Archive | July, 2017

Saint Martha

July 28, 2017

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Saint Martha

July 29 is the memorial of St. Martha, a dear friend and devout disciple of Jesus. Martha’s story is told in three places: Lk 10:38-42, when Martha served while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to listen to him; Jn 11:1-44, the raising of Lazarus; and Jn 12:2, the anointing at Bethany.

Little is known about Martha’s family. The gospel gives no information about her parents, whether she was married, if she had children, or if she had more than two siblings. She did have a sister Mary and a brother Lazarus.

Martha lived in Bethany, a village on the east side of the Mount of Olives not far from Jerusalem. When Jesus visited there he stayed at Martha’s home. It may have been the regular place where he stayed, and it likely served as his home away from home.

Jesus had a special love for Martha (Jn 11:5), and she had a special devotion to him. When Jesus arrived at her village, “Martha welcomed him” (Lk 10:38). She was exceptionally cordial. She warmly and eagerly brought him into her house and was delighted to have him as her guest. She dropped whatever she had been doing and focused all of her attention on serving him. She went to the kitchen to prepare a meal, and her work was a labor of love.

Martha’s hospitality is heartwarming, a sincere and authentic act of kindness, and it serves as a stark contrast to the cold reception that Jesus received from so many others. When Jesus came into the world, “his own people did not accept him” (Jn 1:11b), but to those who do accept Jesus, as Mary did, Jesus gives the “power to become children of God” (Jn 1:12). Martha clearly was a child of God, and her faith and inner goodness serves as a beautiful example. As Martha welcomed Jesus, so should we. Martha’s hospitality is an inspiration for us to welcome Jesus into our homes, minds, and hearts, and to devote ourselves completely to him.

Martha, the cook, dedicated herself to service (Lk 10:40), and in doing so she modeled herself on her Master who said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve” (Mt 20:28). Jesus also explained that on Judgment Day he would have special criteria for those who will be given a place on his right, “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink” (Mt 25:35). For those who serve as Martha did, the king says, “Inherit the kingdom” (Mt 25:34). For Martha and all disciples, service and sharing is the path to eternal life.

When Lazarus was ill, Martha sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love is ill” (Jn 11:3). Martha interceded with Jesus on her brother’s behalf and by doing so, Martha shows us that it is commendable for us to pray to Jesus for the welfare of others.

John wrote his gospel to lead people to believe in Jesus (Jn 20:31), and throughout his gospel a number of individuals profess their faith. It begins with Andrew (Jn 1:41); continues with the woman at the well (Jn 4:19,29,42), Peter (Jn 6:69), and the blind man (Jn 9:17,38); and concludes with Thomas (Jn 20:28). But of all these, Martha’s statement stands out as the boldest, strongest, and most complete. She began by professing her faith in the resurrection (Jn 11:24), and then she declared to Jesus, “I … believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world” (Jn 11:27). Martha’s courage and the depth of her faith stand as an ideal and an encouragement for all believers.

St. Martha is the patron saint of cooks and dieticians, restaurants and hotels, waiters and waitresses, homemakers and housekeepers.

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 9

July 26, 2017

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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, 2017

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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, 2017

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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, 2017

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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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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 5

July 22, 2017

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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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St. Sharbel Makhlouf, Priest

July 21, 2017

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St. Sharbel Makhlouf

St. Sharbel Makhlouf (1828-1898) was born in a small, remote mountain village in northern Lebanon in 1828, and he was baptized in the Maronite Rite, the rite of the Catholic Church based in Lebanon.  Young Sharbel had two uncles that were monks in the Maronite Rite and, inspired by them, he also became a monk.  Later, in 1859 at the age of 31, he was ordained a priest.

For the next fifteen years, from his ordination in 1859 until 1874, Father Sharbel lived in a monastery with other monks.  Then he moved to a hermitage near the monastery where he spent his last twenty-three years as a hermit.

Father Sharbel’s day revolved around daily Mass.  He took great care in his preparation for Mass, particularly with his extended reflection and meditation on Sacred Scripture.  He celebrated the Mass with deep reverence and respect.  Then, after Mass, he offered prayers of thanks and praise for the graces and blessings received.

In addition to his deep devotion to the Eucharist, Father Sharbel had a great love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and when he is depicted in religious art, he is often shown with an image of Mary near him with the Blessed Mother holding the Christ child in her arms.

In isolation as a hermit, Father Sharbel had to fend off waves of temptations, particularly the attraction of a more comfortable lifestyle with better food, clothes, and furnishings, as well as the constant inclination to put one’s personal desires and preferences first.  With prayer and determination, he resisted worldly desires and adhered to a life of simplicity and material detachment.  Because of his personal holiness, others were drawn to him, which enabled him to give powerful witness to the value of the Eucharist, prayer, Scripture, Marian devotion, poverty, humility, perseverance, service, and submission to God’s will.  Visitors asked Father Sharbel to intercede on their behalf, and a number of remarkable miracles are attributed to him.

Father Sharbel died in 1898, and he was buried in a tomb at the monastery of St. Maron in Annaya, Lebanon.  Because he is so deeply revered by Maronite Catholics, the monastery quickly became a pilgrimage destination.

Pope Paul VI both beatified and canonized Father Sharbel.  His beatification was on December 5, 1965, during the Second Vatican Council, and his canonization was in 1977.  The Maronite Community has named St. Sharbel the Hermit of Lebanon, and Christians everywhere pray through his intercession to make spiritual headway in singular devotion to God.

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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 4

July 21, 2017

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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, 2017

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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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Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity – Day 2

July 19, 2017

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For all married couples

Lord, God, we ask your very special graces and blessings upon all married couples. Help them to grow in their understanding and in their love for the virtue of chastity and purity. Lord, help those couples who have never heard about natural family planning to be led to this information. Shower special graces upon your people, O Lord, that hardened hearts may be softened to hear your message of the Good News about the Gospel of Life and Love. Help all married couples develop the virtue of self-control and a total self-giving love. Help them to contemplate and meditate upon the Most Holy Trinity and to imitate the Godhead in their love for one another and for their family. We ask for your special aid and graces for those couples who are striving to live chaste lives but are finding it difficult amidst the temptations and the confusion wrought by this world. Help those couples who are practicing Natural Family Planning to persevere and to always maintain a generosity to life. Holy Spirit breathe the fire of your love into the hearts, minds and souls of all married couples that they may live their marriage vows with dignity and with respect to the moral order for the greater honor and glory of God. 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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