Pope S. Pius X| Pope S. Gregory the Great| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Pius X
Pope Pius X is perhaps best remembered for his encouragement of the frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children.
The second of 10 children in a poor Italian family, Joseph Sarto became Pius X at 68, one of the 20th century’s greatest popes.
Ever mindful of his humble origin, he stated, “I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor.” He was embarrassed by some of the pomp of the papal court. “Look how they have dressed me up,” he said in tears to an old friend. To another, “It is a penance to be forced to accept all these practices. They lead me around surrounded by soldiers like Jesus when he was seized in Gethsemane.”
Interested in politics, he encouraged Italian Catholics to become more politically involved. One of his first papal acts was to end the supposed right of governments to interfere by veto in papal elections—a practice that reduced the freedom of the 1903 conclave which had elected him.
In 1905, when France renounced its agreement with the Holy See and threatened confiscation of Church property if governmental control of Church affairs were not granted, Pius X courageously rejected the demand.
While he did not author a famous social encyclical as his predecessor had done, he denounced the ill treatment of indigenous peoples on the plantations of Peru, sent a relief commission to Messina after an earthquake and sheltered refugees at his own expense.
On the 11th anniversary of his election as pope, Europe was plunged into World War I. Pius had foreseen it, but it killed him. “This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me. I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge.” He died a few weeks after the war began and was canonized in 1954.
His humble background was no obstacle in relating to a personal God and to people whom he loved genuinely. He gained his strength, his gentleness and warmth for people from the source of all gifts, the Spirit of Jesus. In contrast, we often feel embarrassed by our backgrounds. Shame makes us prefer to remain aloof from people whom we perceive as superior. If we are in a superior position, on the other hand, we often ignore simpler people. Yet we, too, have to help “restore all things in Christ,” especially the wounded people of God.
Describing Pius X, a historian wrote that he was “a man of God who knew the unhappiness of the world and the hardships of life, and in the greatness of his heart wanted to comfort everyone.”
St. Gregory the Great
Coming events cast their shadows before: Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome.
Ordained a priest, he became one of the pope's seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, and at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome.
He was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of "Gregorian" chant is disputed.
Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king.
An Anglican historian has written: "It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great."
His book, Pastoral Care, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called "the Great," Gregory has been given a place with Augustine (August 28), Ambrose (December 7) and Jerome (September 30)as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.
Gregory was content to be a monk, but he willingly served the Church in other ways when asked. He sacrificed his own preferences in many ways, especially when he was called to be Bishop of Rome. Once he was called to public service, Gregory gave his considerable energies completely to this work.
"Perhaps it is not after all so difficult for a man to part with his possessions, but it is certainly most difficult for him to part with himself. To renounce what one has is a minor thing; but to renounce what one is, that is asking a lot" (St. Gregory,Homilies on the Gospels).
Patron Saint of:
Beacon of Christ:
On a cold night it's a good idea to stay near the fire. When our faith cools it's a better idea to stick to the warmth of Christ's presence. One of the reasons for adoration of the Eucharist is that the experience fires up our love for Jesus. Instead of being detached and dull Catholics, we are on fire with Christ.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
The soul that fears offending God and has the sincere desire not to do so, but to love Him, does not offend Him in fact, but loves Him. And as this desire is always constant, your every fear is useless and ... imaginary.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Four: 237-262
We continue to the fourth notebook that Saint Faustina filled with reflections and revelations from Jesus. As we enter into this notebook, allow yourself to seek God in the silence. This chapter begins with Saint Faustina revealing that she was experiencing a “dark night” (Diary #1235). She lacked the sensory feelings of closeness to God. By analogy, it would be as if you were in a dark room filled with treasures and someone told you that all the treasures of this room were yours. You could not see them but you trusted the person who spoke about all that was around you. Knowledge of these treasures filled your mind even though the darkness hid them from your eyes.
So it is with God. Saint Faustina loved our Lord with all her heart and with every beat of her heart. She knew His closeness and love. But it appears that she could not sense this through her human senses. This gift of darkness allowed her to enter into a relationship with God on a spiritual level far deeper.
Seek this depth of relationship with God as you read through this chapter. Move beyond a desire to feel close to God and allow yourself to become close to God. He wants to enter your heart on a much deeper level than you ever knew possible. Be open to the newness of a relationship shrouded in darkness and allow the Lord to communicate His Mercy to you on this new level of love.
Reflection 246: Upon Receiving Holy Communion
What do you do after receiving Holy Communion? Do you go back to your pew in a distracted way, with your mind wandering, paying attention to others around you, and failing to encounter our Lord on an authentic spiritual level? Or do you allow that moment to be a moment of true prayer and communion with God? If the truth is the former, just be honest with yourself and with God and use this realization for an opportunity to reexamine your approach to this most sacred Gift! The moment after Holy Communion is a treasured moment in which each soul is invited to be consumed by Him who was just consumed. In other words, the act of receiving Holy Communion is not just the physical act we do, it must also become something God does to us. We must choose to not only consume our Lord, we must also allow Him to consume us with His Mercy. There is no better time to do this than the moments after receiving this priceless Gift. This is accomplished by making your life an oblation to God. An “oblation” is an offering, and the reception of Holy Communion must become a moment in which we completely offer ourselves to our Divine Lord (See Diary #1264).
Reflect upon the last time you received Holy Communion. What was that experience like? Did you have a complete focus on what you were doing? Did you offer yourself to our Lord as an oblation of love? Did you place yourself into the hands of our Lord in a sacrificial way? Did you allow our Lord to consume you with His merciful love? Ponder these questions and commit yourself to this depth of offering. If you do, Holy Communion will become the greatest act of Mercy in your life.
My Lord and my God, I give myself to You with total abandon and surrender. My life is Yours, dear Lord. I give myself to You without reserve as an oblation of love. Jesus, I trust in You.