WATCH OUT! Be care-ful! Stand erect!

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THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT ~ December 2, 2018

Jesus said to his disciples:

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads                                                                                                        because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”

     (Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36)

It’s kinda funny. We begin our liturgical year by thinking about The End ~the end of history. Our Gospel today isn’t very comforting; in fact it’s pretty scary ~he’s putting all that stuff before you!

Our Scripture scholar friend William Barclay, whom I’ve referenced from time to time, points out that there are two main points for us to take away from today’s lesson:

First, this Gospel’s talking about the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The Stoics regarded history as circular. They held that every 3,000 years or so the world was consumed by a great conflagration , then it started all over again. Tha meant that history was going nowhere.

There are a lot of folks out there who want to tell us when that’s gonna happen. And even where to show up. You’ve seen the billboards and the TV preachers stomping out their predictions. But . . .

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mk 3:32).

So, when it will be and what it will be like are not ours to know. The major lesson of this first Sunday of Advent is that history is going somewhere. History has a goal and that goal is Jesus Christ who will be the Lord of all!

Second, today’s Gospel stresses the need to be on the watch. But we are not only to be vigilant for our bodily safety but, as Barclay points out, we must live our lives in ‘a permanent state of expectation’.

I’d like to note here that today’s Gospel passage is the last one in Luke before the account of the Passion of the Lord (Luke 21:25-28, 34-36).

THE LITURGICAL YEAR has three cycles. This year we’re in Cycle C and we’ll be proclaiming and listening to the Gospel of Luke all year. (We just finished listening to the Gospel of Mark in Cycle B.)

Here are some notes about the Gospel of Luke from William Barclay that I found rewarding for my own use.

THE GOSPEL OF LUKE has been called the loveliest book in the world. It would not be far wrong to say that the third gospel was the best life of Christ ever written.

Luke was a Gentile—the only New Testament writer who was not a Jew. He was a doctor by profession and that fact may have given him the “wide sympathy he possessed.”

As a trusted companion of St. Paul he must have known all the great figures of the early Church and you can be sure that he had them tell their stories to him. For two years he was Paul’s companion in imprisonment in Caesarea where he had a great opportunity for study and research.

The book was written to a man called Theophilus. He is called most excellent Theophilus.—the normal title for a high official in the Roman government. Luke wrote it to tell an earnest inquirer about Jesus.

A Gospel for the Gentiles

Theophilus was a Gentile as was Luke himself. Unlike Matthew, he is not interested in the life of Jesus as the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy. He seldom quotes the Old Testament at all. He never uses the term Rabbi of Jesus but always a Greek word meaning Master.

Because of this, Barclay suggests, Luke is the easiest of all the gospels to read. He was writing, not for Jews, but for people very much like ourselves. (pp.1-2)

The Gospel of Prayer

At all the great moments of his life, Luke shows Jesus at prayer. He prayed at his baptism (3:21); before he chose the Twelve (6:12); before his first prediction of his death (9:18); at the transfiguration (9:28); and upon the Cross (23:46). Only Luke tells us that Jesus prayed for Peter in his hour of testing (22:32). Only he tells us the prayer parables of the friend at midnight (11: 5-13) and the unjust judge (18:1-6).

To Luke, again according Barclay, “the unclosed door of prayer was one of the most precious in all the world. (p.4)

The Gospel of Women

In Palestine the place of women was low. In the Jewish morning prayer, a man thanks God that he was not made “a Gentile, a slave or a woman.”

But Luke elevates the place of women in his narrative. The story of Jesus’ birth is told from Mary’s point of view. In Luke, we read of Elizabeth, of Anna, of the widow of Nain, of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. It is Luke who splashes lavish strokes upon his portrait canvases of Martha and Mary and Mary Magdalene. (pp. 4-5)

The Gospel of Praise

In Luke the phrase praising God occurs more often than all the New Testament put together. This praise reaches it peak in the three great hymns that the Church has sung throughout all her generations—the Magnificat (146:55), the Benedictus (1:68-79) and the Nunc Dimittis (2:29-32.)

Again friend Barclay waxes eloquently, “there’s a radiance in Luke’s gospel which is a lovely thing, as if a sheen of heaven had touched the things of earth. (p.5.)

The Universal Gospel

All the barriers are down: For Luke, Jesus Christ is for all people without distinction.

(This is the same message, by the way, as our present Pope who repeats over and over again.) 

(1) The kingdom of heaven is not shut for Samaritans. Luke alone tells the story of the Good Samaritan (10:30-7). The one grateful leper is a Samaritan. (17:11-19) John can record that the Jews have not dealings with Samaritans but Luke refuses to shut the door on anyone. (p.5)

(How does that play against the background on the American agenda today?)

(2) Luke shows Jesus speaking of approval of Gentiles whom orthodox Jews would consider unclean. He shows Jesus citing the widow of Zarepeth and Naaman the Syrian as shining examples (4:25:-7). The Roman centurion is praised for the greatness of his faith (7:9) And these great words of Jesus:

People will come from east and west, north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. (13:29).   (p.6)

(3) Luke demonstrates a great interest in the poor. He alone tells the story of the rich man and the poor man (16:19-31). In Matthew (5:3), the saying of Jesus is “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” But Luke simply states, “Blessed are you who are poor” (6:20).

Barclay here: “Luke’s gospel has been called ‘the gospel of the underdog’. His heart runs out to everyone for whom life is an unequal struggle.

Perhaps Senators Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would care to read our friend St. Luke.)

(4) Most of all, Luke shows Jesus as a friend of outcasts and sinners. He alone tells of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfumed oil and bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair in the house of Simon the Pharisee. (7:36-50); of Zachaeus, the despised tax collector (19:1-10); and he alone has the immortal story of the prodigal son and the loving father (15: 11-32).

All four gospel writers quote from Isaiah 40 when they give the message of John the Baptist, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God’; but only Luke continues the quotation to its triumphant conclusion,

‘And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. (Isaiah 40 3-5) (Luke 3:4,6).

Luke of all the gospel writers sees no limits to the love of God.

As I’ve prepared this commentary, I look forward to studying and praying over the texts of Luke, and proclaiming his Gospel as the Lord allows me during the coming year, in a way that I’ve never done before. Will you join me? 

Before you go,here is a section of Handel’s Messiah that fits this theme, “And who will abide the day of His coming?” Click here.

And here are all of today’s Mass readings ~Click here.

With love, 

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer

Acknowledgment:   William Barclay/ The New Daily Study Bible /The Gospel of Luke / Westminster / John Knox Press/ Louisville, KY / 1975, 2001

Giving Thanks in trying times ~ How will you give thanks this year?

New blog post for Thanksgiving Day 2018

Will we take time out on Thanksgiving Day to make it truly a day of Thanksgiving this year? What do you have to be thankful for?

Let’s start with this: President James Madison in 1815 was the one who created the tradition of setting aside a day for the people of the United States to Give Thanks to the Creator for the goodness of our land. It would be good for us to reflect on what the original intent this day was to be as, with so many things in our country we have forgotten who and what we are.

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

The Senate and House of Representatives of the United States have by a joint resolution signified their desire that a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness manifested in restoring to them the blessing of peace.

No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events and of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States. His kind providence originally conducted them to one of the best portions of the dwelling place allotted for the great family of the human race. He protected and cherished them under all the difficulties and trials to which they were exposed in their early days. Under His fostering care their habits, their sentiments, and their pursuits prepared them for a transition in due time to a state of independence and self-government. [ . . . ] And to the same Divine Author of Every Good and Perfect Gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land.

It is for blessings such as these, and more especially for the restoration of the blessing of peace, that I now recommend that the second Thursday in April next be set apart as a day on which the people of every religious denomination may in their solemn assemblies unite their hearts and their voices in a freewill offering to their Heavenly Benefactor of their homage of thanksgiving and of their songs of praise.

Given at the city of Washington on the 4th day of March, A. D. 1815, and of the Independence of the United States the thirty-ninth.

JAMES MADISON.

Two items come to mind as I approach this Thanksgiving Day. First, how did we get so far from a President encouraging us to go to our churches to pray on Thanksgiving Day to the ACLU thrusting itself upon us to declare anathema any kind of mention of God in public speech at all!

Then there’s this: How many families turn off the football games for a moment and actually pause at the Thanksgiving table to have family members reflect on what they’re thankful for and to offer thanks for them?

How ‘bout your family? What are your traditions around the Thanksgiving table? Do you pray? (If you don’t have a ritual of sorts, perhaps you can start one. Take a few minutes and ask folks to write one thing they’re thankful for; then mix them up and have others share them instead of rushing into eating. (At the bottom of this post I’ve added an article by a guest columnist in last Sunday’s New York Times entitled “How to be Grateful without rolling your eyes.” It’s about how he taught his family to better appreciate this family thanksgiving ritual. Check it out; it’s kinda fun.

How many of us are really thoughtful about what we have to be thankful for this year as we approach the day. Especially about where our country is this year.

As I look over the past year, I see so much suffering there is in our country and throughout the world. I have a sensitive heart, I’m thinking of all those folks particularly.

We’ve been through two major hurricanes, as well as, winter storms, and devastating wild fires in the California. And on top of that, we’re dealing with climate deniers who are making it more difficult for those particularly for us to do what must be done to prepare for the future. As Pope Francis has pointed out, it’s the poor who are hurt the most by Climate Change. And we’ve seen that dramatically in the sufferings of the poor in these natural disasters.

And my heart aches for so many migrants and refugees throughout the world—some of whom are stateless. Then there’s the senseless and insane issue of gun violence. The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and this past week alone there were multiple shootings in a Magistrates Court in Pennsylvania, a Rite Aid facility  in Maryland, in Wisconsin and yesterday at Mercy Hospital in Chicago. Where does it stop? When?

Are we at prayer as we approach Thanksgiving Day?

Are we truly thankful for what we have in this country?

+ Freedom of Speech. Some don’t want others to have that these days.

+ Freedom of the Press. That, too, is being threatened, as noted with the undefended killing of Jamal Kashoggi, who was a reporter for the Washington Post!

+ Freedom of Assembly. For the right to protest / the right to organize / the right for unions to meet.

+ The possibility of work. But not all have it or enough of it or at a living wage.

+ The possibility of a decent education. But again, not all are able to afford it.

+ The possibility of decent health care. Again, who can get it and who cannot?

Is America the bright beacon of a hill it once was? Do other countries look up to us as they once did? It seems that some of our long-time allies no longer look to America as great as they once did. And our President, sadly, has made himself ~ shall we say ~ not very well liked by our regular allies. He prefers the “strong men” such as, Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan or Victor Orban.

As I think about these questions a day before Thanksgiving 2018.  Do I feel as proud to be an American as I used to be? I want to be, but it’s hard. I know I have to do my part as a citizen and I try; I participated in helping in the last election.

I feel rather embarrassed for us at times.

These days seem to me more like ancient Israel when they had lost their way and were unfaithful to God.

And yet—and yet, all through my own life’s struggles, I’ve learned to continue to pick myself up and sing: “I’ll go on and praise Him; I’ll go on . . . “

And so, dear friends, so will we! If. . . If we thank God for the gifts He gives us day in and day out, day in and day out. And Praise Him—No. . . Matter. . .  What!

Dear God,

We are living in difficult times.

We do not know what lies ahead of us.

Some of us look forward with confidence;

others are fraught with fear.

But let us remember that if we look to you, O God,

You will be our Strength and even our Joy.

Please be with us in our land today

and bless us.

Bless our President and elected officials

that they would serve all of the people of this land. 

And so, we give you thanks this day for all of the blessings

You have showered upon our country and each of us.

Please bless us most of all with peace among nations

and peace here at home.

 To You be all Glory and Honor and Thanksgiving. Amen!  

And now, before you go, here’s the great hymn “Now thank we all our God,” sung in a great cathedral. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers. And please pray along with the lyrics as you listen! 

And here’s the link to the New York Times article, “How to be Grateful without rolling your eyes.” Click here.

Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory. Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he as done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song. Before all people, honor and proclaim God’s deeds, and do not be slack in praising him. (Tobit 12:6) 

With love,

Bob Traupman 

contemplative writer


The Feast of All Saints ~ Will you become one too?

All Saints Day ~ November 1st, 2018

A Litany of Saints

Before we begin, a couple of notes:

This is a lengthy blog. I’ve given a thorough list of saints here throughout the Church year—not all, but the most popular ones. Peruse the ones that interest you and skip over the others.

FIND THE SAINT WHO BEARS YOUR NAME. That’s your patron. You might want to pray to him or her, if you don’t already. You have something precious in common, don’t you?

You will also note than many of them have the title of “Doctor.” Ir means:

(Latin doctor “teacher”) is a title given by the Catholic Church to saints whom they recognize as having made significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research study, or writing.

Finally, the dates in italics at the end of each paragraph are the Feast Days in the Roman calendar for the saint.

St. Sebastian—Martyr—his images show him as pierced with arrows. January 20th.

St. Agnes—Virgin and Martyr—St. Ambrose: ”too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr’s crown; unfitted for the contest, yet effortless in victory, despite the handicap of youth.” January 21st.

St. Francis de Sales—Bishop and Doctor—wrote “The Introduction to the Devout Life” stating that people of all walks of life could be holy. January 28th.

Sts. Timothy and Titus, Bishops who were disciples and companions of the apostle Paul. January 26th.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor—completed his studies at Paris under St. Albert the Great, becoming himself a teacher, writing many learned volumes during the 13th Century. An anecdote: He was so overweight, his confreres cut an oval out of the dinner table to accommodate him! He composed the hymn “Tantum ergo—Pange Lingua”. January 28th.

St. John Bosco, Priest—dedicated himself to the education of boys in the 19th Century. His order today is known as the Salesians. (S.D. B.) January 31st.

St. Patrick, Bishop was born in Great Britain about the year 385. As a young man he was captured and sold as a slave in Ireland where he had to tend sheep. Having escaped slavery, he chose to enter the priesthood and later, as a bishop, he tirelessly preached the gospel to the people of Ireland where he converted many people and established the Church. He died at Down in 461, March 17th.

St. Joseph, Husband of Mary. God made him a father to the king and master of all his household. He raised him up so that he might save many people. March 19th.

St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor, was born in 1033 and entered the Benedictine Order in France. He taught theology to his fellow students and then went to England where he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury where he fought vigorously for the freedom of the Church which caused him to be twice exiled. April 21st.

St. Mark, Evangelist, a cousin of Barnabas, accompanied St. Paul on his first missionary journey and went with him to Rome. He was a disciple of St. Peter whose teaching was the basis of Mark’s gospel. Mark is said to the founder of the church of Alexandria. April 25th.

St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor, was born in Siena in 1347. While still a young girl she sought the way of perfection and entered the Third Order of St. Dominic. On fire with the love of God and neighbor, she established peace and concord between cities, and fought for the rights and freedom of the Roman Pontiff, persuading him to come out of exile in Avignon and return to Rome. She died in 1380. April 29th.

St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr—born in England around 673, he was sent as bishop to Mainz, now in Germany. He was highly successful in evangelizing those peoples. June 5th.

St. Norbert, Bishop—lived and worked as bishop, preaching throughout France and Germany in the early 12th Century. June 6th.

St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor—he transferred after ordination to the Friars Minor (Franciscans) and had great success preaching in Africa and then in France and Italy. He became the first to teach theology to his brothers. Anthony died in 1231 about 40 years of age. Thus, you see, he’s much more than just the saint people invoke for finding lost objects! June 13th.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, S.S.J.—was a kind of hero of young people. He entered the Society of Jesus and was serving the sick during the plague and contracted the disease himself. He died in 1591 when he was 23 years old. June 21st.

 St. John the Baptist—The Messenger of the Son of God: “He must increase; I must decrease,” he said. June 24th.

St. Peter, Apostle, First Pope and Martyr. “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” Peter indicated he wanted to be crucified upside down—and St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles—Paul more than anyone else has shown us what we humans are and what our nobility consists Paul died by the sword in Rome.   They share the same feast day on June 29th.

St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, Martyrs—John Fisher was appointed Bishop of Rochester. Thomas More was educated at Oxford and while Chancellor in the King’s Court he wrote works on the governance of the realm and in defense of the faith. Both were beheaded by King Henry VIII, as they resisted in the matter of his divorce. Fisher was named to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul III. Their feast day is June 22nd.

St. Thomas, Apostle—the one who doubted, and then declared, “My Lord and my God.” July3rd.

St. Benedict, Abbot—he gathered disciples and set out for Monte Casino, there he establishing the famous monastery and the Benedictine Rule and received the title as Patriarch of Western monasticism. He lived and died in the 6th Century. July 11th.

St. Henry was elected Emperor and worked for Church reform and fostered missionary activity; he lived and died in the 12th Century. July 13th.

St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor, studied philosophy and theology at Paris and taught his fellows in the Friars Minor and was elected Master General of the Order. After being made Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, he died at the Council of Lyons in 1274. July 15th.

St. Mary Magdalene, was one of Jesus’ disciples, was present when he died and the first to see the risen Lord and to tell the Apostles the Good News! July 22nd.

St. Bridget of Sweden was married and gave birth to eight children. After her husband’s death, she devoted herself to the ascetic life and wrote many works in which she related her mystical experience. She lived and died in the 14th Century. July 23rd

St. James, Apostle, Son of Zebedee and brother of St. John the Apostle, was born at Bethsaida. He was put to death by Herod around the year 42 and is especially honored in Spain at Compostella’s famous church dedicated in his name. July 25th.

Sts. Joachim and Ann, Parents of Mary. Going back to the second century, the parents of the Virgin Mary are known by the name of Joachim and Ann. July 26th.

St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus. When she received the Lord as guest at Bethany, she looked after him with devoted attention. July 29th.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest and Founder. He spent his early years in court and as a soldier. Later he was converted to God and undertook theology studies at Paris where he attracted his first followers and at Rome joined them together as the first members of the Society of Jesus. He died in Rome in 1556. July 31st.

St. Alphonsus Ligouri, Bishop and Doctor, renowned in both civil and canon law he left the legal profession and entered the priesthood. He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.S.s.R.). He was chosen as a bishop for an Italian diocese but soon resigned to work with his confreres. Some may know of the Ligourian publications. August 1st.

St. John Vianney, Priest—The Cure of Ars. After overcoming many difficulties, he was ordained a priest and was entrusted with a parish in the town of Ars. He cared for his parish in a marvelous way by his preaching, mortification and good works. He had great skill in helping penitents and people came from many regions and devoutly accepted his counsel. He died in 1859 and is now given the title as the Patron of Parish Priests. I grew up in St. John Vianney Parish in St. Pete Beach, Florida. August 4th.

St. Dominic, Priest, was born in Spain and studied theology at Palencia. He worked effectively against the Albigensian heresy (that taught that there two gods—one of good and one of evil). To carry on this work, he gathered companions and founded the Order of Preachers (O.P.) that today has both men and women religious. Dominic died at Bologna in 1221. August 8th.

St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons chosen in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 6: 1-6) He was a deacon of the Church of Rome and became a martyr during the persecution of Valerian. August 10th.

St. Clare, Virgin, was born at Assisi and followed her fellow citizen Saint Francis in a life of poverty and became a foundress and mother of an order of nuns. She died in 1253. August 11th.

St. Stephen of Hungary. After his baptism he was crowned king of Hungary in the year 1000. In his relationship with his subjects he was just, peaceful and pious and founded many dioceses. He died in 1038. August 16th.

St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor. After a religious upbringing he joined the Cistercians in 1111 and was chosen abbot of their famous monastery at Clairvaux. Because of schisms in the church at the time, he travelled all over Europe restoring peace and unity. He wrote prodigiously and died in 1l53. August 20th.

St. Pius X, Pope was born in Italy and became the patriarch of Venice and elected Pope in 1903 choosing as his motto renew all things in Christ. He became known for renewing the liturgy and especially for advancing the age of children’s first communion. August 21st.

St. Bartholomew, Apostle was born at Cana and was brought to Jesus by the apostle Philip. He is said to have preached the Gospel in India. August 24th.

St. Louis was born in1214 and became king of France while he was twenty-two years old. He married and fathered eleven children who received from him careful instruction in the Christian life. He excelled in penance and prayer and love for the poor. He undertook the Crusades and died near Carthage in 1270. August 25th. 

St. Monica—mother of St. Augustine, was born at Tagaste in Africa in 331 and was married to Patricius as a young maiden. She prayed, with tears for years for the conversion of her son, She died a Ostia with her two sons at her side in 387. August 28th.

St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor, wrote prodigiously His “Confessions” is a bestseller.”Late have I loved you, O Beauty, ever ancient, ever new., late have I loved you! “     (He was known to have fathered a son, though not admitted by the church.) August 29th.

 St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor. He was born in Rome around 540 and ordained a deacon and upon entering the monastic life he became a legate to Constantinople. On September 3, 590 he became Pope and proved to be a true shepherd, helping the poor and strengthening the faith and wrote extensively. September 3rd.           

St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor was born at Antioch about the year 349 and after an extensive education embraced an ascetical life. He was elected bishop of Constantinople in 397 and committed himself to reforming the clergy and the serving the faithful. Twice he was forced into exile by the hatred of the imperial court. His preaching was outstanding and that’s why they called him Chrysostom—Golden Mouth. September 13th.

St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor, was born in 1542 in Tuscany and entered the Society of Jesus and distinguished himself with brilliant essays in defense of the Catholic faith and as a professor in Rome. Elected to the College of Cardinals and named bishop of Capua he solved many pressing questions in the various Roman Congregations, He died at Rome in 1621. (He’s one of my two patron saints—the other is St. Robert of Molesme—one of the three founders of the Cistercians. Robert Bellarmine’s feast day is September 17th. 

St. Vincent de Paul, Priest, was born in France in 1581 and after ordination served as a parish priest in Paris. He founded the Congregation of the Mission (C.M.) to supervise priests and serve the poor and with St. Louise de Marillac, he founded the congregation of the Daughters of Charity. He died in Paris in 1660. His work lives on today, of course, in the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. September 27.

St. Wenceslaus, Martyr was born in Bohemia about 907. Brought up as a Christian by his aunt he began his rule around 925—that would have been when he was 18. Having difficulty ruling over his subjects and in leading them to the faith he was betrayed by his brother Boleslaus and killed by assassins when he was about to enter a church. He was immediately recognized as a martyr and as the patron saint of Bohemia. And you might know the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslaus. September 28th.

Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels. The word “Angel” denotes a function, not a nature; they can only be called angels when they are delivering a message. Michael means “Who is like God?”; Gabriel means “The strength of God.”; and Raphael means” God’s Remedy. Michael appears in the book of Revelations in the final battle. Gabriel makes the announcement to the Virgin Mary that she will have a Son. Raphael touches Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him and banish his blindness. September 29th.

St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor, was born in Dalmatia around 340. He studied the classics in Rome and was baptized there, went to the East, embraced a life of asceticism and was ordained a priest. He returned to Rome, was secretary to Pope Damasus, and began translating the holy Scriptures into Latin. His work eventually became the Latin version of the Scriptures known as the Vulgate. He died in Bethlehem in 420. September 30th.

St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor (The Little Flower) was born in France in 1873. While still a young girl she entered the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux. There she lived a life of humility, simplicity and trust in God. She wanted to be a martyr, but found her calling in the writings of St. Paul. “My calling is ‘love’, she wrote.” Theresa died of Tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four. October 1st.

St. Francis of Assisi, Deacon, was born in at town in 1182 and after a carefree youth he renounced his paternal wealth and committed himself to God and entered into a life of poverty, He preached the love of God to all. He gathered a number of companions and established a rule of life that gained approval from Rome. Subsequently he founded and order of nuns and a society of laypersons who practice penance while living in the world. He died in 1226 at the age of 44. He composed several glorious hymns. October 4th.

St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor was born at Avila, Spain in 1515. She joined the Carmelite order and made great progress in the way of perfection and enjoyed mystical revelations. When she reformed the order she met with much resistance, but she succeeded with undaunted courage. She wrote inspiringly from the fruit of her own spiritual life. She died at Avila in 1582. October 15th.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin was born in 1647 in France. She joined the Visitation Sisters locally and was favored with mystical revelations. She was especially devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was responsible for spreading that devotion throughout the Church. She died in 1690. October 16th.

St. Luke, Evangelist, was born of a pagan family. Converted to the faith, he became a fellow-worker of the apostle Paul. From St. Paul’s preaching he compiled one of the gospels. He is said to have been a physician. He handed down another work of the beginnings of the Church, the Acts of the Apostles. October18th.

St. Isaac Joques and John de Brebeuf, Priests and Martyrs and Companions, Martyrs. Between the years 1642 and 1649 eight members of the Society of Jesus were killed in North America after fearful torture by the Huron and Iroquois tribes. October19th

St. Paul of the Cross, Priest, was born in 1694. Aspiring to a life of perfection, he left his life as a merchant behind and brought together a group of associates who joined him in caring for the poor and the sick. After becoming a priest he wrote, “It is very good and holy to consider the passion of our Lord and to meditate on it, for by this sacred path we reach union with God.” He taught his companions to preach the passion of Jesus. And formed an order today called the Passionists. (C.P.) October 19th.

St. Martin de Porres, Religious, was born in Lima, Peru of a Spanish father and a Negro mother in 1579. As a boy he studied medicine that when he became a Dominican brother, he put it to good use serving the poor. November 3rd.

St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop was born in Lombardy in 1538, After taking honors in both civil and canon law he was made a cardinal and bishop of Milan by his uncle Pope Pius IV. As a true pastor he worked tirelessly to reform his diocese. November 4th.

St. Margaret of Scotland was born around the year 1046 in Hungary where her family was exiled. She married King Malcolm III of Scotland and gave birth to eight children. The ideal mother and queen, she died in Edinburgh in 1093.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, born in 120, she was the daughter of Andrew king of Hungary. While still a young girl she was married to Louis the Landgrave of Thuringia and had three children. After her husband’s death, she embraced a life of poverty, erecting a hospital in which she herself served the sick. She died at Marburg in 1231. November 17th. 

St. Andrew, Apostle, born at Bethsaida was a disciple of John the Baptist before becoming a follower of Jesus, to whom he brought his brother Peter. With Philip he presented the Gentiles to Christ. After Pentecost, he preached the Gospel in many lands and was put to death by crucifixion at Achaia. November 30th.

St. Francis Xavier, Priest was born in Spain in 1506. While studying the liberal arts in Paris, he became a follower of Ignatius of Loyola. In 1537 he was ordained at Rome and there devoted himself to works of charity. Francis went to the Orient in 1540 where for ten years he worked tirelessly proclaiming the gospel in India and Japan and through his preaching brought many to believe. He died in 1552 near the China coast on the island of Sancian. December 3rd.

St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor was born of a Roman family about the year 340. He studied at Rome and served the imperial government. While living in Milan, he was elected bishop of the city by popular acclaim and ordained on December 7. He devotedly carried out his duties and especially in service to the poor and became and effective pastor and teacher. Ambrose was effective in helping to bring St. Augustine into the faith. December 7th.

St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor, was born in Spain around 1542. After a number of years as a Carmelite, he was persuaded by St. Teresa of Avila to lead a reform movement of his brothers that caused him to imprisoned by them for a time, He finally escaped and the renewal of the order proceeded with new energy. His mystical theology and poetry is stunning. He died in 1591. December 15th.

St. Stephen, First Martyr, was one of the seven deacons chosen in Acts 6:1-6. “a man filled with grace and prayer, he worked great wonders and signs among the people.” On the day after Christmas, the Church indicates that his martyrdom—and all martyrs are the seeds of the Church’s growth. December 26th.

St. John Apostle and Evangelist. John wrote the fourth gospel. John gave testimony to the Word of God; he gave witness to Jesus Christ whom he had seen. December 27th.

St. Thomas Becket. Bishop and Martyr, was born in London in 1118. He first became chancellor to the king and then was chosen bishop. His tireless defense of the rights of the Church against Henry II prompted the king to first exile him to France and upon his return, he endured many trials and in 1170 was murdered by agents of the king, December 29th.  

Lord Jesus,

You have inspired women and men, boys and girls

of every age, nation and skin color

to follow your Way of holiness,

not in conformity or uniformity,

but to seek their own style 

and to put their own mark on this Way we call Christianity.

Please grant me, O Jesus, the grace to find my place at the table too.

I am as eager and willing in my latter years as I was in my youth.

Please grant this to any who are willing this day.

May the kingdom, the power and the glory be yours,

now and forever. Amen!  

And now, before you go, here’s the Litany of the Saints sung for you in English. Click here. 

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you would like to reflect on them. Click here. 

With love, 

Bob Traupman  

Contemplative Writer