Monday, October 24, 2016

St. Anthony Mary Claret

St. Anthony Mary Claret CLARETIAN ARCHBISHOP AND FOUNDER - Patron of Weavers, Savings, and Publishers
Born: December 23, 1807, Sallent - Died: October 24, 1870, Fontfroide - Canonized: May 7, 1950 by Pope Pius XII

The founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Anthony Mary Claret died in the Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide in France on this date in 1870. He was canonized in 1950 and listed in the Roman Calendar in 1960. Anthony was born at Salent in the Diocese of Vich in Catalonia, Spain, in the year in which Napoleon invaded Spain. He was trained for manual labor, since his father was a weaver, but in 1829 he entered the seminary at Vich. Ordained to the priesthood in 1835, he was assigned as pastor in his home parish. Later he went to Rome to work for the Propagation of the Faith. He also entered the novitiate of the Jesuits but had to leave because of ill health, so he returned to Spain and was assigned as pastor of a parish. His apostolate consisted of rural preaching, conferences for the clergy and publications (he wrote more than 150 books). Because of his successful apostolate he aroused the animosity of some of the clergy and as a result he left Catalonia for the Canary Islands (1848).

After a year he returned to Catalonia and resumed his preaching apostolate.In 1849 Anthony gathered together five priests who formed the basis of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (popularly known as Claretians). At the suggestion of the Queen of Spain, Isabella II, Anthony was named archbishop of Santiago, Cuba (1850). For the next seven years he made pastoral visitations, preached against the slavery of the Negroes, and regularized numerous marriages. As a result of his activity he was frequently threatened with death and on one occasion an attempt was actually made on his life. In 1857 he was recalled to Spain as confessor to the queen. In this way he was able to exert some influence in the naming of bishops, set up a center of ecclesiastical studies at the Escorial, and work towards the recognition of religious orders in Spain. In 1869 he was in Rome, preparing for the First Vatican Council. He followed Isabella II into exile and at the insistence of the Spanish ambassador, was placed under house arrest in the Cistercian monastery at FontFroide, where he died at the age of 63. His remains were ultimately returned to Vich.

SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia
More info here: Our Lady of the Rosary Library

Saturday, October 15, 2016


In the Autobiography which she completed towards the end of her life, Saint Teresa of Avila gives us a description of her parents, along with a disparaging estimate of her own character. "The possession of virtuous parents who lived in the fear of God, together with those favors which I received from his Divine Majesty, might have made me good, if I had not been so very wicked." A heavy consciousness of sin was prevalent in sixteenth-century Spain, and we can readily discount this avowal of guilt. What we are told of Teresa's early life does not sound in the least wicked, but it is plain that she was an unusually active, imaginative, and sensitive child. Her parents, Don Alfonso Sanchez de Capeda and Dona Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, his second wife, were people of position in Avila, a city of Old Castile, where Teresa was born on March 28, 1515. There were nine children of this marriage, of whom Teresa was the third, and three children of her father's first marriage.

Piously reared as she was, Teresa became completely fascinated by stories of the saints and martyrs, as was her brother Roderigo, who was near her own age and her partner in youthful adventures. Once, when Teresa was seven, they made a plan to run away to Africa, where they might be beheaded by the infidel Moors and so achieve martyrdom. They set out secretly, expecting to beg their way like the poor friars, but had gone only a short distance from home when they were met by an uncle and brought back to their anxious mother, who had sent servants into the streets to search for them. She and her brother now thought they would like to become hermits, and tried to build themselves little cells from stones they found in the garden. Thus we see that religious thoughts and influences dominated the mind of the future saint in childhood.

Teresa was only fourteen when her mother died, and she later wrote of her sorrow in these words: "As soon as I began to understand how great a loss I had sustained by losing her, I was very much afflicted; and so I went before an image of our Blessed Lady and besought her with many tears that she would vouchsafe to be my mother." Visits from a girl cousin were most welcome at this time, but they had the effect of stimulating her interest in superficial things. Reading tales of chivalry was one of their diversions, and Teresa even tried to write romantic stories. "These tales," she says in her Autobiography, "did not fail to cool my good desires, and were the cause of my falling insensibly into other defects. I was so enchanted that I could not be happy without some new tale in my hands. I began to imitate the fashions, to enjoy being well dressed, to take great care of my hands, to use perfumes, and wear all the vain ornaments which my position in the world allowed." Noting this sudden change in his daughter's personality, Teresa's father decided to place her in a convent of Augustinian nuns in Avila, where other young women of her class were being educated. This action made Teresa aware that her danger had been greater than she knew. After a year and a half in the convent she fell ill with what seems to have been a malignant type of malaria, and Don Alfonso brought her home. After recovering, she went to stay with her eldest sister, who had married and gone to live in the country. Then she visited an uncle, Peter Sanchez de Capeda, a very sober and pious man. At home once more, and fearing that an uncongenial marriage would be forced upon her, she began to deliberate whether or not she should undertake the religious life. Reading the ,[1] helped her to reach a decision. St. Jerome's realism and ardor were akin to her own Castilian spirit, with its mixture of the practical and the idealistic. She now announced to her father her desire to become a nun, but he withheld consent, saying that after his death she might do as she pleased

This reaction caused a new conflict, for Teresa loved her father devotedly. Feeling that delay might weaken her resolve, she went secretly to the Carmelite convent of the Incarnation[2] outside the town of Avila, where her dear friend Sister Jane Suarez was living, and applied for admission. Of this painful step, she wrote: "I remember . . . while I was going out of my father's house—the sharpness of sense will not be greater, I believe, in the very instant of agony of my death, than it was then. It seemed as if all the bones in my body were wrenched asunder.... There was no such love of God in me then as was able to quench the love I felt for my father and my friends." A year later Teresa made her profession, but when there was a recurrence of her illness, Don Alfonso had her removed from the convent, as the rule of enclosure was not then in effect. After a period of intense suffering, during which, on one occasion, at least, her life was despaired of, she gradually began to improve. She was helped by certain prayers she had begun to use. Her devout Uncle Peter had given her a little book called the , by Father Francis de Osuna, which dealt with "prayers of recollection and quiet." Taking this book as her guide, she began to concentrate on mental prayer, and progressed towards the "prayer of quiet," with the soul resting in divine contemplation, all earthly things forgotten. Occasionally, for brief moments, she attained the "prayer of union," in which all the powers of the soul are absorbed in God. She persuaded her father to apply himself to this form of prayer.

After three years Teresa went back to the convent. Her intelligence, warmth, and charm made her a favorite, and she found pleasure in being with people. It was the custom in Spain in those days for the young nuns to receive their acquaintances in the convent parlor, and Teresa spent much time there, chatting with friends. She was attracted to one of the visitors whose company was disturbing to her, although she told herself that there could be no question of sin, since she was only doing what so many others, better than she, were doing. During this relaxed period, she gave up her habit of mental prayer, using as a pretext the poor state of her health. "This excuse of bodily weakness," she wrote afterwards, "was not a sufficient reason why I should abandon so good a thing, which required no physical strength, but only love and habit. In the midst of sickness the best prayer may be offered, and it is a mistake to think it can only be offered in solitude." She returned to the practice of mental prayer and never again abandoned it, although she had not yet the courage to follow God completely, or to stop wasting her time and talents. But during these years of apparent wavering, her spirit was being forged. When depressed by her own unworthiness, she turned to those two great penitents, St. Mary Magdalen and St. Augustine, and through them came experiences that helped to steady her will. One was the reading of St. Augustine's ; another was an overpowering impulse to penitence before a picture of the suffering Lord, in which, she writes, "I felt Mary Magdalen come to my assistance.... From that day I have gone on improving in my spiritual life."

When finally Teresa withdrew from the pleasures of social intercourse, she found herself able once more to pray the "prayer of quiet," and also the "prayer of union." She began to have intellectual visions of divine things and to hear inner voices. Though she was persuaded these manifestations came from God, she was at times fearful and troubled. She consulted many persons, binding all to secrecy, but her perplexities nevertheless were spread abroad, to her great mortification. Among those she talked to was Father Gaspar Daza, a learned priest, who, after listening, reported that she was deluded, for such divine favors were not consistent with a life as full of imperfections as hers was, as she herself admitted. A friend, Don Francis de Salsedo, suggested that she talk to a priest of the newly formed Society of Jesus. To one of them, accordingly, she made a general Confession, recounting her manner of prayer and extraordinary visions. He assured her that she experienced divine graces, but warned her that she had failed to lay the foundations of a true spiritual life by practices of mortification. He advised her to try to resist the visions and voices for two months; resistance proved useless. Francis Borgia, commissary-general of the Society in Spain, then advised her not to resist further, but also not to seek such experiences.

Another Jesuit, Father Balthasar Alvarez, who now became her director, pointed out certain traits that were incompatible with perfect grace. He told her that she would do well to beg God to direct her to what was most pleasing to Him, and to recite daily the hymn of St. Gregory the Great, "!" One day, as she repeated the stanzas, she was seized with a rapture in which she heard the words, "I will not have you hold conversation with men, but with angels." For three years, while Father Balthasar was her director, she suffered from the disapproval of those around her; and for two years, from extreme desolation of soul. She was censured for her austerities and ridiculed as a victim of delusion or a hypocrite. A confessor to whom she went during Father Balthasar's absence said that her very prayer was an illusion, and commanded her, when she saw any vision, to make the sign of the cross and repel it as if it were an evil spirit. But Teresa tells us that the visions now brought with them their own evidence of ,authenticity, so that it was impossible to doubt they were from God. Nevertheless, she obeyed this order of her confessor. Pope Gregory XV, in his bull of canonization, commends her obedience in these words: "She was wont to say that she might be deceived in discerning visions and revelations, but could not be in obeying superiors."

In 1557 Peter of Alcantara, a Franciscan of the Observance, came to Avila. Few saints have been more experienced in the inner life, and he found in Teresa unmistakable evidence of the Holy Spirit. He openly expressed compassion for what she endured from slander and predicted that she was not at the end of her tribulations. However, as her mystical experiences continued, the greatness and goodness of God, the sweetness of His service, became more and more manifest to her. She was sometimes lifted from the ground, an experience other saints have known. "God," she says, "seems not content with drawing the soul to Himself, but he must needs draw up the very body too, even while it is mortal and compounded of so unclean a clay as we have made it by our sins."

It was at this time, she tells us, that her most singular experience took place, her mystical marriage to Christ, and the piercing of her heart. Of the latter she writes: "I saw an angel very near me, towards my left side, in bodily form, which is not usual with me; for though angels are often represented to me, it is only in my mental vision. This angel appeared rather small than large, and very beautiful. His face was so shining that he seemed to be one of those highest angels called seraphs, who look as if all on fire with divine love. He had in his hands a long golden dart; at the end of the point methought there was a little fire. And I felt him thrust it several times through my heart in such a way that it passed through my very bowels. And when he drew it out, methought it pulled them out with it and left me wholly on fire with a great love of God." The pain in her soul spread to her body, but it was accompanied by great delight too; she was like one transported, caring neither to see nor to speak but only to be consumed with the mingled pain and happiness.[3]

Teresa's longing to die that she might be united with God was tempered by her desire to suffer for Him on earth. The account which the gives of her revelations is marked by sincerity, genuine simplicity of style, and scrupulous precision. An unlettered woman, she wrote in the Castilian vernacular, setting down her experiences reluctantly, out of obedience to her confessor, and submitting everything to his judgment and that of the Church, merely complaining that the task kept her from spinning. Teresa wrote of herself without self-love or pride. Towards her persecutors she was respectful, representing them as honest servants of God.

Teresa's other literary works came later, during the fifteen years when she was actively engaged in funding new convents of reformed Carmelite nuns. They are proof of her industry and her power of memory, as well as of a real talent for expression. she composed for the special guidance of her nuns, and the for their further edification. was perhaps meant for all Catholics; in it she writes with authority on the spiritual life. One admiring critic says: "She lays bare in her writings the most impenetrable secrets of true wisdom in what we call mystical theology, of which God has given the key to a small number of his favored servants. This thought may somewhat lessen our surprise that an unlearned woman should have expounded what the greatest doctors never attained, for God employs in His works what instruments He wills."

We have seen how undisciplined the Carmelite nuns had become, how the convent parlor at Avila was a social gathering place, and how easily nuns might leave their enclosure. Any woman, in fact, who wanted a sheltered life without much responsibility could find it in a convent in sixteenth-century Spain. The religious themselves, for the most part, were not even aware of how far they fell short of what their profession demanded. So when one of the nuns at the House of the Incarnation began talking of the possibility of founding a new and stricter community, the idea struck Teresa as an inspiration from Heaven. She determined to undertake its establishment herself and received a promise of help from a wealthy widow, Dona Guiomar de Ulloa. The project was approved by Peter of Alcantara and Father Angelo de Salazar, provincial of the Carmelite Order. The latter was soon compelled to withdraw his permission, for Teresa's fellow nuns, the local nobility, the magistrates, and others united to thwart the project. Father Ibanez, a Dominican, secretly encouraged Teresa and urged Dona Guiomar to continue to lend her support. One of Teresa's married sisters began with her husband to erect a small convent at Avila in 1561 to shelter the new establishment; outsiders took it for a house intended for the use of her family.

An episode famous in Teresa's life occurred at this time. Her little nephew was crushed by a wall of the new structure which fell on him as he was playing, and he was carried, apparently lifeless, to Teresa. She held the child in her arms and prayed. After some minutes she restored him alive and sound to his mother. The miracle was presented at the process for Teresa's canonization. Another seemingly solid wall of the convent collapsed during the night. Teresa's brother-in-law was going to refuse to pay the masons, but Teresa assured him that it was all the work of evil spirits and insisted that the men be paid.

A wealthy woman of Toledo, Countess Louise de la Cerda, happened at the time to be mourning the recent death of her husband, and asked the Carmelite provincial to order Teresa, whose goodness she had heard praised, to come to her. Teresa was accordingly sent to the woman, and stayed with her for six months, using a part of the time, at the request of Father Ibanez, to write, and to develop further her ideas for the convent. While at Toledo she met Maria of Jesus, of the Carmelite convent at Granada, who had had revelations concerning a reform of the order, and this meeting strengthened Teresa's own desires. Back in Avila, on the very evening of her arrival, the Pope's letter authorizing the new reformed convent was brought to her. Teresa's adherents now persuaded the bishop of Avila to concur, and the convent, dedicated to St. Joseph, was quietly opened. On St. Bartholomew's day, 1562 the Blessed Sacrament was placed in the little chapel, and four novices took the habit.

The news soon spread in the town and opposition flared into the open. The prioress of the Incarnation convent sent for Teresa, who was required to explain her conduct. Detained almost as a prisoner, Teresa did not lose her poise. The prioress was joined in her disapproval by the mayor and magistrates, always fearful that an unendowed convent would be a burden on the townspeople. Some were for demolishing the building forthwith. Meanwhile Don Francis sent a priest to Madrid, to plead for the new establishment before the King's Council. Teresa was allowed to go back to her convent and shortly afterward the bishop officially appointed her prioress. The hubbub now quickly subsided. Teresa was hence. forth known simply as Teresa of Jesus, mother of the reform of Carmel. The nuns were strictly cloistered, under a rule of poverty and almost complete silence; the constant chatter of women's voices was one of the things that Teresa had most deplored at the Incarnation. They were poor, without regular revenues; they wore habits of coarse serge and sandals instead of shoes, and for this reason were called the "discalced" or shoeless Carmelites. Although the prioress was now in her late forties, and frail, her great achievement still lay in the future.

Convinced that too many women under one roof made for relaxation of discipline, Teresa limited the number of nuns to thirteen; later, when houses were being founded with endowments and hence were not wholly dependent on alms, the number was increased to twenty-one. The prior general of the Carmelites, John Baptist Rubeo of Ravenna, visiting Avila in 1567, carried away a fine impression of Teresa's sincerity and prudent rule. He gave her full authority to found other convents on the same plan, in spite of the fact that St. Joseph's had been established without his knowledge.

Five peaceful years were spent with the thirteen nuns in the little convent of St. Joseph. Teresa trained the sisters in every kind of useful work and in all religious observances, but whether at spinning or at prayer, she herself was always first and most diligent. In August, 1567, she founded a second convent at Medina del Campo. The Countess de la Cerda was anxious to found a similar house in her native town of Malagon, and Teresa went to advise her about it. When this third community had been launched, the intrepid nun moved on to Valladolid, and there founded a fourth; then a fifth at Toledo. On beginning this work, she had no more than four or five ducats (approximately ten dollars), but she said, "Teresa and this money are nothing; but God, Teresa, and these ducats suffice." At Medina del Campo she encountered two friars who had heard of her reform and wished to adopt it: Antony de Heredia, prior of the Carmelite monastery there, and John of the Cross. With their aid, in 1568, and the authority given her by the prior general, she established a reformed house for men at Durelo, and in 1569 a second one at Pastrana, both on a pattern of extreme poverty and austerity. She left to John of the Cross, who at this time was in his late twenties, the direction of these and other reformed communities that might be started for men. Refusing to obey the order of his provincial to return to Medina, he was imprisoned at Toledo for nine months. After his escape he became vicar-general of Andalusia, and strove for papal recognition of the order. John, later to attain fame as a poet, mystic confessor, and finally saint, became Teresa's friend; a close spiritual bond developed between the young friar and the aging prioress, and he was made director and confessor in the mother house at Avila.

The hardships and dangers involved in Teresa's labors are indicated by a little episode of the founding of a new convent at Salamanca. She and another nun took over a house which had been occupied by students. It was a large, dirty, desolate place, without furnishings, and when night came the two nuns lay down on their piles of straw, for, Teresa tells us, "the first furniture I provided wherever I founded convents was straw, for, having that, I reckoned I had beds." On this occasion, the other nun seemed very nervous, and Teresa asked her the reason. "I was wondering," was the reply, "what you would do alone with a corpse if I were to die here now." Teresa was startled, but only said, "I shall think of that when it happens, Sister. For the present, let us go to sleep."

At about this time Pope Pius V appointed a number of apostolic visitors to inquire into the relaxations of discipline in religious orders everywhere. The visitor to the Carmelites of Castile found great fault with the Incarnation convent and sent for Teresa, bidding her to assume its direction and remedy the abuses there. It was hard to be separated from her own daughters, and even more distasteful to be brought in as head of the old house which had long opposed her with bitterness and jealousy. The nuns at first refused to obey her; some of them fell into hysterics at the very idea. She told them that she came not to coerce or instruct but to serve and to learn from the least among them. By gentleness and tact she won the affection of the community, and was able to reestablish discipline. Frequent callers were forbidden, the finances of the house were set in order, and a more truly religious spirit reigned. At the end of three years, although the nuns wished to keep her longer, she was directed to return to her own convent.

Teresa organized a nunnery at Veas and while there met Father Jerome Gratian, a reformed Carmelite, and was persuaded by him to extend her work to Seville. With the exception of her first convent, none proved so hard to establish as this. Among her problems there was a disgruntled novice, who reported the nuns to the Inquisition,[4] charging them with being Illuminati.[5]

The Italian Carmelite friars had meanwhile been growing alarmed at the progress of the reform in Spain, lest, as one of their number said, they might one day be compelled to set about reforming themselves, a fear shared by their still unreformed Spanish brothers. At a general chapter at Piacenza several decrees were passed restricting the reform. The new apostolic nuncio dismissed Father Gratian from his office as visitor to the reformed Carmelites. Teresa was told to choose one of her convents and retire to it, and abstain from founding others. At this point she turned to her friends in the world, who were able to interest King Philip II[6] in her behalf, and he personally espoused her cause. He summoned the nuncio to rebuke him for his severity towards the discalced friars and nuns. In 1580 came an order from Rome exempting the reformed from the jurisdiction of the unreformed Carmelites, and giving each party its own provincial. Father Gratian was elected provincial of the reformed branch. The separation, although painful to many, brought an end to dissension.

Teresa was a person of great natural gifts. Her ardor and lively wit was balanced by her sound judgment and psychological insight. It was no mere flight of fancy when the English Catholic poet, Richard Crashaw,[7] called her "the eagle" and "the dove." She could stand up boldly and bravely for what she thought was right; she could also be severe with a prioress who by excessive austerity had made herself unfit for her duties. Yet she could be gentle as a dove, as when she writes to an erring, irresponsible nephew, "God's mercy is great in that you have been enabled to make so good a choice and marry so soon, for you began to be dissipated when you were so young that we might have had much sorrow on your account." Love, with Teresa, meant constructive action, and she had the young man's daughter, born out of wedlock, brought to the convent, and took charge of her upbringing and that of his young sister.

One of Teresa's charms was a sense of humor. In the early years, when an indiscreet male visitor to the convent once praised the beauty of her bare feet, she laughed and told him to take a good look at them for he would never see them again-implying that in the future he would not be admitted. Her method of selecting novices was characteristic. The first requirement, even before piety, was intelligence. A woman could attain to piety, but scarcely to intelligence, by which she meant common sense as well as brains. "An intelligent mind," she wrote, "is simple and teachable; it sees its faults and allows itself to be guided. A mind that is dull and narrow never sees its faults even when shown them. It is always pleased with itself and never learns to do right." Pretentiousness and pride annoyed her. Once a young woman of high reputation for virtue asked to be admitted to a convent in Teresa's charge, and added, as if to emphasize her intellect, "I shall bring my Bible with me." "What," exclaimed Teresa, "your Bible? Do not come to us. We are only poor women who know nothing but how to spin and do as we are told."

In spite of a naturally sturdy constitution, Teresa continued throughout her life to suffer from ailments which physicians found baffling. It would seem that sheer will power kept her alive. At the time of the definitive division of the Carmelite Order she had reached the age of sixty-five and was broken in health. Yet during the last two years of her life she somehow found strength to establish three more convents. They were at Granada, in the far south, at Burgos, in the north, and at Soria, in Portugal. The total was now sixteen. What an astounding achievement this was for one small, enfeebled woman may be better appreciated if we recall the hardships of travel. Most of this extensive journeying was done in a curtained carriage or cart drawn by mules over the extremely poor roads; her trips took her from the northern provinces down to the Mediterranean, and west into Portugal, across mountains, rivers, and arid plateaus. She and the nun who accompanied her endured all the rigors of a harsh climate as well as the steady discomfort of rude lodgings and scanty food.

In the autumn of 1582, Teresa, although ill, set out for Alva de Tormez, where an old friend was expecting a visit from her. Her companion of later years, Anne-of-St. Bartholomew, describes the journey. Teresa grew worse on the road, along which there were few habitations. They could get no food save figs, and when they arrived at the convent, Teresa went to bed in a state of exhaustion. She never recovered, and three days later, she remarked to Anne, "At last, my daughter, I have reached the house of death," a reference to her book, . Extreme Unction was administered by Father Antony de Heredia, a friar of the Reform, and when he asked her where she wished to be buried. she plaintively replied, "Will they deny me a little ground for my body here?" She sat up as she received the Sacrament, exclaiming, "O my Lord, now is the time that we shall see each other! " and died in Anne's arms. It was the evening of October 4. The next day, as it happened, the Gregorian calendar came into use. The readjustment made it necessary to drop ten days, so that October 5 was counted as October 15, and this latter date became Teresa's feast day. She was buried at Alva; three years later, following the decree of a. provincial chapter of Reformed Carmelites, the body was secretly removed to Avila. The next year the Duke of Alva procured an order from Rome to return it to Alva de Tormez, and there it has remained.

Teresa was canonized in 1662. Shortly after her death, Philip II, keenly aware of the Carmelite nun's contribution to Catholicism, had her manuscripts collected and brought to his great palace of the Escorial, and there placed in a rich case, the key of which he carried on his person. These writings were edited for publication by two Dominican scholars and brought out in 1587. Subsequently her works have appeared in uncounted Spanish editions, and have been translated into many languages. An ever-spreading circle of readers through the centuries have found understanding and courage in the life and works of this nun of Castile, who is one of the glories of Spain and of the Church. Teresa's emblems are a heart, an arrow, and a book.

Interior Castle
This body has one fault, that the more people pamper it, the more its wants are made known. It is strange how much it likes to be indulged. How well it finds some good pretext to deceive the poor soul! . . . Oh, you who are free from the great troubles of the world, learn to suffer a little for the love of God without everyone's knowing it! . . .

And remember our holy fathers of past times and holy hermits whose life we try to imitate; what pains they endured, what loneliness, what cold, what hunger, what burning suns, without having anyone to complain to except God. Do you think that they were of iron? No, they were as much flesh as we are; and as soon as we begin, daughters, to conquer this little carcass, it will not bother us so much.... If you don't make up your mind to swallow, once and for all, death and loss of health, you will never do anything....

God deliver us from anybody who wishes to serve Him and thinks about her own dignity and fears to be disgraced.... No poison in the world so slays perfection as these things do....

There are persons, it seems, who are ready to ask God for favors as a matter of justice. A fine sort of humility! Hence He who knows all does well in giving it to them hardly ever; He sees plainly they are not fit to drink the chalice....

Sometimes the Devil proposes to us great desires, so that we shall not put our hand to what we have to do, and serve our Lord in possible things, but stay content with having desired impossible ones. Granting that you can help much by prayer, don't try to benefit all the world, but those who are in your company, and so the work will be better for you are much bounden to them.... In short, what I would conclude with is that we must not build towers without foundations; the Lord does not look so much to the grandeur of our works as to the love with which they are done; and if we do all we can, His Majesty will see to it that we are able to do more and more every day, if we do not then grow weary, and during the little that this life lasts—and perhaps it will be shorter than each one thinks—we offer to Christ, inwardly and outwardly, what sacrifice we can, for His Majesty will join it with the one He made to the Father for us on the Cross, that it may have the value which our will would have merited, even though our works may be small.

Although, as I told you, I felt reluctant to begin this work, yet now it is finished I am very glad to have written it, and I think my trouble is well spent, though I confess it has cost me but little.

Considering your strict enclosure, the little recreation you have, my sisters, and how many conveniences are wanting in some of your convents, I think it may console you to enjoy yourselves in this Interior Castle, where you can enter, and walk about at will, at any hour you please, without asking leave of your superiors.

It is true you cannot enter all the mansions by your own power, however great it may appear to you, unless the Lord of the Castle Himself admits you. Therefore I advise you to use no violence if you meet with any obstacle, for that would displease Him so much' that He would never give you admission to them. He dearly loves humility: if you think yourselves unworthy to enter the third mansion, He will grant you all the sooner the favor of entering the fifth. Then if you serve Him well there, and often repair to it, He will draw you into the mansion where He dwells Himself, where you need never depart, unless called away by the Prioress, whose commands the sovereign Master wishes you to obey as if they were His own. If, by her orders, you are often absent from His presence chamber, whenever you return He will hold the door open for you. When once you have learned how to enjoy this Castle, you will always find rest, however painful your trials may be, in the hope of returning to your Lord, which no one can prevent.

Although I have only mentioned seven mansions, yet each one contains many more rooms, above, below, and around it, with fair gardens, fountains, and labyrinths, besides other things so delightful that you will wish to consume yourself in praising the great God for them, Who has created the soul in His own image and likeness. If you find anything in the plan of this treatise which helps you to know Him better, be certain that it is sent by His Majesty to encourage you, and whatever you find amiss in it is my own.

In return for my strong desire to aid you in serving Him, my God and my Lord, I implore you, whenever you read this, to praise His Majesty fervently in my name, and to beg Him to prosper His Church, to give light to the Lutherans, to pardon my sins, and to free me from purgatory, where perhaps I shall be, by the mercy of God, when you see this book, provided it is given to you after having been examined by the theologians. If these writings contain any error, it is through my ignorance; I submit in all things to the teachings of the Holy Catholic Roman Church, of which I am now a member, as I protest and promise both to live and die. May our Lord God be forever praised and blessed. Amen. Amen.

The writing of this was finished in the convent of Saint Joseph of Avila, in the year 1577, on the vigil of Saint Andrew, to the glory of God, Who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen

Friday, October 7, 2016

Our Lady of the Rosary October 7th

On October 7, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the yearly feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Known for several centuries by the alternate title of “Our Lady of Victory,” the feast day takes place in honor of a 16th century naval victory which secured Europe against Turkish invasion. Pope St. Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was invoked on the day of the battle through a campaign to pray the Rosary throughout Europe.
The feast always occurs one week after the similar Byzantine celebration of the Protection of the Mother of God, which most Eastern Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics celebrate on October 1 in memory of a 10th-century military victory which protected Constantinople against invasion after a reported Marian apparition.

Pope Leo XIII was particularly devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary, producing 11 encyclicals on the subject of this feast and its importance in the course of his long pontificate.
In the first of them, 1883's “Supremi Apostolatus Officio,” he echoed the words of the oldest known Marian prayer (known in the Latin tradition as the “Sub Tuum Praesidium”), when he wrote, “It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary.”

“This devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven,” Pope Leo continued, “has never shone forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of God has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy … or by an intolerable moral corruption, or by the attacks of powerful enemies.” Foremost among such “attacks” was the battle of Lepanto, a perilous and decisive moment in European and world history.

Troops of the Turkish Ottoman Empire had invaded and occupied the Byzantine empire by 1453, bringing a large portion of the increasingly divided Christian world under a version of Islamic law. For the next hundred years, the Turks expanded their empire westward on land, and asserted their naval power in the Mediterranean. In 1565 they attacked Malta, envisioning an eventual invasion of Rome. Though repelled at Malta, the Turks captured Cyprus in the fall of 1570.
The next year, three Catholic powers on the continent – Genoa, Spain, and the Papal States - formed an alliance called the Holy League, to defend their Christian civilization against Turkish invasion. Its fleets sailed to confront the Turks near the west coast of Greece on October 7, 1571.

Crew members on more than 200 ships prayed the Rosary in preparation for the battle - as did Christians throughout Europe, encouraged by the Pope to gather in their churches to invoke the Virgin Mary against the daunting Turkish forces.
Some accounts say that Pope Pius V was granted a miraculous vision of the Holy League's stunning victory. Without a doubt, the Pope understood the significance of the day's events, when he was eventually informed that all but 13 of the nearly 300 Turkish ships had been captured or sunk. He was moved to institute the feast now celebrated universally as Our Lady of the Rosary.

“Turkish victory at Lepanto would have been a catastrophe of the first magnitude for Christendom,” wrote military historian John F. Guilmartin, Jr., “and Europe would have followed a historical trajectory strikingly different from that which obtained.”

Saturday, October 1, 2016

St. Thérèse

Many things have been written on The Little Flower, St. Thérèse. No need to hit anything but the highlights of her beautiful yet short life which will always be an example to us all. So just to remind folks that she's part of the communion of Saints and not to forget to beg her intercession, I post this for us all.
Thérèse lived at the end of the 19th century and entered a Carmelite Monastery at the age of 15. She had to have special permission to enter. She died in 1897 at the age of 24, and was canonized just 28 years later. 

Her life seemed to be rather unremarkable as religious life goes: she was faithful to her prayer life, to her rule and lived day in and day out the life she had freely chosen. Her focus was to "save souls and to pray for priests." During her short time in Carmel at the direction of her superiors, she wrote her autobiography "The Story of a Soul" ~ which is absolutely MARVELOUS. (Free audible version on my blog here) When she died, few knew of her life. In fact, the story was passed to other Carmelite Monasteries and normally no one else except the nuns would have read it. Two thousand copies were originally printed for this purpose and it was published on September 30, 1898. 

Within twelve years of its publication, 47,000 copies were sold. Surprise Surprise! God takes little known works and can bring great things from them. In St. Thérèse's words:
"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."

Her little way of doing small things well, for the love of God, appeals to Catholics of all ages and walks of life as we strive to find holiness in our ordinary daily lives. Therese' story shows us that even if we aren't called to be famous saintly people, we don't have to do huge, difficult things to attain sanctity. By being true to our state in life and living out our Catholic life on a day to day basis, we can attain holiness in our own lives. Today millions have read her autobiography, countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession and she has even been named a Doctor of the Church. 

As she said:
"I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth."
"O Jesus my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and You gave me that place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction."
St. Therese, please pray for us.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael ~ Archangels

“You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.
“And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.
He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle.
“Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily by known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they come among us.

Thus, Michael means ‘Who is like God?’; Gabriel is ‘The Strength of God’; and Raphael is ‘God’s Remedy.’

“Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.
“Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.

“Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.”


The most powerful angels are the seven Archangels—

“And I saw seven Angels
standing in the sight of God…” Revelation 8:2

The battle in Heaven:

Lucifer (his name meant the Bearer of Light) became very arrogant and conceited, he thought himself just as worthy as God “I will ascend above the battling with the dragon, and the dragon was fighting, and so were his angels.
But they did not prevail,
and a place for them was no longer found in heaven.
And he was thrown out, that great dragon,
that ancient serpent, who is called
the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world.
And he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.” Revelation 12:7-9

There were seven angels from the second lowest choir who were so outraged by the terrible offense to the dignity of the Most High that, though inferior to Lucifer and his legions, positioned themselves between the Throne of God and the offenders, prepared to defend the honor and dignity of God.

On seeing this, God was so moved by their heroic love that he elevated them to the position of highest heaven, standing eternally before the Throne of God to carry out God’s Will. God granted them new gifts and graces.
“And from the throne, lightnings and voices and thunders went forth. And there were seven burning lamps before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.” Revelation 4:5
“Bless Yahweh, all his angels, mighty warriors who fulfill his commands, attentive to the sound of his words.” Psalm 103:20
The good angels who resisted Satan’s temptations were admitted into the immediate vision of God and became firmly rooted in virtue. For this reason, the angels who resisted the first sin are no longer capable of sinning; they have made a permanent and indelible choice to submit to the love of God.
The fallen angels, or devils as we now call them, are likewise permanently rooted in sin. It is not possible for a devil to repent of his sins.

There are three Archangels who are better known as they are mentioned Sacred
Scripture they are are Michael, Gabriel and Raphael…
In the year 1040, St. Celias made an exhaustive study of the approved writings of the Early Church Fathers up to the 4th Century. Through his studies we have come to know seven of the names of the Archangels, the meaning of their names and the sacrament each is the patron of.

The names of the Seven Archangels
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael,
Uriel, Jehudiel,
Sealtiel and Barachiel.

Pope Pius V said in his Bull to the Spanish Clergy, permitting and encouraging the worship of the seven archangels: “One cannot exalt too much these seven rectors of the world, figured by the seven planets, as it is consoling to our century to witness by the grace of God the cult of these seven ardent lights, and of these seven stars reassuming all it’s luster in the Christian republic.” (Les Sept Esprits et l'Histoire de leur Culte; De Mirville's 2nd memoir addressed to the academy. Vol. II. p. 358.)

Fresco of Mary amidst the Seven Archangels St. Maia Degli Church

In the 16th Century, Michelangelo was ordered to adorn the church of St. Maria Degli, dedicated to Mary and the Seven Archangels with a fresco of seven Archangels on the altar.

During the reign of Pope Gregory XIII it was intended to build seven separate chapels there, one for each of the Seven Archangels.

Liturgy to Seven Archangels has been confirmed and was still in practice around the year 1800, it has not been abolished, just not in practice.

Michael the Archangel

His name means
"WHO is like unto God?"

Patron of the Holy Eucharist.

“He is the Leader of the Armies of Heaven. He defends our souls against the infernal enemy when we call on him, but he also defends Our Lord Who is helpless in the Blessed Sacrament”.

Prayer to St. Michael

St. Michael the Archangel
Defend us in this day of battle!
Be our safeguard against
the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray,
And do Thou, 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

Short version of prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII after seeing a vision of the Church in
our day. To read the long,original version you can find it at:

Stay awhile after Mass and say this prayer to St. Michael...
say it everyday!!! We definitely need his help!!!

The Vision of Pope Leo XIII
and the Origins of the St. Michael Prayer

Pope Leo XIII

Exactly 33 years to the day prior to the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, that is, on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a remarkable vision. When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the above prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere.
When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices - two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:
The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: "I can destroy your Church."
The gentle voice of Our Lord: "You can? Then go ahead and do so."
Satan: "To do so, I need more time and more power."

Our Lord: "How much time? How much power?

Satan: "75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will
give themselves over to my service."

Our Lord: "You have the time, you will have the power.
Do with them what you will."

In 1886, Pope Leo XIII decreed that this prayer to St. Michael be said at the end of "low" Mass (not "high", or sung Masses) throughout the universal Church, along with the Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen); and the practice of the congregation praying these prayers at the end of Mass continued until about 1970, with the introduction of the new rite of the Mass.

However, at the end of his Angelus message given in St. Peter’s Square, Sunday, April 24, 1994, Pope John Paul II urged Catholics to recite this prayer to Saint Michael
"The prayer can fortify us for that spiritual battle about which the Letter to the Ephesians speaks [of]: "Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power."(Ephesians 6:10). And to this same battle that the Book of the Apocalypse refers [to], recalling in front of our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (cf. Revelations 12:7). Surely, this scene was very present to Pope Leon XIII, when, at the end of the previous century, he introduced to the entire Church a special prayer to St. Michael: ‘St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil… ’

"Even if today this prayer is no longer recited at the end of the Eucharistic celebration, I invite all to not forget it, but to recite it in order to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and the spirit of this world."

Oh holy St. Michael
come to our aid
With all the holy angels!
Teach us
to keep the faith
in these times of darkness!
Inspire us to fight
for our souls
and the souls of others!
Teach us to win in silence
and obedience to God.
Teach us to love and be faithful to Mary,
Queen of the Angels!

St. Gabriel
Whose name means
“God Conquers”

Patron of the Sacrament of Baptism and of of communications workers

The name Gabriel also means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. He was the angel who appeared to Zachariah to announce the birth of St. John the Baptizer. Luke 1:5-7

Finally, he announced to Mary that she would bear a Son Who would be conceived of the Holy Spirit, Son of the Most High, and Saviour of the world.

Gabriel only appears by name two passages in Luke. Luke 1:10-20;26-38. In the first passage the angel identified himself as Gabriel, but in the second it is Luke who identified him as Gabriel. The only other named angel in the New Testament is "Michael the archangel" (in Jude 1:9). Gabriel is not called an archangel in the Bible. Believers are expressly warned not to worship angels (in Colossians 2:18-19 and Revelation 19:10).

His shared feast day is September 29th, together with Archangel Michael and Raphael.

St. Gabriel is the patron of communications workers.

St. Gabriel is of course, the Archangel of the Annunciation and the Incarnation’s triumph over sin and death.

He is usually depicted with lilies that represent the new purity of the soul through the sacraments of Baptism and Confession, both sacraments made possible by the Redemption. His banner is a declaration of Our Lady’s universal motherhood.

Prayers to St. Gabriel the Archangel

Heavenly Father,
through the salutation of the
Archangel Gabriel,
may we honor the
Incarnation of Your Divine Son.

Through his faithful intercessions
may we strive always to imitate
the holy virtues of the
Mother of our Savior
and respond to our Father,

"Be it done unto me according to Thy Word".

Archangel Gabriel,
please praise our Father for
the gift of His Son,
praying, one day by His grace,
through His Mother,
we may all be one fold,
one Church, one Shepherd.
~ adapted from the chaplet of St. Gabriel

Oh holy St. Gabriel
come to our aid
with your legion of angels!
Help us to become good servants of Our Lord!
Help us to regain and preserve
our Baptismal purity
that we may become His worthy servants.
When we fall, guide us to repentance
and confession that we may restore it!
Through your intercessions
help our souls become
havens of peace where
Our Lord and Our Lady
love to come and rest. Amen

St. Raphael

Whose name means "God Heals"

Patron of the Sacrament of Penance

Raphael is usually depicted holding a jub of oil for anointing, or a fish which represents the soul and the oil of healing of it’s ailments through the sacrament of confession.

The fish is also a reminder of the story of his protection of young Tobias and healing his father Tobit. See the Book of Tobit which can be found only in the Catholic Bible.

“Tobit, or Tobias, is a book in the Old Testament Apocrypha, written (c.200 - 170 BC) in Hebrew or Aramaic and constructed as a didactic romance. It became popular among Hellenistic Jews and Christians in its Greek translation. The book relates how Tobit, a devout Jew in exile in Assyria, and his son Tobias were rewarded for their piety and good deeds. Tobit buried the bodies of executed Jews in Nineveh. Despite this and other good works, he was blinded. As he prayed for God to end his life, Sarah, a widow whose seven husbands have each been killed by the demon Asmodeus on their wedding night, also entreats God to end her misery.

In answer to these prayers, God sends the angel Raphael to Earth to help them. Tobias marries Sarah and, with Raphael's help, overcomes the demon and restores his father's sight. The demonology, magic, and folklore motifs in the story show affinities with ancient Near Eastern stories from 500 BC on.”

Archangel Raphael is a merciful healer.
He has the power to expel demons.

Prayers to St. Raphael

St. Raphael the Archangel
You are Raphael the Healer,
You are Raphael the Guide,
You are Raphael the Companion,
Ever at human sorrow's side.
St. Raphael, Angel of health,
of true conjugal love,
of joy and Divine light, pray for us!
~from the chaplet of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.
I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor (here mention your special intention), and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

St. Uriel the Archangel

Whose name means
“Fire of God”
"Flame of God,"
"Light of God,"
or even "Sun of God."

Patron of the Sacrament of Confirmation

He carries the Sword of Truth for Soldiers of Christ, which we become through this sacrament.

This archangel enlightens the minds and the hearts of the faithful with the light of divine truths and the fire of divine love.

In some art works, Uriel is often depicted carrying either a book or a scroll, both of which represent wisdom. Another symbol connected with Uriel is an open hand holding a flame, which represents God’s truth.

Fire represents the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the flames of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It also should remind us that our hearts should always burn with love for God like the holiest of Seraphim, like the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

St. Uriel can also be shown carrying the scales by which we are to weigh our actions. It is also a reminder of the Scales of Perfect Justice by which our lives are weighed at our judgement.

Prayer to St. Uriel the Archangel

Oh holy St. Uriel, 
come to our aid with your legion of angels!
Intercede for us
that our hearts
may burn with
the fire of the
and Immaculate Hearts.
Assist us in co-operating with the graces of our confirmation
that the gifts
of the Holy Ghost
may bear much
fruit in our souls.

Obtain for us the grace to use
the sword of truth to pare away
all that is not in conformity to
the most adorable Will of God in our lives,
that we may fully participate
in the army of the Church Militant.

Saint Uriel
"spirit who stood at the gate
of the lost Eden
with the fiery sword",
light up our mind
with the sword of truth
so that our hearts are filled
with the burning
desire of love for the Holy Spirit.
Protect us with your flaming sword against all evil. Amen.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
We place all our trust in thee. Amen

Saint Uriel
Angel of Illumination pray for us.

St. Jehudiel

Whose name means "Praise of God"

Patron of the Sacrament of the Sick
(Old Term -- Extreme Unction,
the anointing of the sick and dying)

St. Jehudiel carries the flaming sword of salvation, a symbol of God’s mercy and the crown of the victory of grace which awaits the saints in the next life. It is also a reminder of the crown of sufferings to be endured in this life
imitation of Our Lord.

Prayer St. Jehudiel

Oh holy St. Jehudiel,
you are the powerful and formidable
adversary of Beelzebub.
Come to our aid with your legion of angels!
Accompany us in the combat against
the terrible attacks of hell
which threaten to annihilate
our Holy Mother the Church.

Safeguard us at the hour of death and
console us with your powerful presence.
Intercede for us that we might not perish
without the last sacraments and
may properly prepare to stand
before the terrible seat of judgement.
Remove all jealousy from our hearts
so that each one of us, through conformity

to the Divine Will, become, like you,
a living praise to the glory of God
in this life and in the next. Amen

Prayer To St. Jhudiel Bearer Of God’s Merciful Love

O merciful Archangel, St. Jhudiel, dispenser of God’s eternal
and abundant mercy. Because of our sinfulness, we do not deserve God’s forgiveness. Yet, He continually grants us forbearance freely and lovingly.

Help us in our determination to overcome our sinful habits and be truly sorry for them.

Bring each one of us to true conversion of heart. That we may experience the joy of reconciliation which it brings, without which neither we, as individuals,
nor the whole world can know true peace.

You who continually intercede for us, listen to our prayers. Present to God our Father all these petitions. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, together with the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.

St. Sealtiel

Whose name means "Prayer of God"

Patron of the Sacrament of Holy Orders
St. Sealtiel carries an incenser which is the symbol of the prayers and offerings of the Divine Sacrifice of the Mass, only through the actions through the ordained.

“And another Angel approached, and he stood before the altar, holding a golden censer. And much incense was given to him, so that he might offer upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God, the prayers of all the saints.
And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended, in the presence of God, from the hand of the Angel.”
Revelation 8:3-4

In the Eastern Orthodox Tradition Archangel Salaphiel is also our primary teacher of prayer. We can pray to Archangel Salaphiel for the Lord to grant us this gift of divine prayer.

Prayer to Archangel Sealtiel for Priests

Oh holy St. Sealtiel
come to my aid with
your legion of angels!
Intercede to our
Almighty and merciful God!
Graciously attend
to my humble prayers;
and make me, whom God
has appointed
to dispense
the heavenly Mysteries
through no merits of my own,
but only through the infinite
bounty of His Mercy,
a worthy minister at His sacred altar;
that what is set forth by my voice may
be confirmed by His Holy Grace.
Pray for me that our good Jesus may
grant me the grace to be a priest after
His own Sacred Heart!
~ adapted from the Raccolta

Prayer to the Archangel Selaphiel

O Pure and Holy Archangel St. Selaphiel,
you bow to the Almighty Lord offering angelic salutations
of praise and thanksgiving.

Guide us in our prayer.
Like you, we would like
to unceasingly pray and
worship God the right way.

May our lives be like incense
pleasing to God.
While awaiting for the inevitable time
of separation from
this material world,
may we praise the Holy Trinity
in the spirit of
true love and humility
throughout the days of our life in eternity.
Obtain for us these favors _________
and present to God the Father
all these petitions through Jesus Christ our Lord
together with the Holy Spirit forever and ever.


Whose name means "Blessings of God"

Patron of the Sacrament of Matrimony

Barachiel carries an abundant basket of bread, the staff of life, symbolizing Christian parenthood and it’s grave responsibilities both spiritual and temporal, to protect and provide for, the children God desires of married couples.
He is also a powerful intercessor for the barren as well as for troubled marriages.

He carries in his hand a book, a reminder of the wealth of instructions in the Holy Scripture, the writings of the saints and Papal encyclicals for husbands, wives and children concerning marriage and family life.

In iconography he is sometimes shown holding a white rose against his chest, or with rose petals scattered on his clothing.

Archangel Barachiel is the angel of God’s blessings.

While asking God to bless all our good efforts, let us also appeal to Archangel Barachiel for help.

However, we must accept the Lord’s blessing not only for prosperity but also for our cross, i.e. the sorrows without which there is no salvation.
May Archangel Barachiel give us strength to carry our blessed crosses.

Through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His passion, death and resurrection, all His disciples are brought to a transforming union with Him. Through His transformation in love, the soul becomes Christ-like. As such, every Christ-like soul becomes, by adoption, the child of the Father.

St. Barachiel is the Archangel who was assigned by God to keep watch over His adopted children, taking care that He and the choirs of angels assigned to the task guard these transformed souls in all their ways, bearing them up in their hands, "lest they dash their feet against the stone on their way to their heavenly
home." (Psalm 91, 12) -- The Guardian Angels.

Prayer to the Archangel Barachiel

O Powerful Archangel,
St. Barachiel, filled with heaven's
glory and splendor,
you are rightly called God's benediction.

We are God's children
placed under your
protection and care.
Listen to our supplications ______.

Grant that through your loving intercession,
we may reach
our heavenly home one day.
Sustain us and protect us
from all harm --that we may
possess for all eternity
the peace and happiness that
Jesus has prepared for us in heaven.

Present to God the Father
all these petitions through
Jesus Christ our Lord
together with the Holy Spirit
forever and ever.

Parents Prayer to St. Barachiel

Oh Blessed St. Barachiel,
obtain for us through your intercession,
the fullness of the graces
of the most holy sacrament of matrimony.
Intercede for us most fervently,
in those moments of great duress and temptation,
when we are most unlikely to recall your power
to intercede for us, that through your benevolent love,
you may thwart the efforts of the evil one to harm our marriage, our family and our faith.
Be our bulwark against our weaknesses
that our union may grow stronger,
our family may grow more pious
and our faith may grow deeper.
St. Barachiel come with your legion of angels
to rouse us out of our torpor!
Help us and our children
to do good and grow in the love of God and Mary.

Information and excerpts for this article were gathered from these sources: