Saturday, January 16, 2016

Frustrated

I'm feeling frustrated. I was going to make a video about my last blog, but nothing seemed to work... Programs didn't work, couldn't get anything going. Oh well. Maybe some other time readers.

John of God - Patron Saint of Heart Problems

John of God, who was born in Portugal in 1495, started off as a soldier and became a medical worker later in Spain. His followers founded a medical organization called the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God in 1572 and they carry out their work to this day.

St. John of God who was canonized by the Catholic Church is the patron saint of heart diseases. Working as a soldier until age 40, John later became a shepherd. With time to himself to think, he realized he was a great sinner and decided to amend his life. At first he was going to go help Christians in Muslim countries, but was convinced not to do that after hearing a great speech by St. John of Avila. John of God had great zeal for proclaiming God's message, but he was somewhat out of control and ended up in a mental asylum. While in the asylum, he was visited by John of Avila who counselled him to control himself and start a hospital, which he did, once again with great energy. John of God was known for his humility and dedication to the sick.

One particular source has an amazing story of John's humility. Here is one quote I found particularly moving:

In the beginning John went begging for money to support these poor, but soon people came to give him alms, food, and supplies because they were so impressed with his charity. Once when a fire broke out in the house, John ran back into the burning building countless times, carrying the sick out on his back. Unemployed men came to the door, and he found them work. When the archbishop called John to his office because people complained that John kept tramps and immoral women in his hospital, he was silenced by John's humility. John fell on his knees, saying, "I know of no bad person in my hospital except myself, who am unworthy to eat the bread of the poor." Another bishop who invited John to supper was so impressed by his humility that he called him John of God.

A recent development in this whole story is a new person who also calls himself John of God located in Brazil. His real name is João Teixeira de Faria. He mixes in a lot of traditional Catholicism with his brand of mysticism, New Ageism, and mediumship. I looked it up on Youtube and there was a video by Oprah where she visits his facility. Some Northern European guy was profiled who had back issues, so he visited this medium calling himself John of God. John made an incision in the man's chest (without anesthetic) while the man remained standing. It caused bleeding and he was then brought to a recovery room. The man felt the procedure had helped him.

I think it's best to keep our prayers with the traditional John of God. He is the patron saint of heart problems and diseases. Please feel free to share your stories or place your prayer intentions for a family member or friend who may have heart issues. This may be a brother, sister, mother, father, wife, husband, son, or daughter. Perhaps it's a coworker.

Ask St. John of God for his intercession. This doesn't mean the saint has magical powers on his own. Rather St. John will join his prayers with your own toward God.

Here is a prayer you can recite toward John of God (originally found here):
Saint John of God, I honor thee as the Patron of the Sick, especially of those who are afflicted by heart disease. I choose thee to be my patron and protector in my present illness. To thee I entrust my soul, my body, all my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of the sick throughout the world. To thee I consecrate my mind, that in all things it may be enlightened by faith above all in accepting my cross as a blessing from God; my heart, that thou doth keep it pure and fill it with the love for Jesus and Mary that burned in thy heart; my will, that like thine, it may always be one with the Will of God. 
Good Saint John, I honor thee as the model of penitents, for thou didst receive the grace to give up a sinful life and to atone for thy sins by untiring labors in behalf of the poor and sick. Obtain for me the grace from God to be truly sorry for my sins, to make atonement for them and never again offend God. Aid me in mastering my evil inclinations and temptations, and in avoiding all occasions of sin. Through thine intercession may I obtain the grace from Jesus and Mary to fulfill faithfully all the duties of my state of life and to practice those virtues which are needful for my salvation. Help me to belong to God and Our Lady in life and in death through perfect love. May my life, like thine, be spent in the untiring service of God and my neighbor. 
Since Holy Mother Church also invokes thee in her prayers for the dying, I beg thee to be with me in my last hour and pray for me. As thou didst die kneeling before a crucifix, may I find strength, consolation and salvation in the Cross of my Redeemer, and through His tender mercy and the prayers of Our Lady, and through thine intercession, attain to eternal life. Amen.

Peace be with you, friends.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13: Feast Day of St. Hilary of Poitiers



St. Hilary of Poitiers is a male saint who was born in 300AD and died at the age of 68 in 368. A Doctor of the Catholic Church, Hilary is known as Hammer of the Arians and the Athanasius of the West. Some sources say he live from 310 to 367 instead, meaning he was under 60 at the time of his death.

Hilaryofpoitiers.jpg
Although Hilary was a strong opponent of Arianism, he could see that some of the schism related more to wording than to doctrinal disputes. Hilary composed a treatise where he successfully expressed Greek theological terms in Latin. He was able to do this while conveying the subtlety of the positions.

Hilary maintained the existence of many antichrists, rather than a single one, which is a common belief nowadays. This was the opinion of the Church Fathers in general - that anyone who opposes Christ is an antichrist.

Prior to his conversion, Hilary had a daughter named Saint Abra, who became a nun as per her father's request. Sadly she died as a teenager.

Hilary became known as a pre-eminent writer in the Christian Church, as he preceded Ambrose and Augustine, the latter going so far as to call him "the illustrious doctor of the churches"

St. Hilary is the patron saint of lawyers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

AMAZING: Good Friday on March 25th, 2016. Same Day as the Annunciation!

A truly amazing thing will be happening this year. Good Friday 2016 is on March 25, the same day as the Feast of the Annunciation, the day Jesus was conceived in Mary's womb.

This is amazing because traditionally many Christians have believed that Jesus was conceived on and died on the same day. The feast of the Annunciation, in which Mary receives the word from an angel that she will bear the Son of God, occurred on March 25 and is celebrated on that date every year.
Good Friday on the other hand, which marks the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, changes each year.

This amazing occurrence will not happen again for another 141 years! Since the year 1700 AD, Good Friday has been on the same day as the Annunciation just 11 times. See the list below for a complete record of all dates where this happened since 1700. From 1700 to 2200 (500 years), this will happen 14 times, or about once every 35.71 years.

What did the Church Fathers have to say about this:

St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the original 4 Doctors of the Church, in his book On The Trinity (Sermon 202) writes:

He is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also He suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which He was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which He was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before nor since.
Tertullian and St. Hippolytus of Rome both mention that Jesus died on March 25 as well.

I was thinking about it myself and thought of it this way: Jesus as God lowered himself and came down from heaven to become incarnate as a man. This happened on the Annunciation. At his crucifixion, Jesus died so that man could enter heaven, sort of the reverse of his own incarnation. It is fitting that these would occur on the same day, some 33 years apart. The entire salvation story had come full circle.

Below, I link to an article written by Jimmy Akin, a Catholic apologist. He argues that Jesus could not have died on March 25th, based on research. Despite this, I think it's important to note the significance of this event, even if Jesus did not die on that date, because nonetheless his death is being observed on that date, and that's what makes it significant.

The bottom line is I think this is a truly special event which should be observed by all Christians as it reminds of that Christ's Annunciation and Salvific Suffering and Death are inextricably linked.

In this painting by Francesc Comes, in the second panel the Annunciation is depicted and in the third is the crucifixion.


Years in which Good Friday and the Annunciation Both Occur on March 25:

  1. 1701
  2. 1712
  3. 1785
  4. 1796
  5. 1842
  6. 1853
  7. 1864
  8. 1910
  9. 1921
  10. 1932
  11. 2005
  12. 2016
  13. 2157
  14. 2168
  15. 2214
  16. 2225
  17. 2236
Additional Resources:

I found an article written by inestimable Jimmy Akin on this subject as well. Jimmy Akin is of the opinion that Jesus most certainly did not really die on March 25, and does not think the scholarship on the subject points to that either: http://jimmyakin.com/2014/11/is-the-integral-age-theory-an-apologetics-myth-9-things-to-know-and-share.html

Dates for Easter 2016 (Also Good Friday, Holy Thursday, and more)

Easter Dates 2016:

Easter Sunday: Sunday, March 27th, 2016


Other Important Dates:

Ash Wednesday: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 (1st day of Lent)

Holy Thursday: Thursday, March, 2016

** Good Friday: Friday, March 25, 2016 **

Holy Saturday: Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Easter Sunday: Sunday, March 27th, 2016