Today, January 22, we celebrate the life and works of St Vincent Pallotti. Born in Rome, he knew from a very young age that he wanted to dedicate his life to Christ and did so by becoming a priest. He wanted to make it his mission to reach all the non-Catholics in the world and spread God’s love and word to them. He knew that there would be ways to do this that could involved the regular man and allow them to reach them on some level, but he also knew that there was a lot in this world that could keep it from happening.
For this cause, he spent large amounts of money to reach those regular men by creating guilds for workers, loan associations, orphanages, schools that taught trade skills. He wanted to give people something to hope for so they stopped looking at the bad and were willing to embrace the good in their lives. He was a man that wanted to focus on God’s love by helping those that were poor and unable to help themselves.
God Bless him and may we also learn to help others in such manners as he did.
Today, January 21, we celebrate the life and works of St Agnes, patron of the children of Mary. St Agnes was a young girl that knew exactly what it was that she wanted even at a young age and made a promise to God to never stain her purity. She wanted to live her life only for him. She loved him very much and didn’t want sin to touch her life, viewing her body as a temple to God. Many didn’t understand this. They saw the beautiful young woman that she was and wanted nothing more than to have her as their wife. She knew her path and knew that it didn’t involve marrying anyone, but focusing her life on God. In fact, when asked if she would wed them, she would simply respond to her suitors that “Jesus Christ is my only Spouse.”
This didn’t sit well with Procop, the Governor’s son. He wanted her for himself and thought that there was a way to convince her to his side through rich gifts and promises, but she kept refusing him for God. This angered him greatly so he had her brought before his father, claiming her to be a Catholic. His father offered her more wonderful gifts to simply deny God and agree to wed his son. She refused once again. He tried to change her mind by having her thrown in chains. Still, she remained steadfast in her love for God. Next she was sent to a place of sin where he had hoped she would break, but an Angel protected her and she wasn’t touched.
This caused her to be sentenced to martyrdom. Everyone was so sad to see someone so young and beautiful being given this sentence, but St Agnes looked as happy as a bride for she was going to join God in Heaven.
God Bless her and may we also have such joy and desire in our lives to treat our relationship with God in such a high manner.
Today, January 20, we celebrate the life and works of St Fabian. St Fabian was merely a layperson that happened to come to Rome as many people do when one Pope leaves this world. They want that reassurance that the next Pope will be someone they can trust, someone that will improve upon the religious order in the world and is someone they know that they can be proud of to lead them. The crowd must have been overwhelming, but he, along with thousands of others, came there.
It was during the discussion that something amazing happened. A dove came down from the ceiling towards those gathered. It didn’t go to one of those that had been picked to be chosen from, but rather landed on St Fabian’s head. It was a unanimous selection in that moment as everyone agreed that St Fabian was fit to be Pope.
This dove was a foreshadowing of the future with St Fabian as Pope. The dove symbolizes peace and starting soon after he became Pope, there was a time of peace in which he was able to build up the structure of the church, including appointing seven deacons and collecting the acts of the martyrs.
As with all changes, there are those that don’t like to see others growing strong. There were pagans that began to attack Catholics every chance they could. When the emperor died and was replaced with Decius, so ended the peace that they had grown to cherish. In that time of peace, the church had grown soft and many were afraid of becoming martyrs for their faith, but St Fabian was that symbol and example that many looked to to show them God’s will. He was martyred for his faith and love in God.
God Bless him and may we also be ready to accept the path that God has for us even if it is something that is thrust upon us such as it was for St Fabian.
Today, January 19, we celebrate the life and works of St Henry of Sweden. An Englishman residing in Rome, he was consecrated as Bishop of Uppsala, Sweden by the man that would become Pope Adrian IV. He worked well within his country and alongside St Eric, King of Sweden. Together they went to Finland in an expedition of retaliation against those that were marauding the Swedish land. While St Eric offered them peace and the Catholic faith, they refused and instead went to war. Sweden won and St Henry brought the word of God and Catholicism to the people, baptizing them in the Spring of Kuppis.
While St Eric returned back to Sweden, St Henry saw his place in Finland and worked there to convert more Finns to Catholicism. In this he saw was his mission from God and his life work. He built a church at Nousis which he made into his headquarters while he worked to reach the people. He converted many and was looked to when it came time to judge those that had done wrong to others. He took this job just as seriously as he did bringing God’s love and word to the people. In all decisions he made, he prayed to God for guidance in what it was that he was to do.
God Bless him and may we also have such strength and remember to let God lead us in all that we do.
Today, January 18, we celebrate the life and works of St Margaret of Hungary. Born into a royal family, the daughter of King Bela IV, she joined the royal convent at the young age of twelve and became a Dominican novice. She was one of the highest born of royal blood within the royal convent and most wanted to treat her special in order to earn favor with the king. However, she objected to such special treatment and wanted to be treated as anyone else there would be. To drill this point home, she would volunteer and complete the most menial of tasks and hard labors that she could.
Her heart was always in it though and there was a special place there for the poor and sickly. She would volunteer and help out at the hospitals on cases that many would have probably stayed away from in fear of what would happen to them or what they might catch from those that were deathly ill. She would work harder and longer than most, which, added to the fasting she conducted and the long hours she kept for prayer, ultimately led to her falling ill and joining the Lord in Heaven.
God Bless her and may we also give so selflessly to those that are in need.
Today, January 17, we celebrate the life and works of St Sulpicius. Son of wealthy parents, he was raised in a home and family that would have left him not wanting for much, but St Sulpicius knew at a young age that he never wanted to marry. He started there and then devoting himself to good works and taking care of the poor. He became bishop of Bourges in 624 and fought valiantly against Lullo, who was King Dagobert’s minister. He worked hard while he was in the position of Bishop to reach the people that were under his charge or came into his life. He attended the Council of Clichy in 627 as well.
He was known for his charity and good works. He tended to work hard to spread God’s love through his own actions. Because of this and the way he acted towards others, St Sulpicius helped to convert all of those in Bourges over to Catholicism. He spent most of his life in this role until he finally decided to take a step back and focus on what gave him such joy at a young age. He spent the rest of his days taking care of the poor.
God Bless him and may we also take such joy in charity and spreading God’s love to others.
Today, January 16, we celebrate the life and works of St Eleutherius. St Eleutherius was a man that was distinguished because of his many virtues that showed him to be a holy man, a man of God. He was the abbot of St. Mark’s and was even able to perform miracles in the name of the Lord. He learned many lessons through his work and the Lord’s way. He helped those possessed by demons to be freed. He helped those that were ill find either comfort or to be healed. He even was said to have raised a man from the dead. All, of course, in the name of the Lord.
He was a man that followed what his duties were, that did all he could in the name of the Lord by the Lord’s will. He was strong in his belief and faith and stood for that belief no matter what happened in his life. He wanted nothing more than to bring glory to God.
God Bless him and may we also live our lives for the glory of God.
Today, January 15, we celebrate the life and works of St Nina. She was born in Cappadocia and was believed to be a relative of St George who went it Iberia to convert the people to Catholicism. Many scholars think she was a slave, but what she did with a simple life and words of kindness went a long way towards converting people to Catholicism. She even was able to convert a queen with God’s hand. She lived a life of piety and would simply share her knowledge of God’s work with those that she came upon or showed interest. She didn’t push or shove, but laid out what it was that she knew and had experienced in her own life. This converted many people. The queen was converted when St Nina seemed to cure her of an incurable disease.
The king was easily converted after finding his wife had been cured. He listened to what St Nina had to say before he sent out to Constantinople for bishops and priests to come to his kingdom so he could further spread the word of God to his people. He didn’t want any of them to not know the knowledge that he had learned from his interaction with St Nina. She continued preaching the word of God throughout Georgia until the day God called her home to be by His side.
God Bless her and may we also spread the word of God to others and show His love.
Today, January 14, we celebrate the life and works of St Felix of Nolan, patron of Nola, Italy. Born to a Syrian that had been a Roman soldier, St Felix was born into a rich family and was set to inherit the whole estate in the event that his father left this world. However, when his father actually did pass, St Felix surprised everyone when he distributed all of the estate and his inheritance to the poor and went on to be ordained by the Bishop St Maximus of Nola and went on to become his assistant. He even joined St Maximus when he fled to the desert during the persecution from Decius. He was seized instead of St Maximus to be taken and imprisoned in his stead. He was released from prison by an angel and was directed to go back to St Maximus because he was ailing at this time and brought him back to Nola.
They were continuously hunted even after the death of the Decius, but no one was able to catch them. When St Maximus left and went on to join God in Heaven, he was unanimously appointed as the new bishop of Nola but he declined this offer for someone that he thought was much more suited for the position, this being Quintus. After this, he left the spotlight to continue his life on a small piece of land where he shared whatever he had with the poor and taught them about God and His love.
God Bless him and may we also stand strong in our faith even when there are those out there that are trying to stop us from spreading God’s word and love.
Today, January 13, we celebrate the life and works of St Hilary of Poitiers, patron against snake bites. St Hilary wasn’t raised Catholic. In fact, most of those around him believed that the only purpose life had was to fulfill their desires. He didn’t agree with that though. He thought that there had to be something more to life than that and set out to find out just what that something could be. He didn’t want to miss out on anything because he was following in the footsteps of others. Philosophers told him that life was meant to be lived virtuously, but something about that didn’t ring as the whole of the answer so he went in search of the giver behind the gift that is life.
He heard many things from others about God. That there were many, that there was one, that God was caring, or that he wasn’t concerned about his creation. He looked into himself to find the answers that he knew were waiting. There could only be one God because there would be no creation that was as powerful or wonderful as God and He had to care about His creations because there would be no point for Him to have made them if He didn’t care. It was at this time that he found his way across the scripture and it was as if everything fell into place perfectly. He had found what he was looking for and knew that his search had come to an end in that moment. He found his answers to the question he had sought the answer for as well as the answers to question that arose after he found his answer.
He ended up becoming appointed bishop of Poitiers, a part of France and worked to bring the word of the God to the Arians. This ended with him being sent back to Poitiers by the emperor, but he didn’t mind. He spent his journey back preaching about God’s word and love.
God Bless him and may we also look towards God for the answers to our questions.