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I came to cast fire upon the earth, and would that it were already kindled!  Luke 12:49

 

Also Read:  Family Tip 7 - Take back our Catholic Holidays 

 

Valentine’s Day is dedicated to Love. Details of the origins of Valentine’s Day are lost in the mist of centuries, but two recurring versions speak of St. Valentine as an early priest who was martyred for upholding the sacredness of marriage. Due to an imperial edict in pagan Rome forbidding soldiers in active duty to marry, he performed wedding ceremonies in secret.

Consequently, apprehended and sentenced to death, while in prison, he miraculously cured the daughter of his jailer of a serious complaint. Both father and daughter converted. Before execution, he is supposed to have written the healed girl a note of farewell signed, “Your Valentine”.  This note is the ascribed origin of our own Valentine Celebration.

But in the flurry of hearts, candy boxes and red roses, one great Valentine, He who, ultimately is the origin of every true, selfless love, remains in the background.

Yet, no Heart ever beat with more love than His. No one ever proved love as He did.

Just as we have the need to make our sentiments of friendship and love visible in the shape of hearts, from paper hearts, to candy hearts, to jeweled hearts, so with Him.  As if not able to hide His love for humankind any longer, He decided to make it visible.

The devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus has origins even more ancient than those of the priest and martyr Valentine. The first to hint at this devotion was St. John Evangelist when he spoke of the pierced side of the dying Lord, pointing to His wounded heart. 

In the Middle-Ages, the idea of the Love of Jesus symbolized by His Heart was personally practiced by many a sage and saint. St. Gertrude is considered one of the early heralds of this devotion, along with her sister St. Mechtilde. St. John Evangelist once appeared to St. Gertrude, and revealed that, at the Last Supper, on leaning his head on the heart of the Lord, he was given an intimation of this devotion, a devotion to remain hidden, and only revealed when hearts would grow cold. 

In June of 1675, Our Lord appeared to a young nun of the Order of the Visitation, Margaret Mary Alacoque. He was radiant with love, His burning heart exposed. He said, “Behold the Heart that has so loved mankind…instead of gratitude, I receive from the greater part, only ingratitude…” 

He asked for a devotion of reparation to His heart wounded by so much ingratitude and indifference, for the receipt of Holy Communion on the first Friday of the month (having made a good Confession if necessary), and the observance of the Holy Hour. He promised amazing blessings to those who display an image of Him with His Sacred Heart exposed in their homes. He also asked for a feast day dedicated to the devotion of His Most Sacred Heart to be celebrated on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, which devotion the Church subsequently established.  

Thus, it was through the humble religious, St. Mary Margaret Mary Alacoque that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Our Savior was made public, and the world given the greatest and truest of all Valentines.

  

Let us remember Him in our celebration!

 

 


By Andrea F. Phillips

 

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DAILY QUOTE for January 19, 2019

We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out wit...

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January 19

 

We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent!
Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues.
I see that the world is rotten
because of silence.

St. Catherine of Siena


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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Wulfstan of Worcester

The citizens of Bristol would kidnap men and sell them into...

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St. Wulfstan of Worcester

Wulfstan (Wulstan) was a native of Warwickshire, England.  After his priestly ordination, he became a novice at the monastery of Worcester where he edified all by the innocence and sanctity of his life. He was assiduous at prayer, often watching all night in church.

The first task assigned to him at the monastery was the instruction of children, then treasurer and eventually - though against his fierce resistance - he was made prior. In 1062, he was elected Bishop of Worcester.

Wulfstan was a powerful preacher, often moving his audience to tears.

To his vigorous action is particularly attributed the suppression of the heinous practice among the citizens of Bristol of kidnapping men into slavery and shipping them over to Ireland. St. Patrick who became the great apostle and patron of the Irish was such a slave in his youth.

After the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror was initially uncertain about Wulfstan. But acknowledging his capacity and uprightness, Wulfstan was the only bishop William retained at his post under the new rule.

For the next thirty years Wulfstan rebuilt his cathedral, cared for the poor and put forth great effort in alleviating the harsh decrees of the Normans upon the vanquished Saxons. Whenever the English complained of the oppression of the Normans, Wulfstan told them: “This is a scourge of God for our sins, which we must bear with patience.”

The saintly bishop died on January 19 at eighty-seven years of age after washing the feet of a dozen poor men, a humble ritual he performed daily. He was canonized in 1203.

Photo by: Christopher Guy

WEEKLY STORY

Mary and the Muslim

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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