Dignare Me Laudare Te, Virgo Sacrata

Friday, August 17, 2007

St. Roch - The Great Advocate of the Sign of the Cross

Yesterday, on 16 August, a memorial of St. Roch is observed in some place. Any Italian man or a man of Italian descent who is named Rocco has this saint as their patron. The following is the "legend" and collect for St. Roch from the supplement to the traditional Roman Breviary, as reprinted in Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year

St. Roch Interceding with the Virgin for the Plague Striken
By Jacques-Louis David

Roch was born at Montpellier [France]. He showed his great love for his neighbour, when cruel pestilence ravaged the length and breadth of Italy; leaving his native country, he undertook a journey through Italy, and passing through the towns and villages, devoted himself to the service of the sick, not hesitating to lay down his life for his brethren. Miraculous cures bore witness how pleasing to God was the zeal of the holy man. For by the Sign of the Cross, he saved many who were in danger of death through the plague, and restored them to perfect heath. He returned to his own country, and, rich in virtues and merits, died a most holy death. It is said their devotion was greatly increased at the Council of Constance, when, in order to avert the pestilence that threatened them, the image of St. Roch was, with the approbation of the bishops, carried solemnly through that town, followed by the whole people. Thus, devotion to him has spread in a wonderful way through the whole world, and he has been piously declared the universal protector against contagious diseases. Having carefully considered all of this, Pope Urban VIII allowed his feast to be celebrated with an ecclesiastical office in those places where there are churches dedicated to God under the invocation of St. Roch.

Populum tuum, quaesumus Domine, continua pietate custodi: et beati Rochi suffragantibus meritis, ab omni fac animae et corporis contagione securum. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivat et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saceulorum. Amen.

"We beseech Thee, O Lord, protect Thy people in Thy unceasing goodness; and through the merits of blessed Roch, preserve them from every contagion of soul and body. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen." [Collect on the Memorial of St. Roch]

St. Joachim's Dream by Giotto

16 August is also the feast day of St. Joachim on the traditional Roman calendar. Dom Guéranger, in The Liturgical Year, reproduced what some of the Church Fathers said about the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the grandfather of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

"'By your fruits are you know,' says St. John Damascene; 'you have given birth to a daughter who is greater than the angels and his become their Queen'" [St. John Damascene, Oratio I, de V.M. Nativit.]

Dom Guéranger also cited these words by St. John Damacene from the same work:

'Rejoice, O Joachim, for of thy daughter a Son is born to us.'

The other Church father Dom Guéranger cited in his entry on St. Joachim is St. Epiphanius of Salamis.

"'Joachim, Anne, and Mary,' says St. Epiphanius: 'what a sacrifice of praise was offered to the Blessed Trinity by this earthly trinity.!'"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Crusade of Mary Immaculate - St. Maximilian Kolbe

(14 August is the feast day of the great Marian saint, St. Maximilian Kolbe. The following is taken and adapted from a booklet entitled "The Crusade of Mary Immaculate," printed by the Augustine Publishing Company, Devon, UK, 1988)

The Crusade of Mary Immaculate

"...The final aim of man is that to which he tends, and for the attainment of which he uses all means. Our aim is to love God through Mary Immaculate, and in her; therefore, our whole life should used for this purpose. To gain as many souls as possible, this is the purpose of our life; to give ourselves irrevocably and unconditionally to Mary Immaculate, and to cultivate that dedication in the hearts of all throughout the world, so that she may reign in our hearts and in the hearts of all."

"What an immense work that is! But what happiness after death, after a life of so much toil and suffering and self-annihilation for Mary Immaculate! To bend the proud neck of the world beneath the feet of Mary Immaculate - this is the aim of the Crusade of Mary Immaculate. The whole world and each single soul must be conquered for her, as quickly as possible, and then the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will reign, through her, throughout the whole world. It is necessary to win the whole world for her, that the reign of sin may cease."

"What do these words mean: 'To strive for the conversion and sanctification of the souls of all through Mary Immaculate'? What do we want to emphasize by these words? We want to emphasize that the shortest and surest way to conversion and sanctification is - Mary Immaculate. Our desire is to follow that cause ourselves and to teach it to others."

"...The spirit is that which enlivens and moves. The spirit of Mary Immaculate will vivify the members of the Crusade in order that they may become more and more the property of the Immaculate, with greater and greater zeal to win the hearts of their neighbors for her. The more they live by this spirit, the more will they become true Crusaders of Mary Immaculate. The motto of the Crusade of Mary Immaculate is: To lead each and every soul, through Mary, to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. In other words, Mary Immaculate must become the Queen of all souls and of each individual soul."

The Crusader of Mary Immaculate

"...The Crusader of Mary Immaculate does not limit his affection to himself, nor even to his family, relatives, friends, or countrymen, but he embraces the whole world and every single person in it, because all are redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, all are our brothers. He desires true happiness for all, the light of faith, freedom from sin, the enkindling in the heart of love for God, love without limit. The happiness of all mankind in God, through Mary Immaculate - this is his dream."

"...The Crusader of Mary Immaculate is not indifferent to the spread of evil, but hates evil with his whole heart, and on every occasion, at all times, and in all places, he fights these evils which poison human souls. There is no heroism which a soul cannot attain with the help of Mary Immaculate. To suffer, to work, and to die for God alone, through Mary Immaculate, and as an instrument in her hands - this is an ideal worthy of the Crusader of Mary Immaculate."

The Crusade of Mary Immaculate and the Miraculous Medal

"...Because conversion and sanctification come from the grace of God, the Miraculous Medal will be the best means of obtaining this grace. For that reason, the Miraculous Medal is the best arms of the Crusade; it is a bullet which the faithful crusader aims at the enemy, in this way helping souls. Let us work with all our might that that which was foretold by St. Catherine Labouré, to whom Mary Immaculate revealed the Miraculous Medal, may be realized as quickly as possible. In other words, that Mary Immaculate will become the Queen of the whole world, and of each single soul."

The Crusade of Mary Immaculate and the Holy Name of Mary

"The lovable practice of greeting on another with the name of Mary is a sign of life."

"O what peace the holy name of Mary gives! Let us repeat it often in the depths of our souls and may it become the aspiration of our hearts. Try to take refuge with Mary as a little child with its best-beloved Mother. Invoke her holy name with the heart in the difficulties of life, in darkness and weakness of spirit, and you will soon be convinced what Mary can do - and Who her Son Jesus Christ is."