"What is urgent is the evangelization of a world that not only does not know the basic aspects of Christian dogma, but in great part has lost even the memory of the cultural elements of Christianity."

                          Pope John Paul II

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Exonerating God


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Today's Martyrology


The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Primer for Clueless Catholics

for Celebrating the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

Do not do at Mass what you would not do were you standing at the foot of Christ hanging on the Cross before you.

Do at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass what you would do were you standing at the foot of Christ hanging on the Cross — for at Holy Mass you are at the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross, really and truly. Had you closed your eyes for a moment while standing before Christ on the Cross, you would be where you are this day at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Do what you would have done. Do not do
what you would never have done.

This is the proper disposition of the soul at every single Mass.



New Series:

"From a Monastery Garden"

A Consecrated and Cloistered Nun in a Monastery Garden

Reflections on our Life in Christ through the Heart of a Consecrated and Cloistered Nun

Each day, or quite nearly, we bring you reflections from a Consecrated and Cloistered Nun which help us to see our way forward though difficult — and even wonderful — occasions in our lives. She is the Bride of Christ — We suggest that you listen to her carefully. It may be the very reason that you have come to this page ... although you could not have possibly foreseen it — but God did.

Dear Little Hearts,

Let us impart blessings one to another. A blessing is so infrequently encountered these days ... and yet it is a practice at the heart of Holy Mother the Church and of Catholic families for over 2000 years! In this holy gesture made with the Sign of the Cross, we invoke God Himself when we bless another, and implore all His gifts and protection — so needed in these days of persecution: the persecution of the Church, of Christians throughout the world, and of Christ Himself.

Especially dear to us in cloistered life is the Blessing of Saint Colette, which we share with you below:


I pray that the Blessed Holy Spirit will always keep you in his holy grace and lead you at last to eternal glory.
Saint Colette
May the Father in his Mercy,
the Son, by his holy Passion,
and the Holy Spirit, the fountain of peace, sweetness, love and all consolation
come down upon you and remain with you always."

                                                                         (The Blessing of Saint Colette)

In humility and love in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Sister MM


Dear Little Hearts,

Our Holy Mother Saint Colette had thought that she would live out the rest of her life as an anchoress or recluse at the Abbey Church of San Pierre. Colette was very happy despite the demonic attacks she experienced — but that is always the path of those who sincerely seek God.

Many came to the wicket at the Anchorage, people from all walks of life, the mighty and the lowly; they came for counsel and prayer. Children were brought to Saint Colette for healing and for prayers. This vocation within a vocation was to last a mere three years, but it was a time of growth and affirmation for Colette. God wanted her for an even greater purpose. She had a vision of Saint Francis in which God again made it clear to her that His will was that she be instrumental in
reforming the Franciscan order.

Saint Colette was astounded and distressed by this vision and she passed through great inner turmoil and restlessness, she found within herself every excuse under the sun as to why she couldn’t do it. But God is ever persistent and He allowed her another powerful vision and miracle in which a tall golden tree grew in the anchorage, and it was surrounded by many little trees. Colette knew perfectly well what the meaning of the dream was: she would be that tall tree, that foundress and reformer of many communities represented by the smaller trees. However, she tried to hide and still persisted in her resistance to God.

 This very human reaction to God's manifest will makes Colette so lovable and so human and it is an attitude we can all understand.

 But then God also allowed a vision to Father Jehan, and that really put the cap on things, so to speak. He had seen a young girl working hard in a tangled, weed ridden vineyard, tenderly clearing the way and attending to the plants ... and Father Jehan was told that the young girl was Colette.

 Saint Colette must have felt overwhelmed! A short while after revealing this vision to Colette, Father Jehan died.

There followed a very human reaction from Colette ... the whole idea was nonsense, a temptation from the devil, she, Colette, a reformer? And of the Franciscan Order no less ... NONSENSE !

(see tomorrow what God's next move was)

In humility and love in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Sister MM

 Boston Catholic Journal


"What is Holiness?"

Holiness — sanctity — is simply the conformity of the will to the will of God.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Law of Love If you listen to no other homily on being a Catholic and your obligation to love God and your neighbor ... listen   to this: The Law of Love by Venerable Servant of God Fulton Sheen


Complete Roman Martyrology in English

The Complete Martyrology in


for Daily Reflection

Semen est sanguis Christianorum— The blood of Christians is the seed [of the Church], Tertullian, Apologeticum, 50



Tuesday September 2nd in the Year of Grace 2014

Season after Pentecost

This Day, the Second Day of September

At Alba, in Hungary, St. Stephen, King of Hungary, who, being adorned with divine virtues, was the first to convert the Hungarians to the faith of Christ. He was received into heaven by the Virgin Mother of God, on the day of her Assumption. His feast, nevertheless, is commemorated on this day, according to the Constitution of Pope Innocent XI, when the strong fortress of Buda was re-conquered through the assistance of the holy king, by the brave Christian army.

At Rome, the holy martyr Maxima, who confessed Christ with St. Ansanus in the persecution of Diocletian, and yielded up her soul whilst she was beaten with rods.

At Pamiers, in France, St. Antoninus, martyr, whose relics are kept with great veneration in the church of Palencia.

Also, the holy martyrs Diomedes, Julian, Philip, Euthychian, Hesychius, Leonides, Philadelphus, Menalippus, and Pantagapas. They consummated their martyrdom, some by fire, some by water, others by the sword or by the cross.

At Nicomedia, the holy martyr Zeno, and his sons Concordius and Theodore.

The same day, the martyrdom of the Saints Evodius and Hermogenes, brothers, and Callista, their sister.

At Lyons, in France, St. Justus, bishop and confessor, who was endowed with extraordinary sanctity, and a prophetic spirit. He resigned his bishopric, and retired into a desert of Egypt, with his lector Viator. When he had for some years led an almost angelical life, and the end of his meritorious labors had come, he went to our Lord to receive the crown of justice, on the 14th day of October. His holy body, together with the relics of his blessed lector Viator, was afterwards taken to Lyons on this day.

In the same city, St. Elpidius, bishop and confessor.

In the March of Ancona, another St. Elpidius, an abbot. A town bearing his name glories in the possession of his sacred body.

On Mount Soractes, the abbot St. Nonnosus, who, by his prayers removed a rock of huge dimensions, and was renowned for other miracles.

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

mnes sancti Mártyres
, oráte pro nobis
. ("All ye Holy Martyrs, pray for us", from the Litaniae Sanctorum, the Litany of the Saints)

Response: Thanks be to God.


Roman Martyrology by Month


Why the Martyrs Matter

Each day
we bring you a calendar, a list really, of the holy Martyrs who had suffered and died for Christ, for His Bride the Church, and for our holy Catholic Faith; men and women for whom — and well they knew — their Profession of Faith would cost them their lives.

They could have repudiated all three (Christ, Church, and Catholic Faith) and kept their lives for a short time longer (even the lapsi only postponed their death — and at so great a cost!).1

What would motivate men, women, even children and entire families to willingly undergo the most evil and painfully devised tortures; to suffer death rather than denial?

Why did they not renounce their Catholic Faith when the first flame licked at their feet, after the first eye was plucked out, or after they were “baptized” in mockery by boiling water or molten lead poured over their heads? Why did they not flee to offer incense to the pagan gods since such a ritual concession would be merely perfunctory, having been done, after all, under duress, exacted by the compulsion of the state? What is a little burned incense and a few words uttered without conviction, compared to your own life and the lives of those you love? Surely God knows that you are merely placating the state with empty gestures …

Did they love their wives, husbands, children — their mothers, fathers and friends less than we do? Did they value their own lives less? Were they less sensitive to pain than we are? In a word, what did they possess that we do not?

Nothing. They possessed what we ourselves are given in the Sacrament of Confirmation — but cleaved to it in far greater measure than we do: Faith and faithfulness; fortitude and valor, uncompromising belief in the invincible reality of God, of life eternal in Him for the faithful, of damnation everlasting apart from Him for the unfaithful; of the ephemerality of this passing world and all within it, and lives lived in total accord with that adamant belief.

We are the Martyrs to come. What made them so will make us so. What they suffered we will suffer. What they died for, we will die for. If only we will! For most us, life will be a bloodless martyrdom, a suffering for Christ, for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the Church in a thousand ways outside the arena. The road to Heaven is lined on both sides with Crosses, and upon the Crosses people, people who suffered unknown to the world, but known to God. Loveless marriages. Injustices on all sides. Poverty. Illness. Old age. Dependency. They are the cruciform! Those whose lives became Crosses because they would not flee God, the Church, the call to, the demand for, holiness in the most ordinary things of life made extraordinary through the grace of God. The Martyrology we celebrate each day is just a vignette, a small, immeasurably small sampling of the martyrdom that has been the lives of countless men and women whom Christ and the Angels know, but whom the world does not know.

“Exemplum enim dedi vobis”, Christ said to His Apostles 2. “I have given you an example.” And His Martyrs give one to us — and that is why the Martyrs matter.

Joseph Mary del Campos
Editor, Boston Catholic Journal

Note: We suggest that you explore our newly edited and revised "De SS. Martyrum Cruciatibus — The Torments and Tortures of the Christian Martyrs" for an in-depth historical account of the sufferings of the Martyrs.



by J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore

THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY is an official and accredited record, on the pages of which are set forth in simple and brief, but impressive words, the glorious deeds of the Soldiers of Christ in all ages of the Church; of the illustrious Heroes and Heroines of the Cross, whom her solemn verdict has beatified or canonized. In making up this long roll of honor, the Church has been actuated by that instinctive wisdom with which the Spirit of God, who abides in her and teaches her all truth, has endowed her, and which permeates through and guides all her actions. She is the Spouse of Christ, without spot or wrinkle or blemish, wholly glorious and undefiled, whom He loved, for whom He died, and to whom He promised the Spirit of Truth, to comfort her in her dreary pilgrimage through this valley of tears, and to abide with her forever. She is one with Him in Spirit and in love, she is subject to Him in all things; she loves what He loves, she teaches and practices what He commands.

If the world has its "Legions of Honor," why should not also the Church of the Living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth? If men who have been stained with blood, and women who have been tainted with vice, have had their memory consecrated in prose and in verse, and monuments erected to their memory, because they exhibited extraordinary talents, achieved great success, or were, to a greater or less extent, benefactors of their race in the temporal order, which passeth away, why should not the true Heroes and Heroines of Jesus, who, imitating His example, have overcome themselves, risen superior to and trampled upon the world, have aspired, in all their thoughts, words, and actions, to a heavenly crown, and have moreover labored with disinterested zeal and self-forgetting love for the good of their fellow-men, have their memories likewise consecrated and embalmed in the minds and hearts of the people of God? If time have its heroes, why should not eternity; if man, why should not God? "Thy friends, O Lord, are exceedingly honored; their principality is exceedingly exalted." Whom His Father so dearly loved, the world crucified; whom the world neglects, despises, and crucifies, God, through His Church, exceedingly honors and exalts. Their praises are sung forth, with jubilation of heart, in the Church of God for ages on ages.

The wisdom of the Church of God in honoring her Saints is equaled only by the great utility of the practice thus consecrated. The Saints are not merely heroes; they are models. Christ lived in them, and Christ yet speaks through them. They were the living temples of the Holy Ghost, in whose mortal bodies dwelt all the riches of His wisdom and grace. They were in life consecrated human exemplars of divine excellence and perfection. Their example still appeals to our minds and to our hearts, more eloquently even than did their words to the men of their own generation, while they were in the tabernacle of the flesh. Though dead, they still speak. Their relics are instinct with sanctity, and through them they continue to breathe forth the sweet odor of Christ. The immortality into which they have entered still lingers in their bones, and seems to breathe in their mortal remains. As many an ardent, spirit has been induced to rush to the cannon's mouth by reading the exploits of earthly heroes, so many a generous Christian soul has been fired with heavenly ardor, and been impelled to rush to the crown of martyrdom, by reading the lives and heroic achievements of the Saints and Martyrs of Christ. Example, in its silent appeal, is more potent in its influence on the human heart and conduct than are words in their most eloquent utterances.

The Church knows and feels all this, in the Spirit of God with whom she is replenished ; and hence she sets forth, with holy joy and exultant hope, her bright and ever-increasing Calendar of Sanctity of just men and women made perfect and rendered glorious, under her unearthly and sublime teachings. In reading this roll of consecrated holiness, our instinctive conclusion is, precisely that which the great soul of St. Augustine reached at the very crisis of his life, the moment of his conversion "If other men like me have attained to such sanctity, why not I? Shall the poor, the afflicted, the despised of the World, bear away the palm of victory, the crown of immortality, while I lie buried in my sloth and dead in my sins, and thus lose the brilliant and glorious mansion already prepared for me in heaven? Shall all the gifts, which God has lavished upon me, be ingloriously spent and foolishly wasted, in the petty contest for this world's evanescent honors and riches, while the poor and contemned lay up treasures in heaven, and secure the prize of immortal glory? Shall others be the friends of God, whom He delights to honor, while I alone remain His enemy, and an alien from His blessed Kingdom?"

It is a consoling evidence of progress in the spiritual life in this country to find the Martyrology here published, for the first time, in English, and thereby made accessible, in its rich treasures of Sanctity, to all classes of our population. It will prove highly edifying and useful, not only to the members of our numerous religious Communities of both sexes, but also to the laity generally. Every day has here its record of Sanctity; and there is scarcely a Christian, no matter how lowly or how much occupied, who may not be able to daily peruse, with faith and with great profit, the brief page of each day's models of Holiness. These belong to all classes and callings of life; from the throne to the hovel, from the Pontiff to the lowest cleric, from the philosopher to the peasant, from the busy walks of life to the dreary wastes of the desert.

Let all, then, procure and read daily the appropriate portions of this Martyrology. Its daily and pious perusal will console us in affliction, will animate us in despondency, will make our souls glow with the love of God in coldness, and will lift up our minds and hearts from this dull and ever-changing earth to the bright and everlasting mansions prepared for us in Heaven!

Imprimatur,  J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop Baltimore, Maryland 1916

  Printable PDF Version


1   The Lapsi were early Catholics who renounced the Faith and either sacrificed to the Roman gods by edict from the emperor, or offered incense to them to escape Imperial persecution and death, and who later returned to the Faith when persecution subsided. However, Christ warns us, “Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.” (St. Matthew 10.3-33)

2 St. John 13.15


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 "Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum"  
"I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name."
(Apocalypse 3.8)

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