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St. Michael
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do you, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. Advertise Now

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PHOTO OF THE MONTH

PHOTO OF THE MONTH
Tour of the Relics of the Passion
(International Center for Holy Relics)
www.HolyRelics.org

REFLECTIONS

"Jesus' Baptism"

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John's baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the "baptism" of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus' baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father's will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God? Read More »

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI ON MASS ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

First of all, I offer a cordial greeting to you all. It gives me great joy to celebrate Mass in this beautiful parish church on the day of the Assumption.


I greet Cardinal Sodano, the Bishop of Albano, all the priests, the Mayor and all of you. Thank you for your presence.


The Feast of the Assumption is a day of joy. God has won. Love has won. It has won life. Love has shown that it is stronger than death, that God possesses the true strength and that his strength is goodness and love.

Mary was taken up body and soul into Heaven: there is even room in God for the body. Heaven is no longer a very remote sphere unknown to us.


We have a mother in Heaven. And the Mother of God, the Mother of the Son of God, is our Mother. He himself has said so. He made her our Mother when he said to the disciple and to all of us: "Behold, your Mother!". We have a Mother in Heaven. Heaven is open, Heaven has a heart. In the Gospel we heard the Magnificat, that great poem inspired by the Holy Spirit that came from Mary's lips, indeed, from Mary's heart. This marvellous canticle mirrors the entire soul, the entire personality of Mary. We can say that this hymn of hers is a portrait of Mary, a true icon in which we can see her exactly as she is. I would like to highlight only two points in this great canticle.


It begins with the word "Magnificat": my soul "magnifies" the Lord, that is, "proclaims the greatness" of the Lord. Mary wanted God to be great in the world, great in her life and present among us all. She was not afraid that God might be a "rival" in our life, that with his greatness he might encroach on our freedom, our vital space. She knew that if God is great, we too are great. Our life is not oppressed but raised and expanded: it is precisely then that it becomes great in the splendour of God.

The fact that our first parents thought the contrary was the core of original sin. They feared that if God were too great, he would take something away from their life. They thought that they could set God aside to make room for themselves. This was also the great temptation of the modern age, of the past three or four centuries. More and more people have thought and said: "But this God does not give us our freedom; with all his commandments, he restricts the space in our lives. So God has to disappear; we want to be autonomous and independent. Without this God we ourselves would be gods and do as we pleased". This was also the view of the Prodigal Son, who did not realize that he was "free" precisely because he was in his father's house. He left for distant lands and squandered his estate. In the end, he realized that precisely because he had gone so far away from his father, instead of being free he had become a slave; he understood that only by returning home to his father's house would he be truly free, in the full beauty of life.

This is how it is in our modern epoch. Previously, it was thought and believed that by setting God aside and being autonomous, following only our own ideas and inclinations, we would truly be free to do whatever we liked without anyone being able to give us orders. But when God disappears, men and women do not become greater; indeed, they lose the divine dignity, their faces lose God's splendour. In the end, they turn out to be merely products of a blind evolution and, as such, can be used and abused. This is precisely what the experience of our epoch has confirmed for us.


Only if God is great is humankind also great. With Mary, we must begin to understand that this is so. We must not drift away from God but make God present; we must ensure that he is great in our lives. Thus, we too will become divine; all the splendour of the divine dignity will then be ours. Let us apply this to our own lives.


It is important that God be great among us, in public and in private life.


In public life, it is important that God be present, for example, through the cross on public buildings, and that he be present in our community life, for only if God is present do we have an orientation, a common direction; otherwise, disputes become impossible to settle, for our common dignity is no longer recognized.

Let us make God great in public and in private life. This means making room for God in our lives every day, starting in the morning with prayers, and then dedicating time to God, giving Sundays to God. We do not waste our free time if we offer it to God. If God enters into our time, all time becomes greater, roomier, richer.


A second observation: Mary's poem - the Magnificat - is quite original; yet at the same time, it is a "fabric" woven throughout of "threads" from the Old Testament, of words of God.


Thus, we see that Mary was, so to speak, "at home" with God's word, she lived on God's word, she was penetrated by God's word. To the extent that she spoke with God's words, she thought with God's words, her thoughts were God's thoughts, her words, God's words. She was penetrated by divine light and this is why she was so resplendent, so good, so radiant with love and goodness.


Mary lived on the Word of God, she was imbued with the Word of God. And the fact that she was immersed in the Word of God and was totally familiar with the Word also endowed her later with the inner enlightenment of wisdom. Whoever thinks with God thinks well, and whoever speaks to God speaks well. They have valid criteria to judge all the things of the world. They become prudent, wise, and at the same time good; they also become strong and courageous with the strength of God, who resists evil and fosters good in the world.


Thus, Mary speaks with us, speaks to us, invites us to know the Word of God, to love the Word of God, to live with the Word of God, to think with the Word of God. And we can do so in many different ways: by reading Sacred Scripture, by participating especially in the Liturgy, in which Holy Church throughout the year opens the entire book of Sacred Scripture to us. She opens it to our lives and makes it present in our lives.


But I am also thinking of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that we recently published, in which the Word of God is applied to our lives and the reality of our lives interpreted; it helps us enter into the great "temple" of God's Word, to learn to love it and, like Mary, to be penetrated by this Word.


Thus, life becomes luminous and we have the basic criterion with which to judge; at the same time, we receive goodness and strength.


Mary is taken up body and soul into the glory of Heaven, and with God and in God she is Queen of Heaven and earth. And is she really so remote from us?


The contrary is true. Precisely because she is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us. While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually, "within" all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a "mother" to whom we can turn at every moment.


She always listens to us, she is always close to us, and being Mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and in his goodness. We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother, who is not far from any one of us. On this feast day, let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Mother, and let us pray to Mary to help us find the right path every day. Amen.


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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

AUGUST 1
ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI

St. Alphonsus was born near Naples, Italy, in 1732. Read More »

AUGUST 2
ST. EUSEBIUS

St. Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia, Italy, around 283. Read More »

AUGUST 3
ST. PETER JULIAN EYMARD

St. Peter Julian Eymard was born in a small town in the diocese of Grenoble, France in 1786. Read More »

AUGUST 4
BLESSED FREDERIC JANSSOONE

Blessed Frederic Janssoone was born in Flanders in 1838. Read More »

AUGUST 5
DEDICATION OF ST. MARY MAJOR

St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons: Read More »

AUGUST 6
THE TRANSFIGURATION

St. Mary Major is important to Christendom for three reasons: Read More »

AUGUST 7
ST. CAJETAN

St. Cajetan was born in Vicenza, Italy, in 1480, the son of a count. Read More »

AUGUST 8
ST. DOMINIC

St. Dominic was born in Castile, Spain, in 1170. Read More »

AUGUST 9
BLESSED JOHN OF RIETI

Blessed John lived in the first half of the fourteenth century. Read More »

AUGUST 10
ST. LAWRENCE

St. Lawrence, the famous martyr of Rome, lived in the third century. Read More »

AUGUST 11
ST. CLARE

St. Clare was born around 1193 in Assisi, Italy. She lived at the time of St. Francis of Assisi.Read More »

AUGUST 14
ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE

Raymond Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894. Read More »

AUGUST 15
THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

This feast of Mary celebrates a special privilege of Mary, our Mother.Read More »

AUGUST 16
ST. STEPHEN OF HUNGARY

St. Stephen was born around 969 in Hungary. This saint's name.. Read More »

AUGUST 17
BLESSED JOAN DELANOUE

St. Joan Delanoue was born in 1666. Her family had a small but..Read More »

AUGUST 18
ST. JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL

St. Jane was born in Dijon, France, in 1572.Read More »

AUGUST 19
ST. JOHN EUDES

St. John Eudes was born in Normandy, France, in 1601.Read More »

AUGUST 20
ST. BERNARD

St. Bernard was born in 1090 in Dijon, France.Read More »

AUGUST 21
ST. PIUS X

St. Pius X, the great pope, was named Joseph Sarto. He was born in 1835, the son of a mailman in Riese.. Read More »

AUGUST 23
ST. ROSE OF LIMA

St. Rose, the South American saint, was born in Lima, Peru, in 1586.Read More »

AUGUST 24
ST. BARTHOLOMEW

"Bartholomew" was one of the first followers of Jesus.Read More »

AUGUST 25
ST. LOUIS OF FRANCE

St. Louis was born on April 25, 1214. His father was King Louis VIII of France and his mother was Queen..Read More »

AUGUST 25
ST. JOSEPH CALASANZ

St. Joseph was born in 1556, in his father's castle in Spain. He went to college and became a lawyer.Read More »

AUGUST 26
ST. ELIZABETH BICHIER

St. Elizabeth was born in 1773. As a little girl, her favorite game was building castles in the sand. Read More »

AUGUST 27
ST. MONICA

St. Monica, the famous mother of St. Augustine, was born in 332 in Tagaste, northern Africa. Read More »

AUGUST 28
ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Augustine was born in Tagaste in modern Algeria on November 13, 354. This famous son of St. Monica spent many years in wicked living and in..Read More »

AUGUST 29
BEHEADING OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST

St. John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus. His mother was St. Elizabeth and his father was Zechariah. Read More »

AUGUST 30
ST. PAMMACHIUS

"St. Pammachius was a distinguished Christian layman who lived in the fourth century.Read More »

AUGUST 31
ST. AIDAN

St. Aidan was a seventh-century Irish monk. He lived at the great monastery of Iona, which St. Columban had founded.Read More »

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