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Friends of the King

Part of our Catholic faith is our belief in the Communion of the Saints. We profess this at every Sunday mass and ask for their intercession. They pray for us continuously in Heaven and join us at each and every mass to celebrate. Many people are familiar with different devotions attributed to different saints, like asking Saint Anthony to pray for us when we loose something or asking for St. Josephs intercession when we are selling our homes. We may even ask St. Nicholas of Myra for his intercession when we are about to punch a heretic in the face (just kidding).

I think that we sometimes can forget that the saints aren’t there only for us to ask for their intercession. There is so much more to them than that. The saints have life stories. Some were martyred, others were consecrated religious, hermits, priests, mothers, fathers, and children. One thing ties them all together: they devoted their lives to Christ and sought Him out in love and faithfulness and lived lives of heroic virtue.

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I think we have all had an experience where we want to get to know someone better, so we ask their closest friends about how they have impacted them. We ask what they do for fun and how the relationship has affected them. In this case, the person we want to get to know is Christ and one way we can get to know Him better is by getting to know the Saints. We can learn from them how to be better followers to Christ by learning from their examples.

The lives of Saints can speak to us in unique ways. Some Saints may speak to us in very particular ways. One of my favourite saints is Saint Joan of Arc. I read many entries from her journal and was even more inspired to hear the words from her heart about her complete trust in God from the battlefield to the prison cell to death. Her example continues to inspire me to always trust in God, even when the world is against me. This kind of example was what I needed when I was being confirmed as I was going through hard periods of depression.

Likewise, some may find consolation and comfort in the lives of other saints. A mother may be drawn to the fervent prayers of Saint Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine. For the contemplative, perhaps St.Teresa of Avila’s writings. For the scholar, St. Dominic or Saint Benedict. For the struggling student, Saint Joseph of Cupertino. And all of them loved Jesus and now reside with him in Heaven.

“The greatest Saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”
–Saint Louis Marie de Montfort

I won’t forget to make mention to the greatest saint of all: Mary.  We should not be strangers to Our Lady, for she is the Queen of Heaven . She knew Christ first, and knew Him His entire earthly life, right up to the cross. We shouldn’t be shy about getting to know Mary better. It is in loving her that we can come to know and love her Son in the most amazing and beautiful ways.

With All Saints day and All Souls Day approaching, perhaps we should spend some time getting to know some of the saints. Let us become close friends with the King and with those that worship Him perpetually in Heaven. Let us get to know the crowd of saints that were inspired to live for the King despite the difficulties they faced. Remember the saints not only by their deeds, but by their steadfast faith, devotion, and love for God and all that is His.

Love,
Catholic Ruki

Here are a few books to check out and enjoy:

Joan of Arc: In her Own Words
Lives of the Saints I
Lives of the Saints II
Confessions by Saint Augustine
Diary of Saint Maria Faustina

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes About Mary

Blessed-Virgin-Mary-Mothe-of-InnocenceMay is the month of Mary. So, in celebration , here are some top ten quotes about Mary, our Mother! Let us truly get to know her, this month and take her words to heart as she tells us to listen to follow her Son.

1. ” Here am I, servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” – Our lady speaking to Gabriel (Luke 1:38)

2.  “My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.”
– Marys song of Praise ( Luke 1:46-55)

3. “Do whatever he tells you.” – Mary speaking to the servants at the Wedding at Cana,  John  2:5

4. “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  -Our Lady of Lourdes, March 25, 1858

5.“Let not your heart be disturbed… Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.” – Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego

6. “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”– Saint Maximilian Kolbe

7. “She is more Mother than Queen.”-Saint Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church

8.”All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded upon Our Lady.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

9. The Blessed Virgin Mary is born to be Mother. The supreme consolation that Our Lady receives at the foot of the cross of her Son is the assurance that her vocation as Mother does not end with Christ’s death. The Lord commands the world, Behold your Mother.” The resurrection begins for Mary – and for us – with these words. The Blessed Virgin’s womb remains for ever fruitful. Mary leads us to Christ, but Christ leads us back to his Mother, for without Mary’s maternity, Jesus would become a mere abstraction to us. The Lord wills to “let his face shine upon” us through the face of the Mother of God. We “serve a Mother who seems to grow more beautiful as new generations rise up and call her blessed. – G.K. Chesterton

10. Mary has the authority over the angels and the blessed in heaven. As a reward for her great humility, God gave her the power and mission of assigning to saints the thrones made vacant by the apostate angels who fell away through pride. Such is the will of the almighty God who exalts the humble, that the powers of heaven, earth and hell, willingly or unwillingly, must obey the commands of the humble Virgin Mary. For God has made her queen of heaven and earth, leader of his armies, keeper of his treasure, dispenser of his graces, mediatrix on behalf of men, destroyer of his enemies, and faithful associate in his great works and triumphs.” -Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,

Loneliness in Friendship

St. Jerome once said “A friend is long sought, hardly found, and with difficulty kept.”  I think we can all relate with this in some way.

How often do we feel lonely in our friendships; like our friendships are all work from our own end, and little to no effort from the other party? Do we find ourselves being the ones to make the phone calls, initiate emails or texts, schedule the in-person hangouts, ask the questions in those hangouts, and/or be the primary one to share our heart? I think we may all feel like this at some time or another.

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We are experiencing a serious crisis right now:  we are living in a time where people are extremely disconnected from one another, and we as Christians also fall prey to this temptation as well. Our Blessed Lord said to His disciples “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  Christ Himself has set the standard, but as people who seek to imitate Him,  how much are we really doing this? When a friend calls us and needs to talk, are we really placing them and their needs above ours? Are we willing to make the necessary changes to our schedules to make a place for those whom God has given us as friends? What about when a friend needs our help with something? Are we going out of our way to give them a hand, to lay down our life and our will in order to love them more than ourselves? How often do we put things we love before the people we love?

We are a people who fail on a daily basis to love those around us, yet in dying for us, Christ showed us the most perfect way to love one another. He was there for his friends (and enemies), he gave them words of encouragement, and he also admonished them. He spent a significant amount of time with them. The Blessed Mother went and spent three months with her cousin Elizabeth when she learned that she was also having a child. This would have been a big journey for her. She would have likely walked anywhere between 70-130 miles, which would have been quite a few days journey, while pregnant.  Yet, Mary made the sacrifice because she loved Elizabeth.

Blog-Iron-Shapening-IronFriendship is meant for us to lead one another to the Lord. The book of Proverbs gives some great advice surrounding friendship when it says, “an open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:5-6). We are meant to be sharpened by one another, by spouses, friends, parents, even by our own children,  “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Yes, it can be difficult, but this type of thing will only serve to strengthen our friendships with one another and subsequently with God. When we are not sharpened, we become dull and ineffective.

It says in Proverbs that “there are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Relationships are so easily broken and damaged, whether it be by a cruel word, betrayal of trust, broken promises, or even lack of noticeable effort, no matter how big or small these actions may be.

St. Peter, in his friendship with Christ, denied Him three times. Yet he later wholeheartedly affirmed his love for the Lord, remembering afterward that he had previously denied Him. St. Peter went on to lead the Church tremendously as the first Pope, growing ever closer to the Lord. We just celebrated the Feast of Pentecost, where the Apostles with Mary, were together, united as friends in the Lord. They all received the gift of the Holy Spirit, which served to bring them closer together and enabled them to witness to the entire world. May we, like St. Peter, reaffirm our love for our friends in word and in deed, and may we pray that the Holy Spirit would help to guide, deepen, and strengthen our  friendships. Subsequently, let us love more deeply in word and deed those we do not like or know. G.K. Chesterton said “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” As our Blessed Lord said in John’s Gospel, “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”

CutieCatholics: Our Lady of Fatima

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O Most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of the most holy Rosary, you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima and reveal a glorious message. We implore you, inspire in our hearts a fervent love for the recitation of the Rosary. By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption that are recalled therein may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.
Amen.

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