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THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH: AUGUST- 2015

“The modern world shows itself at once powerful and weak, capable of the noblest deeds or the foulest. Before it lies the path to freedom or to slavery; to progress or to retreat; to brotherhood or hatred.” (Thomas A Kempis: Imitations of Christ: Ch 11 Book III; Reflections)

GOD’S TRUE DEVOTEE:

“Who is my true devotee?” says the Lord. He who is beyond excitement and repulsion, who complains not and lusts not for things; who remains unmoved by good and evil fortunes and who has love is dear to me. “I love the man who is even minded to friend and foe; whose heart is at peace in honour and disgrace; in heat and cold, pleasure and pain; who is free from the chain of attachments. The man who remains the same in blame and praise, whose heart is quiet, who is happy with whatever he has, whose home is not this world and who has love is dear to me. But even dearer to me is he who has faith and love, and who has me as his end supreme, he who hears my word of truth and comes to the waters of everlasting life. (Bhagavad Gita I :17-20) By the prayer of those who realized you and to whom you gave a sure hope of immortality, draw us and all things to yourself, our Lord.” (From Night vigil on Saturday; ‘Prayer with the Harp of the Spirit – Vol I: by Fr. Francis Acharya, Abbot, Kurisumala Ashram, Vagamon.)

SAINTS/ SAGES/ EVENTS: AUGUST- 2015:

Aug 01. St Alphonsus Marie Ligourie: (1696-1787): Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the Redemptorist Congregation. Alphonsus wrote 111 works on spirituality and theology. The 21,500 editions and the translations into 72 languages that his works have undergone attest to the fact that he is one of the most widely read Catholic authors. Among his best known works are The Great Means of Prayer, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ and The Visits to the Most Holy Sacrament. Prayer and its power, love, his relationship with Christ and his first-hand experience of the pastoral needs of the faithful made Alphonsus one of the great masters of the interior life.

Aug 02. St. Etheldreda: (636-679): Anglo – Saxon saint, known, particularly in a religious context, as Etheldreda or Audrey. She was an East Anglian princess, Northumbrian queen and Abbess of Ely.

Aug 03. St. Lydia Purpuria: was born at Thytira (Ak-Hissar), a town in Asia Minor, famous for its dye works, (hence, her name which means purple seller). She became Paul's first convert at Philippi. She was baptized with her household, and Paul stayed at her home there.

Aug 04. St. John Maria Vianney: (1786-1859): He was a French parish priest who in the Catholic Church is venerated as a saint and as the patron saint of all priests. He is often referred to as the "Curé d'Ars". He became internationally notable for his priestly and pastoral work in his parish because of the radical spiritual transformation of the community and its surroundings. Catholics attribute this to his saintly life, mortification, his persevering ministry in the sacrament of confession, and his ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Philomena.

Aug 05. St. Addal:(Died in A.D. 80): Among the Eastern Orthodox faithful, Saint Addai was a disciple of Christ sent by St. Thomas the Apostle to Edessa in order to heal King Abgar V of Osroene, who had fallen ill. He stayed to evangelize, and converted Abgar—or Agbar, or in one Latin version "Acbar" — and his people including Saint Aggai and Saint Mari.

Aug 06. The Feast of Transfiguration of Jesus Christ: It is an episode in the New testament narrative in which Jesus is transfigured (or metamorphosed) and becomes radiant upon a mountain. The Transfiguration is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus, the others being Baptism, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension. The Transfiguration is a pivotal moment, and the setting on the mountain is presented as the point where human nature meets God: the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth.

Today is also the feast day of Pope St.Hormisdas: (450-523): One of his great achievements was the ending of the Acacian Schism which had divided the Eastern and Western Churches since 484. The Church in Constantinople was reunited to Rome in 519 as a result of the confession called the Formula of Hormisdas. This document was signed by Patriarch John of Constantinople and 250 Eastern bishops. Hormisdas also received Laurentian schematics into the Church and secured the acceptance of the Tome of Leo I and the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon and the recognition of the authority of the Holy See over the universal Church.

Aug 07. St. Cajetan: (1480-1547): He was an Italian Catholic priest and religious reformer, who helped found the Theatines. He founded a bank to help the poor and offer an alternative to usurers (loan sharks). It later became the Bank of Naples. He is known as the patron saint of the unemployed, gamblers, job seekers and good fortune.

Aug 08. St. Dominic: (1170-1221): Also known as Dominic of Osma and Dominic of Caleruega, often called Dominic de Guzmán and Domingo Félix de Guzmán, He was a Spanish priest and founder of the Dominican Order. Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers.

Aug 09. St. Edith Stein: (1891-1942): Born into an observant Jewish family she was atheist by her teenage years; moved by the war tragedies, in 1915 she took lessons to become nursing assistant, and worked in an hospital for outbreak prevention; Edith was baptized on January 1, 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church. Although she moved from Germany to a Carmelite convent in the town of Echt, the Netherlands, in solidarity with her sister who had failed previously in obtaining a place in an Swiss convent to avoid Nazi persecution, in 1942 she was arrested and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where she died in the gas chamber. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1998. Stein is one of the six patron saints of Europe, together with Saint Benedict of Nursia, Saints Cyril and Methodius, Saint Bridget of Sweden and Saint Catherine of Siena.

Aug 10. St. Lawrence: (225-258): He was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome serving under Sixtus II who were martyred during the persecution of Valerian in 258.

Aug 11. St. Clare of Assisi: (1194-1253): She is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life—the first monastic rule known to have been written by a woman. Clare's Franciscan theology of joyous poverty in imitation of Christ is evident in the rule she wrote for her community and in her four letters to Agnes of Prague, Pope Pius XII, designated her as the patron saint of television in 1958, on the basis that when she was too ill to attend Mass, she had reportedly been able to see and hear it on the wall of her room.

Today is also the Feast day of St. Philomena: (291-304): In 1833 a Neapolitan nun reported that in a vision Saint Philomena had revealed that she was a Greek princess martyred at 13 years of age by Diocletian who was Roman Emperor from 284 to 305. In spite of the fact that her name was removed from the Calender of Saints in 1961, she still remains as one of the popular saints around the world.

Aug 12. Bl. Karl Leisner: (1915-1945): was a Roman Catholic priest, interned in the Dachau Concentration camp. He died of tuberculosis shortly after being liberated by the Allied Forces. He has been declared a martyr and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 23, 1996.

Aug 13. St.Radegunde: (520-586): She was a 6th-century Frankish princess, who founded the monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers. Canonized in the 9th century, she is the patron saint of several English churches and of Jesus College, Cambridge.

Aug 14. St. Maximilian Kolbe: (1894-1941): He was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II. Kolbe was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and declared a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. Pope John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century".

Aug 15. Independence Day of India. Observed annually on 15 August, is a national holiday in India commemorating the nation's independence from British rule on 15 August 1947.

Today is also the feast of Assumption of Holy Virgin Mary. On November 1, 1950 Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of Mary as a dogma.

Aug 16. St. Stephen of Hungary: (975-1038): First King of Hungary (1000–1038). He greatly expanded Hungarian control over the Carpathian Basin during his lifetime, broadly established Christianity in the region, and is generally regarded as the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary. Pope Gregory VII canonized Stephen together with his son, Saint Emeric of Hungary, on 20 August 1083. Stephen became one of the most popular saints in Hungary, and 20 August, which was also his feast day until 1687, is celebrated as a public holiday in Hungary commemorating the foundation of the state.

Aug 17. Bl. Bartholomew Laurel: (Martyred in 1627): Born at Mexico City he joined the Franciscans as a lay brother and was sent to the Philippines in 1609. He studied medicine at Manila and in 1622 was sent to Japan where he suffered martyrdom by being burned to death at Nagasaki. He was beatified in 1867.

Today is also the feast day of St. Claire of the Cross: (1268-1308): She was an Augustinian nun and abess. She received the imprint of the Cross of Jesus upon her heart in 1294; that remained there even after her death, and is preserved in the Bsilica of Monteefalco, named after her.

Aug 18. Bls. Thomas & Mary Guengoro: (Martyred in 1620): Japanese martyrs. They were arrested and crucified at Kokura along with their young son James for giving aid to Blessed Simon Kiota.

Today is also the feast day of St. Helena of the Cross: (246-330): She is the mother of Constantine the Great and is an important figure in the history of Christianity and the world due to her major influence on her son and her own contributions in placing Christianity at the heart of Western Civilization. She is traditionally credited with a pilgrimage to Syria Palestiana during which she is claimed to have discovered the True Cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

Aug 19. Sts. Calminius & Namadia: He founded three French abbeys in the 6th or 7th centuries AD: His widow, Saint Namadie (Latin: Namadia), became a nun at Marsat. Their remains were conserved in the abbey church at Mozac in the 12th-century Saint Calminius Reliquary.

Today is also the feast day of St. John Eudes: (1601-1680): He was a French missionary and priest, who founded the Congregation of Jesus and Mary and the Order of Our Lady of Charity, and was the author of the propers for the Mass and Divine Office of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Aug 20. St. Bernard of Clairvaux: (1090-1153): He was a French abbot; Doctor of the Church, and the primary builder of the reforming of the Cistercian order. He was the first Cistercian placed on the calender of saints and was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. In 1830 Pope pius VIII bestowed upon Bernard the title “Doctor of the Church.”

Aug 21. St. Pius X: (1835-1914): He was the head of the Catholic Church from 4 August 1903 to his death in 1914. Pius was particularly devoted to Mary; his encyclical Ad Diem Illum expresses his desire through Mary to renew all things in Christ, which he had defined as his motto in his first encyclical. Pius X defended the Catholic faith against popular 19th-century views such as indifferentism and relativism which his predecessors had warned against as well. He viewed modernism as an import of secular errors affecting three areas of Roman Catholic belief: theology, philosophy, and dogma. He often referred to his own humble origins, taking up the causes of poor people. I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor. Aug 22. St. Sigfrid: (Died in 690): He was a deacon at Wearmouth Abbey. He was known for his knowledge of scriptures and for his frail health. He was elected coadjutor abbot in 688 on the death of St. Erstwine while Abbot St. Benedict was in Rome. Sigfrid died soon after St. Benedict.

Aug 23. St. Rose of Lima: (1586-1617): St. Rose of Lima is the patroness of Latin America and the Philippines. This South American Saint's real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose, and that name remained. Rose had many temptations from the devil, and there were also many times when she had to suffer a feeling of terrible loneliness and sadness, for God seemed far away. Yet she cheerfully offered all these troubles to Him.

Aug 24. St. Bartholomew: He was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and is usually identified with Nathanael (alternatively spelled Nathaniel) who is mentioned in John 1. He was introduced to Christ through Philip, another of the twelve apostles as per John 1:43–51, where the name Nathanael first appears. He is also mentioned as "Nathanael of Cana in Galilee" in John 21:2. Tradition has the place as Abanopolis, on the west coast of the Caspian Sea and that he also preached in Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt.

Aug 25. St. Louis IX: (1214-1270): He was King of France from 1226 until his death in 1270. He worked with the Parliament of Paris in order to improve the professionalism of his legal administration. He is the only canonized king of France; consequently, there are many places named after him, most notably St. Louis, Missouri, Le Saint-Louis in Paris, Saint-Louis, Haut-Rhin and Mission San Luis Rey de Francia in the United States, São Luís do Maranhão, Brazil and both the state and city of San Luis Potosí in Mexico.

Aug 26. Bl. Zepherin Namancura: (1886-1905): Zepherin Namuncura was the eighth of twelve children of the chief of the Araucano Indians of the Argentine Pampas, Chief Manuel Namuncura.Zepherin's ambition was to lead his people to the religion of the one true God. Though he was buried in Rome, but at the insistence of his people, his body was taken back to Patagonia in 1924 and buried at the Salesian school of Fortin Mercedes where he studied. Zepherin was declared Venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1972.

Aug 27. St. Monica: (331-387): She was the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Popular Christian legends recall Saint Monica to have wept every night for the conversion of her son Augustine. She is the patron of wives and abuse victims.

Aug 28. St. Augustine of Hippo: (354-430): He was an early Christian theologian whose writings are considered very influential in the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria) located in the Roman province of Africa. Writing during the Patristic Era, he is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers. Among his most important works are City of God and Confessions, which continue to be read widely today. He believed that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom and he framed the concepts of original sin and just war.

Aug 29. St. Sabina: (Martyred in 125): Sabina rescued her slave's remains and had them interred in the family mausoleum where she also expected to be buried. Denounced as a criminal, Sabina was condemned for her act of charity to her slave. She was accused of being a Christian by Elpidio the Perfect. She was thereupon martyred in the year 125 AD in the city of Vindena in the state of Umbria, Italy.

Aug 30. St. Rumon: St. Rumon, also known as Ruan, Ronan, and Ruadan, was probably a brother of Bishop St. Tudwal of Trequier, but nothing else is known of him beyond that he was probably an Irish missionary and many churches in Devon and Cornwall in England were named after him. Aug 31. St. Aidan of Lindsfarne: (Died in 651): Known as the Apostle of Northumbria, he was an Irish monk and missionary credited with restoring Christianity toNorthumbria. He founded a monastic cathedral on the island of Lindisfarne, served as its first bishop, and travelled ceaselessly throughout the countryside, spreading the gospel to both the Anglo-Saxon nobility and to the socially disenfranchised (including children and slaves.