THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH: NOVEMBER- 2018:

PRAYER FOR DIVINE ILLUMINATION:

“Let our meditations be on the glorious light of the Lord, and may His light illumine our minds. May He Himself inspire our meditations, and our minds never tire in the search of His light. We praise you with our thoughts, O Lord. We praise you even as the sun praises you in the morning. May we find joy in worshipping you. Forgive our sins, as we forgive those sins committed against us; and make us experience your love; and enable us to share that Love with others whom we meet.” Rig Veda III: 62, 10; Gayathri Mantra & The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew: 6: 9-13: (From Prayer with the harp of the Spirit: Vol I).

"Prayer brings truth, religious faith, honesty and respect among the people.” St. Gregorios of Parumala; First Orthodox Saint from India.

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word "crisis". One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.” John F Kennedy.

SAINTS / SAGES/ EVENTS: NOVEMBER- 2018:

Nov 01. All saints Day: “Clearly, if we venerate [the memory of the saints], it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning. Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company." -St. Bernard

Nov 02. All Soul’s Day;This feast day is one of the most loving celebrations in all the Church's liturgy. It is the day that we especially remember all the faithful departed-those who have passed from this life into the next. We especially pray for those who were related to us and for those who taught us good things and who made sacrifices for us.

Today is also the feast day of St. Gregorios of Parumala ( 1848-1902): Saint Geevarghese Mar Gregorios or Parumala Thirumeni was a bishop of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Syrian Orthodox Church. He is the first canonized Oriental Orthodox saint from India. He is popularly known as Parumala Thirumeni (Bishop of Parumala) or Kochu Thirumeni.

Nov 03. St. Martin de Pores: (1579-1639): He was a lay brother of the Dominican Order and was noted for work on behalf of the poor, establishing an orphanage and a children's hospital. He maintained an austere lifestyle, which included fasting and abstaining from meat. Among the many miracles attributed to him were those of levitation, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and an ability to communicate with animals.

Nov 04. St. Charles Borromeo: (1538-1584): He was the cardinal archbishop of Milan from 1564 to 1584. Among the great reformers of the troubled sixteenth century, Borromeo, with St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Philip Neri, and others, led the movement to combat the inroads of the Protestant Reformation. He was a leading figure during the Counter-Reformation and was responsible for significant reforms in the Catholic Church, including the founding of seminaries for the education of priests.

Nov 05. Sts Zachary & Elizabeth: They are the parents of John the Baptist. Zachary was told by an angel in a vision that they would have a son and should name him John. When he doubted this, he was struck dumb. Elizabeth was visited by Mary, at which time Mary spoke the hymn of praise now known at the Magnificat, and after John's birth, Zachary's speech was restored.

Nov 06. Today is the Festival of Deepavali, which is popularly known as the "festival of lights". The most significant spiritual meaning behind it is "the awareness of the inner light". It is the belief that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the ‘Atman’. The celebration of Diwali as the "victory of good over evil", refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance, the ignorance that masks one's true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With this awakening comes compassion and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings ‘Ananda’ (joy or peace). Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Diwali is the celebration of this Inner Light.

Today is also the feast day of the Bl. Martyrs of Spanish civil war: (1936-1939): During the Spanish Civil War and especially in the early months of the conflict, individual clergymen were executed while entire religious communities were persecuted, leading to a death toll of 13 bishops, 4,172 diocesan priests and seminarists, 2,364 monks and friars and 283 nuns, for a total of 6,832 clerical victims, as part of what is referred to as Spain's Red Terror. As of July 2008, almost one thousand Spanish martyrs have been beatified or canonized. For some two thousand additional martyrs, the beatification process is underway.

Nov 07. St. Ernest: (Martyred in 1148): He was the abbot of the Benedictine Zwiefalten Abbey at Zwiefalten, Germany. He went on the Crusades, preached in Arabia and Persia, and was captured by the Moors. He was tortured to death in Mecca.

Nov 08. St. Castorius & the martyrs of Hungary: Castorius, Claudius, Nicostratus, and Symphorian are called "the four crowned martyrs" who were tortured and executed in Pannonia, Hungary during the reign of Diocletian. St. Castorius is the patron saint of sculptors.

Nov 09. St. Benignus: (Died in 467): He was baptised into the Catholic faith by St. Patrick, and became his favourite disciple and his coadjutor in the Diocese of Armagh around AD 450. His gentle and lovable disposition suggested the name Benen, which has been Latinised as Benignus.

Nov 10. Pope St. Leo the Great: (400-461): He was the head of the Catholic Church from 29 September 440 to his death in 461. He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452 and persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy. He is also a Doctor of the Church, most remembered theologically for issuing the Tome of Leo, a document which was foundational to the debates of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. The Council of Chalcedon, the fourth ecumenical council, dealt primarily with Christology, and elucidated the orthodox definition of Christ's being as the hypostatic union of two natures—divine and human—united in one person, "with neither confusion nor division".

Nov 11. St. Menas: (285-309): He is one of the most well-known Egyptian saints in the East and the West, due to the many miracles that are attributed to his intercession and prayers. Menas was an Egyptian soldier in the Roman army, martyred because he refused to recant his Christian faith. He is the patron of falsely accused people; peddlers and traveling merchants.

Nov 12. St. Josephat of Polotsk: (1580-1623): He was a monk and archeparch (archbishop) of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who died at Vitebsk in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (now in Belarus), on 12 November 1623, killed by a mob of Orthodox Christians. He has been declared a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church.

Nov 13. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini: (1850-1917) : Also called Mother Cabrini, was an Italian Religious Sister, who founded the Missionary sisters of the Sacred Heart; a Catholic religious institute, which was a major support to the Italian immigrants to the United States. She was the first citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

Nov 14. St. Alberic of Utrecht: (Died in 784): Bishop and missionary, a nephew of St. Gregory of Utrecht and a friend of the great scholar Alcuin. This relationship likely speaks of Alberic’s own intelligence, as the saint has been noted for his "encyclopedic knowledge of the faith”.

Today is also the 129th birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister & Architecht of Independent India; it is being celebrated a Children’s Day all over India because of his fondness for children.

Nov 15. St. Albert the Great: (1193-1280): Albert the Great was one of the Church's greatest intellects. He studied at the University of Padua and later taught at Hildesheim, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Regensburg, and Strasbourg. He then taught at the University of Paris, where he received his doctorate in 1245. He was among the first and greatest of the natural scientists, gaining a reputation for expertise in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geography, metaphysics, and mathematics. He was also very learned in biblical studies and theology. The Catholic Church honours him as a Doctor of the Church, one of only 35 persons with that honour.

Nov 16. Sts. Gertrude: (1256-1302) & Margret of Scotland: (1045-1093): St. Gertrude was a German Benedictine, mystic and theologian. She is also the Patron Saint of West Indies. The life of this saint, though not replete with stirring events and striking actions, was one of great mental activity. It was the mystic life of the cloister, hidden with God. She was characterized by great devotion to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord in His Passion and in the Blessed Eucharist, and by a tender love for the Blessed Virgin.

St. Margaret of Scotland was an English princess of the House of Wessex. Margaret was sometimes called “The Pearl of Scotland”. Around 1070 Margaret married Malcolm III of Scotland, becoming his queen consort. Margaret was the mother of three kings of Scotland and a queen consort of England. According to the Life of Saint Margaret, attributed to Turgot of Durham, she died at Edinburgh Castle in 1093, just days after receiving the news of her husband's death in battle. In 1250 she was canonised by Pope Innocent IV, and her remains were reinterred in a shrine at Dunfermline Abbey.

Nov 17. St. Dionysius of Alexandria: (190-265): 14th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark from December 28th, 248 until his death on March 8th, 264 after seventeen years as a bishop. He was the first Pope to hold the title "the Great" (before a Bishop of Rome even).

Nov 18. St. Rose Philippine Duchesne: (1769-1852): She was a Catholic Religious Sister and French-American Saint. She spent the last half of her life teaching and serving the people of the Midwestern United States. Her biographers have stressed her courage in frontier conditions, her single mindedness in pursuing her dream of serving Native Americans, and her self-acceptance. She was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1940 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

Nov 19. St. Raphael Kalinowski: (1835-1907): He was a Polish Discalced Carmelite friar inside the Russian partition of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, in the city of Vilnius. He was a teacher, engineer, prisoner of war, royal tutor, and priest, who founded many Carmelite monasteries around Poland after their suppression by the Russians. Kalinowski was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1991, the first man to be so recognized in the Order of Discalced Carmelites since Saint John of the Cross.

Nov 20. St. Bernard of Hildesheim: (960-1022): He was the thirteenth Bishop of Hildesheim from 993 until his death in 1022.

Nov 21. Pope St. Gelasius I: (Died in 496): He was probably the third and last Bishop of Rome of North African origin in the Catholic Church. Gelasius was a prolific writer whose style placed him on the cusp between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.

Nov 22. St. Cecilia: (2d-3d Century): She is the patroness of musicians. It is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord". Her feast day is celebrated in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches on November 22. She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

Today is also the feast of Entry of St. Thomas into India being celebrated at the Pontifical Shrine at Azheekode, where his relic is enshrined. It was brought from Orthona in Italy by His Eminence Eugene Cardinal Tissarent, then the Prefect of The Sacred Congregation for Oriental Churches. In November 1956, one part of the relic; (part of the bone of his right forearm, that touched the heart of Jesus to confirm His Resurrection); was installed at the Pontifical Shrine at Azheekode, Kodungalloor; that was the ancient port of ‘Muziriz’, where St. Thomas landed in A.D. 52. This Festval is being celebrated in comemmoration of this event. The other part was installed at Niranam, on the banks of ‘Pampa’ river, where he had established one among the seven churches.

Today is also the 55th Anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 46th President of the United States, on 22d November, 1963. He was a great friend of India and stood by us during the Chinese Aggression in 1962. India as a Nation shall be ever grateful to him, as we bow down to his memory today.

Nov 23. Bl. Miguel Pro: (1891-1927): He was a Mexican Jesuit Catholic priest executed under the presidency of Plutarco Elías Calles on trumped up charges of bombing and attempted assassination against former Mexican President Álvaro Obregón. Known for his religious piety and innocence, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II as a Catholic martyr in odium fidei (in hatred of the faith) on September 25, 1988.

Nov 24. St. Andrew Dung Lac: (1795-1839): He was a Vietnamese priest executed by beheading in the reign of Minh Mạng. His memorial is 24 November; this memorial celebrates all of the Vietnamese Martyrs of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

Nov 25. Feast of Christ the King, which is celebrated on the last Liturgical Sunday in November before the start of the Liturgy of ‘Advent.’

Today is also the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria: (4th Century Martyr): Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius. According to her hagiography, she was both a princess and a noted scholar, who became a Christian around the age of fourteen, and herself converted hundreds of people to Christianity. Over 1,100 years following her martyrdom, St. Joan of Arc identified Catherine as one of the Saints who appeared to her and counselled her.

Nov 26. St. John Berchmans: (1599-1621): He was a Jesuit Scholastic and is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He is the patron saint of altar servers.

Nov 27. St. James Intercisus: (died 421) is a Persian saint. His surname, Intercisus, is derived from the Latin word for "cut into pieces," which refers to the manner of his martyrdom: he was slowly cut into twenty-eight pieces. He survived this loss of limbs before being ultimately beheaded.

Nov 28. St. Andrew trong Van Tan: ( Martyred in 1835) : Vietnamese martyr. Born in 1817, he was a soldier and a Christian. He was arrested in 1834 and in the presence of his mother he was beheaded. She knelt beside him at the execution site in Hué, receiving his head on her lap. Years later, Pope Leo XIII was to praise Andrew’s mother for imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary in “witnessing her son sacrifice his life.” The pontiff added, “And when his head was put to the sword, she held it to her heart.” He was canonized in 1988.

Nov 29. St. Saturninus: (Martyred in 257): He was one of the "Apostles to the Gauls" sent out (probably under the direction of Pope Fabian, 236 - 250) during the consulate of Decius and Gratus (250-251) to Christianize Gaul after the persecutions under Emperor Decius had all but dissolved the small Christian communities. He was consecrated as the Bishop of Toulouse, and was martyred by the pagan priests, when he refused to offer sacrifice to their pagan godess.

Nov 30. St. Andrew the Apostle: Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a fisherman. Andrew was the first disciple of Christ. Next, Andrew brought his brother Simon (St. Peter) to Jesus and Jesus received him, too, as His disciple. He promised to make them fishers of men, and this time, they left their nets for good. It is believed that after Our Lord ascended into Heaven, St. Andrew went to Greece to preach the gospel. He is said to have been put to death on a cross, to which he was tied, not nailed. He lived two days in that state of suffering, still preaching to the people who gathered around their beloved Apostle. Two countries have chosen St. Andrew as their patron – Russia and Scotland.