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DAILY QUOTE for April 17, 2014

The particular object of this devotion is the immense lov...

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April 17

The particular object of this devotion
 [to the Sacred Heart of Jesus]
is the immense love of the Son of God which induced Him
to deliver Himself up to death for us and
to give Himself entirely to us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
The thought of all the ingratitude and all the outrages
which He was to receive in this state of immolated victim until the end of time
did not prevent Him from operating this prodigy.
He preferred to expose Himself each day to the insults and opprobrium of men
rather than be prevented from testifying
– by working the greatest of all miracles –
to what excess He loved us!

Fr. Jean Croiset, spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque


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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Stephen Harding

God answered him dramatically when thirty noblemen knocke...

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St. Stephen Harding

Stephen Harding was an Englishman of an honorable family, and heir to a large estate. Born in Dorset, he was educated at the monastery of Sherborne and spoke English, Norman, French and Latin.

Desirous of seeking a more perfect way of Christian perfection, he, with a devout companion, traveled into Scotland and afterwards to Paris and to Rome. On their return journey, the two travelers chanced upon a collection of huts in the forest of Molesme in Burgundy, where monks lived in great austerity. Struck by their way of life and finding kindred spirits in Robert the Abbot, and Alberic the Prior, he bid his friend goodbye and threw in his lot with the monks.

After some years, finding that religious fervor had waned considerably, Stephen, Robert, Alberic and others went to Lyons and with the support of Bishop Hugh struck a new foundation in the forest of Citeaux sponsored by Rainald, Lord of Beaune, and Odo, Duke of Burgundy.

Later Robert returned to his monks of Molesme who reclaimed him as their abbot, and upon the death of Alberic, in 1109, Stephen succeeded him as Abbot of Citeaux.

He immediately instituted such austere measures to keep the spirit of the world out that he alienated the support of many who had helped to establish the abbey. Novices ceased applying, and to make matters worse, a mysterious disease decimated his monks to the point that even Stephen’s stout heart began to quiver wondering if he were really doing God’s will.

God answered him dramatically when thirty noblemen knocked at the abbey’s door seeking admittance. They were headed by young St. Bernard who in his zeal had convinced his brothers, uncles and a number of his acquaintances to give up the world with him.

Increasing numbers called for additional foundations and the first two were made at Morimond and Clairvaux. To the general surprise, Stephen appointed twenty-four year old Bernard as Abbot of Clairvaux. When nine abbeys had sprung from Citeaux, Stephen drew up the statutes of his Charter of Charity which officially organized the Cistercians into an order.

Stephen Harding died in 1134, advanced in age and nearly blind, and having served as Abbot of Cîteaux for twenty-five years.

St. Mark the Evangelist

It is generally believed that the apostle Mark, one of th...

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St. Mark the Evangelist

It is generally believed that the apostle Mark, one of the four recorders of the Gospel of Jesus, was one and the same as the John, "whose other name was Mark," mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.

We learn from the Epistle to the Colossians that Mark was a kinsman of St. Barnabas, who was a Levite, which fact presupposes that Mark was also of a Levitical family.

We read of Mark accompanying Paul and Barnabas on their apostolic missions, assisting them in Cyprus (Acts 13:5) and journeying with them to Perga in Pamphylia, from whence he returned on his own to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). The Apostle to the Gentiles seems to have construed this last action on Mark's part as displaying a certain disloyalty. Later, when preparing to visit Cilicia and Asia Minor, a heated argument ensued with Paul refusing to include Mark, while Barnabas defended his cousin, "so that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed" (Acts 15, 37-40).

Later we find John Mark with St. Paul in prison during his captivity in Rome after which the Apostle of the Gentiles writes to Timothy in Ephesus, “…take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me in the ministry.”

On the other hand, tradition strongly affirms that the author of the second gospel, Mark, was associated with St. Peter. Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Papias speak of St. Mark as the interpreter for St. Peter. Writing from Rome, St. Peter speaks of “my son, Mark” (1 Peter v 13) who apparently was there with him. This is undoubtedly Mark the evangelist.

It is ancient tradition that St. Mark lived for some years in Alexandria as bishop of that city, and there suffered martyrdom.

The city of Venice claims to possess the remains of Mark the Evangelist, brought there from Alexandria in the ninth century. Preserved for hundreds of years, their authenticity has not been unchallenged. What is certain is that from time immemorial, St. Mark the Evangelist , symbolized by the lion, has been honored as patron of the city.

Photo by: Bolo77/Stefano Bolognini

WEEKLY STORY

The Legend of the Locket

I was in my first sleep...

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The Legend of the Locket

I was in my first sleep when the sound of the doorbell awakened me, whereupon I sprang from my bed, and, after a few hurried preparations, hastened to throw open the door.

Locket 1-LR.jpgIt was a bitter cold night in January, and the moon without threw its pale light over the wan spectral snow-covered landscape. The sharp gust that swept into the hall as I opened the door made me pity the delicate-looking child who stood at the threshold.
Her hair gleamed with a strange and rare effect in the moonlight, long golden hair that fell in graceful ripples about her shoulders. She was lightly dressed, this little child, as she stood gazing straight and frankly into my eyes with an expression at once so beautiful and calm and earnest that I shall never forget it.

Her face was very pale, her complexion of the fairest. The radiancy about her hair seemed to glow in some weird yet indescribable fashion upon her every feature. These details I had not fairly taken in when she addressed me.

“Father, can you come with me at once? My mother is dying, and she is in trouble.”

“Come inside, my little girl,” I said, and warm yourself. You must be half frozen.”

“Indeed, Father, I am not in the least cold.” I had thrown on my coat and hat as she made answer.

“Your mother’s name, my child?”

“Catherine Morgan, Father; she’s a widow, and has lived like a saint. And now that she’s dying, she is in awful trouble. She was taken sick about a few hours ago.”

“Where does she live?”

“Two miles from here, Father, on the border of the Great Swamp; she is a stranger in these parts, and alone. I know the way perfectly; you need not be afraid of getting lost.”
Locket 2-LR.jpg

A few minutes later we were tramping through the snow, or rather

I was tramping, for the child beside me moved with so light and tender a step, that had there been flowers instead of snowflakes beneath our feet I do not think a single petal would have been crushed under the airy fall of her fairy feet.

Her hand was in mine with the confiding clasp of childhood. Her face, for all the trouble that was at home, wore a gravely serene air, such as is seldom seen in years of sprightly, youthful innocence.

How beautiful she looked!

More like a creature fresh from the perfect handiwork of God than one who walked in the valley of sin, sorrow, trouble and death.
Upon her bosom I observed a golden locket fashioned in an oval shape.

She noticed my glance, and with a quick movement of her fingers released the locket and handed it to me.

“It’s a heart,” I said.

“Read what’s on it, Father.”

“I can’t, my little friend; my eyes are very good, but are not equal to making out reading on gold lockets by moonlight.”

“Just let me hold it for you, Father. Now look.”

How this child contrived, I cannot say; but certain it is, that at once, as she held the locket at a certain angle, there stood out clearly, embossed upon its surface, the legend:

“Cease! the Heart of
Jesus is with me.”

“Mamma placed that upon my bosom one year ago, when I was very sick, Father.” And kissing the locket, the child restored it to its place.

We went on for a time in silence. I carried the Blessed Sacrament with me; and, young as she was, the girl seemed to appreciate the fact. Whenever I glanced at her, I observed her lips moving as in prayer, and her eyes seemed, in very truth, fixed upon the place where rested in His sacramental veil the Master of Life and of Death.
Locket 3-LR.jpg

Suddenly the girl’s hand touched my sleeve-oh, so gently!

“This is the place, Father,” she said in soft tones that thrilled me as they broke upon the stillness; and she pointed to a little hut standing back in the dim shadows of three pine trees.

I pushed open the door, which hung loosely upon its hinges, and turned to wait her entrance. She was gone. Somewhat startled, I was peering out into the pallid night, when a groan called me to the bedside of the dying woman.

A glance told me there was no time to lose. The woman lying in that room had hardly reached middle life, but the hand of Death had touched her brow, upon which stood the drops of sweat, and in her face I read a great trouble.

I was at her side in an instant; and, God be thanked for it, soon calmed and quieted the poor creature. She made her confession, and in sentiments of faith and love such as I have rarely seen, received the Last Sacraments of the Church.

Standing beside her, I suggested those little prayers and devices so sweet and consoling at the dread hour. I noticed, as the time passed on, that her eyes frequently turned toward a little box at the farther end of the room.

“Shall I bring you that box?” I asked.

She nodded assent.

On placing it beside her, she opened it with trembling hands and took out the dress of a child.

“Your little daughter’s dress?” I said.

She whispered, and there was love in her tones: “My darling Edith’s.”

“I know her,” I continued. “She brought me here, you know.”

I stopped short and caught my breath. The woman half rose in her bed; she looked at me in wonder that cannot be expressed. I, no less amazed, was staring at a golden, oval locket fastened to the bosom of the child’s dress which the woman was holding in her hands.

“Madam,” I cried, “in the name of God, tell me, where is your daughter? Whose is that locket?”

“The locket is Edith’s. I placed it here on the bosom of her dress when my little girl lay dying a year ago. The last thing my darling did was to hold this locket to her lips, and say:

‘Cease! the Heart of
Jesus is with me.’

“She died a year ago.”

Then the mother’s face grew very sweet and very radiant.

Still holding the locket in her hands, she fixed her eyes straight before her.

“Edith, my dear Edith, we are at last to be united in the Sacred Heart. I see you, my darling: ‘Cease! the Heart of Jesus is with me.”’

Her voice faded with the last syllable into silence.

She and Edith were again united.
                                                                                 
From Fr. Finn’s Mostly Boys (New York: 1896), pp. 90-95.

I was in my first sleep when the sound of the doorbell

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