The Calling of Saint Matthew
Oil on canvas, 322 x 340 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome
Ordinary Time: September 21st
Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Old Calendar: St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist ; Other Titles: Levi
At the time that Jesus summoned him to follow Him, Matthew was a publican, that is, a tax-collector for the Romans. His profession was hateful to the Jews because it reminded them of their subjection; the publican, also, was regarded by the pharisees as the typical sinner. St. Matthew is known to us principally as an Evangelist. He was the first to put down in writing our Lord’s teaching and the account of His life. His Gospel was written in Aramaic, the language that our Lord Himself spoke.
No one was more shunned by the Jews than a publican, who was a Jew working for the Roman enemy by robbing his own people and making a large personal profit. Publicans were not allowed to trade, eat, or even pray with others Jews.
One day, while seated at his table of books and money, Jesus looked at Matthew and said two words: “Follow me.” This was all that was needed to make Matthew rise, leaving his pieces of silver to follow Christ. His original name, “Levi,” in Hebrew signifies “Adhesion” while his new name in Christ, Matthew, means “Gift of God.” The only other outstanding mention of Matthew in the Gospels is the dinner party for Christ and His companions to which he invited his fellow tax-collectors. The Jews were surprised to see Jesus with a publican, but Jesus explained that he had come “not to call the just, but sinners.”
St. Matthew is known to us principally as an Evangelist, with his Gospel being the first in the New Testament. His Gospel was written in Aramaic, the language that our Lord Himself spoke and was written to convince the Jews that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus.
Not much else is known about Matthew. According to tradition, he preached in Egypt and Ethiopia and further places East. Some legends say he lived until his nineties, dying a peaceful death, others say he died a martyr’s death.
In the traditional symbolization of the evangelists, based on Ezech. 1:5-10 and Rev. 4:6-7, the image of the winged man is accorded to Matthew because his Gospel begins with the human genealogy of Christ.
Patron: Accountants; bankers; bookkeepers; customs officers; security guards; stock brokers; tax collectors; Salerno, Italy.
Symbols: Angel holding a pen or inkwell; bag of coins; loose coins; halberd; inkwell; king; lance; man holding money; man holding money box and/or glasses; money bag; money box; purse; spear; sword; winged man; young man; book; man sitting at a desk.
Things to Do:
- Do something for the needy: money for missions, donations of clothing or toys, canned goods drive, etc.
- Take time to read St. Matthew’s Gospel, keeping in mind that St. Matthew depicts the humanity of Christ and emphasizes His physical sufferings. He makes frequent reference to the fulfillment of prophecies because he wrote to Jews and to Jewish Christians.
- Discuss St. Matthew’s call from Christ “Follow me” with your children and how we are all called to belong to the family of God.
- Pray for people who work for financial institutions.
- Make Silver Dollar Pancakes, you can use this recipe on Catholic Cuisine’s website or one of the suggestions we offer under recipes.
Meditation: Matthew 9:9-13
Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)
He got up and followed him. (Matthew 9:9)
When we read today’s Gospel passage, we might assume that after Matthew left his customs post to follow Jesus, he instantly became a saint. Of course, Matthew was one of the Twelve and spent three years with Jesus, so he did have a special advantage. But his transformation didn’t happen overnight; it was a process that unfolded over time.
In a way, we are all “Matthews.” Each of us is a recipient of the Lord’s great mercy. And having received that mercy, we’ve all made the decision to get up and follow Jesus (Matthew 9:9). We are also like Matthew in another way: we have the same potential to let God’s mercy change us so that we become saints.
Think about Matthew’s path to sainthood. He must have struggled, at least initially, to leave his comfortable life to become a disciple. Some of Jesus’ teachings must have challenged him, to say the least—especially his words about money, simplicity, and obedience to God. We do know that, along with the other disciples, Matthew abandoned Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. But Matthew came back to his senses, and over time (and through the power of the Holy Spirit), he let God mold him into the saint and evangelist we honor today.
Following Jesus will sometimes call you out of your comfort zone, as it did Matthew. You will encounter difficulties and challenges to your faith that make you feel as if you are going backward instead of forward. But that doesn’t mean you can’t become a saint! The Holy Spirit is faithful. If you stick with him, he will form you day after day. So keep spending time with the Lord in prayer and listening to his voice. Keep examining your conscience at the end of each day and asking God to forgive you for the ways you have fallen short. Imitate Matthew, and never give up!
It’s not easy, but it is possible to become a saint. You’ve already said yes to Jesus’ call to follow him. Now trust that he will complete the work he has already begun in you.
“St. Matthew, pray for me as I walk the path toward sainthood.”
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
“Again, Herodias Seeks the Head of John in a Basin” ~ The exile and death of Saint John Chrysostom
Today, September 14, is the 1,611th anniversary of the death of Saint John Chrysostom, the great patriarch of Constantinople. St. John perished while on his way to a more distant exile on the shores of the Black Sea in AD 407.
Though an outstanding orator and one of the greatest theologians of the early Church, John became embroiled in the religious and political factions in Constantinople. He was particularly known for railing against the excesses of the imperial court, drawing the ire of the Empress Eudoxia, wife of Arcadius, who felt that John’s invectives against immodest and gaudy female dress were directed particularly at her. The animosity between the empress and St. John waxed hot and cold over the span of several years, coming to a head in AD 403. Hermias Sozomen, in his History, describes the events that immediately precipitated his banishment as follows:
Not long after these occurrences, the silver statue of the empress which is still to be seen to the south of the church opposite the grand council-chamber, was placed upon a column of porphyry on a high platform, and the event was celebrated there with applause and popular spectacles of dances and mimes, as was then customary on the erection of the statues of the emperors. In a public discourse to the people John charged that these proceedings reflected dishonor on the Church. This remark recalled former grievances to the recollection of the empress, and irritated her so exceedingly at the insult that she determined to convene another council. He did not yield, but added fuel to her indignation by still more openly declaiming against her in the church; and it was at this period that he pronounced the memorable discourse commencing with the words, “Herodias is again enraged; again she dances; again she seeks to have the head of John in a basin.” [Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Book VIII, Chapter 20]
A council was then convened in the suburbs of Constantinople which deposed John as patriarch on various technicalities and ordered him banished. Chaos ensued in the city as the partisans of the empress, backed by soldiers, attacked those of John and expelled them from the churches. The situation soon devolved into riot, as described by Sozomen:
A messenger having conveyed to him a mandate from the emperor enjoining his immediate departure, John obeyed, and escaped from the city, unnoticed by those who had been appointed to guard him. He made no other censure than that, in being sent into banishment without a legal trial or any of the forms of the law, he was treated more severely than murderers, sorcerers, and adulterers. He was conveyed in a little bark to Bithynia, and thence immediately continued his journey. Some of his enemies were apprehensive lest the people, on hearing of his departure, should pursue him, and bring him back by force, and therefore commanded the gates of the church to be closed.When the people who were in the public places of the city heard of what had occurred, great confusion ensued; for some ran to the seashore as if they would follow him, and others fled hither and there, and were in great terror since the wrath of the emperor was expected to visit them for creating so much disturbance and tumult. Those who were within the church barred the exits still further by rushing together upon them, and by pressing upon one another. With difficulty they forced the doors open by the use of great violence; one party shattered them with stones, another was pulling them toward themselves, and was thus forcing the crowd backward into the building. Meanwhile the church was suddenly consumed on all sides with fire. The flames extended in all directions, and the grand house of the senatorial council, adjacent to the church on the south, was doomed. [Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Book VIII, Chapter 22]
This structure was the “Great Church” of Constantinople as built by Constantius II on the site which would later be occupied by Hagia Sophia.
The exile of John was considered a great injustice, particularly in the West. Pope Innocent I was “extremely indignant” and “condemned the whole proceedings”. He attempted to secure John’s return to his bishopric, but without success. In his history, Sozomen includes two letters from Innocent—one to John, and one to the clergy of Constantinople—which he includes “precisely as I found them, translated from the Latin into Greek.” [Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Book VIII, Chapter 25]
Innocent’s efforts, however, came to naught and created acrimony between the eastern and western courts. Meanwhile, the enemies of John were able to have even stricter sanctions imposed upon him which lead to his death. Sozomen describes:
[Pope Innocent] sent five bishops and two presbyters of the Roman church, with the bishops who had been delegated as ambassadors to him from the East, to the emperors Honorius and Arcadius, to request the convocation of a council, and solicit them to name time and place. The enemies of John at Constantinople framed a charge as though these things were done to insult the Eastern emperor, and caused the ambassadors to be ignominiously dismissed as if they had invaded a foreign government.John was at the same time condemned by an imperial edict to a remoter place of banishment, and soldiers were sent to conduct him to Pityus; the soldiers were soon on hand, and effected the removal. It is said that during this journey, Basiliscus, the martyr, appeared to him at Comani, in Armenia, and apprised him of the day of his death. Being attacked with pain in the head, and being unable to bear the heat of the sun, he could not prosecute his journey, but closed his life in that town. [Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Book VIII, Chapter 28]
The entire seventh book of Sozomen’s Ecclesiastical History deals to a large extent with Saint John and his tumultuous reign as patriarch in Constantinople. We are fortunate that many of his homilies have survived antiquity—enough for him to be considered a Doctor of the Church. Reading them, one is able to get a good sense of why he was given the epithet “Chrysostom” which means: Golden-Mouthed. I have posted snippets from a few of them previously on this blog at the following links:
-> “Where God wills, the order of nature yields” ~ St. John Chrysostom on Christmas
-> Parenting advice from Saint John Chrysostom, late 4th century AD
Saint John Chrysostom’s Story
The ambiguity and intrigue surrounding John, the great preacher (his name means “golden-mouthed”) from Antioch, are characteristic of the life of any great man in a capital city. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John became a bishop under the cloud of imperial politics.
If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without a point. Sometimes the point stung the high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.
His lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man.
His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed their way into office were deposed. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor. The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because of Adam’s fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital fidelity just as much as their wives were. When it came to justice and charity, John acknowledged no double standards.
Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism and personal trouble. He was accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines and fine foods. His faithfulness as spiritual director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where wealth and chastity were concerned. His actions taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor were viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.
Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia were determined to discredit John. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel and impious Herodias were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407.
John Chrysostom’s preaching, by word and example, exemplifies the role of the prophet to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. For his honesty and courage, he paid the price of a turbulent ministry as bishop, personal vilification, and exile.
Saint John Chrysostom is the Patron Saint of:
On the Paradoxical Freedom of Poverty as Taught By St. John Chrysostom
St. John Chrysostom on Keeping a Fast
Blood and Water >From His Side – St. John Chrysostom(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Chrysostom on the PoorSt. John Chrysostom: The Prophet of Charity
Benedict XVI’s Nearly Unnoticed Letter on St. John Chrysostom (Fr. Z)
On Chrysostom’s Social DoctrineOn St. John Chrysostom’s Antioch Years
Synaxis of The Three Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, & John Chrysostom, Jan.30
The Translation of the Relics of St. John Chrysostom (Jan 27 or Feb 9 Julian calendar)
The Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom (c. 400 AD)
The Life of Saint John Chrysostom
Saint of the Day for August 24
(b. 1st century)
Saint Bartholomew’s Story
In the New Testament, Bartholomew is mentioned only in the lists of the apostles. Some scholars identify him with Nathanael, a man of Cana in Galilee who was summoned to Jesus by Philip. Jesus paid him a great compliment: “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him” (John 1:47b). When Nathanael asked how Jesus knew him, Jesus said, “I saw you under the fig tree” (John 1:48b). Whatever amazing revelation this involved, it brought Nathanael to exclaim, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel” (John 1:49b). But Jesus countered with, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this” (John 1:50b).
Nathanael did see greater things. He was one of those to whom Jesus appeared on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias after his resurrection (see John 21:1-14). They had been fishing all night without success. In the morning, they saw someone standing on the shore though no one knew it was Jesus. He told them to cast their net again, and they made so great a catch that they could not haul the net in. Then John cried out to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When they brought the boat to shore, they found a fire burning, with some fish laid on it and some bread. Jesus asked them to bring some of the fish they had caught, and invited them to come and eat their meal. John relates that although they knew it was Jesus, none of the apostles presumed to inquire who he was. This, John notes, was the third time Jesus appeared to the apostles.
Bartholomew or Nathanael? We are confronted again with the fact that we know almost nothing about most of the apostles. Yet the unknown ones were also foundation stones, the 12 pillars of the new Israel whose 12 tribes now encompass the whole earth. Their personalities were secondary—without thereby being demeaned—to their great office of bearing tradition from their firsthand experience, speaking in the name of Jesus, putting the Word Made Flesh into human words for the enlightenment of the world. Their holiness was not an introverted contemplation of their status before God. It was a gift that they had to share with others. The Good News was that all are called to the holiness of being Christ’s members, by the gracious gift of God.
The simple fact is that humanity is totally meaningless unless God is its total concern. Then humanity, made holy with God’s own holiness, becomes the most precious creation of God.
Saint Bartholomew is the Patron Saint of:
The Golden Legend: The Life of Saint Bartholomew
The Apostle Bartholomew, His Words Present a Double Aspect of Jesus’ Identity
HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER ON THE FEAST OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW,APOSTLE
Feast of St. Bartholomew
Martyrdom of the Holy and Glorious Apostle, Bartholomew
A WITNESS OF THE SON OF GOD, one of the princes who announced his glory to the nations, lights up this day with his apostolic flame. While his brethren of the sacred College followed the human race into all the lands whither the migration of nations had led it, Bartholomew appeared as the herald of the Lord, at the very starting point, the mountains of Armenia whence the sons of Noe spread over the earth. There had the figurative Ark rested; humanity, everywhere else a wanderer, was there seated in stillness, remembering the dove with its olive branch, and awaiting the consummation of the alliance signified by the rainbow which had there for the first time glittered in the clouds. Behold, blessed tidings awake in those valleys the echoes of ancient traditions: tidings of peace, making the universal deluge of sin subside before the Wood of salvation. The serenity announced by the dove of old was now far outdone. Love was to take the place of punishment. The ambassador of heaven showed God to the sons of Adam, as the most beautiful of their own brethren. The noble heights whence formerly flowed the rivers of Paradise were about to see the renewal of the covenant annulled in Eden, and the celebration, amid the joy of heaven and earth, of the divine nuptials so long expected, the union of the Word with regenerated humanity.
Personally, what was this Apostle whose ministry borrowed such solemnity from the scene of his apostolic labors? Under the name, or surname of Bartholomew, the only mark of recognition given him by the first three Gospels, are we to see, as many have thought, that Nathaniel, whose presentation to Jesus by Philip forms so sweet a scene of St. John’s Gospel?—a man full of uprightness, innocence and simplicity who was worthy to have had the dove for his precursor, and for whom the Man-God had choice graces and caresses from the very beginning.
Be this as it may, the lot which fell to our Saint among the twelve, points to the special confidence of the divine Heart; the heroism of the terrible martyrdom which sealed his apostolate reveals his fidelity; the dignity preserved by the nation he grated on Christ, in all the countries where it has been transplanted, witnesses to the excellence of the sap first infused into its branches. When, two centuries and a half later, Gregory the Illuminator so successfully cultivated the soil of Armenia, he did but quicken the seed sown by the Apostle, which the trials never wanting to that generous land had retarded for a time but could not stifle.
How strangely sad that evil men, nurtured in this turmoil of endless invasions, should have been able to rouse and perpetuate a mistrust of Rome among a race whom wars and tortures and dispersion could not tear from the love of Christ our Savior! Yet, thanks be to God! the movement towards return, more than once begun and then abandoned, seems now to be steadily advancing; the chosen sons of this illustrious nation are laboring perseveringly for so desirable a union by dispelling the prejudices of her people; by revealing to our lands the treasures of her literature so truly Christian, and the magnificences of her liturgy; and above all by praying and devoting themselves to the monastic state under the standard of the Father of Western Monks. Together with these holders of the true national tradition, let us pray to Bartholomew their Apostle; to the disciple Thaddeus who also shared in the first evangelization; to Ripsima the heroic virgin, who from the Roman territory led her thirty-five companions to the conquest of a new land; and to all the martyrs whose blood cemented the building upon the only foundation set by our Lord. Like these great forerunners, may the leader of the second apostolate, Gregory the Illuminator, who wished to see Peter in the person of St. Sylvester, and receive the blessing of the Roman Pontiff—may the holy kings the patriarchs and doctors of Armenia, become once more her chosen guides, and lead her back entirely and irrevocably to the one Fold of the one Shepherd!
We learn from Eusebius and from St. Jerome that before going to Armenia, his final destination, St. Bartholomew evangelized the Indies, where Pantænus a century later found a copy of St. Matthew’s Gospel in Hebrew characters, left there by him. St. Denis records a profound saying of the glorious Apostle, which he thus quotes and comments: “The blessed Bartholomew says of Theology, that it is at once abundant and succinct; of the Gospel, that it is vast in extent and at the same time concise; thus excellently giving us to understand that the beneficent Cause of all beings reveals or manifests himself by many words or by few, or even without any words at all, as being beyond and above all language or thought. For he is above all by his superior essence; and they alone reach him in his truth, without the veils wherewith he surrounds himself, who, passing beyond matter and spirit and rising above the summit of the holiest heights, leave behind them all reflections and echoes of God, all the language of heaven, to enter into the darkness wherein he dwelleth, as the Scripture says, who is above all.”
The city of Rome celebrates the feast of St. Bartholomew tomorrow, as do also the Greeks who commemorate on the 25th of August a translation of the Apostle’s relics. It is owing, in fact, to the various translations of his holy body and to the difficulty of ascertaining the date of his martyrdom that different days have been adopted for his feast by different churches both in the East and in the West. The 24th of this month, consecrated by the use of most of the Latin churches, is the day assigned in the most ancient martyrologies, including that of St. Jerome. In the 13th century, Innocent III, having been consulted as to the divergence, answered that local custom was to be observed.
The Church gives us the following notice of the Apostle of Armenia.
On this day of thy feast, O holy Apostle, the Church prays in her Collect for the Mass, for grace to love what thou didst believe and to preach what thou didst teach. Not that the Bride of the Son of God could ever fail either in faith or love; but she knows only too well that, though her Head is ever in the light, and her heart ever united to the Spouse in the Holy Spirit who sanctifies her, nevertheless her several members, the particular churches of which she is composed, may detach themselves from their center of life and wander away in darkness. O thou who didst choose our West as the place of thy rest; thou whose precious relics Rome glories in possessing, bring back to Peter the nations thou didst evangelize; fulfill the now reviving hopes of universal union; second the efforts made by the Vicar of the Man-God to gather again under the shepherd’s crook those scattered flocks whose pastures have become parched by schism. May thine own Armenia be the first to complete a return which she began long ago: may she trust the Mother-Church and no more follow the sowers of discord. All being reunited, may we together enjoy the treasures of our concordant traditions, and go to God, even at the cost of being despoiled of all things, by the course so grand and yet so simple taught us by thy example and by thy sublime theology.
Information: St. Clare of AssisiFeast Day: August 11
Born: July 16, 1194, Assisi, Italy
Died: August 11, 1253, Assisi, Italy
Canonized: September 26, 1255, Rome by Pope Alexander IV
Major Shrine: Basilica of Saint Clare, Assisi
Patron of: clairvoyance, eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry, embrodiers, gilders, good weather, needleworkers, telephones, telegraphs, television
Information: St. PhilomenaFeast Day: August 11
Major Shrine: Church of Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano del Cardinale
Patron of: Children, youth, babies, infants, lost causes, sterility, virgins, Children of Mary, The Universal Living Rosary Association
Saint Clare of Assisi
Saint of the Day for August 11
(July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253)
Saint Clare of Assisi’s Story
One of the more sugary movies made about Francis of Assisi pictures Clare as a golden-haired beauty floating through sun-drenched fields, a sort of one-woman counterpart to the new Franciscan Order.
The beginning of her religious life was indeed movie material. Having refused to marry at 15, Clare was moved by the dynamic preaching of Francis. He became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide.
At 18, Clare escaped from her father’s home one night, was met on the road by friars carrying torches, and in the poor little chapel called the Portiuncula received a rough woolen habit, exchanged her jeweled belt for a common rope with knots in it, and sacrificed her long tresses to Francis’ scissors. He placed her in a Benedictine convent, which her father and uncles immediately stormed in rage. Clare clung to the altar of the church, threw aside her veil to show her cropped hair, and remained adamant.
Sixteen days later her sister Agnes joined her. Others came. They lived a simple life of great poverty, austerity, and complete seclusion from the world, according to a Rule which Francis gave them as a Second Order. At age 21, Francis obliged Clare under obedience to accept the office of abbess, one she exercised until her death.
The Poor Ladies went barefoot, slept on the ground, ate no meat, and observed almost complete silence. Later Clare, like Francis, persuaded her sisters to moderate this rigor: “Our bodies are not made of brass.” The greatest emphasis, of course, was on gospel poverty. They possessed no property, even in common, subsisting on daily contributions. When even the pope tried to persuade Clare to mitigate this practice, she showed her characteristic firmness: “I need to be absolved from my sins, but I do not wish to be absolved from the obligation of following Jesus Christ.”
Contemporary accounts glow with admiration of Clare’s life in the convent of San Damiano in Assisi. She served the sick and washed the feet of the begging nuns. She came from prayer, it was said, with her face so shining it dazzled those about her. She suffered serious illness for the last 27 years of her life. Her influence was such that popes, cardinals, and bishops often came to consult her—Clare herself never left the walls of San Damiano.
Francis always remained her great friend and inspiration. Clare was always obedient to his will and to the great ideal of gospel life which he was making real.
A well-known story concerns her prayer and trust. Clare had the Blessed Sacrament placed on the walls of the convent when it faced attack by invading Saracens. “Does it please you, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children I have nourished with your love? I beseech you, dear Lord, protect these whom I am now unable to protect.” To her sisters she said, “Don’t be afraid. Trust in Jesus.” The Saracens fled.
The 41 years of Clare’s religious life are scenarios of sanctity: an indomitable resolve to lead the simple, literal gospel life as Francis taught her; courageous resistance to the ever-present pressure to dilute the ideal; a passion for poverty and humility; an ardent life of prayer; and a generous concern for her sisters.
Saint Clare is the Patron Saint of:
St. Francis of Assisi (and) St. Clare of Assisi [Catholic Caucus]
SAINT CLARE, VIRGIN, FOUNDRESS OF THE POOR CLARES 1193-1253
Permission has been granted… [Poor Clares in San Antonio] (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
St. Clare’s Advice Defended Assisi Against An Attack By the Mohammedans (My Title)
Boomer Contemplating Faith: touching story as only an encounter with Poor Clares could inspire
St Clare of Assisi (1193-1253)
Saint Clare of Assisi
The Devil vs. St. Jean Vianney (and the martyrdom of Fr. Hamel)
Priest for Times of Terror: The Curé d’Ars
Fighting Evil Like the Cure of Ars
The Devil’s Most Effective Foe
On a Saint Who Taught and Guided Holy Priests
Pope Benedict to declare St. Jean Vianney Patron of all Priests
Praying People into the Confessional (the example of St. John Vianney)
Revitalizing Your Priesthood (The Grace of Ars — about St. John Vianney)
A Seed of Glory and Eternal Life in the Holy Priest’s Flesh [Death of St. John Vianney, Curé d’Ars]
The Priesthood and the Mass
Sermons of St. John Vianney – Cure of Ars » Follow one Master only
Sermons of St. John Vianney – Cure of Ars » The World is Everything – God, Nothing!
Sermons of St. John Vianney – Cure of Ars » We are wretched creatures
Bishop Olmsted on the Devil and John Vianney
St. John Mary Vianney, the Curé d’Ars
Saint John MarIe Baptist Vianney, Cure of Ars (1786-1859)
Novena In Honor Of Saint John Marie Vianney
Curé d’Ars: Model Priest [Year of the Priest]
Pope: There’s an Answer to Empty Confessionals [Catholic Caucus]
St. John Vianney’s Pastoral Plan
Sermons of St. John Vianney – Cure of Ars » Lost Works
Sermons of St. John Vianney – Cure of Ars » Have You Religion in Your Heart?
Sermons of St. John Vianney – Cure of Ars: The Dreadful State of the Lukewarm Soul (Catholic Caucus)
Play about life of St. John Vianney to tour U.S. in 2009
Aug 4, St. John Marie Vianney – Patron of Parish Priests
Centuries Old Relic (heart of St. John Vianney) Comes To U.S.
Sainted priest’s heart – Thousands await chance to see incorrupt relic
Saint’s heart to go on display
Excerpts from the Sermons of the Cure of Ars
St. John Vianney’s Pastoral Plan
Relics of Curé of Ars Make Stop in Papal Chapel
HOMILY by St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars CHARITY
St John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests(1786-1859)[Cure of Ars]
News from the Apostolic Administration of St. John Vianney Fall 2002, Volume 1 – Number 1
The Cure Of Ars: Jean-Marie Vianney
“Oh, how great is a priest!” [The Curé d’Ars regarding bishops/priests)
Saint John Vianney
Saint of the Day for August 4
(May 8, 1786 – August 4, 1859)
Saint John Vianney’s Story
A man with vision overcomes obstacles and performs deeds that seem impossible. John Vianney was a man with vision: He wanted to become a priest. But he had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which inadequately prepared him for seminary studies.
His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue. But his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a lengthy battle with the books, John was ordained.
Situations calling for “impossible” deeds followed him everywhere. As pastor of the parish at Ars, John encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. His vision led him through severe fasts and short nights of sleep.
With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La Providence, a home for girls. Only a man of vision could have such trust that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those who came to make La Providence their home.
His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s most remarkable accomplishment. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours. Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day after day.
Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney had no thoughts of retirement. As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God’s people. Even the few hours he would allow himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil.
Who, but a man with vision, could keep going with ever-increasing strength? In 1929, Pope Pius XI named him the patron of parish priests worldwide.
Indifference toward religion, coupled with a love for material comfort, seem to be common signs of our times. A person from another planet observing us would not likely judge us to be pilgrim people, on our way to somewhere else. John Vianney on the other hand, was a man on a journey, with his goal before him at all times.
Saint John Vianney is the Patron Saint of:
Saints Joachim and Anne’s Story
In the Scriptures, Matthew and Luke furnish a legal family history of Jesus, tracing ancestry to show that Jesus is the culmination of great promises. Not only is his mother’s family neglected, we also know nothing factual about them except that they existed. Even the names Joachim and Anne come from a legendary source written more than a century after Jesus died.
The heroism and holiness of these people however, is inferred from the whole family atmosphere around Mary in the Scriptures. Whether we rely on the legends about Mary’s childhood or make guesses from the information in the Bible, we see in her a fulfillment of many generations of prayerful persons, herself steeped in the religious traditions of her people.
The strong character of Mary in making decisions, her continuous practice of prayer, her devotion to the laws of her faith, her steadiness at moments of crisis, and her devotion to her relatives—all indicate a close-knit, loving family that looked forward to the next generation even while retaining the best of the past.
Joachim and Anne—whether these are their real names or not—represent that entire quiet series of generations who faithfully perform their duties, practice their faith, and establish an atmosphere for the coming of the Messiah, but remain obscure.
This is the “feast of grandparents.” It reminds grandparents of their responsibility to establish a tone for generations to come: They must make the traditions live and offer them as a promise to little children. But the feast has a message for the younger generation as well. It reminds the young that older people’s greater perspective, depth of experience, and appreciation of life’s profound rhythms are all part of a wisdom not to be taken lightly or ignored.
Saints Joachim and Anne are the Patron Saints of:
Saint Anne is the Patron Saint of:
Women in Labor
Meeting of Saints Joachim and Anne at the Golden Gate
Ambrosius Benson (1495 – 1550)
Joachim (whose name means Yahweh prepares), was the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we were to obey the warning of St. Peter Damian, we should consider it a blameable and needless curiosity to inquire about those things that the Evangelists did not deem it advisable to relate, and, in particular, about the parents of the Blessed Virgin (Serm. iii de Nativ. B.M.V.). Tradition nevertheless, grounded on very old testimonies, very early hailed Saints Joachim and Anne as the father and mother of the Mother of God.
True, this tradition seems to rest ultimately on the so-called “Gospel of James”, the “Gospel of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary”, and the Pseudo-Matthew, or “Book of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Childhood of the Saviour”; and this origin is likely to rouse well-founded suspicions. It should be borne in mind, however, that the apocryphal character of these writings, that is to say, their rejection from the canon, and their ungenuineness do not imply that no heed whatever should be taken of some of their assertions; side by side, indeed, with unwarranted and legendary facts, they contain some historical data borrowed from reliable traditions or documents; and difficult though it is to distinguish in them the wheat from the tares, it would be unwise and uncritical indiscriminately to reject the whole. Some commentators, who believe that the genealogy given by St. Luke is that of the Blessed Virgin, find the mention of Joachim in Heli (Luke, iii, 23; Eliachim, i.e. Jeho-achim), and explain that Joseph had, in the eyes of the law, become by his marriage the son of Joachim.
That such is the purpose and the meaning of the Evangelist is very doubtful, and so is the identification proposed between the two names Heli and Joachim. Neither can it be asserted with certainty, in spite of the authority of the Bollandists, that Joachim was Heli’s son and Joseph’s brother; nor, as is sometimes affirmed, from sources of very doubtful value, that he had large possessions in herds and flocks. Much more interesting are the beautiful lines in which the “Gospel of James” describes how, in their old age, Joachim and Anne received the reward of their prayers to obtain issue.
Tradition has it that the parents of the Blessed Virgin, who, apparently, first lived in Galilee, came later on to settle in Jerusalem; there the Blessed Virgin was born and reared; there also they died and were buried. A church, known at various epochs as St. Mary, St. Mary ubi nata est, St. Mary in Probatica, Holy Probatica, St. Anne, was built during the fourth century, possibly by St. Helena, on the site of the house of St. Joachim and St. Anne, and their tombs were there honoured until the close of the ninth century, when the church was converted into a Moslem school. The crypt which formerly contained the holy tombs was rediscovered on 18 March, 1889.
St. Joachim was honoured very early by the Greeks, who celebrate his feast on the day following the Blessed Virgin’s birthday; the Latins were slow to admit it to their calendar, where it found place sometimes on 16 Sept. and sometimes on 9 Dec. Assigned by Julius II to 20 March, the solemnity was suppressed some fifty years later, restored by Gregory XV (1622), fixed by Clement XII (1738) on the Sunday after the Assumption, and finally raised to the rank of double of the second class by Leo XIII (1 Aug., 1879).
Of St. Anne we have no certain knowledge. She is not mentioned in the New Testament, and we must depend on apocryphal literature, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back only to the second century.
In this document we are told that Anne, wife of Joachim, was advanced in years and that her prayers for a child had not been answered. Once as she prayed beneath a laurel tree near her home in Galilee, an angel appeared and said to her, “Anne, the Lord hath heard thy prayer and thou shalt conceive and bring forth, and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world.” Anne replied, “As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life “ And thus Anne became the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The devotion of St. Anne was known in the East in the fifth century, but it was not diffused in the West until the thirteenth. A shrine at Douai, in northern France, was one of the early centers of the devotion. In 1382 her feast was extended to the whole Western Church, and she became very popular, especially in France. Her two most famous shrines are at St. Anne d’Auray in Brittany and at St. Anne-de Beaupre in the province of Quebec.
She is patroness of housewives, women in labor, cabinet-makers, and miners. Her emblem is a door. St. Anne has been frequently represented in art, and the lovely face depicted by Leonardo da Vinci comes first to mind in this connection. The name Anne derives from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning “grace.”
Ordinary Time: July 26th
Memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary
Old Calendar: St. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary
It was in the home of Joachim and Ann where the Virgin Mary received her training to be the Mother of God. Thus, devotion to Ann and Joachim is an extension of the affection Christians have always professed toward our Blessed Mother. We, too, owe a debt of gratitude to our parents for their help in our Christian formation.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Ann; St. Joachim’s feast in this rite is celebrated on August 16.
Sts. Joachim and Ann
Who does not know about the great shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre in Canada, where miracles abound, where cured cripples leave their crutches, and where people come from thousands of miles to pray to the grandmother of Jesus? At one time, July 26 was the feast of St. Anne only, but with the new calendar the two feasts of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary have been joined and are celebrated today. Our information about Mary’s parents comes from an apocryphal Christian writing, the Protoevangelium Jacobi (or Gospel of James), written about the year 170. According to this story, Joachim was a prominent and respected man who had no children, and he and his wife, Anne, looked upon this as a punishment from God. In answer to their prayers, Mary was born and was dedicated to God at a very early age.
From this early Christian writing have come several of the feast days of Mary, particularly the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of Mary, and her Assumption into Heaven. Very early also came feast days in honor of SS. Joachim and Anne, and in the Middle Ages numerous churches, chapels, and confraternities were dedicated to St. Anne. The couple early became models of Christian marriage, and their meeting at the Golden Gate in Jerusalem has been a favorite subject of Christian artists.
Anne is often shown in paintings with Jesus and Mary and is considered a subject that attracts attention, since Anne is the grandmother of Jesus. Her two great shrines — that of Ste. Anne d’Auray in Britanny, France, and that of Ste. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec in Canada — are very popular. We know little else about the lives of Mary’s parents, but considering the person of Mary, they must have been two very remarkable people to have been given such a daughter and to have played so important a part in the work of the Redemption.
There is a church of St. Anne in Jerusalem and it is believed to be built on the site of the home of SS. Joachim and Anne, when they lived in Jerusalem.
Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens
The Mysterious Relics of Saint Anne
On Easter AD 792, Charlemagne discovered the relics of Saint Anne with the help of a deaf handicapped boy. It’s a wonderful tale for this feast day of Saint Anne.
Below is the account, preserved in the correspondence of Pope Saint Leo III, concerning the mysterious discovery of the relics of Saint Anne in the presence of the Emperor Charlemagne.
Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, Saint Mary Magdalen, Saint Martha, Saint Lazarus, and the others of the little band of Christians who were piled into a boat without sails or oars and pushed out to sea to perish — in the persecution of the Christians by the Jews of Jerusalem — were careful to carry with them the tenderly loved body of Our Lady’s mother. They feared lest it be profaned in the destruction, which Jesus had told them was to come upon Jerusalem. When, by the power of God, their boat survived and finally drifted to the shores of France, the little company of saints buried Saint Anne’s body in a cave, in a place called Apt, in the south of France. The church, which was later built over the spot, fell into decay because of wars and religious persecutions, and as the centuries passed, the place of Saint Anne’s tomb was forgotten.
The long years of peace, which Charlemagne’s wise rule gave to southern France, enabled the people to build a magnificent new church on the site of the old chapel at Apt. Extraordinary and painstaking labor went into the building of the great structure, and when the day of its consecration arrived [Easter Sunday, 792 A.D.], the beloved Charlemagne, little suspecting what was in store for him, declared himself happy indeed to have journeyed so many miles to be present for the holy occasion. At the most solemn part of the ceremonies, a boy of fourteen, blind, deaf and dumb from birth — and usually quiet and impassive — to the amazement of those who knew him, completely distracted the attention of the entire congregation by becoming suddenly tremendously excited. He rose from his seat, walked up the aisle to the altar steps, and to the consternation of the whole church, struck his stick resoundingly again and again upon a single step.
His embarrassed family tried to lead him out, but he would not budge. He continued frantically to pound the step, straining with his poor muted senses to impart a knowledge sealed hopelessly within him. The eyes of the people turned upon the emperor, and he, apparently in spired by God, took the matter into his own hands. He called for workmen to remove the steps.
A subterranean passage was revealed directly below the spot, which the boy’s stick had indicated. Into this pas sage the blind lad jumped, to be followed by the emperor, the priests, and the workmen.
They made their way in the dim light of candles, and when, farther along the pas sage, they came upon a wall that blocked further advance, the boy signed that this also should be removed. When the wall fell, there was brought to view still another long, dark corridor. At the end of this, the searchers found a crypt, upon which, to their profound wonderment, a vigil lamp, alight and burning in a little walled recess, cast a heavenly radiance.
As Charlemagne and his afflicted small guide, with their companions, stood be fore the lamp, its light went out. And at the same moment, the boy, blind and deaf and dumb from birth, felt sight and hearing and speech flood into his young eyes, his ears, and his tongue.
“It is she! It is she!” he cried out. The great emperor, not knowing what he meant, nevertheless repeated the words after him. The call was taken up by the crowds in the church above, as the people sank to their knees, bowed in the realization of the presence of something celestial and holy.
The crypt at last was opened, and a casket was found within it. In the casket was a winding sheet, and in the sheet were relics, and upon the relics was an inscription that read, “Here lies the body of Saint Anne, mother of the glorious Virgin Mary.” The winding sheet, it was noted, was of eastern design and texture.
Charlemagne, overwhelmed, venerated with profound gratitude the relics of the mother of Heaven’s Queen. He remained a long time in prayer. The priests and the people, awed by the graces given them in such abundance and by the choice of their countryside for such a heavenly manifestation, for three days spoke but rarely, and then in whispers.
The emperor had an exact and detailed account of the miraculous finding drawn up by a notary and sent to Pope Saint Leo III, with an accompanying letter from himself. These documents and the pope’s reply are preserved to this day. Many papal bulls have attested, over and over again, to the genuineness of Saint Anne’s relics at Apt.
Excerpted from Canterbury Tales
Anne: against poverty; barren; broommakers; cabinetmakers; carpenters; childless couples; equestrians; grandmothers; grandparents; homemakers; housewives; lace makers; lace workers; lost articles; miners; mothers; old-clothes dealers; pregnancy; pregnant women; horse riders; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; turners; women in labour; Brittany; Canada; France; Quebec; archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan; diocese of Norwich, Connecticut; Santa Ana Indian Pueblo; Taos, New Mexico.
Joachim: fathers, grandfathers, grandparents.
Anne: Book, symbol of her careful instruction of Mary; flowering rod; crown; nest of young birds; door; Golden Gate of Jerusalem; book; infant Virgin in crib; Shield has silver border masoned in black, with silver lily on a blue field referring to the girlhood of the Virgin.
Often Portrayed As: Woman holding Mary or Jesus in her arms or lap; Woman at her betrothal to Joachim; Mother teaching Mary to read the Bible; Woman greeting Saint Joachim at Golden Gate; Woman with a book in her hand.
Joachim: Basket containing doves; model of Golden Gate of Jerusalem.
Often Portrayed As: Man bringing a lamb to the altar and being turned away by the priest; greeting and/or kissing Saint Anne at the Golden Gate; elderly man carrying a basket of doves and a staff; elderly man with the child Mary.
Things to Do:
- See more about the Shrine of Sainte Anne de Beaupré in Quebec, Canada. Several relics of St. Anne are also located in this shrine. Take a video tour of the Shrine here accompanied by beautiful Gregorian chant.
- Foods related to St. Ann and Joachim: It seems shellfish, particularly lobster, is one traditional type of food served in France for this feastday. See the suggested recipes in the left column.This feast falls right in the middle of summer season, so keep in mind the variety of wonderful summer fruits and make something special with them, particularly fruit pies or tarts. A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year mentions that “[i]n both France and French Canada what would commonly be served on this occasion is a fruit tart: such exquisite desserts are traditional at all patronal festivals (as well as other special occasions), especially those falling in the summer, when such a luscious assortment of fruits is available.” She includes two recipes, plum tart and apple tart. From Ignatius Press another cookbook called Cooking With the Saints includes recipes for St. Anne’s Cream (Crème Sainte-Anne) and Anna Torte (Gateau Sainte-Anne).
One could also try to find “Bible foods” that St. Anne or the Blessed Virgin Mary would have cooked in their time. (But usually those aren’t very festive!) This site gives some ideas on Biblical foods.
- As Joachim and Ann are the grandparents of Jesus, today has traditionally been a day to honor one’s grandparents.
Meditation: Matthew 13:18-23
Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)
The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it. (Matthew 13:23)
What is your opinion of the sower in this parable? Do you think he cares about where his seeds land? Perhaps you picture him randomly dropping seeds here and there without a thought. Some seeds land on the path. So be it. Some land on the rocky ground and don’t take root. So be it. And some are lucky enough to land on rich soil, where they will thrive. So be it.
But if God is the farmer who is planting that seed, why would he decide to scatter his seeds on soil that won’t bear fruit? What farmer would be so careless?
God is not being careless; he just knows that we can change. He knows we aren’t stuck with being one type of “soil” our whole lives. He knows that any kind of soil can be tilled, reclaimed, and eventually bear fruit. So he scatters his seed on hearts that are hard and full of weeds.
So what are some “rocks” and “thorns” that may be in the soil of our hearts? Commenting on this passage, Pope Francis suggested that rocky ground might be the superficial heart that doesn’t have much soil. When we have “rocks of laziness,” he said, we don’t go deep enough with the Lord because we fail to persevere. The thorns are vices such as idolizing wealth and living only for ourselves and our possessions. According to Pope Francis, “If we cultivate these thorns, we choke God’s growth within us.”
Francis went on to encourage us. When we bring our “rocks” and “thorns” to God in Confession and prayer, “Jesus, the Good Sower, will be glad to . . . purify our hearts” (Angelus Address, July 16, 2017).
Spend some time today asking God to show you the “rocks” and “thorns” in your life. What might be preventing you from fully hearing and understanding God’s word (Matthew 13:23)? What might be keeping you from flourishing and bearing fruit for him? Believe that God wants your heart to be rich soil. If you ask him, he will pull out the weeds. And not only that—he will rain down his grace on you so that you can continue to bear fruit for him!
“Lord, thank you for sending me your word and the grace to hear and understand it!”
Letter 3: 579; CE 54
Bearing fruit, free from worldly anxiety
Advance with simplicity on the pathways of God, and do not worry. Hate your defects, yes, but quietly, without excitement, nor anxiety. We must be patient with them and benefit from them by means of a holy humility. For if you lack patience, your imperfections, instead of disappearing, will only grow. Because there is nothing that strengthens our defects so much as anxiety and an obsession to get rid of them.
Saint Charbel Makhlouf, O.L.M., was a Maronite monk and priest from Lebanon. During his life he obtained a wide reputation for holiness and he has been canonized by the Catholic Church
Incorrupt bodies of the Saints -St Charbel Makhlouf -incorruptable (Catholic Caucus)
Saints that are Incorruptible [Ecumenical]
Being Catholic: Sacred Things, Relics and the Incorruptibles
St. Anthony of Padua, Servant of the Gospel
By: Jeanne Kun
“Let Works of Mercy Be Our Delight”>
Stories abound about the extraordinary events coloring the life of St. Anthony of Padua, the “wonder-worker.” Fish are said to have listened to him preach, their heads attentively raised out of the river, when the hard of heart refused to heed his words.
A donkey knelt reverently before the Blessed Sacrament, convincing heretics who had challenged Anthony on Christ’s presence in the host. A severed foot was reportedly rejoined to its owner’s leg when Anthony blessed it. Statues depicting Anthony with the infant Jesus in his arms recall the occasion when the child appeared to him surrounded by marvelous light.
This popular saint is also known as the “Finder of Lost Articles.” When a novice once ran away with a book of psalms containing notes Anthony had made for teaching his fellow Franciscans, he prayed for the young friar and the recovery of the book. Soon the novice repented and returned to the order, bringing the precious psalter back with him. Since then, millions of people have asked Anthony for help in finding lost possessions: “Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around/ Something is lost and needs to be found.”
But still, we might wonder, why has this saint of the Middle Ages remained so well-known today? Behind all the remarkable miracles and captivating stories told of Anthony is a man who loved God passionately and tirelessly proclaimed the truth of the gospel.
A Son of Portugal. The man who became known to the world as St. Anthony of Padua actually began his life in a different city than Padua and with a different name than Anthony. He was born Fernando Bulhom in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195. His father served King Alfonso I as a knight, and Fernando grew up dreaming of the adventures of knighthood. However, when he was fifteen, he chose instead to join the Augustinian monks at San Vincente, just outside the city.
After two years at San Vincente, Fernando saw that he was being too distracted by frequent visitors from outside the monastery, so he asked to transfer to the monastery of Santa Cruz in Portugal’s capital, Coîmbra. For the next eight years he immersed himself in prayer and Scripture and became an avid student of theology and the Fathers of the Church. Most historians assume that it was during this time that he was also ordained to the priesthood. Little did Fernando know that his life was about to take a dramatic turn.
In 1220, the bodies of five Franciscans martyred for preaching to Muslims in Morocco were brought to be honored at Santa Cruz. The story of these men moved Fernando profoundly, and he began to burn with a desire to lay down his life for Christ. He realized, however that he was unlikely to fulfill this dream as an Augustinian monk. When some Franciscans came to the monastery begging a short time later, he opened his heart to them and said, “I will gladly take the habit of your order if you will promise that as soon as I do you will send me to the land of the Saracens.” After receiving the reluctant permission of his prior, Fernando exchanged his white Augustinian habit for the gray robe of a Franciscan brother and took the name Anthony in honor of the great monastic patriarch, Anthony of the Desert.
The Turning Point. Twenty-six years old, Anthony sailed to Morocco with ambitions to convert Muslims to Christianity. However, a prolonged fever forced him to surrender his dream. He realized that God was asking a different kind of sacrifice from him, but he couldn’t tell yet what that sacrifice might be. On the return trip to Portugal, a storm drove Anthony’s ship to Sicily, where he met friars who nursed him back to health. Together with these brother Franciscans, Anthony set out for the now-famous Pentecost “Chapter of Mats” in Assisi where three thousand friars gathered with their founder, Francis. At the close of the meeting, Anthony was assigned to the hermitage of San Paolo near Arezzo, where he served his brothers by celebrating Mass for them, washing dishes, and sweeping the floor. He enjoyed the simplicity of his new life, but what most delighted him were the long hours he was able to spend in a secluded cave, lost in prayer and worship of the Lord.
None of the friars at San Paolo suspected their new companion’s brilliant intellect and knowledge of Scripture until 1222, when they all attended an ordination ceremony in Forli. When several other Franciscans and Dominicans declined an on-the-spot request to preach a homily, Anthony was called upon to “speak whatever the Holy Spirit put in his mouth.” Anthony did just that, and his listeners were amazed at his eloquence and passion. Thus ended Anthony’s contemplative life as the Franciscan provincial commissioned him to preach publicly.
“Hammer of the Heretics.” The thirteenth century was a time of great political, economic, social, and religious activity in Europe. Feudalism, the centuries-old system of land-holding, was declining as a growing merchant class began to make its voice heard. Coined money became more common, displacing land as the measure of wealth. Itinerant evangelists and false teachers, among them Waldensians and Albigensians, were gaining a hearing, especially among the less educated.
Understandably, the Albigensians criticized priests whose scandalous lifestyle undermined the gospel. However, they also denied the reality of Jesus’ human nature and spoke against the resurrection of the body. It was in this turbulent environment that the Franciscan and Domini-can orders—new forms of religious life—came to be.
In Anthony’s preaching tours throughout northern Italy and southern France, he strengthened the faithful, invited sinners to repent, and brought the wandering back to the truth. His studies as an Augustinian, coupled with his love for the Franciscan spirit, made him a powerful witness of the gospel. Realizing that it was not enough merely to proclaim right doctrine in order to win people’s hearts, Anthony confirmed his words by demonstrating genuine gospel living. “The preacher must by word and example be a sun to those to whom he preaches,” he once said. “Our life must warm the hearts of men, while our teaching enlightens them.”
Anthony presented the truth of Christianity in positive ways and defended the faith by the example of his life rather than by taking direct issue with heretics and trying to prove them wrong. Nonetheless, Anthony was also well able to refute false teachers with his thorough knowledge of the Bible and the church Fathers. Because of his success, he became known as the “Hammer of the Heretics.”
Teacher and Preacher. Around this time Francis appointed Anthony to teach theology to his fellow friars. He was the first member of his order to fill such a post and taught briefly in Bologna, Montpellier, and Toulouse. Nonetheless, his primary mission remained that of a preacher. His learning, eloquent powers of persuasion, magnetic personality, and clear, rich voice attracted great crowds. In one remarkable instance, a woman forbidden by her husband to attend Anthony’s preaching flung open her window so that his sermon, though at quite a distance, filled the room. Astonished by what he considered a miracle, her husband was moved to the heart by Anthony’s words.
Loved and respected by his Franciscan brothers, Anthony was elected provincial of the friars in northern Italy in 1227. During the next three years he also served as an envoy to Pope Gregory IX, preached throughout Italy, and wrote “Sermons for Sunday,” actually notes to aid other preachers in preparing their own sermons. On one occasion, after Anthony preached before the curia, the pope called him the “Ark of the Testament” because of his profound knowledge of the Scriptures and later commissioned him to produce a series of sermons for the church’s feast days.
Beloved Padua. In June 1230, Pope Gregory IX released Anthony, at his own request, from his duties as provincial so he could devote his energies exclusively to preaching. From that time on he resided in Padua, a city whose people had become dear to him when he had preached to them earlier. There he was privileged to see great fruit in the final months of his life.
Anthony’s sermons in Padua produced a genuine transformation among the citizens as he urged them to trust in God’s mercy and receive his forgiveness. Long-standing quarrels among neighbors were settled peacefully, immoral living was abandoned, and stolen goods were restored as thieves became honest men. Shops and offices were closed while as many as thirty thousand people gathered in the piazzas or open fields to hear him. A bodyguard of young men protected Anthony as crowds of enthusiasts&mash;some armed with scissors to snip off pieces of his habit as relics—pressed around him.
Concerned for the poor, Anthony preached against charging exorbitant interest rates on loans and persuaded the city to pass a law against the common practice of imprisoning debtors who could not pay their creditors. But his main object was to bring people back to peace with God. He took no satisfaction in a crowd of listeners if the confessional remained empty afterwards. Anthony felt that would be like “hunting all day and returning with an empty game-bag.” So, after his morning Mass and sermon, he frequently heard confessions the rest of the day, often aided by local parish priests.
“I See My Lord!” After preaching through Lent and the spring of 1231, Anthony’s health and strength gave out. He was only thirty-six years old. He retreated with two companions to a forest where he enjoyed solitude and prayer in a cell built for him in the branches of a huge walnut tree. When he saw that he was declining, Anthony asked to be taken back to his beloved Padua, but only reached the outskirts of the city, where he died on June 13, 1231. As death approached, he joyously told his companions, “I see my Lord!”
When Anthony was canonized the following year, Pope Gregory IX spontaneously in-toned the antiphon O doctor optime in his honor. In 1946 Pope Pius XII formally declared St. Anthony of Padua a doctor of the church.
Anthony knew the mercy and goodness of God and moved many to follow Jesus wholeheartedly by proclaiming that mercy through powerful sermons and through the witness of his life. If what happened in Padua is any indication, Anthony’s life is an example of what can happen in each of our homes and neighborhoods as we pursue Jesus wholeheartedly and do not shrink back from opportunities to share his good news with those around us.
Saint Anthony of Padua,Priest and Doctor of the Church
Memorial June 13th
Madonna with Child, Saint Anthony of Padua and a Friar
before 1480 — Tempera on wood
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Saint Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal as Ferdinand de Bulhoes, he was a Franciscan known for his profound knowledge of theology and for his rhetorical skill. His preachings carried him from the north of Africa to Italy and France. He is known as the Evangelical Doctor because he based all that he said on the texts of the gospels. He died in Padua.
Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003
Almighty ever-living God,
who gave Saint Anthony of Padua to your people
as an outstanding preacher
and an intercessor in their need,
grant that, with his assistance,
as we follow the teachings of the Christian life,
we may know your help in every trial.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-3d
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:1-9
After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Oración a San Antonio de Padua
Glorioso San Antonio que por tus
Milagros mereciste tener en tus brazos
Al infante Jesús: intercede de su
Misericordia el favor que
Fervorosament te pido. Tú eres tan
Bondadoso con los pecadores, no te
Fijes en mis faltas. Miro la grandeza y
La gloria del Señor, la salvación de mi
Alma y la necesidad de remediar mis
(Haga su petición)
Related link on the Vatican Website:
BENEDICT XVI, GENERAL AUDIENCE, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, February 10, 2010, Saint Anthony of Padua
Forensic experts attempt to reconstruct face of St. Anthony
St. Anthony, Finder of the Lost (It wasn’t lost articles, but lost souls)[Ecumenical]
“Something’s Lost and Must Be Found!” Praying to St. Anthony of Padua [Catholic Caucus]
On St. Anthony of Padua
Feast of St. Anthony of Padua
June 13 – St. Anthony of Padua, Confessor (Dom Guéranger) (Catholic Caucus)
ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA—1195-1231 A.D.
Malleus Haereticorum – St. Anthony of Padua
In Pakistan Muslims and Protestants celebrate Saint Anthony as well
Italian Studio Films 1st Movie on St. Anthony of Padua – “Anthony, God’s Warrior”
The Marian Devotion of St. Anthony of Padua
Saint Anthony of Padua: Hammer of Heretics and Ark of the New Covenant and Miracle Worker
June 13, Feast of St Anthony of Padua, Confessor and Doctor
St Anthony of Padua – Confessor
The Life Of Saint Anthony Of Padua
Information: St. Anthony of Padua
Feast Day: June 13
Born: 1195, Lisbon, Portugal
Died: 13 June 1231, Padua
Canonized: 30 May 1232, Spoleto, Italy by Pope Gregory IX
Major Shrine: Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua in Padua, Italy
Patron of: animals; barrenness; Brazil; elderly people; faith in the Blessed Sacrament; fishermen; Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land; harvests; horses; Lisbon; lost articles; lower animals; mail; mariners; American Indians; oppressed people; Padua, Italy; poor people; Portugal; pregnant women; sailors; seekers of lost articles; shipwrecks; starvation; sterility; swineherds; Tigua Indians; travel hostesses; travellers; watermen
June 13, 2016
Prayer to Andre Bessette,
Patron Saint of the Disabled
Brother André, I come to you in prayer for healing.
You were no stranger to illness. Plagued by stomach problems, you knew suffering on a daily basis, but you never lost faith in God.
Thousands of people have sought your healing prayers as I do today. Pray that I might be restored to health in body, soul, and mind. With St. Joseph as my loving Protector, strengthen my faith and give me peace That I might accept God’s will for me no matter the outcome. Amen.
~ by Anna Keating
Please share this prayer with anyone who you know deals daily with a disability.
Year of Mercy Calendar for Today: “This week pray for those who are sick.”
Monday, June 13
Liturgical Color: White
Today is the Memorial of St.
Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the
Church. Known for his preaching
and fervent battles against false
teachings, St Anthony was called the
“Hammer of the Heretics.” He
continued spreading the Gospel until
his death in 1231.
Ordinary Time: June 13th
St. Anthony of Padua, priest & doctor
June 13, 2016 (Readings on USCCB website)
Grant, Lord God, that we, your servants, may rejoice in unfailing health of mind and body, and, through the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever-Virgin, may we be set free from present sorrow and come to enjoy eternal happiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Almighty ever-living God, who gave Saint Anthony of Padua to your people as an outstanding preacher and an intercessor in their need, grant that, with his assistance, as we follow the teachings of the Christian life, we may know your help in every trial. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Old Calendar: St. Anthony of Padua
St. Anthony was born at Lisbon, Portugal. He became a canon regular and then a Franciscan preaching the Gospel everywhere in Portugal and Italy. Both as a theologian and as a popular preacher he fought vigorously against heresy. His preaching was inspired by the love of God and of souls and had an extraordinary power of conviction; it was filled with the penetrating power of the Bible.
Pope Gregory IX, who heard him preach, called him during his lifetime the Arca Testamenti, meaning “the living repository of the Holy Scriptures” and Pope Pius XII, when he proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church, declared that he based all that he said on the texts of the Gospels, and could justly be called the Evangelical Doctor.
St. Anthony lived for a time in France, but chiefly in Italy, and died at Padua in 1231 at age 36, with the reputation of great sanctity. From the day of his death innumerable miracles caused the faithful to invoke him as a wonder-worker of untiring benevolence.
Anthony is one of the most popular saints in the Church. He is the patron of lost things and numerous other causes. In Brazil, he is considered a general of the army; he is the patron of the poor and has been recognized as a wonder worker from the moment of his death.
He was born in Portugal and entered the Augustinian monastery of Sao Vicente in Lisbon when he was fifteen. When news of the Franciscan martyrs in Morocco reached him, he joined the Franciscans at Coimbra. At his own request, he was sent as a missionary to Morocco, but he became ill, and on his return journey his boat was driven off course and he landed in Sicily. He took part in St. Francis’ famous Chapter of Mats in 1221 and was assigned to the Franciscan province of Romagna.
He became a preacher by accident. When a scheduled preacher did not show up for an ordination ceremony at Forli, the Franciscan superior told Anthony to go into the pulpit. His eloquence stirred everyone, and he was assigned to preach throughout northern Italy.
Because of his success in converting heretics, he was called the “Hammer of Heretics” and because of his learning, St. Francis himself appointed him a teacher of theology. St. Anthony of Padua was such a forceful preacher that shops closed when he came to town, and people stayed all night in church to be present for his sermons. He became associated with Padua because he made this city his residence and the center of his great preaching mission.
After a series of Lenten sermons in 1231, Anthony’s strength gave out and he went into seclusion at Camposanpiero but soon had to be carried back to Padua. He did not reach the city but was taken to the Poor Clare convent at Arcella, where he died. He was thirty-six years old, and the whole city of Padua turned out in mourning for his passing.
He was canonized within a year of his death and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946.
Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens
Patron: Against shipwrecks; against starvation; against starving; American Indians; amputees; animals; asses; barrenness; boatmen; Brazil; diocese of Beaumont, Texas; domestic animals; elderly people; expectant mothers; faith in the Blessed Sacrament; Ferrazzano, Italy; fishermen; harvests; horses; Lisbon, Portugal; lost articles; lower animals; mail; mariners; oppressed people; Padua, Italy; paupers; poor people; Portugal; pregnant women; sailors; seekers of lost articles; shipwrecks; starvation; starving people; sterility; swineherds; Tigua Indians; travel hostesses; travellers; watermen.
Symbols: The Holy Child on a book; lilies; fishes; flask and crucifix, mule; money chest and human heart; heart (symbol of Christian charity); fire (for religious fervor); portrayed holding a book, bread, Infant Jesus and or a lily.
Things to Do:
St. Anthony was a great lover of the poor. Deprive yourself of some treat and put the money saved in the poor box.
St. Anthony’s Bread refers to an episode told in the Rigaldina, the oldest life of St. Anthony. A Paduan mother, who lived near the Basilica during its construction, had left little Thomas, her 20 month old son, alone in the kitchen. The little boy, while playing, ended up head first in a tub of water. His mother found him lifeless. She screamed desperately but she didn’t give up. She called on the Saint. She made a vow: if she obtained the blessing of her child back to life, she would donate to the poor bread equal to the weight of her son to the poor. Her prayer was answered. Read more about St. Anthony’s Bread and consider donating to St. Anthony’s charities.
St. Anthony is invoked by women in search of good husbands, so if you’re single and in search of a spouse, today is a good day to make a visit to a church or shrine dedicated to St. Anthony to make your petition to this generous saint!
Because St. Anthony was buried on a Tuesday and many miracles accompanied his funeral, Tuesdays are special days of honoring him throughout the year. It is customary to pray a Novena to him on thirteen consecutive Tuesdays.
For more information and more prayers see the following websites:
Also known as
Antonio da Padova
Anthony’s wealthy family wanted him to be a great nobleman, but for the sake of Christ he became a poor Franciscan. Priest.
When the remains of Saint Berard and his companions, the first Franciscan martyrs, were brought to be buried in his church, Anthony was moved to leave his order, enter the Friars Minor, and go to Morocco to evangelize. Shipwrecked at Sicily, he joined some other brothers who were going to the church in Portiuncula. Lived in a cave at San Paolo leaving only to attend Mass and sweep the nearby monastery. One day when a scheduled speaker failed to appear, the brothers pressed him into speaking. He impressed them so that he was thereafter constantly travelling, evangelizing, preaching, and teaching theology through Italy and France.
A gifted speaker, he attracted crowds everywhere he went, speaking in multiple tongues; legend says that even the fish loved to listen. Miracle worker. One of the most beloved of saints, his images and statues are found everywhere – though none of them portray him as a heavy-set man, which some reports claim he was. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 January 1946.
One source of the well-known patronage for the recovery of lost objects comes from a legend that, long after Anthony’s death, his old prayer book was kept as a treasured relic, and one day it disappeared. People prayed for help in finding the lost item, a novice found it and returned it; he later admitted that he had “borrowed” the book and returned it after receiving a vision of an angry Anthony.
San Antonio, Texas, archdiocese of
Masbate, Philippines, diocese of
Infant Jesus (referring to his vision)
Christ-child in his arms
Christ-child on a book
Anecdotes Proving the Miraculous Power of Saint Anthony of Padua, by Father Joseph Anton Keller
Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, by Francis X Weiser, SJ
Life of Saint Anthony of Padua, by Father Ubaldus da Rieti (also available in epub and kindle formats)
Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 10 February 2010
Roman Martyrology, 1914 edition
Saint Anthony – The Saint of the Whole World, by Father Thomas F Ward
Saint Anthony in Art, by Mary F Nixon-Roulet
Saints and Their Symbols, by E A Greene
Sketch of the Life of Saint Anthony of Padua, by Father Clementinus Deymann
The Picture of Saint Anthony of Padua, by Father Clementinus Deymann
other sites in english
1001 Patron Saints and Their Feast Days, Australian Catholic Truth Society
American Catholic: Two Saints
American Catholic: The Italian Years
Daily Mail: Skeleton of Saint Anthony Goes on Display
Leonard Foley, O.F.M.: Who is Saint Anthony?
Norman Perry, O.F.M.: Devotion to Saint Anthony of Padua
Pope Benedict XVI: General Audience, 10 February 2010
Rome Reports: 3D Technology Gives a Glimpse of Saint Anthony
Saint Charles Borromeo Church, Picayune, Mississippi
Saints Alive, by Father Robert McNamara
Chronicle of Saint Anthony of Padua, Henry James Coleridge
Devotion to Saint Anthony of Padua, by Father Clementinus Deymann
Devotions to the Wonder-Worker, Saint Anthony of Padua, by Father Raymund Pennafort
Life of Saint Anthony of Padua, by Bishop Jean Rigauld
Miracle of Saint Anthony, by Maurice Maeterlinck
Saint Anthony of Padua, According to His Contemporaries, by Ernest Gilliat-Smith
Saint Anthony of Padua, His Life and Miracles, by Mabel Farnum
Saint Anthony of Padua, The Miracle-Worker, by Catherine Mary Anthony Woodcock
Wonder Worker of Padua, by Charles Warren Stoddard
sites en français
siti in italiano
The saints are like the stars. In his providence Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they may not shine before others when they might wish to do so. Yet they are always ready to exchange the quiet of contemplation for the works of mercy as soon as they perceive intheir heart the invitation of Christ. – Saint Anthony of Padua
Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found no fruit but only leaves. It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.
But the apostles “spoke as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.” Happy the man whose words issue from the Holy Spirit and not from himself!
We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. Our humble and sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfillment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner by keeping the commandments. Likewise we shall request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith so our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendor of the saints and to look upon the triune God.
Meditation: Matthew 5:38-42
Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
Offer no resistance to one who is evil. (Matthew 5:39)
We’ve all heard expressions like “What goes around comes around” and “The punishment should fit the crime.” But compare these statements to today’s Gospel reading, and they end up sounding like the ancient law of retribution: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. They imply that justice is served when wrongdoers get back what they dished out.
When thought of in the abstract, this sounds completely reasonable, doesn’t it? It’s nothing personal; you’re just trying to be fair and maintain order.
But most wrongdoing is personal. It’s no longer just an “event” out there. You are on the receiving end of an injustice, and you are hurt and frustrated. Especially if you have suffered a serious offense, it can be difficult to remain impartial and unemotional. Something in you wants to get even. And so the cycle of vengeance continues—a cycle that we see not only on the world stage but in family life as well.
What would it take for us to break this cycle? Although Jesus’ words about not resisting evil are an exaggeration, they do prompt us to ask, “How far am I willing to go?” Jesus wants the mark of his people to be mercy. He wants us to try to put an end to hatred, vengeance, and enmity—simply by making changes in our own hearts.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we should become doormats and let people take advantage of us. Neither does it mean that we don’t need judges and law enforcement officers to do their jobs. But at the end of the day, a social or political system can’t bring the kind of healing that a person can. As Pope Francis constantly reminds us, we need to encounter one another in order to experience the power of God’s mercy and love.
What simple step can you take to help break the cycle of hurt and retaliation? Maybe just a small act of generosity or a simple “I forgive you” is all you need—even if you don’t feel all that merciful at the time. It may not be easy, but it has the potential to open up someone else’s heart to God’s grace and forgiveness.
“Jesus, help me to be as merciful toward people as you have been with me.”
1 Kings 21:1-16
Saint Barnabas’ Story
Barnabas, a Jew of Cyprus, comes as close as anyone outside the Twelve to being a full-fledged apostle. He was closely associated with Saint Paul—he introduced Paul to Peter and the other apostles—and served as a kind of mediator between the former persecutor and the still suspicious Jewish Christians.
When a Christian community developed at Antioch, Barnabas was sent as the official representative of the church of Jerusalem to incorporate them into the fold. He and Paul instructed in Antioch for a year, after which they took relief contributions to Jerusalem.
Later Paul and Barnabas, now clearly seen as charismatic leaders, were sent by Antioch officials to preach to the gentiles. Enormous success crowned their efforts. After a miracle at Lystra, the people wanted to offer sacrifice to them as gods—Barnabas being Zeus, and Paul, Hermes—but the two said, “We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God” (see Acts 14:8-18).
But all was not peaceful. They were expelled from one town, they had to go to Jerusalem to clear up the ever-recurring controversy about circumcision, and even the best of friends can have differences. When Paul wanted to revisit the places they had evangelized, Barnabas wanted to take along his cousin John Mark, author of the Gospel, but Paul insisted that since Mark had deserted them once, he was not fit to take along now. The disagreement that followed was so sharp that Barnabas and Paul separated: Barnabas taking Mark to Cyprus, Paul taking Silas to Syria. Later they were reconciled—Paul, Barnabas and Mark.
When Paul stood up to Peter for not eating with gentiles for fear of his Jewish friends, we learn that “even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy” (see Galatians 2:1-13).
Barnabas is spoken of simply as one who dedicated his life to the Lord. He was a man “filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Thereby, large numbers were added to the Lord.” Even when he and Paul were expelled from Antioch in Pisidia—modern-day Turkey—they were “filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”
Saint Barnabas is the Patron Saint of:
St. Barnabas, Evangelizer of Milan
Anonymous Lombard, 18 c.
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Acts 11:21-26; 13:1-3
“He encouraged them all to remain firm in their commitment to the Lord.” —Acts 11:23 “Then…” —Acts 11:25
You would expect anyone known as the “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36) to spend his time exhorting people to remain firm in their commitment to the Lord. The leaders of the Jerusalem church expected this from Barnabas. That’s why they sent him to strengthen the new converts in a young church which faced possible persecution (Acts 11:19).
Encouragement, for Barnabas, was not just doing the expected: a few kind words and “being there” for others. Encouragement also meant finishing the job: personally doing whatever it took to make sure that each person became a solid, life-long disciple of Jesus. Barnabas knew that the best way to give his new converts fresh and continuing courage was to feed them God’s Word. Accordingly, Barnabas made sure those he was encouraging would receive God’s Word by personally traveling to Tarsus, tracking down Paul, and bringing him back to Antioch (Acts 11:25-26). Together, they “instructed great numbers” “for a whole year,” probably by means of daily Scripture teaching (Acts 11:26). By the time Barnabas completed his “encouragement,” the new converts were now called “Christians” and “disciples” (Acts 11:26), meaning those who have absolutely committed themselves to follow Jesus.
Be sons and daughters of encouragement. “Encourage one another” (Heb 10:25) and finish the job.
Prayer: Father, Source of all encouragement (Rm 15:5), teach me “how to rouse” and encourage Your people (Heb 10:24-25).
Promise: “Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the leprous, expel demons. The gift you have received, give as a gift.” —Mt 10:8
Praise: St. Barnabas encouraged Antioch to accept St. Paul, and St. Paul to accept his nephew, John Mark.