Since Vatican II, very few have noticed the creed we recite at Mass every Sunday. Like many of the prayers at Mass, it became “rote” and everyone would stand up and recite “We Believe” without taking a second notice. Then a few years ago it was translated and everyone had to relearn it and stumble through words like “consubstantial.”
For the most part, many people were confused why everything had to change and the new words of the creed were hard to understand. Why all the technical words like “incarnate” and “consubstantial?” That is why Scott Hahn’s latest book “The Creed: Professing the Faith Through the Ages” is a welcome introduction to the ancient tradition of reciting a “rule of faith” that unites the Church around the world.
July is right around the corner and pilgrims from across the globe will be flocking to Poland to celebrate World Youth Day. It is a country that Pope Francis desires to highlight in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, especially focusing on the great saints of mercy who were raised within her borders.
As we have seen thus far, Catholics in Poland have been formed by a deeply Christian culture, devoted to the Sacred Heart and consecrated to their Queen, Our Lady of Częstochowa.
It was through the lens of this strong Catholic faith that Saint Faustina Kowalska prophetically wrote in her Diary, “As I was praying for Poland, I heard the words: I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming (Diary, 1732).”
While generally believed to be referring to Saint John Paul II, these prophetic words have come true in more ways than one. Raised in the bosom of the Catholic Church and purified through the crucible of suffering, Poland has produced at least five saints who literally changed the world.
Check out my latest article on Aleteia:
There is a common fallacy that says you must “live a little” while you are young. The implication is that young people should do something fun with their lives, see the world, experience life and disregard any “rules” that might weigh them down. Religion is often seen as a barrier to fun and something reserved for “old people.”
It should come as no surprise that a recent survey found “[m]ore than one-third of millennials now say they are unaffiliated with any faith.”
But don’t tell that to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga and ten saints who died in their 20s. Instead of living “a little,” and going “all out,” they went “all in” on Christ and embraced Catholicism with every fiber of their being. They didn’t see rules as a hindrance, but found the Church’s laws gave them true freedom.
They remind us that our life on earth is short and we know neither the day nor the hour when God will call us home. We must prepared and not procrastinate in the practicing of our faith. We can’t treat eternal life like an important exam in college for which we will study tomorrow or pull an “all-nighter.” These saints remind us that today could be our last day and eternity is a very long time indeed.
So let us look to these heroic young saints for inspiration, who didn’t think religion was reserved for the white-haired ladies in the back of church.
Check out 10 great quotes from Saint Anthony in my latest article for Aleteia:
Today (June 13) is the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan priest, who was famous for his preaching during the 13th century. However, he is more popularly known for his intercession when an item has been lost. He is often invoked with the prayer, “Tony, Tony, come around, something’s lost and can’t be found.”
Saint Anthony is also known for the prayer of exorcism that he gave to a woman oppressed by a demon during a dream she had of the saint.
He is the author of numerous sermons, many of which have been preserved through the centuries. Because of his teachings and example, Saint Anthony was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1946.
To help us appreciate the life of Saint Anthony (and not invoke him only when we lose our car keys) here are ten inspiring quotes from a true disciple of Saint Francis:
Check out my latest article for Aleteia on Poland’s devotion to Our Lady:
As we draw nearer to the celebration of World Youth Day next month, let us remember that this year’s patron saints were not only formed in a Christian culture devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, they were also raised in a country that crowned the Blessed Mother as “Queen” and whose people have since had a deep devotion to Our Lady.
In the year 1655, Swedish invaders had overrun Poland, but the only place they could not defeat was the monastery of Jasna Góra (“Bright Mount”), the sanctuary of the famous icon known as Our Lady of Częstochowa. During a 40-day siege of the small city “[s]eventy monks and 180 supporters held off nearly 4,000 Swedish soldiers.” The opposing army was forced to withdraw and in a year’s time the Polish army drove them out of Poland.
This miraculous event prompted King John II Casimir to dedicate the entire country to the protection of Our Lady. He made a solemn act on April 1, 1656, when he proclaimed, “Great Mother of God, Most Blessed Virgin, I, John Casimir, by the grace of your Son, King of kings and my Lord, and by your mercy, King, falling at your most holy feet, choose you for my Patroness and Queen of my countries. I entrust to your admirable care and protection my own self with my Kingdom of Poland.” – See more at: http://aleteia.org/2016/06/11/the-miracle-that-prompted-polands-love-for-our-lady/#sthash.1ns41B27.dpuf
After reading (lectio) the passage of scripture and meditating (meditatio) on it, the third step of lectio divina involves praying (oratio) to God and relating everything you have received back to Him. It means pouring out your heart to God, not leaving any stone unturned.
This is often the easiest step in lectio divina, as it involves relating to God all that is troubling you and asking Him for guidance.
Often when we hear the word “meditation,” we think of a Buddhist monk sitting on the floor, eyes closes, and emptying his mind from everything so that he literally thinks about nothing. That is why many people balk at the idea of meditating on God’s Word, either not knowing what to do or being intimidated by it.
Thankfully, Christian meditation is not something reserved for the “enlightened,” but is a simple practice that is perfected over time. It is not about “emptying” yourself from all of your thoughts, but focuses on immersing yourself into scripture and reflecting on the scene, embracing all of your senses.