LITURGY OF THE SAINTS: August 20-22

Feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

Monday, August 20, 2001

    "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing anymore but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, Who is in Heaven."
      Matthew 5: 13-16
   A rebirth of the Cistercian Order can be attributed to a great Cistercian saint born in Burgundy, France in 1090: Saint Bernard. He entered the Cistercian abbey in Citeaux, France in 1113, convincing thirty friends and relatives to join him. Naturally, this influx led to the revival of the Cistercian Order and within three years of becoming a priest, Bernard was sent with twelve others to establish a new monastery at Clairvaux which was to be the daughter house of Citeaux. Bernard was chosen Abbot and as word of his devotion and knowledge grew the people sought him out from the poorest peasants to bishops, kings and Popes. One of them, Pope Blessed Eugene III commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe which also enabled Bernard to found many monasteries in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Sicily and even Syria. Kings beseeched him to serve as a peacemaker whenever possible and Bernard was revered not only for his holy life, but for his great writings. One of the greatest prayers he wrote was the Memorare to Our Lady. He was devoted heart and soul to his Crucified Lord and received many visions and messages through private revelation, one of which was his zeal to help the suffering Christ so that he offered to help Him bear the terrible suffering of the cross. Christ comforted Bernard and inspired him to carry His word and faith to all parts of Europe and the mideast, entreating the saint to defend the true pontiff Pope Innocent II as opposed to the antipope Anaclete II. Bernard died peacefully on August 20, 1153 five weeks after the death of his pontiff Blessed Eugene III. Bernard, also known as "Hammer of heretics", was canonized by Pope Alexander III in 1174 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1830 by Pope Pius VIII.

    Memorare

       Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins our Mother. To thee do we come, before thee do we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer us. Amen.
    Memorare Prayer composed by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Feast of Pope Saint Pius X, Traditional Pontiff of the Holy Eucharist

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

    "Blessed is the man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? for he hath done wonderful things in his life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting."
      Wisdom 31: 8-10
   Born Joseph Sarto in 1835 near Treviso, Italy at Riese, this young parish priest went on to become one of the greatest Popes ever - Pope Saint Pius X - the Pope of the Blessed Sacrament. Prior to his elevation to the papacy he was ordained Bishop of Mantua in 1884 and became Cardinal Sarto in 1893. Against his own wishes he was unanimously elected the 257th pontiff in the line of Peter at the conclave on August 9, 1903. His pontificate was one of great accomplishments from his liturgical reforms in the Breviary, Mass, and Gregorian Chant to his establishing that all children who had reached the age of reason could receive Holy Communion. He promulgated a new Catechism and the Code of Canon Law and established the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (A.A.S.) He decreed the elevation of the Holst and Chalice at the Consecration of the Mass and was known for his staunch defense of the conservative Church and opposed staunchly to liberalism. He deplored diplomacy in the face of all of the hypocrism and false dealings between nations and many believe the loss of so many lives at the outbreak of World War I contributed to his early death on August 21, 1914, 22 days after war had broken out. His last words were: "To restore all things in Christ, so that Christ may be all in all." That was his motto throughout his eleven year papacy. Today his body is still incorrupt, having been moved from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in 1959 to his home diocese of Venice, thus bringing true his last words to the Venetians before Cardinal Sarto headed off to the conclave in 1903, "Living or dead, I shall return." Venice sent the Church a great pontiff, now Holy Mother Church was returning a great saint.

       Saint Pius X, glory of the priesthood, light and honor of the Christian people, you in whom lowliness seemed blended with greatness, severity with mildness, simple piety with profound learning; you, Pope of the Holy Eucharist and of the catechism, of unsullied faith and fearless strength, turn your gaze on Holy Mother Church, which you so loved and to which you consecrated the choicest of those treasures with which the lavish hand of the Divine Bounty had enriched your soul. Obtain for her safety and steadfastness amid the difficulties and persecutions of our times; sustain this poor human race, whose sufferings at the end of your earthly pilgrimage stilled the beating of your great heart; bring it about that this troubled world may witness the triumph of that peace which should mean harmony among nations, brotherly accord and sincere collaboration among the different classes of society, love and charity among men, so that those ardent desires which consumed your apostolic life may become, by your intercession, a blessed reality, to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven and earth


Wednesday, August 22, 2001

    "He saith to His Mother: 'Woman, behold thy son.' After that He saith to the disciple: 'Behold thy Mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own."
      John 19: 26-27
  This special feast is the natural progression of what took place after Mary's Assumption into Heaven. Like our present pontiff Pope John Paul II, his Holiness Pope Pius XII was a devotee of the Blessed Mother and proclaimed four years after decreeing the Assumption dogma that the Queenship of Mary would be celebrated henceforth on May 31. Pius accomplished the Feast of Mary Queen of Heaven and earth through his encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam in commemoration of the one hundred anniversary of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. In the Canticle of Mary recited on the feast of the Assumption there is theological substantiation for this feast as we read, "Today the Virgin Mary was taken up to Heaven; rejoice, for she reigns with Christ forever." After Vatican II it was moved to August 22nd, traditionally the the octave day of the Assumption celebrated as the Feast of Immaculate Heart of Mary by Holy Mother Church. The change after Vatican II was that it could properly link her elevation to this glory with the crowning glory of Mary as Queen of the Angels and the Saints in succession of the glorious mysteries. In Lumen Gentium it says "The Immaculate Virgin...was taken up body and soul into Heavenly glory when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf Apocalypse 19: 16) and conqueror of sin and death." In AAS 38, Pius declared: "Mary is queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest and by singular election." He also proclaimed in Ineffabilis Deus that her queenship should be venerated "as something extraordinary, wondrous, [and] eminently holy." There is no record of a demand for this feast prior to the 20th Century but medieval hymns proclaim often Mary's title as Queen such as Salve Regina, Regina Coeli, and Ave Regina Coelorum. In the Litany of the BVM or Litany of Loreto she is proclaimed Queen in 12 instances beginning with "Queen of angels" to "Queen of peace." There is also the fifth mystery of the Rosary: The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

        Mary, Assumed into Heaven, I venerate you as the Queen of Heaven and earth. Your own Son led you to a throne of glory in Heaven next to His own. As you tasted the bitterness of pain and sorrow with Him on earth, you now enjoy eternal bliss with Him in Heaven. I thank Jesus for having put a most beautiful crown upon your head, while all the Angels and Saints acclaim you as their Queen.

       Because here below you shared in all the mysteries of our Redemption, Jesus has crowned you not only with glory but with power. He placed you at His right hand that you may dispose of the treasures of grace by a singular title - that of Mother of God.

       In the midst of all the Saints you stand as their Queen and ours - dearer to the Heart of God than any creature in God's Kingdom. You pray for your children and distribute to us every grace won by our loving Savior on the Cross.

        Queen Assumed into Heaven, may your glorious beauty fill my heart with a distaste for earthly things and an ardent longing for the joys of Heaven. May your merciful eyes glance down upon my struggles and my weakness in this vale of tears. Crown me with the pure robe of innocence and grace here, and with immortality and glory in Heaven. Amen.

Saint Philip Benizi, Confessor and Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin
Thursday, August 23, 2001


    "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms. Make to yourselves purses which do not grow old, a treasure unfailing in Heaven, where neither theif draws near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."
      Luke 12: 32-34
  Saint Philip Benizi was born at Florence of the noble family of Benizi. He entered the Order of the Servites as a lay brother and later was ordained a priest. Later in life he was made Superior General of his Order. He died in .


   Regarded as the first canonized saint of the New World, Saint Rose of Lima was born of humble Spanish parents in 1586 and baptized Isabel Flores y de Oliva. However her parents were so taken by her beauty and innocent that they gave her the "nickname" Rose from early infancy. At the turn of the 17th Century she was confirmed by Saint Turibus, the archbishop of Lima. So influenced was she by St. Turibus and three other contemporary saints - Saint Martin de Porres, Saint John Macias (both Dominicans) and Saint Francis Solano, a Franciscan, that Rose rejected a grandiose and secure marriage proposal opting to enter the Dominicans and become a Tertiary nun, politely telling her suitor who fawned over her beauty, "Only beauty of the soul is important." Marriage to this rich nobleman would have secured her and her family for life in worldly wealth, but she disdained it all for eternal wealth. Jesus had asked her to be a life-long virgin through private revelation and visions in which He requested, "Rose of My Heart, be My spouse." She dedicated her life to penance, visiting the poor with food and faith and offering her life as a victim soul while founding the first monastery of cloistered nuns in Peru, dedicated to Saint Catherine of Siena. Because of her total dedication to God's Will she became a serious threat to satan and was put through fierce trials by the evil one but in every instance came out smelling like God's Rose. In the mid 17th Century a fleet of Dutch ships sailed into the Peruvian harbor and all of Lima was terrified except Rose who ran to the altar before the Tabernacle in petition for her townspeople and willing to die to protect the Blessed Sacrament. Through her prayers, the Dutch mysteriously left and Rose's wish to die a martyr was denied so that God could take her home peacefully on August 24, 1617. Upon her death all of Lima immediately venerated her as a saint. It wasn't until 55 years later that she was canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671 and also declared "patroness of the Americas."

       O God, Who didst give unto us a noble pattern of humility in Blessed Philip, Thy Confessor, and Blessed Rose, Thy pure servant, grant that we Thy subjects may follow their example by despising earthly prosperity and by seeking after Heavenly things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

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