In certain places, the Mother's presence is felt in a particularly vivid way. These places sometimes radiate their light over a great distance and draw people from afar. Their radiance may extend over a diocese, a whole nation, or at times over several countries and even continents. These places are the Marian sanctuaries or shrines.
In all these places, that unique testament of the Crucified Lord is wonderfully actualized: in them man feels that he is entrusted and confided to Mary; he goes there in order to be with her, as with his Mother, he opens his heart to her and speaks to her about everything: he "takes her to his own home," that is to say, he brings her into all his problems, which at times are difficult. His own problems and those of others. The problems of the family, of societies, of nations and of the whole of humanity.
-from: Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions
✞ "See, my children, we must reflect that we have a soul to save, and an eternity that awaits us. The world, its riches, pleasures, and honors will pass away; heaven and hell will never pass away. Let us take care, then. The saints did not all begin well; but they all ended well. We have begun badly; let us end well, and we shall go one day and meet them in heaven." — St. John Vianney
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "The greatest suffering of the souls in purgatory, it seems to me, is the awareness that something in them displeases God, that they have deliberately gone against His great goodness. I can also see that the divine essence is so pure and light-filled—much more than we can imagine—that the soul that has but the slightest imperfection would rather throw itself into a thousand hells than appear thus before the divine presence." — St. Catherine of Genoa, p.41 AN EXCERPT FROM Hungry Souls
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:16-17
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Saint Rita of Cascia
Saint of the Day for May 22
(1381 – May 22, 1457)
Like Elizabeth Ann Seton, Rita of Cascia was a wife, mother, widow, and member of a religious community. Her holiness was reflected in each phase of her life.
Born at Roccaporena in central Italy, Rita wanted to become a nun but was pressured at a young age into marrying a harsh and cruel man. During her 18-year marriage, she bore and raised two sons. After her husband was killed in a brawl and her sons had died, Rita tried to join the Augustinian nuns in Cascia. Unsuccessful at first because she was a widow, Rita eventually succeeded.
Over the years, her austerity, prayerfulness, and charity became legendary. When she developed wounds on her forehead, people quickly associated them with the wounds from Christ's crown of thorns. She meditated frequently on Christ's passion. Her care for the sick nuns was especially loving. She also counseled lay people who came to her monastery.
Beatified in 1626, Rita was not canonized until 1900. She has acquired the reputation, together with Saint Jude, as a saint of impossible cases. Many people visit her tomb each year.
Although we can easily imagine an ideal world in which to live out our baptismal vocation, such a world does not exist. An "If only …." approach to holiness never quite gets underway, never produces the fruit that God has a right to expect.
Rita became holy because she made choices that reflected her baptism and her growth as a disciple of Jesus. Her overarching, lifelong choice was to cooperate generously with God's grace, but many small choices were needed to make that happen. Few of those choices were made in ideal circumstances—not even when Rita became an Augustinian nun.
Saint Rita of Cascia is the Patron Saint of:
Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 16:11-15
We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace, and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We spent some time in that city. On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, "If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home," and she prevailed on us.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
or: R. Alleluia. Sing to the LORD a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or: R. Alleluia. Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or: R. Alleluia. Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches. Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia. R. The Lord takes delight in his people. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 15:26b, 27a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 15:26—16:4a
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
"I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you."
Catholic Meditations Meditation: Acts 16:11-15
Saint Rita of Cascia, Religious (Optional Memorial)
Lydia . . . listened, and the Lord opened her heart. (Acts 16:14)
Praying at the river's edge in Philippi, Lydia probably didn't realize that she was also in the path of a second river—a stream of divine grace! One of the worshippers present on that Sabbath was the apostle Paul, and the message he shared about Jesus changed her life dramatically.
Lydia's story is a beautiful example of what conversion looks like. Conversion is a transformation with two main ingredients: grace from God and our response to his grace. Lydia certainly received an outpouring of grace that day. It appeared in the form of a messenger—Paul. Through his words, Lydia heard about Jesus, and as she kept listening, "the Lord opened her heart" (Acts 16:14). Today, we might say that she was "deeply touched" by the message. She was moved by grace!
But Lydia didn't just receive grace; she responded to it. She listened intently to the message, and as she felt her heart being moved, she asked to be baptized. She probably shared her experience with her household as well, because they too were baptized. This is the pattern of conversion: God gives his grace, we respond, and the result is a powerful transformation.
The best part of conversion is that God wants us to continue experiencing it for the rest of our lives. He wants this pattern of grace, response, and transformation to keep happening, because there are always areas in our lives that need a greater shift toward the direction of Jesus.
This type of "ongoing conversion" can happen anytime and anywhere. Often, as in Lydia's case, the Lord opens our hearts as we're praying or as we are listening to a "messenger" like the Scriptures or the words of a friend. Whenever we sense Jesus calling us to make a change in how we think or act, we can be sure he is offering us grace so that we can take his words deeper into our hearts and respond.
Lydia stepped into the river of God's grace on that Sabbath, and she let it take her deeper and deeper into his love. May we do the same!
"Lord Jesus, open my heart to your words of life."
Psalm 149:1-6, 9 John 15:26–16:4
my2cents: "...and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention". They say that faith is a gift, a gift from God. It is something to be treasured, and nourished, and taken care of above all. But do we? Why isn't there any time for faith? Prayer. Why isn't there any love? Faith. This lady, Lidia, she and all her household, children even where baptized once the Lord opened her heart, the fruits where abounding in her inheritance, her heritage was anew. Born in the spirit. A song was brewing but I didn't finish it, about being born again, not in the flesh but imagine, the song said, becoming younger, a teen, and then a child, and then a baby, and then in the womb, and all anew. Many say "If I had to do things over, I wouldn't change a thing". But the song says, "I would be born again to love better". And this is the second birth Jesus talks about, anew....with Him!
We prayed today "The Lord takes delight in his people". In the family of God, He loves very much. Those who are close are delighting Him, those who are far...He still loves. Let us delight the Lord.
Our Lord speaks today ""I have told you this so that you may not fall away." He said He was sending the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, Himself into our hearts. He said it would now remain in this gift of faith. He said not to be afraid, because the truth, it will try to be killed (the body) but it will live forever. He said "remain". He said "do not be afraid". He said "I will be with you". He said to keep close, and tight. This is the community of love. This is why the Lord wants is in communion, but not just in communion but in Holy Communion. If someone is bashing, you know the truth, remain in Him. If you feel the world is falling apart, Remain True. True to Him. If there is a sign of God's mercy, it has been going now for 2,000 years. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son...Mercy, and Salvation. And it is true. You have read this for one reason: faith. Where is your faith? Where is your love? The world spins faster without Him. The world stops with Him. That is time. That is eternity. Stop and pray. It is always the right time to pray. And it is not about vocal prayer where you have to be talking out loud, but meditate, contemplate, and radiate. Delight the Lord, He loves the words "I Love You". And He loves it more when it is true, and see you pouring yourself out...Him