Saint of the Day and Daily Meditation

The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated on January 3. The first twelve days of January fall during the liturgical season known as Christmas which is represented by the liturgical color white — the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity and innocence (absolute or restored). The remaining days of January are the beginning of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time.

The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of January 2020

Prayer intention for evangelization – Promotion of World Peace: We pray that Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill may promote peace and justice in the world. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)

 Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
PRAYER TO THE INFANT OF PRAGUE
O Infant of Prague, who said, “The more you honor me, the more I will bless you,” give us the strength to bear the burden of daily life in this sinful world. Give us a firm purpose of amendment and a resolve to lead a better life. Help us endure our afflictions and sorrows with patience and courage. Finally, O beloved Infant King if it be your will grant my petition (mention petition here). But whatever you choose, give me the strength to submit to your will in all things. Amen.
 
Ordinary Time : 
January 17
Memorial of St. Anthony, abbot

In both calendars the Church commemorates the abbot from the 3rd century. St. Anthony, the father of monks, retired to the desert at about the age of eighteen in order to live in perfect solitude. He laid the foundations of community life, and gave to his disciples that profound broad and sane instruction, the mature result of solitude and prayer, which forms the surest basis of Christian asceticism.


St. Anthony
Anthony “the Great”, the “Father of Monks”, ranks with those saints whose life exercised a profound influence upon succeeding generations. He was born in Middle Egypt (about 250) of distinguished parents. After their untimely deaths, he dedicated himself wholly to acts of mortification.

One day while in church he heard the words of the Gospel: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give it to the poor” (Matt. 19:21). It seemed as if Christ had spoken to him personally, giving a command he must obey. Without delay he sold his property, gave the proceeds to the poor, and went into the desert (about 270). When overcome by fatigue, his bed was the hard ground. He fasted rigorously, ate only bread and salt, and drank only water. Nor would he take food before sundown; at times he passed two days without any nourishment. Often, too, he spent whole nights in prayer.

The saint suffered repeatedly from diabolical attacks, but these merely made him more steadfast in virtue. He would encourage his disciples in their struggle with the devil with such words: “Believe me; the devil fears the vigils of pious souls, and their fastings, their voluntary poverty, their loving compassion, their humility, but most of all their ardent love of Christ our Lord. As soon as he sees the sign of the Cross, he flees in terror.” He died in 356 on Mount Kolzin by the Red Sea, 105 years old. A year later his friend, the fearless bishop and confessor St. Athanasius, wrote his biography, which for centuries became the classic handbook of ascetics. As seen by St. Anthony, the purpose of asceticism is not to destroy the body but to bring it into subjection, re-establishing man’s original harmonious integrity, his true God-given nature.

St. Anthony lived in solitude for about twenty years. “His was a perfectly purified soul. No pain could annoy him, no pleasure bind him. In him was neither laughter nor sadness. The sight of the crowd did not trouble him, and the warm greetings of so many men did not move him. In a word, he was thoroughly immune to the vanities of the world, like a man unswervingly governed by reason, established in inner peace and harmony.”

Here are a few of his famous sayings to monks. “Let it be your supreme and common purpose not to grow weary in the work you have begun, and in time of trial and affliction not to lose courage and say: Oh, how long already have we been mortifying ourselves! Rather, we should daily begin anew and constantly increase our fervor. For man’s whole life is short when measured against the time to come, so short, in fact, that it is as nothing in comparison with eternity. . . . Therefore, my children, let us persevere in our acts of asceticism. And that we may not become weary and disheartened, it is good to meditate on the words of the apostle: ‘I die daily.’ If we live with the picture of death always before our eyes, we will not sin. The apostle’s words tell us that we should so awaken in the morning as though we would not live to evening, and so fall asleep as if there were to be no awakening. For our life is by nature uncertain and is daily meted out to us by Providence. If we are convinced of this and live each day as the apostle suggests, then we will not fall into sin; no desire will enslave us, no anger move us, no treasure bind us to earth; we will await death with unfettered hearts.”

— Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Amputees; animals; basket makers; basket weavers; brushmakers; butchers; cemetery workers; domestic animals; eczema; epilepsy; epileptics; ergotism (Saint Anthony’s fire); erysipelas; gravediggers; hermits; hogs; monks; pigs; relief from pestilence; skin diseases; skin rashes; swine; swineherds.

Symbols: Bell; pig; t-shaped staff; tau cross with a bell on the end; man with a pig at his side.

Things to Do:

  • Read St. Athanasius’ account of St. Anthony.
  • Learn more about Western Monasticism.
  • Pray for those in monastic life and pray for a resurgence of vocations to this life.
  • Spend some time contemplating death, considering God’s judgments and the thought of eternity.
  • Say a prayer to St. Anthony for vigilance in the fight against temptations, prudence in avoiding dangerous occasions, courage under trial and humility in victory.

MASS READINGS

January 17, 2020 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

O God, who brought the Abbot Saint Anthony to serve you by a wondrous way of life in the desert, grant, through his intercession, that, denying ourselves, we may always love you above all things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2020-01-17

Meditation: Mark 2:1-12

Saint Anthony, Abbot (Memorial)

Unable to get near Jesus. . . , they opened up the roof above him. (Mark 2:4)

Four men carried their friend to the house where Jesus was preaching. Foremost in their minds was getting as close as possible. No matter what the obstacles, they would push through and not give up. “If we can just get to Jesus,” they told each other. They weren’t sure what to expect, but all the stories of healing they had heard filled them with hope and expectation. They wanted Jesus to heal their friend.

What a beautiful image for intercessory prayer! When we intercede, we bring ourselves into the presence of Jesus—and we bring the person or situation we’re praying for right along with us. Filled with hope that Jesus can do anything, we lay the person at his feet and ask him for help.

But how do we get ourselves into the presence of Jesus? One way is to start your intercessory time with worship. Set aside everything else that’s on your mind and focus on how wonderful Jesus is. Praise him for his power and mercy and love. Thank him for everything he has done for this person or in this situation already. Fix your heart on all that is good and holy and beautiful about Jesus, and you’ll drive out the fear, doubt, and anxiety that can keep you from knowing his presence.

If you find doubt or worry creeping in because it looks like no answer is coming, imitate the men in today’s reading: don’t give up! They went so far as to climb the roof and take off the tiles so they could lower their friend in front of Jesus. Try to persist as well! Remember, Jesus knows the situation or the person completely; he won’t abandon you.

Also, as you intercede, stay confident that Jesus is at work, even if it’s behind the scenes. It was that kind of confidence that drove the men to do whatever it took to reach Jesus. When Jesus sees your persistence, your confidence, and your faith, he will be moved with compassion.

You can make a real difference. Your prayers can move Jesus’ own heart. That’s the promise of today’s Gospel—a promise that God wants you to never forget.

“Jesus, I bring my loved ones into your presence. I believe that you can change everything.”

1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22
Psalm 89:16-19

MARY’S MEALS

Our mission is to enable people to offer their money, goods, skills, time, or prayer, and through this involvement, provide the most effective help to those suffering the effects of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest communities. We welcome all into the Mary’s Meals family and we believe everyone has something important to contribute to the realization of our vision.
For every $1 you give, 93 cents is spent directly on charitable activities. Thank you for your help and support!
MIRACULOUS MEDAL

 In 1830, one of the apparitions sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church occurred in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Rue de Bac, Paris. There were three visions given to Saint Catherine Laboure who, at the time of the first one, was a novice in the order. She was awakened at 11:30 PM on the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, by a “shining child” who led her to the chapel where she saw Our Lady, who spoke to her for two hours about the difficult task that lay ahead. Four months later, on November 27 Catherine had the second vision wherein she saw a three-dimensional scene of the Blessed Virgin standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers and she heard a voice say:

“These are the symbols of grace I shed upon those who ask for them.”
“There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee’ Then the voice said: ‘ Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’ “
At the same instant, the oval frame seemed to turn around. Then I saw on the back of it the letter ‘M’, surmounted by a cross, with a crossbar beneath it, and under the monogram of the name of Mary, the Holy Hearts of Jesus and of His Mother; the first surrounded by a crown of thorns and the second transpierced by a sword. I was anxious to know what words must be placed on the reverse side of the medal and after many prayers, one day in meditation I seemed to hear a voice which said to me: ‘ The ‘M’ with the Cross and the two Hearts tell enough.’ ”
This sacramental from Heaven was at first called simply the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but began to be known as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.
Sister Catherine became Saint Catherine in 1947. The church instituted recognition of the apparition in which the Miraculous Medal first appeared for November 27, 1830. Millions of the Miraculous Medal have been distributed, and many graces and miracles have been received through this devotion to Our Lady.    
*Click on this link for a free Miraculous Medal

BROWN SCAPULAR OF MT. CARMEL

“Whosoever dies clothed in this

shall never suffer eternal fire.”

Virgin Mary’s promise to Saint Simon Stock

July 16, 1251″Wear it devoutly and perserveringly,” she says to each soul, “it is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”

The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.

THE SABBATINE PRIVELEGE

The blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular fromthe fires of Hell; She will also shorten their stay in Purgatory if they should passfrom this world still owing some temporal debt of punishment.

The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular said: “I, the Mother of grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”

Pope Benedict XV proceeded to grant an indulgence of 500 days for each time the cloth Scapular is kissed”. On July 16th, the Scapular feast, while addressing the seminarians of Rome, Benedict XV said: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”

Pope Benedict XV, addressing seminarians in Rome:“Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: The language, the sentences of the Gospel – the common armor, the Brown Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel which you ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege and protection after death.”The Brown Scapular | A SacramentalOne of the most remarkable effects of sacramentals is the virtue to drive away evil spirits whose mysterious and baleful operations affect sometimes the physical activity of man. To combat this occult power the Church has recourse to exorcism, and sacramentals” (The Catholic Encyclopedia., 1913, VXIII, p. 293).The Brown Scapular | A True StoryYou will understand why the Devil works against those who promote the brown scapular when you hear the true story of Venerable Francis Yepes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the Devil howled, “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us! All those clothed in it die piously and escape us!” Then and there Francis made the Devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus; theHoly Name of Mary and the Holy Scapular of Carmel.“Modern Heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense.”St. Alphonsus LigouriMary, Mother of God and Our Mother“When Mary became the Mother of Jesus, true God and true Man, She also became our Mother. In His great mercy, Jesus wished to call us His brothers and sisters, and by this name He constituted us adopted children of Mary.” – St. John BoscoOver the years there have also been many miracles associated with wearing the brown scapular.

*If you would like a brown scapular click here:

Free Brown Scapular | Order Page

New Catholic Radio Station serving Chittenden County

Donna McSoley

Donna McSoley stands in St. Francis Xavier Church in Winooski. She is the driving force behind a new Catholic radio station. Photo by Gail Callahan

WINOOSKI – In a state identified in a national study two years ago as one of the least religious in the country, a new Catholic radio station is being hailed by the market and people of faith.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio, which can be found at 105.5 FM, transmits 24-hour daily programming of the Eternal Word Television Network from the St. Francis Xavier Church property in Winooski. The station can be heard in the greater Burlington area and started broadcasting earlier this fall.

Donna McSoley, the driving force behind WRXJ 105.5 FM, said she is eager to begin producing some local programming after she learns more about audio editing software. McSoley said one of her ambitions is to air homilies from priests who serve the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

“I wanted to bring Catholic radio to Vermont because many people here have rejected Christianity without even knowing much about church history, the early church fathers, or never having read the Bible in its entirety,” said McSoley. “Our state is in crisis over heroin and other drugs, and many people are lost and are desperately searching for freedom from addictions and a greater meaning in life.”

In 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted the Religious Landscape study, and Vermont tied as the 48th most religious state. The study found 34 percent of the Green Mountain State’s adults said they are “highly religious.”

A state’s spiritual devotion was measured by factors including “absolute belief in God and daily prayer.”

Lance Harlow

The Rev. Lance Harlow, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral in Burlington, records in WRXJ radio’s Winooski station. Courtesy photo

McSoley, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier Church, began the quest to secure a broadcast license more than five years ago when the Federal Communications Commission opened a small window to own a channel on the FM spectrum for a low-power station. It took about 18 months to secure the FCC’s approval.

McSoley accesses the station’s computers remotely from her Essex Junction home.

She said a radio station can reach people in ways other media outlets can’t. “Radio can be a great way to reach people in the privacy of their own car and where people are apt to ponder life’s great questions,” she said. “I think for that reason, radio can be a great way to explain the Catholic faith, which is largely misunderstood by the general public. … My hope is that the programs on the station can clear this up and we can foster greater unity within the Christian community here in Vermont.”

Ted Quigley, a practicing Catholic, embraces the organization. “105.5 FM is a wonderful change in my life,” he said. “I turn it on when I’m driving or when I’m home cleaning.”

The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, bishop of Vermont’s Catholics, recorded some station identifications that play through the hour.

Coyne, who was named by Pope Francis to shepherd Vermont’s Catholics nearly two years ago, said he welcomes the station, praising McSoley’s efforts. “The Catholic community in Vermont has been very supportive of the launch of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio,” said Coyne. “Right now, this is the only Catholic radio station in Vermont. I hope to see many more begin to broadcast soon.”

Coyne’s remarks regarding the dearth of religious broadcasting in Vermont underscore what many perceive as an absence of God from the public dialogue. The FCC said it doesn’t keep track of content when license applications come in.

The program director for a Christian radio network serving Vermont said religious-oriented radio outlets are filling a much-needed niche. Bob Pierce, of The Light Radio Network, said his Christian station reaches about 15,000 listeners in Chittenden County.

In a competitive market, McSoley said she is anxious for WRXJ’s message to spread. “Although Vermont is one of the least religious states in the country, I have great faith that people will always be able to recognize truth when they hear it, so my hope is that many people will turn on the radio and start the journey toward discovering God,” she said.

https://vtdigger.org/2017/11/05/new-catholic-radio-station-serving-chittenden-county/#.WgItH9QrK6Y