Saturday, October 10, 2009
Some of you have asked me about the Catholic apps I use on my iPhone. Here are the top three I recommend:
iBreviary - this app is available for 99 cents on iTunes. It contains the daily readings and several prayers. The most important characteristic of this app is the Liturgy of Hours. You can pray the Hours at Daily Mass using this application. It takes some getting use to as you have to find where you are in relation to the Shorter book used by Father Mathew at Mass.
iConfess - this application contains an extensive check list to use for a thorough Examination of Conscience prior to going to Reconciliation. It also has all the prayers you will need before, during and after the sacrament. It is available for download for $1.99.
iMissal - this app is the closest electronic version of the Roman Missal I have been able to find. It has all the Eucharistic Prayers, the Order of the Mass and all the readings. It does lack the ability to switch over to optional Feast Days. Otherwise a very useful app when traveling. It is a little pricier than most apps at its $4.99 price, but I believe well worth it. The app has been updated twice and another is due at the end of this month. As the designers have continued to respond to suggestions, I can only believe they will add a way to switch to feast days.
The Saints are "holy ones" who have led a life in union with God through the grace of Christ and received the reward of eternal life. The Church is called the Communion of Saints, of the Holy Ones. (CCC 823 & 946).
Church Triumphant - those who have made it to Heaven
Church Militant - those who continue the "fight" towards holiness here on Earth
Church Suffering - those who are being purified in Purgatory
John sees that "the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Rev. 5:8). Thus the saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.
I told a story comparing the honoring of saints as role models in our lives to my emulation of Fred Lynn when I was a young (and much thinner) baseball player. I continued the analogy in describing kids today who collect sports bobble heads of their favorite players. When we keep statues of Saints we don't worship the statue, but they do serve as reminders of the lives they led, in particular opening themselves to the will of God. I concluded the metaphor by drawing the similarities between collecting baseball cards and keeping prayer cards.
In a nut shell - Saints are our role models during the before and after periods of their lives. In other words, they have been there and done that. If God can take those people (and some of them were scum bags before their conversions) and turn them into saints, then there must be hope for me and you. For some, the thought of imitating a human saint is more accessible than being Jesus because after all, He is God. God, in his infinite wisdom understood we would need earthly role models to follow. The Communion of Saints is another of God's gifts of love.
We often join prayer chains and ask our friends to pray for us and loved ones. We all know someone we consider a prayer warrior who is a constantly praying for others successfully. Sometimes we may even think they have a hotline to God. In short, we are accustomed to asking others to pray for us now. This is precisely what we do when we ask the saints to pray for us.
"[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3–4).
In particular, we should ask the intercession of those Christians in heaven, who have already had their sanctification completed, for "[t]he prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects" (Jas. 5:16).
Relics & Statues
The use of the bones of Elisha brought a dead man to life: "So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood on his feet" (2 Kgs. 13:20-21). This is an unequivocal biblical example of a miracle being performed by God through contact with the relics of a saint!
Similar are the cases of the woman cured of a hemorrhage by touching the hem of Christ’s cloak (Matt. 9:20-22) and the sick who were healed when Peter’s shadow passed over them (Acts 5:14-16). "And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them" (Acts 19:11-12).
CANONIZATION: The solemn declaration by the Pope that a deceased member of the faithful may be proposed as a model and intercessor to the Christian faithful and venerated as a saint on the basis of the fact that the person lived a life of heroic virtue or remained faithful to God through martyrdom (CCC 828; 957).
- Servant of God - when their cause is opened
- Blessed - once one miracle has been established to be attributable to the person's intercession
- Saint - 2 miracles and then canonized; public prayer to the Saint then permitted
Sunday, October 4, 2009
St. Francis is one of the most well known and beloved saints. He was the founder of the Franciscan Order of which Father Mathew is a Third Order Member.
St. Francis is known as the patron of animals and this is why Catholic Churches will traditionally conduct blessing of pets/animals at or near his feast day.
To learn more about St. Francis please visit these links: