Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Picture search: St. Isidore of Seville

Websearch alert! Someone on a homeschooling list just asked for a picture of Saint Isidore of Seville. This is the only one I've been able to find on the net - are there more somewhere?

Saint Isidore of Seville

Memorial of Maximilian Kolbe

St. Maximilian Kolbe  St. Maximilian Kolbe  St. Maximilian Kolbe

Second Reading from the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours for August 14, the Memorial of Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest and martyr

From the Letters of Maximilian Mary Kolbe

(Scritti del P. Massimiliano M. Kolbe, Italian translation, vol. 1, pt. 1 [Padua, 1971], 75-77; 166)

Apostolic zeal for the salvation and sanctification of souls

The burning zeal for God's glory that motivates you fills my heart with joy. It is sad for us to see in our own time that indifferentism in its many forms is spreading like an epidemic not only among the laity but also among religious. But God is worthy of glory beyond measure, and therefore it is of absolute and supreme importance to seek that glory with all the power of our feeble resources. Since we are mere creatures we can never return to him all that is his due.

The most resplendent manifestation of God's glory is the salvation of souls, whom Christ redeemed by shedding his blood. To work for the salvation and sanctification of as many souls as possible, therefore, is the preeminent purpose of the apostolic life. Let me, then, say a few words that may show the way toward achieving God's glory and the sanctification of many souls.

God, who is all-knowing and all-wise, knows best what we should do to increase his glory. Through his representatives on earth he continually reveals his will to us; thus it is obedience and obedience alone that is the sure sign to us of the divine will. A superior may, it is true, make a mistake; but it is impossible for us to be mistaken in obeying a superior's command. The only exception to this rule is the case of a superior commanding something that in even the slightest way would contravene God's law. Such a superior would not be conveying God's will.

God alone is infinitely wise, holy, merciful, our Lord, Creator, and Father; he is beginning and end, wisdom and power and love; he is all. Everything other than God has value to the degree that it is referred to him, the maker of all and our own redeemer, the final end of all things. It is he who, declaring his adorable will to us through his representatives on earth, draws us to himself and whose plan is to draw others to himself through us and to join us all to himself in an ever deepening love.

Look, then, at the high dignity that by God's mercy belongs to our state in life. Obedience raises us beyond the limits of our littleness and puts us in harmony with God's will. In boundless wisdom and care, his will guides us to act rightly. Holding fast to that will, which no creature can thwart, we are filled with unsurpassable strength.

Obedience is the one and the only way of wisdom and prudence for us to offer glory to God. If there were another, Christ would certainly have shown it to us by word and example. Scripture, however, summed up his entire life at Nazareth in the words: He was subject to them; Scripture set obedience as the theme of the rest of his life, repeatedly declaring that he came into the world to do his Father's will.

Let us love our loving Father with all our hearts. Let our obedience increase that love, above all when it requires us to surrender our own will. Jesus Christ crucified is our sublime guide toward growth in God's love.

We will learn this lesson more quickly through the Immaculate Virgin, whom God has made the dispenser of his mercy. It is beyond all doubt that Mary's will represents to us the will of God himself. By dedicating ourselves to her we become in her hands instruments of God's mercy even as she was such an instrument in God's hands. We should let ourselves be guided and led by Mary and rest quiet and secure in her hands. She will watch out for us, provide for us, answer our needs of body and spirit; she will dissolve all our difficulties and worries.

RESPONSORY - Ephesians 5:1-2; 6:6

Be imitators of God as his dear children.
Follow the way of love,
even as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us
as an offering to God.
--A gift of pleasing fragrance.

Do God's will with your whole heart as servants of Christ.
--A gift of pleasing fragrance.


Gracious God,
you filled your priest and martyr,
Saint Maximilian Kolbe,
with zeal for your house
and love for his neighbor.

Through the prayers of this devoted servant of Mary Immaculate,
grant that in our efforts to serve others for your glory
we too may become like Christ your Son,
who loved his own in the world even to the end,
and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
--And give him thanks.

The fourteenth day of August

The Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

At Rome, the birthday of Blessed Eusebius, priest and confessor. He was imprisoned in a small room of his house by the Arian Emperor Constantius, for defending the Catholic faith. Persevering continually in prayer, he remained there (a prisoner) for seven months until he died. Two priests, Gregory and Orosius, took his body and buried it in the cemetery of Callistus on the Appian Way. A memory.

At Apamea in Syria, St. Marcellus, bishop and martyr. He broke to pieces a shrine of Jupiter and was slain by the outraged heathens.

At Todi in Umbria, St. Callistus, bishop and martyr,

In Illyria, St. Ursicius, martyr. After many and various torments was slain with the sword for Christ's name, under Maximian the Emperor and Aristides the governor.

In Africa, St. Demetrius, martyr.

On the island of Aegina, St. Athanasia, widow, famous for her observance of the monastic life and for the grace of miracles.

V. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

R. Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

It's about dang time...

...someone ordained a skinny bishop: see the story and pictures at Gerard Serafin's fine blog.

This just in

The Archbishop of Miami gives a sort of heads-up on the Internet. What it is, be careful, et cetera.

Blessed Titus Brandsma

Here's another entry for my still quite small webpage detailing the causes of various venerables and blesseds.

Blessed Titus Brandsma

I read somewhere recently that someone has a picture of Bl. Titus at his desk, and it's a mess! Three cheers for sloppy saints!

Who reads Dutch? Is this the homepage for his canonization cause?

General Carmelite news with some mention of Bl. Titus

Brandsma miracle denied

Short biography from Ireland's Brandsma Review.

Hard day's night

I've pulled two all-nighters in a row, followed by all day with the kids at home while Lisa works at the bookstore. The owners of the store are taking a short and well-deserved vacation and with my flexible schedule Lisa is able to cover for them. So the kids and I are organizing around the house, thanks to some good "clean-up" music: Jaco Pastorius's album Invitation, the Meat Puppets album Too High to Die and the Red Hot Chili Peppers album with their remake of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground. What's it take to get on our playlist? You've gotta be at least as harmonically interesting as the Beatles.

P. J. O'Rourke, the anti-Puritan

There's a new interview in The Atlantic with P. J. O'Rourke, one of my favorite writers. An old quote: "Personally, I believe a rocking hammock, a good cigar, and a tall gin-and-tonic is the way to save the planet." More quotes here.

The Thirteenth Day of August

At Rome, Blessed Hippolytus, martyr. So glorious was his confession of faith, in the reign of the Emperor Valerian, that after the usual torments had been inflicted, his feet were tied to the necks of wild horses. Then he was cruelly dragged through briars and brambles until he died, his whole body having been torn to shreds. On the same day, Blessed Concordia, his nurse also suffered. Flogged with lead-tipped whips, she died ahead of him. Also nineteen others of his household were beheaded outside the Tiburtine Gate. All were buried with Hippolytus in the Veranian field. A feast of three lessons.

At Imola (in Italy), the birthday of St. Cassian, martyr. Because he refused to worship idols, the persecutor summoned those pupils to whom he had become hateful while teaching them, and gave them permission to kill St. Cassian. Although their hands were weak, the agony of the martyrdom was all the greater, being so long drawn out.

At Todi in Umbria, St. Cassian, bishop and martyr, under the Emperor Diocletian.

At Burgos in Spain, SS. Centolla and Helen, martyrs.

At Constantinople, St. Maximus, abbot, famous for his learning and zeal for Catholic truth. He fought strenuously against the Monothelites, and for that reason his hands and tongue were cut off by the heretical Emperor Constans. He was exiled to the Chersonese, and died there, celebrated for his glorious profession of faith. At that time, two of his disciples, both named Anastasius, and many others, also suffered various tortures and bitter exile.

At Tritzlar in Germany, St. Wigbert, priest and confessor.

At Rome the birthday of St. John Berchmans, a scholastic of the Society of Jesus, confessor. He was noted for his innocence of life and careful observance of religious discipline. He was canonized by the Sovereign Pontiff, Leo XIII.

At Poitiers in Gaul, St. Radegund, queen, whose life was resplendent with miracles and virtues.

V. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

R. Thanks be to God.

Memorial of Saints Pontian and Hippolytus

Second Reading from the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours for August 13, the Optional Memorial of Pontian, pope and martyr, and Hippolytus, priest and martyr

Saint Pontian was ordained bishop of Rome in 231. In 235 he was banished to Sardinia by the Emperor Maximinus, along with the priest Hippolytus. There he resigned from his office and later died. His body was buried in the cemetery of Saint Callistus, while the body of Hippolytus was buried in a cemetery along the Via Tiburtina. The Roman Church sanctioned devotion to both martyrs at the beginning of the fourth century.

From a letter by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr

(Epist. 10, 2-3. 5; CSEL 3, 491-492, 494-495)

Invincible faith

With what praises can I extol you, most valiant brothers? What words can I find to proclaim and celebrate your brave hearts and your persevering faith? Examined under the fiercest torture, you held out until your ordeal was consummated in glory; it was not you who yielded to the torments but rather the torments that yielded to you. No respite from pain was allowed by the instruments of your torture, but your very crowning signaled the end of pain. The cruel butchery was permitted to last the longer, not so that it might overthrow the faith that stood so firm, but rather that it might dispatch you, men of God, more speedily to the Lord.

The crowd in wonder watched God's heavenly contest, this spiritual battle that was Christ's. They saw his servants standing firm, free in speech, undefiled in heart, endowed with supernatural courage, naked and bereft of the weapons of this world, but as believers equipped with the arms of faith. Tortured men stood there stronger than their torturers; battered and lacerated limbs triumphed over clubs and claws that tore them.

Savage and prolonged beating could not overcome such invincible faith, even when the bodies of God's servants were so mangled that no whole members were left to suffer punishment, but only wounds remained. Enough blood flowed to quench the fire of persecution, a glorious river to cool even the burning heat of hell. What a divine display it was, how sublime and magnificent! How pleasing did the sworn allegiance and loyalty of his soldiers render the dead in God's sight! In the psalms, where the Holy Spirit speaks to us and counsels us, it is written: Precious in the sight of God is the death of his holy ones. Rightly is that death called "precious," for at the price of blood it purchased immortality and won God's crown through the ultimate act of courage.

How happy Christ was to be there, how gladly he fought and conquered in such servants! He protects their faith and gives strength to believers in proportion to the trust that each man who receives that strength is willing to place in him. Christ was there to wage his own battle; he aroused the soldiers who fought for his name; he made them spirited and strong. And he who once for all has conquered death for us, now continually conquers in us.

How blessed is this Church of ours, so honored and illuminated by God and ennobled in these our days by the glorious blood of martyrs! In earlier times it shone white with the good deeds of our brethren, and now it is adorned with the red blood of martyrs. It counts both lilies and roses among its garlands. Let each of us, then, strive for the highest degree of glory, whichever be the honor for which he is destined; may all Christians be found worthy of either the pure white crown of a holy life or the royal red crown of martyrdom.


We are warriors now, fighting on the battlefield of faith, and God
sees all we do;
the angels watch and so does Christ.
--What honor and glory and joy to do battle in the presence of God,
and to have Christ approve our victory.

Let us arm ourselves in full strength
and prepare ourselves for the ultimate struggle
with blameless hearts, true faith and unyielding courage.
--What honor and glory and joy to do battle in the presence of God,
and to have Christ approve our victory.


may the loyal suffering of your saints, Pontian and Hippolytus,
fill us with your love,
and make our hearts steadfast in faith.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
--And give him thanks.