Archive | July, 2016

St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

July 29, 2016

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St. Alphonsus Liguori was born Alfonso Maria de’Liguori in Marianella, a town near Naples, Italy, in 1696.  He was a brilliant student who, by the age of seventeen, had already earned two doctor’s degrees, one in civil law, the other in canon law, both at the University of Naples.  He practiced law with much success for eight years until he lost a major case because of a serious blunder of his own, and he interpreted this as a sign from God to leave the legal profession and study for the priesthood.

Alphonsus threw himself into his theological studies and was ordained to the diocesan priesthood in 1726 at the age of 30.  He spent the next three years canvassing the countryside preaching and hearing confessions, and he quickly gained a reputation for excellence in both.

Three years later he became the chaplain for a college that trained missionaries for China.  There Alphonsus became friends with a senior colleague, Father Thomas Falcoia, who had spent a long while trying to found a religious order of nuns, but he had only been able to establish a single convent.  Falcoia was made bishop of Castellamare.  One of his nuns, Sister Celeste, claimed to have had a vision that confirmed Falcoia’s earlier vision regarding a new rule of life for their congregation.  Bishop Falcoia asked Alphonsus to offer a retreat for the nuns and to investigate Sr. Celeste’s vision.  Alphonsus found the vision to be authentic, and with a new rule and religious habits, a new religious order was founded, the Redemptorines.

With the religious order of women established, Bishop Falcoia asked Alphonsus to found a religious order of priests that would specialize in preaching and missionary work directed toward the poor in the rural areas around Naples.  The new institute was established in 1732 and called the Congregation for the Most Holy Redeemer, also known as the Redemptorists.  The Congregation was officially approved by Pope Benedict XIV in 1749.  Alphonsus did his best to guide the new community, but his efforts were hindered by the dissension among the members.

Meanwhile, Alphonsus continued to go from village to village preaching the gospel with a message that was understandable to all, especially common folk, children, and the elderly.  He also was in high demand as a confessor because of his gentle style and wise advice.

At this point Alphonsus increasingly turned to spiritual writing, and he composed thirty-six separate works, some scholarly, others devotional.  His first work was published in 1745 and his most famous work, Moral Theology, was published in 1748, which presented a reasonable middle ground between the morally stringent approach of Jansenism and laxity, an excessively lenient approach.  His contributions led him to being named a Doctor of the Church.

After leading the Redemptorists since 1732, Alphonsus was named the bishop of Saint Agata dei Goti in 1762.  His major initiatives were to reform the clergy and to serve the poor.  He was afflicted with rheumatic fever, and because of ill health, he resigned in 1775 after having serving for thirteen years.  He retired to Nocera dei Pagini in Campagna where he died in 1787.

Alphonsus was beatified in 1816, canonized a saint in 1839, pronounced a Doctor of the Church in 1871, and named the patron saint of confessors and moral theologians in 1950.

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New book on Catholic social teaching offered as free digital download from Pope Francis

July 28, 2016

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“DoCat” is a follow-up to the popular YouCat (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church) from World Youth Day 2011.

The book which teaches the basics of Catholic social teaching is a gift from Pope Francis to all of the participants of World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland and extended to those participating from afar.

When you download the DoCat app you may add the DoCat book content into the app without charge until the close of World Youth Day on July 31, 2016.

Here Pope Francis explains it:

And another video just for fun:

 

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 9

July 26, 2016

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St. Joachim and St. Anne

For all those who bear the cross of infertility

Lord, God, thank you for the gift of life and for the gift of children. This very day we ask you for a special blessing and healing upon all those couples who so desire the gift of a child and wait patiently for Your timing. Grant them the supernatural gifts of hope, trust and patience in Your Divine Providence. Guide all who labor and research to help infertile couples to your Divine Wisdom and to follow the natural law and moral order that you have established. Give all who struggle with this pain complete resignation to Your Divine Will. Bless and strengthen those families who have adopted a child or who serve as foster parents. Help all couples who struggle with infertility to remain chaste and pure. And grant them the grace to drink joyfully from this bitter cup, offering up their pain and agony for the salvation of souls. Dear St. Joachim and St. Anne, you, too, knew the sorrow of being childless. Intercede for these couples that God, too, in His perfect time and way may grant to them the precious and eternal gift of a child. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all couples who yearn for a child that they may be forever blessed with such a precious gift, done all in accord with Your Most Holy Will. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 8

July 25, 2016

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St. James the Greater — Anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae

For all those who pray and labor for a rebirth of chastity and purity.

Lord, God, we humbly come before you this day asking a very special blessing upon all those who minister for the cause of life, chastity and purity. Grant all the gift of humility and purity of intention. Grant them fortitude, wisdom and counsel. Help them to see Your Most Holy Face in every single person that they serve. Let them never judge another nor bring condemnation. Bless their labors and prayers abundantly with the fruit of many conversions and many souls being led more closely to You. Help them to be like St. James, unafraid to go out into the deep, away from the safety of the shore, to bring the light of chastity and purity to those who are in most need. Protect this very special work, dearest Jesus, from all division, jealousy, bitterness and contention of any kind. May all their work be done for the sole honor and glory of God. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of Your love into the hearts, minds, and souls of all who pray and labor for the cause of chastity, purity and life that they may be renewed in spirit, fortified for the battle, and hopeful for the salvation of many souls. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary and One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 7

July 24, 2016

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For all teachers and educators

Lord, God, today we beg of you to send forth your Spirit of Love and Truth upon all who educate and instruct. Give them a sincere desire and yearning to know the Truth and a humble and open heart to accept it. We especially lift up to you our Catholic schools and universities. May these servants of yours always place chastity and purity at the forefront of their instruction. May they remain ever faithful to the teachings of Holy Mother Church. May they never tire or become afraid of being that salt and light in a world of darkness. Our sweet Jesus, awaken the minds and stir the hearts of those who are being deceived by the evil one into false teachings. O Divine Instructor, give to them all a thirst for righteousness and wisdom that comes only from You. Bless all teachers and educators, Lord, who do labor so unselfishly to spread the knowledge of Christ. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of Your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all educators that they may constantly meditate upon the Most Holy Trinity, the source of all wisdom, the source of purity and chastity. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 6

July 23, 2016

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St. Bridget of Sweden

For all divorced couples, for those having marital difficulty and for broken families

Lord, God, we come before you today to beg for mercy on behalf of all those couples and families who are hurting and who are bearing heavy crosses at this very moment. We beg for the graces for all husbands and wives to be able to give of themselves so completely and so unselfishly, laying down their very own wills and lives for one another, just as you did for love of us. Give all families the supernatural graces they need to live out their vocations as husbands and wives, as mothers and fathers, and as sons and daughters, in complete imitation of the Most Holy Trinity. Heal, in a very special way, Lord, the hearts and souls of those husbands and wives who are bearing the cross of either past or present infidelity. Allow true contrition and forgiveness to enter into their hearts. Transform and sanctify all marriages and families. Call those who have left the fold home to You and to Your Church. Help them to see the importance of chastity and purity in their lives as one of the most important means for getting back on track. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all those who have been wounded by divorce, marital infidelity or other marital difficulties, that they may soon feel the presence of God’s love burning within them and for them, so as to give and share this love with their spouses and families. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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The Cross: Our hope for forgiveness and salvation

July 22, 2016

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crucifixion

On the day that we die, we want to go to heaven to be with God, the angels and saints, and our loved ones who have gone before us, to live for all eternity in peace and joy, but there is one enormous obstacle to our admittance to heaven:  our sins.

No one is worthy to go to heaven on their own merit.  It is impossible to do enough good works or earn enough graces to pay the price of admission.  The price is too high.  It is beyond us.

St. Paul explains that there is a “bond against us, with its legal claims” (Col 2:14).  The bond is like an indictment handed down by a grand jury or a criminal complaint filed by the county attorney that accuses a person of specific crimes that have been committed.  Spiritually, “the bond against us” is filed by God, and it is a list of all of our sins, our transgressions against “The Law,” either the Mosaic Law and the commandments or the Law of Love and Jesus’ gospel teachings.  The law has legal claims.  We are expected to obey, to live a good and holy life, and if we fail to comply, our violations have dire consequences; we could be barred from heaven and doomed to eternal punishment.

In Roman times “the bond” was nailed to the cross.  When a criminal was sentenced to death by crucifixion, not only were the criminal’s hands and feet nailed to the wood, but a list of the criminal’s crimes were written in large letters in ink on a piece of papyrus and nailed to the cross, posted in plain sight for everyone to read (see Jn 19:19).  Not only was the person’s naked body exposed, so were their crimes.

If we are honest with ourselves, we must humbly admit that “the bond against us” is long.  We have committed many sins over our lifetime.  God has a written criminal complaint against us.  It is humbling, embarrassing.  We are terrified at the prospect.  On Judgment Day God has every right to condemn us and post the list, but God has no desire whatsoever to condemn us.

God so loves the world that he sent his only begotten son Jesus that we might have eternal life (Jn 3:16).  Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to death on the cross (Phil 2:8), and by the price he paid, Jesus has gained our redemption and salvation.  It was on the Cross with the blood he shed and the life he laid down that our sins have been wiped away.

Jesus obliterated our bond that was nailed to the cross (Col 2:14).  The ink on ancient papyrus did not sink into the fabric like modern ink binds to the paper.  The ink laid on the surface, and because papyrus was so expensive it was often reused after the ink had been wiped clean.  Jesus obliterated our sins on his triumphant Cross.  He wiped our list of sins clean, never to be seen again, entirely forgotten, completely absolved.  In the Cross is our salvation!

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 5

July 22, 2016

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St. Mary Magdalene

For all who work in entertainment and the arts

Lord, God, we ask you today to send forth in great abundance, through your Mother’s Most Immaculate and Pure Heart, the graces needed to convert and change the hearts of all those who work in the entertainment industry and in the arts. Grant them the gift to see the true beauty and dignity of the human person and thus create accordingly. Let them always place the virtue of chastity and purity at the forefront of their creations. Through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, may all writers, producers, artists, musicians and poets come to love you just as much as this holy woman did. Free from the bonds of slavery all those addicted to pornography and all those involved in prostitution. May Your Most Precious Blood this very day cover the multitude of sins committed against the flesh and wash clean the hearts of those who are deceived by the evil one. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of every single person involved with entertainment and art, that they may be directed by Your voice and Your love in the work that they produce, and as such, give You high honor and glory for all the world to see. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 4

July 21, 2016

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For all doctors, nurses, and all who work in the fields of medicine and pharmacology

Lord, God, we ask your very special blessings and graces to be showered forth upon those who serve you in their ministry to others in the fields of medicine and pharmacology. Help them always to maintain a high respect and dignity for all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Grant to them a deep and abiding love and awe for the creative powers you have endowed to your creatures. May they use technology and medicine for your greater honor and glory and with the utmost respect to the moral law and natural order. Lead many doctors and nurses, sweet Jesus, to the Good News of Natural Family Planning. Give them all the great gift of humility and a fervent desire to know and to do Your Will. We thank you with overflowing hearts, Lord, for those doctors and nurses who have embraced your calling and who promote only Natural Family Planning to their patients. Give them fortitude to go against the tide and bless them, their practices and their families one-hundred fold. Give special strength, O Divine Physician, to those who hear your voice but are afraid to come. Keep knocking patiently and perseveringly upon their hearts and may they know and accept Your love for them. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all in the medical and health fields that they may be sanctified to grow in love of chastity and purity and thus gain an earnestness to bring these holy virtues to the souls that they minister to. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 3

July 20, 2016

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For all the unmarried

Lord, God, we ask your very special graces and blessings to be showered this day upon all the unmarried. Help them to embrace and love deeply the sweet virtues of chastity and purity. Give to them the resolve they need to remain pure in a world that is hostile to such teachings. Take all of our precious youth, dear Mother, under your protective mantel where they may be kept unstained, unsullied, and unblemished. Lord, Jesus, call and beckon those who have strayed and sinned to come back to your loving arms, and to start clean again through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Guide, with your loving hands, Lord, all engaged couples that they may remain pure and chaste throughout their courtship. Give special aid, O Spotless Lamb, to those who have never heard about the virtues of chastity and purity. Soften their hearts and lead them to the well of chastity where they may drink of the pristine and uncontaminated waters. Help all of our children and the parents who love them, sweet Jesus, to guard attentively the minds and souls of their precious little ones so that they may be kept from impure images, art, music, books and movies, that may work to usurp their beloved innocence. And, sweet Jesus and dear Mother, we pray especially for those souls who bear the cross of homosexuality. Lead them to embrace chastity and may your most Precious Blood deliver them from the deceit and the lies of the evil one. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all the unmarried that they may grow ardently in their love and understanding to acquire the virtues of chastity and purity. Amen.

One Our Father, One Hail Mary, One Glory Be.

Mary, our Mother, perfect model of purity and chastity, pray for us. 

Attributed to:
Couple to Couple League of Indianapolis

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