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Ignatian Spirituality Today
It is just five hundred years since his birth in 1491 at the Castle of Loyola, Spain. During this half millennium, the Church has been under the most severe pressure since her foundation: to conform to the world to which her Founder said He did not belong. Ignatius set down the conditions for preserving the Church's freedom from conformity.
St. Maximillian Kolbe, Apostle of Mary
The spirituality of St. Maximillian is based directly on this truth: the Immaculate Virgin Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces. That is the first premise of his Marian thinking. If this were not so, Maximillian explains, all our strength and effort in the spiritual life would be in vain. In other words, our spiritual life depends on grace. That's obvious, but it also depends on the grace that we must receive through Mary.
St. Therese of Lisieux
Two years before her death, Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face wrote to her aunt, Isidore Guerin: I love to read the lives of the saints very much. The account of their heroic deeds inflames my courage and spurs me on to imitate them. I must admit, however, that I have envied, at times, the happy lot of relatives who had the good fortune to live in their company and enjoy their holy conversation (July 20, 1895).
The Meaning of Virtue in St. Thomas Aquinas
Until modern times the relationship of morals to religion was taken for granted, and writers as far different in philosophy as Plato and Avicenna, or in theology as Aquinas and Luther, never questioned the basic truth expressed on Mt. Sinai when Yahweh gave the Jews the Decalogue, the first precepts of which were to honor God as a foundation for the secondary precepts of the moral law. But something new has entered the stream of human thought, the concept of man's autonomy that wishes to dispense with religion in its bearing on morals, on the grounds that the very notion of religious values is only a mental construct. Whatever bearing they may have on ethical principles, it is not as though the concept of God was a necessary condition for being moral in the current, accepted sense of the term.
St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church
Robert was naturally very brilliant. As a youth of seventeen, his teachers declared he was the best in the school in his studies and not far from heaven. At the age of eighteen, he entered the Society of Jesus and for the rest of his life was plagued with poor health. Because of his poor health, his superiors sent him from one city to another, and from one country to another, in the hope of restoring his health. Because Bellarmine was appointed to preach even before his ordination to the priesthood, everywhere he was sent he would preach. Bellarmine was ordained in 1570 and appointed professor at the University of Louvain in Belgium where he lectured on the work of St. Thomas Aquinas.
St. Peter Julian Eymard, Apostle of the Real Presence
In the providence of God, different saints are raised up by Him in different periods of history to provide the world with solutions to the deepest problems of their age. The deepest problem of the modern age is alienation from God. Call it separation from God or indifference to God; call it unawareness of God or disinterest in God. By whatever name, in so—called developed countries of the Western world, God has been replaced by Self as the focus of attention and, I would not hesitate to say, adoration. That is why an unlikely saint like St. Peter Julian Eymard should have arisen to alert the world that the Incarnate God is in our midst in what we may casually call the Blessed Sacrament.
St. Louis de Montfort, Apostle of Mary for Today
If there is one feature of the present Pope's pontificate, it is his emphasis on the need for devotion to the Blessed Virgin to stem the tide of global secularism in the modern world. It is easy to dismiss the Pope's Marian spirituality as a pious eccentricity. But Pope John Paul II is too intelligent and too experienced not to know that only supernatural means can halt the advance of unbelief in what he calls "the materially super-developed nations" in Western society. In one conference after another, in one document after another, the Pope insists: only a renaissance of Mariology in thought and practice can restore once Christian nations to their original commitment to the Son of Mary. It is in this context that we should look more closely at the Marian teaching of St. Louis de Montfort. What needs to be underlined is what de Montfort calls the True Devotion to Mary.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga - Jesuit Saint
Now some insights into Aloysius' spirituality. To the one virtue which the Church has chosen, and on account of which has chosen him 'the universal patron of youth', was his chastity. All the evidence we have indicates that he had very strong sexual passions. We know that from his own writing; we know that from people who knew him and we know that from what is called penance from one view-point, what is really, you might say 'preventive austerity' from another. He simply believed that unless he mortified his body, and I didn't tell you one tenth of what he did, he just would not get that passion under control. The lesson for us, in a sex-mad world, is obvious.
Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez - Jesuit Saint
We have so far been reflecting mainly on priests. We should have at least one lay brother. He is the outstanding lay brother among the Jesuits by the name of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez. His feast day is October 31st. He was born in Spain in 1533 and died in 1617. That's a good long life.
Saint Edmund Campion - Jesuit Saint
He was born in 1540 in London, a very talented person, especially skilled in oratory. It seems that in his early days he was a Protestant, at least the family and he, himself took the oath of allegiance to the Queen, who was the good Queen Beth, otherwise known as Queen Elizabeth the 1st of England. When she visited Oxford in 1566, he was told to give the oration in her honor. The prime minister of England at the time spoke of him as one of the great diamonds of England, gifted and one of the great hopes of the crown.
Eucharistic Saints
I thought we would start with a saint from the fourth century. Why? Because it was in the fourth century that the Church first assembled what we now call a catechism of the principal doctrines of the Catholic faith. Then we will jump to the thirteenth century, when the first major heresies against the Real Presence began to plague the Church. Our next choices will be from what is popularly called the post-Reformation Age when Protestantism deprived whole nations of their fidelity to the See of Peter. Finally we shall look at a few modern saints whose Eucharistic holiness is an inspiration for our day.
Saint Francis Xavier - Jesuit Saint
Ignatius had no hesitation, once it was clear to him that Francis had a vocation, to keep hounding Francis to the point of making himself very unbearable. When he told Francis, I'm sure you've heard over the years, "Francis, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul." Francis had everything, humanly speaking in his favor. He was young, intelligent, had a good position, highly respected, very influential and the prospect of advancement.
Saint Ignatius Loyola - Jesuit Saint
We might begin by noting that Ignatius was not his baptismal name. Ignatius was originally Inigo, I-n-i-g-o. He changed his name to Ignatius in honor of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Remember, the famous bishop and martyr who wrote seven famous letters on his way to Rome where he was martyred in the year 107? And the two reasons why Inigo changed his name to Ignatius were that Ignatius of Antioch had such a love of martyrdom and he was so devoted to the Holy See.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen - Author, Orator and Missionary
This apostrophe on the duty and dignity of the Christian apostolate is a faithful description of Bishop Sheen himself, whose zeal in advancing the Kingdom of Christ in America made him "the most widely publicized "converter" in the Church, perhaps the most famous preacher in the United States, and certainly America's best known Catholic priest."
Saint John Berchmans - Jesuit Saint
John Berchmans, I thought I would cover all the young Jesuit saints to make sure that I didn't slight any of them. St. John Berchmans was born in 1599 in Berbont, Belgium and died in Rome in 1621 at the ripe age of twenty-two.
Saint John Francis Regis - Jesuit Saint
After some lapse of time, our conference this evening will be on St. John Francis Regis. In many ways he is the Cure de Ars of the Society of Jesus. He was born in 1597 in France… He went to the Jesuit college and entered the Society, as we call ourselves, in 1615, that would be the age of eighteen. From his days in the novitiate he had a reputation for being hard on himself and easy on everyone else. The comment, 'he vilifies himself beyond measure and he canonizes everyone else.' That surely is a mark of grace.
Saint John Ogilvie - Jesuit Saint
Our conference today is on, for a change, a saint from the British Isles, John Ogilvie. He was born in Scotland of the nobility in 1589 and by that time Scotland had pretty well been lost to the Catholic Church so his up-bringing was Presbyterian. His father, to give him a better education than he could get in Scotland, sent him to the continent for education. Specifically, he went to France.
Saint Joseph Pignatelli - Jesuit Saint
I would like to speak to you in the present conference on the saint that I suppose many of you have never heard of, but after St. Ignatius, is the most important Jesuit in our history. His name is St. Joseph Pignatelli. The reason he's so important is because he is the link between the two Societies of Jesus, as you know, there is the old society and the new society with forty years of nonexistence in between. It might be well to give a little background to what happened before and after so as to put St. Joseph Pignatelli into context.
Saint Peter Canisius - Jesuit Saint
He is a doctor of the Universal Church and surprising, he was not canonized until 1925, almost 400 years after his birth. He was born in 1521 at Memigan in Holland; died at Freidborg in Switzerland in 1597; his mother died when he was still a child; his father remarried and his stepmother turned out to be a very good Catholic and a loving foster mother.
Saint Peter Claver - Jesuit Saint
I thought we would address ourselves in todays' conference to the priest whom brother Alphonsus Rodriguez had sent to the missions, St. Peter Claver who the Church has declared patron of all missionaries to the Negroes. He was born in Catalonia, Spain in 1581 and died on Our Lady's birthday, September the 8th, 1654. He died in Cartagena in South America which is now part of Columbia in South America.
Saint Robert Southwell - Jesuit Saint
Our saint for this evening is St. Robert Southwell, the English Jesuit, poet and martyr. He was born in 1561, died in 1595 at the ripe old age of thirty-three. He was canonized – took a long time, in 1970. His family on his mother's side was related to the Shelleys', the other English poet. By this time the Catholic faith was proscribed in England – English Catholics, had to go into hiding. If they wanted a catechetic education they had to leave the country. In case you haven't been told, it's getting closer and closer to that in the United States.
Saint Stanislaus - Jesuit Saint
I chose St. Stanislaus. He is the youngest of the Jesuit saints, born in Poland in 1550 and died in Rome on August the 15, 1568 at the age of eighteen. His father was a Polish senator by the name of John Kostka and he remained at home studying under tutors until the age of fourteen at which time they were sent by his father, along with his older brother Paul, into the company of a Dr. John Bolinski (who figures importantly in the saint’s life) to be their companion and tutor. They were sent to Vienna to the Jesuit college.
Spirituality of Mother Teresa
It is a privilege to say a few words about Mother Teresa at this first anniversary Mass, commemorating her death on September the fifth, 1997. I thought I would concentrate on some of the features of her spiritual life that I had come to know in my twenty-five years of knowing her.
St. John the Baptist
But John the Baptist was by all accounts the principal figure after Christ Himself in the Gospels until the Church was founded. He is the last of the prophets of the Old Testament and the first of the prophets of the New. There are three features about John the Baptist that I believe the Church especially wants us to recognize and, as far as we can, imitate: John’s faith, humility and fearless courage.
St. Robert Bellarmine - Preacher
St. Robert Bellarmine, as a Saint, scholar and Doctor of the Church, needs no introduction to Catholic readers. When Clement VIII appointed him to the College of Cardinals, he is reported to have said: "We elect this man because he has not his equal for learning in the Church of God." Shortly before his canonization in 1930, the semiofficial organ of the Holy See, Osservatore Romano, identified Bellarmine with Saints Francis de Sales and Alphonsus Ligouri as one of the three great "masters of Catholicism in modern times."
The Little Way
Shortly before she died, she wrote, "I have never given the good God anything but love, and it is with love that He will repay. After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven in doing good upon earth. My ‘little way’ is the way of spiritual childhood, the way of trust and absolute self-surrender."
Devotion of St. Thérèse of Lisieux to the Blessed Virgin Mary
A new stage is developing in the devotion of the faithful to St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In 1947, the fiftieth anniversary of her death, a congress of theologians was held in Paris with the object of studying the theological implications of St. Thérèse’s spiritual doctrine and of tracing her relationship to the other ascetical writers of the Church. Among the phases of Thérèse’s spirituality, her devotion to the Mother of God deserves special attention. For if, according to sound theology, all graces are given to us through Mary, the extraordinary graces which made Thérèse, in the words of Pius XI, "a miracle of virtue" should be no exception, as even a summary analysis of her life will fully confirm.
Lessons from the Newest Doctor of the Church for the Catholic Academy
Unlike most of the other Doctors of the Church, the Little Flower published very little. Her autobiography and letters are the main source of our knowledge of her teaching. She lived just twenty-four years and wrote her Story of a Soul under obedience to her Carmelite superiors.
Mother Teresa: The Person, Religious, and Channel of Grace
It is an unexpected privilege to write to you on the occasion of Mother Teresa’s entrance into eternity. More than twenty years ago, while teaching in New York City, Mother Teresa invited me to speak with her about the new branch of the Missionaries of Charity that she was founding. They are now called the Missionaries of Charity, Contemplative.
St. Peter Canisius on Christmas Joy
In the three hundred and fifty years since Peter Canisius died at Fribourg in Switzerland on December 21, 1597, his name has become synonymous with the Counter-Reformation of the Church in German-speaking Europe. He has been variously called the “hammer of heretics,” the “Second Apostle of Germany,” “Papstesel,” “swindling trickster,” “blasphemer of God”—all depending on whether the epithets originated with his friends or his enemies. As a contemporary of personalities like Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, Bucer and Queen Elizabeth, Canisius could hardly escape making a name for himself as long as he felt that “I can never satisfy my desire of struggling against the enemies of the Catholic Faith.”
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - Introduction
As we go through the life story of Father Gerald and look into his priestly mind, we shall find a man who was chosen by Providence to teach priests who they are and why they were ordained. In his own words, "A good priest is a prisoner of love for Our Lord because Our Lord is a prisoner of love for him." A priest, therefore, is a man of faith who is ordained to sustain and nourish the faith of others, just as much in the twentieth century as in the first. It is the same Christ now as lived on earth then through the power of priestly consecration.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - Modern Secularism And The Priesthood
There is a basic problem that the founder of the Paracletes and Handmaids raises for anyone who is concerned, as he was, with the status of the Catholic priesthood in the modern world. The problem is, "Whatever happened to the priesthood?" …Many explanations can be given, and by now scores have been made, to try to account for the crisis of the priesthood that no one, except those who are part of it, will deny. But there is one explanation that deserves our special attention, because given by the subject of the present study. Father Gerald would say there is a crisis in the priesthood because there is a crisis in modern society. The secularism of our day has affected the Church and infected her priests; or better, there is a problem in the Catholic priesthood wherever and to the extent that secular philosophy has penetrated the ranks of Christ's ordained.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - What is a Priest?
It is impossible to grasp Father Gerald's great love and concern for the priesthood, unless we see something of his understanding of what a priest is. During his lifetime, he did things that others misunderstood. He traveled many thousands of miles, to distant countries, and across the United States many times, in the interest of the priesthood. He literally exhausted himself in urging bishops to support his efforts for Christ's anointed ones, and in the pursuit of his vision he allowed himself to die estranged from the Via Coeli he had spent years in creating in order to serve the poorest of Christ's poor, the priests who were in trouble and who wanted to return to the active service in the priesthood.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - The Virtues of a Priest
Father Gerald was convinced that, given their indispensable role in the Church of God, as the ones who bring Christ down on earth in the Eucharist, and the ministers of the sacraments and the Word, priests must above all be holy men. Behind this conviction was the memory of the Church's long history. Holy priests sanctify their people; unholy priests, except for a miracle of grace, turn people away from God. "It is true," he admitted, "that no soul in all the world will be lost without its own deliberate and consummate folly." Granting this, yet for "the soul in a parish where there is a saintly priest, his chances are multiplied a thousand fold. The young people who fall under the influence of a holy priest, how they are strengthened to meet the temptations and dangers of the world for all their life."
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - We Can Achieve What We Will
One evidence of Father Gerald’s balanced spirituality is the fact that he never lost sight of the human factor in the pursuit of sanctity. He never tired urging priests to pray. And all we have so far seen should make it clear that he looked to divine grace for whatever success a person expects in the ways of God. At the same time, he had no illusions about God's expectations of man. If we are to pray and beg the divine mercy for help, as though everything depended on Him, we are also to exert ourselves as though everything depended on us.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - The Humanity of Christ
It is impossible to understand Father Gerald's spirituality without seeing something of his understanding of the humanity of Christ. Somewhere near the center of this spirituality was the realization that God became man, not only to redeem a sinful race by dying on the Cross, but to show how much He loves us. Father Gerald's apostolate to priests derived from this same concentration. He saw priests as the ones who, like Mary, gave flesh to the Son of God.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - Relationship to Christ
Christ was the center of everything that Father Gerald wrote or said on the priesthood. Whether exhorting priests to be faithful to their calling, or recalling them to the responsibility they have to the Church of God, the main focus was always on their relationship to Christ. It is His call that leads a man to the altar; it is His grace that sustains him in priestly fidelity; it is His Kingdom that the priest is to labor for and spend himself in saving. In a word, there is only one priesthood, that of Jesus Christ, in which some men are undeservingly privileged to share.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - Living the Mass
Given his exalted understanding of the priesthood, whose central purpose is to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, it was inevitable that Father Gerald would urge priests to live the Mass which they celebrated. The priest, he insisted, "has to be the image of Jesus Christ." But, then, who or what is Jesus Christ? He is two things. He is priest and victim. He is the one who offers and the one who is offered.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - The Priest and Mary
There is one fundamental reason why a priest should be specially devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is ordained to bring the living Christ on earth in the Holy Sacrifice, to make the living Christ available to the faithful in Holy Communion, and to keep the living Christ on earth in the Blessed Sacrament. In his own way, therefore, a priest continues the miracle of the Incarnation that Mary first made possible at Nazareth and Bethlehem.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - The Holy Hour
Father Gerald had a keen awareness, bordering on mystical experience, of Christ's abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist. When he drafted the Rule of Life for the Paracletes, he directed that they spend, "A personal Holy Hour daily, spent whenever this is possible in a chapel where Our Blessed Lord is present eucharistically. This is your Holy Hour given with Mary to Jesus."
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - Priestly Celibacy
It cannot be that he was not painfully conscious of the problem that celibacy poses in the life of a priest. His years of experience with "priests in trouble" were enough to convince him, as he admitted, that fidelity to his celibate commitment makes a heavy, sometimes heroic, demand on the generosity of one who wants to remain faithful to the Christ Who ordained him. One reason for the relative silence on this subject was perhaps the realization that we are here dealing with a very delicate matter, so delicate, in fact, that it should not be lightly treated in public. Moreover, as those who knew Father Gerald best can testify, he did often deal with chastity among priests, but in a manner that would be most beneficial to the persons in question, namely in private and with the protection of confidentiality.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - Praying for Priests
Father Gerald was too familiar with the Scriptures not to know how important is prayer in the apostolate to priests. What he read in the New Testament convinced him that priests must personally be men of prayer, but others must -- imperatively must -- pray for them…Here we have the revealed teaching of the Holy Spirit, as a practice (for Peter) and a petition (by Paul) that among the duties of a Christian is to pray for priests. Surely if Peter, the first Pope, and Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, needed prayers, how much more their successors in the papacy, episcopate and the priesthood.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - Caring for Priests
There are two sides to Father Gerald's apostolate to priests. One side is universal and reaches out to all bishops and priests in the Church; in fact not only the living but also the deceased. Its object is to solicit the divine mercy and obtain for priests the grace they need, among the living to become holy, and for the deceased a speedy release from purgatory. On this level, all the faithful are asked to cooperate. By their prayers and sacrifices they merit before God what the Lord promises to give those who ask in His name. And if anything can be asked for in the name of Christ, it is certainly the blessings of His goodness on those whom, from eternity, He has chosen to anoint with the powers of the priesthood.
Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald - Biographical Sketch of Father Gerald J. Cushing Fitzgerald
Timeline of Fr. Fitzgerald's life.
St. Ignatius of Antioch
…Most educated Catholics have not kept pace by growing in the faith which they verbally profess. It is not too much to say that their grasp of God’s revealed truth is minimal, and their ability to explain the faith or defend it before the bar of reason is infantile…There is no choice. Either we continue to grow, all through life, in our grasp of the faith we profess, or we shall lose this precious gift that we once happily possessed.
Bellarmine's Defence of Canonized Saints
With two of his religious brethren being raised to the honors of the altar recently, if Robert Bellarmine were alive today he would very likely have re-edited his classic treatise on the canonization of the saints. The errors against which it was originally directed are just as alive today as they were in the sixteenth century—only now our separated brethren ignore the saints instead of attacking them. In any case, Bellarmine’s apologia of sanctity deserves to be better known. It forms a substantial part of his two-million-word "Controversies against the Reformers" which Pius XI declared to be the main reason, after his personal holiness, why Bellarmine was made a Doctor of the Universal Church.
The Two Cities of St. Augustine
“We distribute the human race into two kinds of men, one living according to man, the other living according to God. Mystically, we call them two Cities, or two societies of men: the one of which is predestined to reign eternally with God, the other to suffer eternal punishment with the devil.” (City of God, 15, 1.)

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