Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
June is dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is deserving of our special veneration, because it is the sensible origin and seat of all the affections of our Divine Redeemer, and especially that of His burning Love; likewise, His Heart is the center of all the interior Sorrows which He suffered during His mortal Life. Moreover, the adorable Heart of Jesus, united to His Sacred Humanity, is thus inseparably united to the Divine Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
The importance of the veneration of these beautiful truths was first revealed to St. Gertrude the Great (d. 1302), which she recorded in her book The Herald of Divine Love. Later, Jesus showed His Heart to St. Margaret Mary, surrounded with thorns, with a cross on top, and in a throne of flames, saying: "Behold this Heart which has loved men so much, and has spared nothing for love of them, but which receives from the majority of men no other recompense but ingratitude and insults towards the Sacrament of love; and what grieves Me most is, that these hearts are consecrated to Me."
It is only fitting that the Blessed Virgin Mary is also honored during this month under the title of "Our Lady of the Sacred Heart." For it was from her most pure and sinless body that Our Divine Lord took His own Flesh and Blood, and thus she gave to Him that Most Sacred Heart, the physical organ which was not only the primary fountain of His own natural life, but the actual seat of the burning love of the very Son of God, which was finally to be pierced upon the Cross, and so pour forth the last drops of His most Precious Blood, in order to give supernatural life to all those who would love Him in return.
St. Gertrude understood this incomparable prerogative of Our Lady, and justly endeavored to honor her under the beautiful title, "The Immaculate Lily of the Most Holy Trinity."
St. Bede the Venerable (673-735) convincingly refutes those who, while claiming to accept and truly believe in the Divinity of the Redeemer, deny this singular privilege of His Mother, which also necessitates her Immaculate Conception. "Heretics of a later day," he writes, "denying that by the power and operation of the Holy Ghost, Mary, ever a Virgin, did verily give of her own flesh and blood in bringing forth the human Body of the Only-begotten Son of God, have maintained that He ought not to be acknowledged as the true Son of Man, consubstantial with His Mother."
For if the very "Flesh of the Word of God," he argues, "had no connection with the flesh of His Virgin-Mother, without reason do we call 'blessed the womb that bore Him, and the breasts that nursed Him.' But the Apostle says: 'For God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.' Neither are we to listen to them who would interpret the passage thus: 'Born of a woman, made under the law;' but: 'Made of a woman;' for being conceived in the womb of a virgin, He took not flesh from nothing, nor from elsewhere, but He partook of His Mother's flesh. Otherwise he could not truly have been called the Son of man, since he would have had no origin from mankind."
"Let us, therefore, in condemnation of the doctrine of Eutyches (and of liberal and Protestant heretics of our own day), lift up our voices together with the Catholic Church, whereof the woman (of the gospel) is a figure; and let us lift up our minds from the midst of the multitude, saying to our Savior: 'Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that nursed Thee.' Yea, blessed indeed is that Parent, whereof a certain one has said: She has given birth to the King who rules forever over Heaven and earth."
"For the Mother of God was blessed indeed, in that she gave flesh to the Word of God in time, but still more blessed, in that she ever keeps that same Word in her love, throughout all eternity."
(From the Homily of St. Bede the Venerable, Book 4,
St. Anthony the Wonderworker
God is "wonderful in His Saints," but St. Anthony is the "Saint of wonders." The marvelous power of miracles conferred upon him by God has won for Saint Anthony throughout the entire world the name of Wonder-Worker. The Church in Her ancient responsory says of him, "If then you ask for miracles, go to Saint Anthony." Saint Antoninus, the Dominican Archbishop of Florence, calls him "Wonder Worker beyond compare." And in the holy Mass said on the Feastday of the Saint we read: "In life he wrought signs, in death, miracles." So numerous were the miracles wrought on the day of his burial that the funeral procession became a triumphal ovation, while the wonders obtained through his intercession thereafter brought about his canonization in less than a year by Pope Gregory IX. In the letter of canonization, this Sovereign Pontiff conferred upon Anthony the title, "Operator miraculorum carissime," that is, "Dearest Wonder-Worker."
This was in the thirteenth century, and from that time on uninterruptedly to our own day, the history of the Saint abounds in extraordinary examples of favors bestowed upon those who have sought his intercession. The sorrowful and afflicted are never weary of imploring his aid, and Saint Anthony never wearies in obtaining their requests. His miracles are innumerable and almost infinitely varied: cripples have been cured, invalids healed, the dead brought back to life, temptations heroically overcome, demons put to flight and, especially, lost things restored. He has advanced the temporal, and still more importantly, the spiritual interests of his devout clients to such an extent that the mere enumeration of the marvels and blessings obtained through him would fill volumes.
The daily favors he bestows upon his faithful clients may be added to those already known, confirming the ancient and constant belief that Saint Anthony is indeed a wonderful helper in every necessity; a Saint chosen by God as the instrument of His Almighty power and love; a friend in need and a consoler in affliction; "a Wonder-Worker beyond compare."
"Ask the Wonder-Worker with confidence," says Saint Bonaventure, and he will obtain what you seek."
SAINT ANTHONY, THE "SAINT OF THE WHOLE WORLD"
Saint Anthony of Padua is without question one of the most popular of saints; popular enthusiasm has made him universally recognized. He is called the "Saint of the Whole World" because the faithful of the whole world love him. For almost eight hundred years, millions in every clime and land have been attracted to this great Franciscan Wonder-Worker. All classes, the rich and the lowly, are drawn to him. Artists and scholars, sculptors and authors without number, have dedicated their talents to him. Everywhere churches and chapels have risen in his honor, and shrines and altars invite his trustful friends. Hardly a Catholic church was without his statue, a Catholic chapel without his image, or a Catholic home without his picture. With the names of Mary and Joseph, the name of Anthony is invoked in almost every Catholic household with pious fervor and boundless confidence. "Thus," says Cherance, "there arises from all parts a universal concert of homage and praise in which each succeeding generation has a share; and Heaven itself adds its harmonious note by the multitudinous and constant flow of graces and miracles with which it has crowned the invocation of Saint Anthony in every age." No doubt it was this universal acclaim for the Wonder-Worker of Padua that prompted his great client, Pope Leo XIII, to declare: "Saint Anthony is not only the Saint of Padua, but in truth the Saint of the whole world."
This enthusiastic devotion to St. Anthony has endured for seven centuries and more. Consequently, it seems quite natural to conclude that the "Saint of the Whole World" also has a special mission for the souls of our own terrible age of apostasy.
A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF SAINT ANTHONY
SAINT ANTHONY was born in Lisbon, Portugal, on August 15, 1195. In Baptism he received the name Ferdinand. His father was Martin de Bouillon, of a family of renowned Crusaders. His mother was Teresa de Tavera, of an ancient and noble Portuguese line.
After splendid training at home, Ferdinand was sent at the age of ten to the cathedral school conducted under the care of the Clergy. When fifteen, he consecrated himself to the religious life in the Convent of the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine at Lisbon. He was transferred thence to Holy Cross Monastery at Coimbra, where he achieved a great name for both sanctity and learning.
It was there at Holy Cross that the young Canon Regular received his vocation to the Franciscan Order. When he saw the remains of the first five Franciscan martyrs (killed by Islamic militants in Morocco) which were brought to Coimbra for interment, Ferdinand was inflamed with an ardent desire for a similar martyrdom, and sought permission to join the sons of Saint Francis. In July of 1220 the new Franciscan received, with the habit of the Order, the name of Anthony, that name by which he is known and loved throughout the world. Four months later, at his own urgent request, Anthony was sent to Morocco, that he too might share in the honors of martyrdom.
But God had decreed otherwise, and by means of sickness and shipwreck brought the martyr in desire to the land he was to glorify by his holy and miraculous life. For ten years Anthony traversed Italy and the southern part of France, going wherever obedience called him, to preach the Gospel of Christ with untiring zeal. He so successfully opposed the then prevailing heresies that he became known to all as the "Hammer of Heretics." Because of his knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures he was greeted by Pope Gregory IX as the "Living Ark of the Testament."
Anthony's fame was at its zenith when, in 1228, he was sent to Padua. Here he spent the last few years of his life, in the city with which his name has been associated for seven centuries. Death came to the Saint on Friday, June 13, 1231, in his thirty-sixth year, in the little hospital adjoining the convent of the Poor Clares of Arcella, outside the city gates of Padua. Fearing a dispute between popular factions for possession of the treasured body of the Saint, the Friars tried to keep the news of his death from the people, but the children ran through the streets of the city, crying aloud: "The Saint is dead! Our Father, Saint Anthony, is dead!" He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on May 30, 1232, less than a year after his holy death.
In the year 1263 the tomb of the Saint was opened in order that his blessed remains might be transferred to the new sanctuary built in his honor. The marvel was then discovered that, though his flesh had fallen to dust, his tongue remained fresh and ruddy like that of a living person. It was on this occasion that Saint Bonaventure, then Minister General of the Franciscan Order, taking the tongue of the Saint into his hands, uttered the words which now constitute the antiphon preceding the Miraculous Responsory: "O blessed tongue that never ceased to praise God and always taught others to bless Him, now we plainly see how precious thou art in His sight!"
SAINT ANTHONY'S BREAD
Saint Anthony's Bread for the poor is a devotion which has spread throughout the Catholic world, obtaining marvelous favors for the clients of the Saint, and bringing relief to the poor, so beloved of Our Divine Lord. The ultimate, practical effect of this devotion to Saint Anthony is to proclaim to a hard-hearted and unbelieving world that charity is the wide avenue to the favors of Heaven. Saint Anthony loves the poor, just as much now as he did in life. Hence he asks his clients to put into tangible form the inheritance of love which he himself received from the Little Poor Man of Assisi. It is the experience of all who appeal to the great Wonder-Worker that their petitions are more likely to be granted if they are coupled with a promise to help the needy. This sure way of enlisting the kindness and sympathy of the Saint, by charity to the poor, is called St. Anthony's Bread.
To participate in this devotion, accompany your petition to the Saint with a promise to him that, if at the expiration of a given time he shall have secured its fulfillment, a certain sum of money will be donated in his honor to buy "bread for the needy." The alms may be given to any worthy charity (if in doubt, seek the counsel of the Church), but among the poor, it is best to remember those students who, like St. Anthony, aspire to the holy priesthood. To contribute to their support in this manner is at once an act of charity and an act of devotion.
By this continual alternation of benefactors and benefits, a chain of charity is woven, the ends of which are held in the hands of the Wonder-Worker of Padua, to be presented as an acceptable offering to Him Who is the source of all true charity.
A branch of Saint Anthony's Bread has been established at St. Francis Seminary, in Western Washington, for the purpose of aiding needy young men who are preparing for the traditional Catholic priesthood in the spirit of St. Francis--of poverty, simplicity, humility, and ardent zeal for souls--those apostolic virtues which were so resplendent in the life of Saint Anthony, in stark contrast to the pride, disobedience, worldliness, and intellectual pride of so many would-be priests who do far more harm to souls than good. Mindful of his appellation as the "Hammer of Heretics," these young clerics and seminarians are dedicated to the preservation of Catholic orthodoxy in all things.
TUESDAY: SAINT ANTHONY'S DAY
Tuesday is dedicated to Saint Anthony because of the many and astounding miracles which occurred on the Tuesday on which his body was laid to rest. So numerous were these prodigies, as has been told before, that the somber funeral was transformed into a triumphal procession. It is said that no one invoked the aid of the Saint without obtaining relief. All returned to their homes comforted, praising God and saying: "This is the day the Lord hath made to Saint Anthony; let us be glad and rejoice therein."
Since that time the devout clients of the Wonder- Worker have dedicated every Tuesday to Saint Anthony as the day on which God was pleased to show forth the power of the Saint. This pious custom gradually spread throughout the Catholic world. In Franciscan churches on each Tuesday, devotions were held in his honor, and faithful clients come to pay homage to him. Saint Anthony himself has chosen Tuesday as his own. He has obtained throughout the centuries countless favors, spiritual and temporal, for those who have honored him on that day.
The Church has set Her approval upon Tuesday as Saint Anthony's day by generous indulgences. A plenary indulgence is granted on every Tuesday of the year to all who receive the Sacraments and on that day visit a Catholic church where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, and there pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. (Leo XIII, July 3, 1894) A plenary indulgence is granted on each day of thirteen consecutive Tuesdays (or Sundays), once a year, to all who perform an act of piety in honor of St. Anthony, receive the Sacraments, visit a church or public oratory and pray there for the intentions of the Holy Father. (Leo XIII, Mar. 1, 1898)
PRAYER FOR THE RESTORATION OF THINGS LOST OR STOLEN
O blessed Saint Anthony! The grace of God has made thee a powerful advocate in all necessities and the patron for the restoration of things lost or stolen. To thee I turn today with childlike love and heartfelt confidence. Oh, how many thousands hast thou miraculously aided in the recovery of lost goods! Thou wast the counselor of the erring, the comforter of the afflicted, the healer of the sick, the raiser of the dead, the deliverer of the captive, the refuge of the afflicted. To thee do I hasten, O blessed Saint Anthony! Assist me in my present affliction. I recommend what I have lost to thy care, in the secure hope that thou wilt restore it to me, if it be to the greater glory of God and to the spiritual benefit of my soul. Obtain also for me an active faith, peace of mind, disgust for the vain pleasures of the world, and an ardent desire for the imperishable goods of eternity. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
From the Encyclical Haurietis Aquas