Author: Benedict

5 Sinners turned Saints and what we can learn from them

5 Sinners turned Saints and what we can learn from them

In our today’s world, we tend to be quick to judge on the way others: look, talk, or sins they have committed, but we would do ourselves great favour to recall the Faith Hall of Fame contains terrible sinners who became saints.

In as much as St. Augustine is most often mentioned as a sinner who became a saint, his sins pale in comparison to many others. In this article, I listed 5  sinners who became servants of God and what we can learn from them.

1.) St. Paul – Murderer of Christians and apostle. Suffice it to say, St. Paul is one of the most recognizable and notable Christians in the Bible, but before he was Paul his name was Saul of Tarsus. Prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul was a terror to Christians. He held the coats of those who stoned Stephen, the first martyr, to death for declaring Jesus. In essence, he was an accessory to the martyrdom of Stephen. He vigorously sought permission from authorities to gather up Christians, thrown them in prison for blasphemy, and have them killed. But, Paul met Jesus and everything about him changed. “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” was the question Jesus asked him. That’s the question that changed Saul into Paul and changed a sinner into a saint.

LessonThe greatest plans God has may include the worst of sinners, even the enemies of God’s people. Never permit fear and someone’s past cloud your attitude toward them and the hope they will come to Christ.

2.) St. Matthew –Apostle and tax collector. In as much Matthew was a Jew, he worked for the Roman government as a tax collector. The Romans would contract the job of collecting taxes out to individuals. The individuals, in turn, would not only collect taxes from citizens but would charge much more than the fees. The extra charges allowed tax collectors to skim off the top and take a share of the taxes for themselves. Often these tax collectors would bully and threaten individuals in order to collect the money. Citizens viewed tax collectors as the lowest individuals and most despised. They also viewed them as traitors. Moreover, Matthew met Jesus and his life changed dramatically as he became one of the original 12 and carried the news of Jesus all across the region. He’s also the author of one of the four gospels.

LessonEven those we label or see as the lowest of low in society are relevant to God and He wants to use them to spread the Word of God.

3.) St. Olga- murderer and cold-hearted torturer turned saint. St. Olga is venerated as the saint of widow and converts. She is the first canonized Russian saint. However, she clearly was not the type of person anyone would imagine becoming a saint. St. Olga was a princess who was the first documented female ruler of Russia.

Her husband, Igor I, was a prince of Kiev and was killed in 945 by those serving under him. Olga became the regent of the grand principality of Kiev because her son was still a minor at the time of Igor’s death. St. Olga set out for revenge against those who killed her husband. She had the murderers captured and scalded to death. But, she did not stop there. She had hundreds of people murdered who belonged to the tribe her husband’s murderers were members of. She is said to have ordered the execution of 5,000 men at a feast held in her remembrance.

St. Olga converted to Christianity and was baptized between 945 and 957 after being touched by the majesty and awe of the liturgy, despite her son’s disapproval. After her son took control of the country, she requested archbishops and priests to be appointed to her country but her son was a pagan and the Holy Roman Emperor accused her of lying and trickery and refused. But, she secretly kept a Catholic priest near her at all times and upon her death in 969, her son did allow a Christian burial rather than a pagan celebration. Her grandson, Vladimir, would later take control and make Christianity the official religion of the nation in the 980s.

LessonEven when we choose to let anger, vengeance, and retaliation take over our actions, despite how ugly our past may be and how many people we have hurt God touches even the hardest of hearts.

4.) St. Vladimir- He is the patron saint of Russian Catholics. He was the grandson of St. Olga. When civil war broke out between his half-brothers, he was forced to flee to Scandinavia. But, he did not stay long. He put together an army and returned to Kiev, capturing and murdering his own half-brother for power. He became the ruler of Russia after challenging and defeating his brother. As a ruler, he was known for his barbarism and immorality, much like his grandmother. He built a new temple to false gods and ordered the sacrifice of a father and son for the temple’s consecration. But, he became impressed and interested in Christianity because of Christianity’s progress and growth. After his conversion, he changed his life and became devoted to others becoming Christians. He brought Greek missionaries to Russia, led people to Christianity, built schools and even churches. He got rid of his 7 other wives (he had 8 wives at the time), tore down the pagan temple, and spent the rest of his life trying to convert Russians to Christianity.

LessonThose who have abused their power, lied and done horrific things to gain power and control can still turn around and follow God. They can be some of the greatest doors God uses to usher in Christianity to others.

5.) St. Mary of Egypt- Patron saint of penitents, prostitute. St. Mary ran away from home at the age of 12 and became a prostitute. She took so much delight in seducing men that it is said she didn’t even charge for her services most of the time. After being a prostitute and making a game out of seducing men for 17 years, she took an “anti-pilgrimage” to Jerusalem where she said she wanted to find more men to seduce. An unseen force is said to have stopped her from entering into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and it was this event that caused her to discover her sins and become remorseful for her lifestyle. As a result, she prayed for forgiveness at a statue of the Blessed Mother and promised to give up her lifestyle. After this, she tried to enter the Church again and was allowed to enter. She later received absolution and Holy Communion.

LessonThose in sexual sins are loved by Christ and He seeks to love them, change their lives, and use them.

5 Things You Need To Know About St. Benedict’s Medal

5 Things You Need To Know About St. Benedict’s Medal

1. The Story of St. Benedict From Fisheaters:

St. Benedict of Nursia, Italy (A.D. 480-543), the twin brother of St. Scholastica, is the Father of Western monasticism, and his “Rule of St. Benedict” came to be the foundation of  the organization for many religious orders (his own Order has its cradle at Monte Cassino, Italy, about 80 miles South of Rome).

At any rate, in order to comprehend the symbolism of the Medal, you must know of this event in St. Benedict’s life: he’d been living as a hermit in a cave for three years, famous for his holiness, when a religious community came to him after the death of their abbot and asked Benedict to take over. Some of the “monks” didn’t like this plan and tried to kill him with poisoned bread and wine. Just as St. John the Divine was miraculously saved from being poisoned, when St. Benedict made the sign of the Cross over these things, he came to know they were poisoned, so he toppled the cup and instructed a raven to carry off the bread.

2. The History of the Jubilee Medal The Catholic encyclopedia recounts:

The medal just described is the so-called jubilee medal, which was struck first in 1880, to commemorate the fourteenth centenary of St. Benedict’s birth. The Archabbey of Monte Cassino has the exclusive right to strike this medal. The ordinary medal of St. Benedict always differs from the preceding in the omission of the words “Ejus in obitu etc.”, and in a few minor informations. (For the indulgences connected with it see Beringer, “Die Ablässe”, Paderborn, 1906, p. 404-6.)

The habitual wearer of the jubilee medal can obtain all the indulgences connected with the ordinary medal and, in addition:

–  All the indulgences that could be gained by visiting the basilica, crypt, and tower of St. Benedict at Monte Cassino (Pius IX, 31 December, 1877)– A plenary indulgence on the feast of All Souls (from about two o’clock in the afternoon of 1 November to sunset of 2 November), as often as (toties quoties), after confession and Holy Communion, he visits any church or public oratory, praying there according to the intention of the pope, provided that he is hindered from visiting a church or public oratory of the Benedictines by sickness, monastic enclosure or a distance of at least 1000 steps. (Decr. 27 February 1907, in Acta S. Sedis, LX, 246.) Any priest may receive the faculties to bless these medals.

3. The Ancient Origins of the Medal The Catholic Encyclopedia recounts:

It is doubtful when the Medal of St. Benedict originated. During a trial for witchcraft at Natternberg near the Abbey of Metten in Bavaria in the year 1647, the accused women testified that they had no power over Metten, which was under the protection of the cross. Upon looking into it, a number of painted crosses, surrounded by the letters which are now found on Benedictine medals, were discovered on the walls of the abbey, but their meaning had been forgotten.

Lastly, in an old manuscript, written in 1415, was found a picture showing St. Benedict holding in one hand a staff which ends in a cross, and a scroll in the other. On the staff and scroll were written in full the words of which the mysterious letters were the initials. Medals bearing the image of St. Benedict, a cross, and these letters began now to be struck in Germany and soon spread over Europe. They were first approved by Benedict XIV in his briefs of 23 December 1741, and 12 March 1742.

4. The Medal Wards Against:

– To destroy witchcraft and all other diabolical and haunting influences.

– To impart protection to persons tempted, deluded, or tormented by evil spirits.

– To obtain the conversion of sinners into the Catholic Church, particularly when they are in danger of death.

– To serve as a shield against temptation.

– To destroy the effects of poison.

– To secure a timely and healthy birth for children.

– To afford protection against storms and lightning.

– To serve as an efficacious remedy for bodily afflictions and a means of protection against contagious diseases.

5. How to use the medal

We can use  a medal in the following ways:

– On a chain around the neck

– Attached to one’s rosary

– Kept in one’s pocket or purse

– Placed in one’s car or home

– Placed in the foundation of a building

– Placed in the center of a cross.

The use of any religious article is intended as a means of reminding us of God and of inspiring a willingness and hunger to serve God and neighbor. It is not regarded as a good luck charm or magical device.

3 Powerful Lessons To Learn From The Sacred Heart Of Jesus

3 Powerful Lessons To Learn From The Sacred Heart Of Jesus

The Feast of the sacred of Jesus is celebrated on June 12 every year. The popes of the 20th century praised devotion to the Sacred Heart, calling it “necessary” and “the sum of all religion.”

Mother Teresa explained how she has been devoted to the Sacred Heart since her childhood, and, citing the Gospel, she said “You have to learn from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That is why Jesus said: ‘Learn of me’ — not from books.’” That sold me. The Catholic faith is set up such that St. Thomas Aquinas can write theological masterworks about it—and illiterate people can have just a similar deep experience of the faith as him.

Think about how the Church inspires us without using words: In baptism, water washes our head, and our soul; and I can’t imagine a better way for Christ to say, “I want to be united completely with you, and I want you to take me out of the Church and into the streets,” than through his real presence in communion. It’s so simple, a child can comprehend it. The Sacred Heart is that way.

Firstly, the sacred heart of Jesus is a heart—not a brain devotion. There is no formal devotion to the Sacred Brain of Jesus that I know of. There is, moreover, a devotion to the Soviet Brain of Lenin. Vladimir Lenin’s brain was taken from his corpse at his death and studied by scientists ready to find a key therein to the brilliance of the mastermind of the Soviet revolution.

The two devotions—ours to the heart, theirs to the brain—are telling. Lenin started the vast system of Soviet communism; his legacy was its rules, its ideology, and its hierarchy, and his brain was the thing that devised it. Jesus Christ also began a system—the Church—with rules, teachings, and hierarchy. But that’s not what is basically relevant to him: The fact of the incarnation is. We honor Jesus’ heart, not his brain. For us, his legacy is his very life—the very fact of his existence, as God and man, living among us.

Secondly, it is also not an aura. We live in a world where people believe that being “spiritual” and being “religious” are two different things. The Sacred Heart reminds us that “spirit” does not exist in some ethereal magical alternate plane of reality.
Our spirits and our bodies are one.

The Sacred Heart is a countersign to “spiritual but not religious. Any child who looks on it sees very clearly that in it God is telling us that his incarnation was real—that he was truly human and truly divine—and that our holiness is not a halo outside us, but a reality in the very depths of us.

Thirdly, it shows us what involvement in the life of the Trinity means. A priest once described how his vocation began when he stared at his family’s picture of the Sacred Heart as a child.

I saw him giving me his heart,” he said. “So I asked him to take mine. He had purified himself to the Sacred Heart before he understood what that could possibly mean. The sacrament of baptism is supposed to make us “a participant in the divine life of the Trinity.” One thing that means is this: The persons of the Trinity exist in a continual mutual self-gift, one to the other. The Father gives all to the Son; the Son returns all to the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from that love, giving all back.

Then we offer ourselves to God in the sacraments and enter into the lesser consecrations that mirror and support the sacraments—consecration to the Sacred Heart or to the Blessed Mother—we enter into the Trinity’s self-giving. Pope John Paul II describes what this looks like Through the union of the Heart of Jesus to the Person of the Word of God we can say: in Jesus, God loves humanly, suffers humanly, rejoices humanly. And vice versa: in Jesus, human love, human suffering, human glory obtain divine intensity and power.”

St. Padre Pio Explains How to Listen to Your Guardian Angel

St. Padre Pio Explains How to Listen to Your Guardian Angel

Always bear in mind about this invisible, ever-present companion, who is always ready to console us.

Padre Pio had seen angels throughout his life and got to know them very well. He also received interior locutions; he had to discern from whom they came and how he ought to react to them.

In a letter he wrote on July 15, 1913, to Annita, he gives her (and us) invaluable advice showing how to act in relation to our guardian angel.

Dear daughter of Jesus,

May your heart continually be a temple of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus increase the fire of his love in your soul and may he always smile upon you, as he does on all the souls that he loves. May Mary Most Holy smile upon you during all the events of your life, and abundantly make up for the absence of your earthly mother.

May your good guardian angel continually watch over you, and be your guide on the rough path of life. May he always keep you in the grace of Jesus and hold you up with his hands so that you may not hurt your foot on a stone. May he protect you under his wings from all the deceits of the world, the devil and the flesh.

Have great devotion, Annita, to this beneficent angel. How consoling it is to know that we have a spirit who, from the womb to the tomb, never leaves us even for an instant, not even when we dare to sin. And this heavenly spirit shields and protects us like a friend, a brother.

But it is very consoling to know that this angel prays unceasingly for us, and offers God all of our good actions, our thoughts, and our desires as long as they are pure.

Oh! For goodness’ sake, don’t forget this invisible companion, ever present, ever disposed to listen to us and even more ready to console us. Oh, wonderful intimacy! Oh, blessed companionship! If only we could comprehend it! Keep him always before your mind’s eye. Always recall this angel’s presence often, thank him, pray to him, always keep up a good relationship. Open yourself up to him and confide your suffering to him. Always be terrified of offending the purity of his gaze. Know this, and keep it well present in your mind. He is easily offended, very sensitive. Turn to him in moments of supreme anguish and you will experience his beneficent assistance.

Never declare that you are alone in the battle against your enemies; never say that you have no one to whom you can open your heart and confide. It would be a great injustice to this heavenly messenger.

Regarding interior locutions, don’t worry; avoid been anxious.What you must avoid is your heart becoming attached to these locutions. Don’t give them too much relevance; show that you are indifferent. You should neither scorn nor love or desire such things. Always respond to these voices thus: “Jesus, if it is you who are talking to me, let me see the facts and effects of your words, that is to say, holy virtue in me.”

Humble yourself before the Lord and trust in him; spend your energy, with the assistance of divine grace, in the practice of the virtues, and then let grace work in you as God desires. The virtues are what purifies the soul and not supernatural phenomena.

And don’t confuse yourself trying to comprehend which locutions come from God. If God is their author, one of the principle signs is that as soon as you hear those voices, they fill your soul with fear and confusion, but then, they leave you in a divine peace. On the contrary, when the author of the interior locutions is the enemy, they start with false security, followed by agitation and unexplainable malaise.

I have completely no doubt that God is the author of the locutions, but we must be very cautious because often the enemy mixes in a great deal of his own work with them. But this should not scare you: this is a test to which even the greatest saints and most enlightened souls were subjected, and yet they were acceptable in the eyes of the Lord. You must simply be careful not to believe in these locutions too easily, above all dealing with those that are related to how you must act and what you must do. You should receive them and submit them to the judgment of your director and resign yourself to accept his decision.

Padre Pio visited soul purgatory

Therefore, it is best to receive the locutions with great caution and humble and continuous indifference. Act in this way and everything will increase your merit before the Lord. Don’t worry about your soul; Jesus loves you very much. Try to correspond to this love by progressing more and more in holiness before God and men.

Pray out loud as well; the time has not yet come to leave these prayers. Support the issues you experience when doing this with patience and humility. Also be ready to pass through distractions and dryness, and you must not, under any circumstances, abandon prayer and meditation. It is the Lord who wants to treat you this way for your spiritual advantage.