This month provides opportunity for a deepening understanding of our living heritage in the communion of saints. If time is spent in mental prayer building relationship with God, He will draw us to the saint He already has planned to mentor us. With it also being the month we honor our Veterans, God has given us a saintly husband-and-wife duo from which to learn: Blessed Karl of Austria/Hungary and his wife Blessed Zita of Bourbon-Parma. Karl was killed young; Zita raised their 8 children alone in exile.
What lesson do we learn from them? Compromise was not an option for them, and it should not be for us either.
On October 7, 1571 the Holy League under direction of The Blessed Virgin Mary won the battle to save Lepanto and all of Christendom. Their weapon: the Rosary.
This is our Lepanto moment. The Holy League wasn’t an army. It was a coalition of forces brought together by Pope Pius V. Today, in prayer, we now are that coalition of forces fueled by the Holy Spirit and directed by Our Blessed Mother. We are facing a battle far greater than Lepanto. Do we believe?
September 29 is the feast of the Archangels Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Rafael. Then October 2 is the feast of our Guardian Angels. We are always surrounded by the angels, yet often feel that we are abandoned with no help in sight. Take heart with the example of St. Frances of Rome (1384-1440)! Although she wanted to be a nun as a young girl, she married at age 12 and lived out her vocation through her relationship with God with prayer. She watched 2 of her 3 children die and had to live with the prophetic knowledge of her daughter’s impending death. Just as we are called to do, she remained obedient to the magisterium in spite of great tribulation in the church and world. Without her faith, she might have become a bitter woman lashing out about the Pope and in continual need of shopping therapy. Instead, she joyfully set up a hospital in her home and purposefully sought out the most sickly people of Rome.
The world demands ambition and teaches that greed is good. Ambition is a vice leading to greed and other sins. Pope Francis says “Careerism is leprosy!” The saints teach us to focus on God in the smallest of tasks for it is His glory that makes them good. Through this, even the lowest of work is honorable and dignifies us, the walking-talking temples of His Holy Spirit.
Words of wisdom from St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Josemaria Escriva, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Pope Francis, Servant of God John Arintero OP, St. John Paul II, and St. Walter of Pontoise (Patron of those suffering work-related stress)
‘Lorica’ is personal body armor. God is the Catholic’s armor. St. Patrick wrote the Lorica for his protection against the Druids. For this reason, it is commonly prayed for spiritual warfare. The Lorica’s power is that it is a profession of Faith: the Trinitarian God, Christ the Son, the Holy Spirit through the Communion of Saints, God’s transcendence throughout creation, His omnipresence and omnipotence. If you are looking for ‘conversation starters’ in your mental prayer, consider making this a meditation.
Like any of our saints, Anne was a real person who now enjoys being in the presence of God in Heaven (Beatific Vision) and whom God has given to us to mentor, guide and protect. But of all the saints, she (and Mary) were likely the only ones to have cleaned Jesus’ nappy, and there’s got to be something special in that.