St. Teresa knew that in her day, and Pope Francis reminds us in ours with his new apostolic exhortation, "Evangelii Gaudium," or "The Joy of the Gospel."
document is an easy read, written in Pope Francis' plain-spoken style.
I've only started to delve in, but already I'm inspired and encouraged.
The pope stirs us with this opening invitation and prayer:
invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed
personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting
Him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.
No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her,
since 'no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.' The Lord
does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step
towards Jesus, we come to realize that He is already there, waiting for
us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: 'Lord, I have let
myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned Your love, yet
here I am once more, to renew my covenant with You. I need You. Save me
once again, Lord, take me once more into Your redeeming embrace.' How
good it feels to come back to Him whenever we are lost! Let me say this
once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of
seeking His mercy. Christ, Who told us to forgive one another 'seventy
times seven” (Matthew18:22) has given us His example: He has
forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again He bears us on His
shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this
boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints,
but is always capable of restoring our joy, He makes it possible for us
to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the
resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing
inspire more than His life, which impels us onwards!"
accept Pope Francis' invitation as we are about to begin Advent and a
new liturgical year. Let's be like St. Teresa and look beyond
ourselves for hope and joy.
"Praised be the Lord, Who has redeemed me from myself."
-- St. Teresa of Avila
by the Year of Faith, Susan
Szalewski began writing weekly columns for us. Although the year is over, we liked them so well that we asked her to keep writing. Thankfully, she said yes. So watch for these on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.
On Tuesday the Kindergarten students from St. Columbkille Catholic School came together for a Thanksgiving Feast. With the help of parents who prepared and served a meal, our students were able to celebrate being together in the same spirit of the first Thanksgiving.
The night of July 18-19, 1830 a child woke up Sister (now Saint) Catherine Labouré, who was a novice in the community
of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. The child then took her to the chapel where she met with the Virgin Mary and spoke with her for several hours.
At one point, Mary told her, “My child, I am going to give you a mission.”
During evening meditation on November
27, 1830, Catherine saw Mary standing on what seemed to be half a globe and holding
a golden globe in her hands as if offering it to heaven. On the globe was the
word “France,” and our Lady explained that the globe represented the
whole world, but especially France. It was a time of great difficulty in France,
especially for the poor and unemployed. Streaming from rings on Mary's fingers, as she held the globe, were many rays of
light. Mary explained that the rays symbolize the graces she obtains for those
who ask for them. But some of the gems on the rings were dark because the rays and graces were available but no
one had asked for them.
The vision changed showing Mary standing on a globe with her arms outstretched and dazzling
rays of light still streaming from her fingers. Framing the figure was an inscription: O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
The vision turned and showed
the design of the reverse side of the medal. Twelve stars encircled a
large "M" from which arose a cross. Below are two hearts with flames
arising from them. Thorns encircle one heart and a sword pierces the
other. Mary asked Catherine to, “Have a medal
struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially
if they wear it around the neck.” Catherine told her confessor everything that she saw and got his help to carry out Mary's instructions. She didn't tell this to anyone else until shortly before her death.
The first Medals, approved by the Church, were made in 1832 and were distributed
in Paris. Devotion spread rapidly as people began it the “Miraculous”
The Miraculous Medal is not a “good-luck charm”. Rather, it is a great
testimony to faith and the power of trusting prayer. Its greatest miracles are
those of patience, forgiveness, repentance, and faith.
Tonight, after the 5:30 p.m. Mass, members of the Legion of Mary will distribute free medals to everyone there.