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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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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 »

Purgatory-Necessary Purification

Purgatory does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence where Christ removes the remnants of imperfection as physical integrity is necessary to enter into perfect communion with God, according to Pope John Paul II.

On the basis of definitive option for or against God, the human being finds he faces one of these alternatives: either to live with the Lord in eternal beatitude, or to remain far from His presence. For those who find themselves in a condition of being open to God, but still imperfectly, the journey towards full beatitude requires a purification, which the faith of the Church illustrates in the doctrine of "Purgatory" (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1030-1032).

In Sacred Scripture, we can grasp certain elements that help us understand the meaning of this doctrine, even if it is not formally described. They express the belief that we cannot approach God without undergoing some kind of purification.

According to Old Testament religious law, what is destined for God must be perfect. As a result, physical integrity is also specifically required for the realities which come into contact with God at the sacrificial level such as, for example, sacrificial animals (cf. Lv 22: 22) or at the institutional level, as in the case of priests or ministers of worship (cf. Lv 21: 17-23). Total dedication to the God of the Covenant, along the lines of the great teachings found in Deuteronomy (cf. 6: 5), and which must correspond to this physical integrity, is required of individuals and society as a whole (cf. 1 Kgs 8: 61). It is a matter of loving God with all one's being, with purity of heart and the witness of deeds (cf. ibid., 10: 12f.)

The need for integrity obviously becomes necessary after death, for entering into perfect and complete communion with God. Those who do not possess this integrity must undergo purification. This is suggested by a text of St Paul. The Apostle speaks of the value of each person's work which will be revealed on the day of judgment and says: "If the work which any man has built on the foundation which is Christ survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Cor 3: 14-15).

To reach a state of perfect integrity, at times a person’s intercession or mediation is needed. For instance, Moses obtains pardon for the people with a prayer in which he recalls the saving work done by God in the past, and prays for God's fidelity to the oath made to his ancestors (cf. Ex 32: 30, 11-13). Psalm 51 can be considered, according to the perspective of the Old Testament, as a synthesis of the process of reintegration: the sinner confesses and recognizes his guilt (v. 3), asking insistently to be purified or "cleansed" (vv. 2, 9, 10, 17) so as to proclaim the divine praise (v. 15).

In the New Testament Christ is presented as the intercessor who assumes the functions of high priest on the day of expiation (cf. Heb 5: 7; 7: 25). But in him the priesthood is presented in a new and definitive form. He enters the heavenly shrine once and for all, to intercede with God on our behalf (cf. Heb 9: 23-26, especially, v. 24). He is both priest and "victim of expiation" for the sins of the whole world (cf. 1 Jn 2: 2). Jesus, as the great intercessor who atones for us, will fully reveal himself at the end of our life when he will express himself with the offer of mercy, but also with the inevitable judgment for those who refuse the Father's love and forgiveness.

In following the Gospel exhortation to be perfect like the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5: 48) during our earthly life, we are called to grow in love, to be sound and flawless before God the Father "at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints" (1 Thes 3: 12f.). Moreover, we are invited to "cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit" (2 Cor 7: 1; cf. 1 Jn 3: 3), because the encounter with God requires absolute purity.

Every trace of attachment to evil must be eliminated, every imperfection of the soul corrected. Purification must be complete, and indeed this is precisely what is meant by the Church's teaching on purgatory. The term does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence. Those who, after death, exist in a state of purification, are already in the love of Christ who removes from them the remnants of imperfection (cf. Ecumenical Council of Florence, Decretum pro Graecis: DS 1304; Ecumenical Council of Trent, Decretum de iustificatione: DS 1580; Decretum de purgatorio: DS 1820).

The state of purification is not a prolungation of the earthly condition, almost as if after death one were given another possibility to change one's destiny. The Church's teaching in this regard is unequivocal and was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council which teaches: "Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed (cf. Heb 9: 27), we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnashtheir teeth' (Mt 22: 13 and 25: 30)" (Lumen gentium, n. 48).

Just as in their earthly life believers are united in the one Mystical Body, so after death those who live in a state of purification experience the same ecclesial solidarity which works through prayer, prayers for suffrage and love for their other brothers and sisters in the faith. Purification is lived in the essential bond created between those who live in this world and those who enjoy eternal beatitude.

TYPE KEYWORDS OF THE MONTH
ROSARY FATIMA JUDE

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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

MAY 1
ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER

This is St. Joseph's second feast day on the Church calendar of celebrations. We honor him also on March 19. St. Joseph is a very important saint. Read More »

MAY 2
ST. ATHANASIUS

St. Athanasius was born around 297 in Alexandria, Egypt. He devoted his life to proving that Jesus is truly.. Read More »

MAY 3
ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES

Both of these saints were part of the original group of Jesus'.. Read More »

MAY 4
BLESSED MARIE-LEONIE PARADIS

Blessed Marie-Elodie Paradis was born in the village of L'Acadie in Quebec, Canada. It was May 12, 1840. Read More »

MAY 5
ST. JUDITH OF PRUSSIA

St. Judith lived in the thirteenth century. She was born in Thuringia. This was in what is now central Germany. She wanted to model her life on the example of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Read More »

MAY 6
BLESSED FRANCOIS DE MONTMORENCY LAVAL

Blessed Francois was the first bishop of Quebec City, Canada. He was born in 1623 in a small town.. Read More »

MAY 7
BLESSED ROSE VENERINI

Blessed Rose was born in Viterbo, Italy, in 1656. Her father was a physician. Rose entered the convent but returned home after a few months. Read More »

MAY 8
BLESSED CATHERINE OF ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Catherine was born on May 3, 1632, in a little village in France. She was baptized the same day. Read More »

MAY 9
BLESSED NICHOLAS ALBERGATI

Blessed Nicholas was born in Bologna, Italy. Nicholas' family could afford to send him to the university where he began to study law. Read More »

MAY 10
ST. ANTONINUS

St. Antoninus lived in the fifteenth century. Even as a boy he showed that he had good sense and will power. Read More »

MAY 11
ST. IGNATIUS OF LACONI

St. Ignatius was the son of a poor farmer in Laconi, Italy. He was born on December 17, 1701. Read More »

MAY 12
ST. NEREUS, ST. ACHILLEUS AND ST. PANCRAS

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers who died around 304. They were probably Praetorian guards under Emperor Trajan. We know little else about them. Read More »

MAY 13
ST. ANDREW FOURNET

St. Andrew Fournet was born on December 6, 1752. He was from Maille, a little town near Poitiers, in France. Andrew's parents were.. Read More »

MAY 14
ST. MATTHIAS

St. Matthias was one of Our Lord's seventy-two disciples. Read More »

MAY 15
ST. ISIDORE THE FARMER

Saint Isidore was born in 1070, in Madrid, Spain. His parents were deeply religious. They named their son after the great St. Isidore, archbishop of.. Read More »

MAY 16
ST. UBALD

St. Ubald lived in twelfth-century Italy. He was an orphan raised by his uncle, a bishop. Ubald was given a good education. Read More »

MAY 17
ST. PASCHAL BAYLON

St. Paschal, a Spanish saint, was born in 1540. From the time he was seven, he worked as a shepherd. He never had the opportunity to go to school. Read More »

MAY 18
ST. JOHN I

St. John I was a priest of Rome. He became pope after the death of Pope St. Hormisdas in 523. At that time, Italy's ruler, heodoric the Goth.. Read More »

MAY 19
ST. CELESTINE V

Peter di Morone was the eleventh of twelve children. He was born around 1210 in Isernia, Italy. His father died when he was small. Read More »

MAY 20
ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA

St. Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380 in a town near Siena, Italy. He was the son of an Italian governor. Read More »

MAY 21
BLESSED EUGENE DE MAZENOD

Blessed Eugene was born in France in 1782. He became a priest in 1811. Father Eugene was sensitive to the needs of the poor and he ministered..Read More »

MAY 22
ST. RITA OF CASCIA

St. Rita was born in 1381 in a little Italian village. Her parents were older. They had begged God to send them a child. They brought Rita up well. Read More »

MAY 23
ST. JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI

St. John Baptist Rossi was born in 1698 in a village near Genoa, Italy. His family loved him. They were proud when a wealthy couple visiting their town offered to educate him. His parents knew the couple and trusted them. Read More »

MAY 24
ST. DAVID I OF SCOTLAND

St. David was born in 1080. He was the youngest son of St. Margaret, queen of Scotland, and her good husband, King Malcom. Read More »

MAY 25
VENERABLE BEDE

Venerable Bede, the English priest, was famous as a saint, a priest, a monk, a teacher and a writer of history. He was born in England in 673. Read More »

MAY 26
ST. PHILIP NERI

St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. As a child, his nickname was "Good little Phil." He was always so jolly and friendly that everyone he met loved him. Read More »

MAY 27
ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY

St. Augustine was the abbot of St. Andrew's monastery in Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great chose him and forty other monks for a mission.. Read More »

MAY 28
BLESSED MARGARET POLE

Blessed Margaret was born in 1471. She was the niece of two English kings, Edward IV and Richard III. Henry VII arranged her marriage to Sir Reginald Pole. Read More »

MAY 29
ST. MAXIMINIUS

St. Maximinius was a bishop who lived in the fourth century. It is believed that he was born in Poitiers, France. As a young man, he heard of a saintly bishop of Trier, in Gaul. Read More »

MAY 30
ST. JOAN OF ARC

St. Joan was born in 1412. Her hometown was Domremy, a little village in France. Jacques d'Arc, her father, was a hard working farmer. Read More »

MAY 31
THE VISITATION OF MARY

Visitation means "visit." The Archangel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby. Read More »

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