DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     September 28, 1998     vol. 9, no. 189


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

Monday, September 28, 1998

    Monday September 28:
    Twenty-Sixth Monday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, Ruler and Marytr and
    Feast of Saint Lawrence Ruiz, Martyr and Husband, and Martyred Companions

    Green or red vestments

      First Reading: Job 1: 6-22
      Psalms: Psalm 17: 1-3, 6-7
      Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 46-50

September 28: Feast of Saint Wenceslaus, Ruler and Martyr

          Born in 907, Saint Wenceslaus of Prague was the first Slav to be canonized. His canonization was expedited because of his martyrdom at the hands of his brother who was jealous. Their father had died early in their life and they were educated and cared for by their grandmother Saint Ludmilla who also was martyred in a sinister family plot by their own mother who had grown bitter and jealous. At the tender age of 15 Wenceslaus ascended to the throne as king of his country where he ruled with wisdom and concern, stressing God's Will in all things, which angered the pagans of his land who mounted an underground opposition to overthrow him. Even though Wenceslaus knew his mother's heart was not pure, he prayed incessantly for her and would not exile her, hoping she would see the light of God's way. Even though he had all the proof in the world of her involvement in his grandmother's death, he rebuked those who urged him to take revenge with the words, "Why do you want to prevent me from applying the Divine Law of Jesus Christ and to obey His commandments? I reject your advice because I want to serve God with all my heart." A few years later, after Wenceslaus had married and bore a son, the opposition got to his brother Boleslaus who, realizing he was younger and would not be successor to the throne now that Wenceslaus had a heir, became embittered and was easy prey for their machinations. Thus, on September 26 Boleslaus invited Wenceslaus to attend Mass with him in celebrating the feast of Saint Cosmas and Damian. However it was a trap to lure Wenceslaus into a secluded area away from his entourage of guards where Boleslaus struck the holy king on the head from behind with his sword. The blow did not immediately kill Wenceslaus who struggled with his own flesh and blood for his very life as blood flowed profusely from his skull, but though the king was stronger, Boleslaus' accomplices lying in wait behind the pillars emerged and thrust their swords into Wenceslaus' back, felling the holy Slav ruler. Three years later his remains were transfered from the cemetary to the church of St. Vitus in Prague where he was greatly venerated and fifty years later the people were openly celebrating with great pomp and circumstance the feast of St. Wenceslaus for he had been so loved and so promoted the Catholic faith that many conversions had taken place.

September 28: Feast of Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs

          This feast commemorates the first Filipino martyrs Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, a layman and his fifteen companions met their death in Nagasaki in 1637 at the hands of heathen Japanese warriors. Born in China, Lorenzo migrated to the Philippines where he settled in the Chinese section in Manila called Binondo. A father of four children, he was forced to flee with Dominican missionaries, who were enroute to Japan to spread the faith, because he had unjustly been accused of a crime being blackmailed because of his honesty and virtuous life. The companions were composed of all those somehow associated with the Dominicans either as clergy or lay order. Two days after Christmas of 1637 word finally reached Manila that Lorenzo and his Dominican companions had all been slayed. Immediately the people gathered at the church of Santo Domingo to sing a solemn Te Deum in honor of their fallen compadres. These saints were canonized 350 years later by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Manila on October 18, 1987.

Tuesday, September 29, 1998

    Tuesday September 29:
    FEAST OF THE ARCHANGELS: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael

    White vestments

      First Reading: Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14 or Revelation/Apocalypse 12: 7-12
      Psalms: Psalm 138: 1-5
      Gospel Reading: John 1: 47-51


          This feast combines the three known Archangels. In past liturgical times Saint Gabriel's feast was fittingly celebrated on the eve of the Annunciation, March 24 and Saint Raphael's feast was observed on October 21. September 29 had always been Saint Michael's feast day until the revision after Vatican II. Since then poor St. Michael, which means in Hebrew "He who is like God", has been lumped with the other two who have been deprived of their previous feasts. Be that as it may, it is still a glorious day when we celebrate the greatness and august majesty God granted to these winged warriors so close and loyal to the Almighty. St. Michael has the most biblical references, specifically chapters 10 and 11 of Daniel and Apocalypse/Revelation 12:7-9 as well as the very brief St. Jude 1:9. Devotion and the "legend"of this mightiest of Angels took root after the Saracens were defeated by the prayerful Lombards. Later the Benedictines spread devotion to St. Michael with the magnificent "Seventh wonder of the world" Mont-Saint-Michel Monastery in Normandy on the French coast. There have been many reports of St. Michael appearing to numerous visionaries throughout the centuries, specifically at Fatima and Garabandal, but the most famous appearance seems to be the vision Pope Leo XIII had of St. Michael. On October 13, 1884 while the Holy Father was descending the steps at St. Peter's after saying Mass for a group of Cardinals, he suddenly collapsed in ecstacy. A doctor was summoned immediately to assist the frail Pope but he couldn't even get a heart beat. To all present the pontiff was dead and just as they were to pronounce such Leo awoke as if in a deep sleep. He sat up terribly distressed in a "frightful agony of spirit." The cause of this was the prophetic vision he had while in this ecstasy between Jesus and the devil who was bargaining with the Lord for more time in which to destroy His Church. Leo was given to understand that, though God had granted satan the next 100 years or so, in the end he would be crushed and defeated. Leo was mystically given the role St. Michael would play in this conflict and inspired to pen the beautiful Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel which he and all the pontiffs up through Vatican II decreed be said by the celebrant at the end of each Mass. Because the modernists sacked the rich Latin liturgy and watered down so much, the prayer was phased out giving satan an open door to enter into the sanctuary as Pope Paul VI so stated on his deathbed.

         Saint Gabriel, of course, is the archangel who appeared to Mary announcing that she had been chosen most blessed among all women as the Mother of God. This is documented in the first chapter of Luke as well as Gabriel's prophecy to Zecharia or Zachary about the birth of his son Saint John the Baptist. There is also mention of Gabriel in Daniel 8: 16 and 9: 21. Gabriel in Hebrew means "Power of God". In the Syriac Church Gabriel is placed highest among the angels. Gabriel is considered the patron of couriers and communication workers.

         The least known of the three, Saint Raphael is mentioned in the Book of Tobit 12:12-15 where the Archangel identifies himself with the "seven archangels who stand before the Lord." In Hebrew his name translates to "God heals." He is the angel who "healed" the earth from defilement of the sins wrought by the fallen angels. He is considered the patron of the blind and of travelers.

September 28, 1998       volume 9, no. 189


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