought the life of the Child, were dead. So much value does the Almighty set on the proper order in created things, that, though Jesus was the true God and his Mother so highly exalted above saint Joseph in sanctity, He did not permit the arrangements of this journey to proceed from his Son nor from his Mother, but from saint Joseph, who was the head of this Family. God intended to teach all mortals, that He wishes all things to be governed by the natural order set up by his Providence; and that the inferiors and subjects of the mystical body of the Church, even though they may excel in virtue and in certain other respects, must obey and submit to their superiors and prelates in the visible order.

        They departed for Palestine in the company of angels as on their way thence. The great Queen sat on the ass with the divine Child on her lap and saint Joseph walked afoot, closely following the Son and Mother. On account of the loss of such great Benefactors their acquaintances and friends were very sorrowful at the news of their departure; with incredible weeping and sighing they saw Them leave, knowing and loudly complaining, that they were now losing all their consolation and refuge in their necessities. If the divine power had not interfered, the holy Family would have found great difficulty in leaving Heliopolis; for its inhabitants began to feel the night of their miseries secretly setting upon their hearts at the parting of the Sun, which had dispersed and brightened its darkness (John 1, 9). In traversing the inhabited country they passed through some towns of Egypt, where They scattered their graces and blessings. The news of their passage spreading about, all the sick, the afflicted and disconsolate gathered to seek Them out, and they found themselves relieved in body and soul. Many of the sick were cured, many demons were expelled without their knowing who it was that thus hurled them back to hell. Yet they felt the divine power, which compelled them and wrought such blessings among men.

        They reached Nazareth, their home, for the Child was to be called a Nazarene. They found their former humble house in charge of the devout cousin of saint Joseph, who, as I have mentioned in the twelfth chapter of the third book, had offered to serve him while our Queen was absent in the house of Elisabeth. Before They had left Judea for Egypt, saint Joseph had written to this woman, asking her to take care of the house and what it contained. They found it all in good condition and his cousin received Them with great joy on account of her love for the great Queen, though at the same time she did not know of her dignity. The heavenly Lady entered with her Son and saint Joseph, and immediately She prostrated Herself in adoration of the Lord and in thanksgiving for having led Them, safe from the cruelty of Herod, to this retreat, and preserved Them in the dangers of their banishment and their long and arduous journeys. Above all did She render thanks for having returned in company with her Son, now grown both in years and in grace and virtue (Luke 2, 40).

        Taking counsel with her divine Child She proceeded to set up a rule of life and regulate her pious practices; not that She had failed to observe a rule of life on her journey; for the most prudent Lady, in imitation of her Son, had always observed the most perfect order according to circumstances. But being now peacefully settled in her home She wished to include many exercises, which on the journey were impossible. Her greatest solicitude was always to cooperate with her most holy Son for the salvation of souls which was the work most urgently enjoined upon her by the eternal Father. Toward this most high end our Queen directed all her practices in union with the Redeemer, and this was their constant occupation, as we shall see in the course of this second part. The holy Joseph also ordered his occupations and his work so as most worthily to earn sustenance for the divine Child and his Mother as well as for himself. That which in other sons of Adam is considered a punishment and a hardship was to this holy Patriarch a great happiness. For while others were condemned to sustain their natural life by the labor of their hands in the sweat of their brows, saint Joseph was blessed and consoled beyond measure to know, that he had been chosen by his labor and sweat to support God himself and his Mother, to whom belonged heaven and earth and all that they contain (Esther 13, 10).

        The Queen of the angels herself undertook to pay the debt of gratitude due to saint Joseph for his labors and solicitude. Accordingly She provided his meals and attended to his comforts with incredible care and most loving gratitude. She was obedient to him in all things and humbled Herself before Him as if She were his handmaid and not his spouse, or, what is more, not the Mother of the Creator and Lord of all. She accounted Herself unworthy of existence and of being suffered to walk upon the earth; for She thought it just, that She should be in want of all things. In the consciousness of having been created out of nothing and therefore unable to make any return for either this benefit or, according to her estimation, for any of the others, She established in Herself such a rare humility, that She thought Herself less than the dust and unworthy to mingle with it. For the least favor She gave admirable thanks to the Lord, as to the first cause and origin of them all, and to creatures as to the instruments of his bounty. To some She gave thanks because they conferred favors upon Her, to others because they had denied them; and to others again because they bore with Her in patience. She acknowledged Herself as indebted to all of them, though She filled them with the blessings of sweetness and placed herself at the feet of all, seeking ingenious means and artifices to let no instant and no occasion pass for practicing the most perfect and exalted virtues to the Admiration of the angels and the pleasure and the delight of the Most High.


        The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain

        My daughter, while journeying at the command of the Lord from one country to another and during the works enjoined upon me, my heart was never troubled nor my spirit cast down; for I always held myself prepared to fulfill entirely the will of God. Although the Lord made known to Me his high ends, yet this was not always done at the beginning, thus permitting me to endure so much the greater sufferings; for in obeying the Lord no further reason is necessary than that the Lord Creator so commands and disposes. The souls must accustom themselves to look for this motive alone and to learn solely to please the Lord, without distinguishing between fortunate or unfortunate events and without looking to their own inclinations. In this kind of wisdom I wish that thou advance. In imitation of me and to satisfy thy obligations toward my most holy Son, do thou receive prosperity or adversity in this mortal life with unmoved countenance and with equanimity and peace or mind. Let not the one grieve, nor the other vainly rejoice thee; but attend only to all that which the Almighty ordains according to his pleasure.

        Human life is interwoven thus variously with both kinds of events; some of them according, others contrary to the likings of mortals; some which they, abhor others which they desire. As the human heart is limited and narrow it immoderately inclines to extremes, boundlessly desiring what it loves and likes, and, on the other hand, grieving and sorrowing at what it abhors and dislikes. These changeful moods and fluctuations create danger for all or many virtues. The disorderly love for one creature which it cannot attain, moves the soul presently to desire another, expecting a balm for its disappointment in the former. And if it is successful, the soul becomes involved and flurried in the desire of retaining what it possesses, thus casting itself by these velleities into still greater disorders and passions. Attend, therefore, dearest, to this danger and attack it at the root by preserving thy heart independent and riveted only on the divine Providence, without ever allowing it to incline toward what it desires or longs for, or to abhor what is painful to it. Let the will of the Lord be thy only delight and joy. Let neither thy desires draw thee on, nor thy fears dishearten thee. Let not thy exterior occupations, and much less thy regard or attention to creatures, ever impede thee or divert thee from thy holy exercises, attending always to my example. Seek thou lovingly and diligently to follow in my footsteps.


        Featured Item from Litany Lane


        Catholic Catechism 






        1601 "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."84

        1602 Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of "the wedding-feast of the Lamb."85 Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its "mystery," its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal "in the Lord" in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church.86

        Marriage in the order of creation
        1603 "The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage."87 The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity,88 some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. "The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life."89
        1604 God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love.90 Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: "And God blessed them, and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'"91
        1605 Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone."92 The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help.93 "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."94 The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh."95

        Marriage under the regime of sin
        1606 Every man experiences evil around him and within himself. This experience makes itself felt in the relationships between man and woman. Their union has always been threatened by discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation. This disorder can manifest itself more or less acutely, and can be more or less overcome according to the circumstances of cultures, eras, and individuals, but it does seem to have a universal character.

        1607 According to faith the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin. As a break with God, the first sin had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman. Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations;96 their mutual attraction, the Creator's own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust;97 and the beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the toil of work.98
        1608 Nevertheless, the order of creation persists, though seriously disturbed. To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them.99 Without his help man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them "in the beginning."

        Marriage under the pedagogy of the Law
        1609 In his mercy God has not forsaken sinful man. The punishments consequent upon sin, "pain in childbearing" and toil "in the sweat of your brow,"100 also embody remedies that limit the damaging effects of sin. After the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one's own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving.

        1610 Moral conscience concerning the unity and indissolubility of marriage developed under the pedagogy of the old law. In the Old Testament the polygamy of patriarchs and kings is not yet explicitly rejected. Nevertheless, the law given to Moses aims at protecting the wife from arbitrary domination by the husband, even though according to the Lord's words it still carries traces of man's "hardness of heart" which was the reason Moses permitted men to divorce their wives.101
        1611 Seeing God's covenant with Israel in the image of exclusive and faithful married love, the prophets prepared the Chosen People's conscience for a deepened understanding of the unity and indissolubility of marriage.102 The books of Ruth and Tobit bear moving witness to an elevated sense of marriage and to the fidelity and tenderness of spouses. Tradition has always seen in the Song of Solomon a unique expression of human love, insofar as it is a reflection of God's love - a love "strong as death" that "many waters cannot quench."103

        Marriage in the Lord
        1612 The nuptial covenant between God and his people Israel had prepared the way for the new and everlasting covenant in which the Son of God, by becoming incarnate and giving his life, has united to himself in a certain way all mankind saved by him, thus preparing for "the wedding-feast of the Lamb."104
        1613 On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign - at his mother's request - during a wedding feast.105 The Church attaches great importance to Jesus' presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ's presence.

        1614 In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning permission given by Moses to divorce one's wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts.106 The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it "what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder."107
        1615 This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy - heavier than the Law of Moses.108 By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to "receive" the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ.109 This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life.

        1616 This is what the Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her," adding at once: "'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church."110
        1617 The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath.111 which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist. Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sign, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant..112

        Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom
        1618 Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social.113 From the very beginning of the Church there have been men and women who have renounced the great good of marriage to follow the Lamb wherever he goes, to be intent on the things of the Lord, to seek to please him, and to go out to meet the Bridegroom who is coming.114 Christ himself has invited certain persons to follow him in this way of life, of which he remains the model:

        "For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."115
        1619 Virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven is an unfolding of baptismal grace, a powerful sign of the supremacy of the bond with Christ and of the ardent expectation of his return, a sign which also recalls that marriage is a reality of this present age which is passing away.116
        1620 Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the Kingdom of God come from the Lord himself. It is he who gives them meaning and grants them the grace which is indispensable for living them out in conformity with his will.117 Esteem of virginity for the sake of the kingdom118 and the Christian understanding of marriage are inseparable, and they reinforce each other:

        Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be truly good. The most excellent good is something even better than what is admitted to be good.119
        1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.120 In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.121 It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but "one body" in Christ.122
        1622 "Inasmuch as it is a sacramental action of sanctification, the liturgical celebration of marriage . . . must be, per se, valid, worthy, and fruitful."123 It is therefore appropriate for the bride and groom to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the sacrament of penance.

        1623 According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ's grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses,124 but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.125
        1624 The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God's grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church.126 The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity.

        1625 The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; "to be free" means:
        - not being under constraint;
        - not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law.

        1626 The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that "makes the marriage."127 If consent is lacking there is no marriage.

        1627 The consent consists in a "human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other": "I take you to be my wife" - "I take you to be my husband."128 This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two "becoming one flesh."129
        1628 The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear.130 No human power can substitute for this consent.131 If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid.

        1629 For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed.132 In this case the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged.133
        1630 The priest (or deacon) who assists at the celebration of a marriage receives the consent of the spouses in the name of the Church and gives the blessing of the Church. The presence of the Church's minister (and also of the witnesses) visibly expresses the fact that marriage is an ecclesial reality.

        1631 This is the reason why the Church normally requires that the faithful contract marriage according to the ecclesiastical form. Several reasons converge to explain this requirement:134
        - Sacramental marriage is a liturgical act. It is therefore appropriate that it should be celebrated in the public liturgy of the Church;
        - Marriage introduces one into an ecclesial order, and creates rights and duties in the Church between the spouses and towards their children;
        - Since marriage is a state of life in the Church, certainty about it is necessary (hence the obligation to have witnesses);
        - The public character of the consent protects the "I do" once given and helps the spouses remain faithful to it.

        1632 So that the "I do" of the spouses may be a free and responsible act and so that the marriage covenant may have solid and lasting human and Christian foundations, preparation for marriage is of prime importance.
        The example and teaching given by parents and families remain the special form of this preparation.
        The role of pastors and of the Christian community as the "family of God" is indispensable for the transmission of the human and Christian values of marriage and family,135 and much more so in our era when many young people experience broken homes which no longer sufficiently assure this initiation:

        It is imperative to give suitable and timely instruction to young people, above all in the heart of their own families, about the dignity of married love, its role and its exercise, so that, having learned the value of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to engage in honorable courtship and enter upon a marriage of their own.136
        Mixed marriages and disparity of cult
        1633 In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) requires even greater circumspection. 
        1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise. 
        1635 According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority.137 In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage.138 This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage; and furthermore that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.139
        1636 Through ecumenical dialogue Christian communities in many regions have been able to put into effect a common pastoral practice for mixed marriages. Its task is to help such couples live out their particular situation in the light of faith, overcome the tensions between the couple's obligations to each other and towards their ecclesial communities, and encourage the flowering of what is common to them in faith and respect for what separates them. 
        1637 In marriages with disparity of cult the Catholic spouse has a particular task: "For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband."140 It is a great joy for the Christian spouse and for the Church if this "consecration" should lead to the free conversion of the other spouse to the Christian faith.141 Sincere married love, the humble and patient practice of the family virtues, and perseverance in prayer can prepare the non-believing spouse to accept the grace of conversion. 

        1638 "From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament."142

        The marriage bond
        1639 The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself.143 From their covenant arises "an institution, confirmed by the divine law, . . . even in the eyes of society."144 The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God's covenant with man: "Authentic married love is caught up into divine love."145
        1640 Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God's fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom.146

        The grace of the sacrament of Matrimony
        1641 "By reason of their state in life and of their order, [Christian spouses] have their own special gifts in the People of God."147 This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple's love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they "help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children."148
        1642 Christ is the source of this grace. "Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of Matrimony."149 Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another's burdens, to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,"150 and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb:

        How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father? . . . How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.151
        1643 "Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter - appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. In a word it is a question of the normal characteristics of all natural conjugal love, but with a new significance which not only purifies and strengthens them, but raises them to the extent of making them the expression of specifically Christian values."152

        The unity and indissolubility of marriage
        1644 The love of the spouses requires, of its very nature, the unity and indissolubility of the spouses' community of persons, which embraces their entire life: "so they are no longer two, but one flesh."153 They "are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving."154 This human communion is confirmed, purified, and completed by communion in Jesus Christ, given through the sacrament of Matrimony. It is deepened by lives of the common faith and by the Eucharist received together.

        1645 "The unity of marriage, distinctly recognized by our Lord, is made clear in the equal personal dignity which must be accorded to man and wife in mutual and unreserved affection."155 Polygamy is contrary to conjugal love which is undivided and exclusive.156

        * The fidelity of conjugal love
        1646 By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement "until further notice." The "intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union between them."157
        1647 The deepest reason is found in the fidelity of God to his covenant, in that of Christ to his Church. Through the sacrament of Matrimony the spouses are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it. Through the sacrament, the indissolubility of marriage receives a new and deeper meaning.

        1648 It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God's faithful love. Spouses who with God's grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community.158
        1649 Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical separation of the couple and their living apart. The spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation. The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble.159
        1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ - "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery"160 the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence. 
        1651 Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons:

        They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God's grace.161
        * The openness to fertility
        1652 "By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory."162
        Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: "It is not good that man should be alone," and "from the beginning [he] made them male and female"; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: "Be fruitful and multiply." Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.163
        1653 The fruitfulness of conjugal love extends to the fruits of the moral, spiritual, and supernatural life that parents hand on to their children by education. Parents are the principal and first educators of their children.164 In this sense the fundamental task of marriage and family is to be at the service of life.165
        1654 Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms. Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice.

        1655 Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than "the family of God." From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers "together with all [their] household."166 When they were converted, they desired that "their whole household" should also be saved.167 These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.

        1656 In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica.168 It is in the bosom of the family that parents are "by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation."169
        1657 It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way "by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity."170 Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and "a school for human enrichment."171 Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous - even repeated - forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one's life.

        1658 We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live - often not of their choosing - are especially close to Jesus' heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. The doors of homes, the "domestic churches," and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. "No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who 'labor and are heavy laden.'"172

        IN BRIEF
        1659 St. Paul said: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church. . . . This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church" (Eph 5:25, 32).

        1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1).

        1661 The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799).

        1662 Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.

        1663 Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church, it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a liturgical celebration, before the priest (or a witness authorized by the Church), the witnesses, and the assembly of the faithful.

        1664 Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has joined together; the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its "supreme gift," the child (GS 50 § 1).

        1665 The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.

        1666 The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called "the domestic church," a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.

        84 CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1.
        85 Rev 19:7, 9; cf. Gen 1:26-27.
        86 1 Cor 7:39; cf. Eph 5:31-32.
        87 GS 48 § 1.
        88 Cf. GS 47 § 2.
        89 GS 47 § 1.
        90 Cf. Gen 1:27; 1 Jn 4:8, 16.
        91 Gen 1:28; cf. 1:31.
        92 Gen 2:18.
        93 Cf. Gen 2:18-25.
        94 Gen 2:24.
        95 Mt 19:6.
        96 Cf. Gen 3:12.
        97 Cf. Gen 2:22; 3:16b.
        98 Cf. Gen 1:28; 3:16-19.
        99 Cf. Gen 3:21.
        100 Gen 3:16, 19.
        101 Cf. Mt 19:8; Deut 24:1.
        102 Cf. Hos 1-3; Isa 54; 62; Jer 2-3; 31; Ezek 16; 23; Mal 2:13-17.
        103 Song 8:6-7.
        104 Rev 19:7,9; cf. GS 22.
        105 Cf. Jn 2:1-11.
        106 Cf. Mt 19:8.
        107 Mt 19:6.
        108 Cf. Mk 8:34; Mt 11:29-30.
        109 Cf. Mt 19:11.
        110 Eph 5:25-26,31-32; Cf. Gen 2:24.
        111 Cf. Eph 5:26-27.
        112 Cf. DS 1800; CIC, Can. 1055 § 2.
        113 Cf. Lk 14:26; Mk 10:28-31.
        114 Cf. Rev 14:4; 1 Cor 7:32; Mt 2:56.
        115 Mt 19:12.
        116 Cf. Mk 12:25; 1 Cor 7:31.
        117 Cf. Mt 19:3-12.
        118 Cf. LG 42; PC 12; OT 10.
        119 St. John Chrysostom, De virg. 10,1:PG 48,540; Cf. John Paul II, FC 16.
        120 Cf. SC 61.
        121 Cf. LG 6.
        122 Cf. 1 Cor 10:17.
        123 FC 67.
        124 Cf. CCEO, can. 817.
        125 Cf. CCEO, can. 828. 126 Cf. Eph 5:32.
        127 CIC, can. 1057 § 1.
        128 GS 48 § 1; OCM 45; cf. CIC, can. 1057 § 2.
        129 Gen 2:24; cf. Mt 10:8; Eph 5:31.
        130 Cf. CIC, can. 1103.
        131 Cf. CIC, can. 1057 § 1.
        132 Cf. CIC, cann. 1095-1107.
        133 Cf. CIC, can. 1071.
        134 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1813-1816; CIC, can. 1108.
        135 Cf. CIC, can. 1063.
        136 GS 49 § 3.
        137 Cf. CIC, can. 1124.
        138 Cf. CIC, can. 1086.
        139 Cf. CIC, can. 1125.
        140 1 Cor 7:14.
        141 Cf. 1 Cor 7:16.
        142 Cf. CIC, can. 1134.
        143 Cf. Mk 10:9.
        144 GS 48 § 1.
        145 GS 48 § 2.
        146 Cf. CIC, can. 1141.
        147 LG 11 § 2.
        148 LG 11 § 2; cf. LG 41.
        149 GS 48 § 2.
        150 Eph 5:21; cf. Gal 6:2.
        151 Tertullian, Ad uxorem. 2,8,6-7:PL 1,1412-1413; cf. FC 13.
        152 FC 13.
        153 Mt 19:6; cf. Gen 2:24.
        154 FC 19.
        155 GS 49 § 2.
        156 Cf. FC 19.
        157 GS 48 § 1.
        158 Cf. FC 20.
        159 Cf. FC 83; CIC, cann. 1151-1155.
        160 Mk 10:11-12.
        161 FC 84.
        162 GS 48 § 1; 50.
        163 GS 50 § 1; cf. Gen 2:18; Mt 19:4; Gen 1:28.
        164 Cf. GE 3.
        165 Cf. FC 28.
        166 Cf. Acts 18:8.
        167 Cf. Acts 16:31; Acts 11:14.
        168 LG 11; cf. FC 21.
        169 LG 11.
        170 LG 10.
        171 GS 52 § 1.
        172 FC 85; cf. Mt 11:28.


        Featured Item from Litany Lane

        View more Inspirational Designs at Litany Lane.


        RE-CHARGE:  Heaven Speaks to Young Adults

        To all tween, teens and young adults, A Message from Jesus: "Through you I will flow powerful conversion graces to draw other young souls from darkness. My plan for young men and women is immense. Truly, the renewal will leap forward with the assistance of these individuals. Am I calling you? Yes. I am calling you. You feel the stirring in your soul as you read these words. I am with you. I will never leave you. Join My band of young apostles and I will give you joy and peace that you have never known. All courage, all strength will be yours. Together, we will reclaim this world for the Father. I will bless your families and all of your relationships. I will lead you to your place in the Kingdom. Only you can complete the tasks I have set out for you. Do not reject Me. I am your Jesus. I love you...Read this book, upload to your phones/ipads.computers and read a few pages everyday...and then Pay It Forward...


        •   Recharge: Directions For Our Times. Heaven Speaks to Young Adults.