5 Things you need to know about Archangels

Check out my latest article on Aleteia about the mysterious archangels, Michael, Gabriel & Raphael:

…To help you understand more about these mysterious beings that God created, here are five things you need to know about archangels:

1) Archangels are the second lowest “rank” of angels

Traditionally, angels are divided into what is called “nine choirs.” This hierarchy is based on nine names of ranks of angels that are found in Sacred Scripture.

Saint Gregory the Great listed these “choirs” in a homily:

“We know on the authority of Scripture that there are nine orders of angels, viz., Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Throne, Cherubim and Seraphim…” (Hom. 34, In Evang.)

2) Archangels are entrusted with delivering important messages to humans

The lowest ranks of angels are the ones we are most familiar with as they are the ones who communicate or interact with us. Saint Michael is believed to be the angel who delivered God’s divine inspiration to St. John in the Book of Revelation and is known as the protector of the Church, guarding her from evil. Saint Michael is most widely known for his role in expelling the rebel angel Lucifer from heaven.

Saint Gabriel is first mentioned in the Book of Daniel and helps Daniel in his mission on earth. Later on Gabriel appears to Zachariah and the Blessed Virgin Mary, delivering the greatest message ever, that God meant to Incarnate and set his tent with us.

Saint Raphael is mentioned in the Book of Tobit, to heal Tobit and deliver Sarah from a demon. Raphael accomplished both acts, disguised as a human, guiding Tobias along the way and instructing him on what to do.

– Read more at Aletiea

Could a large ship really be built from all the relics of the True Cross?

On this great feast of our faith, here is my latest article on Aleteia:

September 14 is known as the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and celebrates the glory of the cross of Christ by which we have been saved. It is also a day that commemorates the “Finding of the True Cross” by Saint Helena (Constantine’s mother) in the year 326, and ever since that day relics of the true cross have been distributed around the world.

Small relics of the cross can now be found in great cathedrals as well as the humblest of country churches, and at one time individuals also claimed to possess relics. The prevalence of these relics prompted John Calvin to quip, “if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load.”

Well, is it true? If we gathered all the relics of the true cross and put them together, would it build a wooden ship that rivals Noah’s ark?

Myth or fact?

First of all, we need to dig into what history tells us about the finding of the true cross.

Tradition relates (confirmed by the contemporary sources of St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, Rufinus, and Gelasius to name a few) that Saint Helena was inspired by God to travel to the Holy Land in search of the true cross of Jesus Christ. After Jesus’ death, the Jews hid the cross in a ditch, covering it with stones so that the early Christians would not be able to venerate it. In the years that followed, a pagan shrine was also built upon the same site in honor of the goddess Venus, most likely constructed during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian.

There were a handful of Jews who knew where the true cross was hidden and had passed down that information amongst themselves over the centuries. One such Jew, named Judas, felt compelled to tell Saint Helena where the relics of the true cross were buried.

They excavated the site and found three crosses; one was believed to be the true cross and the other two were from the thieves crucified on either side of Jesus. However, they didn’t know which cross Jesus was crucified on and decided to test them by bringing a terminally ill woman to the location and touching each cross to her. One of the crosses miraculously healed the woman, so that particular cross was enshrined in a church built in Jerusalem over the Holy Sepulchre and was believed to be the true cross on account of its supernatural properties.

Wanting to test the claim and see if it was true that all the relics of the true cross would build a massive ship, a French independent scholar named Charles Rohault de Fleury tracked down every surviving relic and published a scientific study in 1870 entitled Mémoire sur les instruments de la Passion…..

– See more at Aleteia

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10 helpful quotes from St. Benedict of Norcia

Check out my latest article on Aleteia on Saint Benedict:

Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.
Prologue to the Holy Rule of St. Benedict

July 11 is the feast day of Saint Benedict, a man who left the city and the promises of Roman nobility in search of a life of solitude. For three years he lived in a cave as a hermit, but when a local abbot died, the community begged him to come and help them.

However, while they revered Benedict for his sanctity, the monks could not agree on anything and tried to poison him with a drink. The saint famously said a blessing over the cup and foiled the insidious plan. Numerous miracles were attributed to him during his lifetime and his wisdom was sought after by all.

Saint Benedict would go on to found 13 monasteries and spent the remainder of his life creating a plan or “rule” for an ideal monastery. This would become known as the “Rule of Saint Benedict” and continues to be a driving force behind religious life — and even for some principled corporations and businesses — in our own day.

To help us appreciate the man Pope Benedict XVI chose to emulate, here are ten inspiring quotes from the “Father of Western Monasticism”:

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Why We Need the Creed

Review of Scott Hahn’s New Book: “The Creed: Professing the Faith Through the Ages”

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.”

Emmaus Road

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.

Continue Reading »

5 Polish saints who changed 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.

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Saint Aloysius Gonzaga and Ten More Heroic Saints Who Died Young

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.

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10 Inspiring Quotes from Saint Anthony

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:

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