An excerpt from Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II's, 1994 Letter
The Apostles, overcoming their initial fears even about marriage and the family, grew in courage. They came to understand that marriage and family are a true vocation which comes from God himself and is an apostolate: the apostolate of the laity. Families are meant to contribute to the transformation of the earth and the renewal of the world, of creation and of all humanity.
Dear families, you too should be fearless, ever ready to give witness to the hope that is in you (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), since the Good Shepherd has put that hope in your hearts through the Gospel. You should be ready to follow Christ towards the pastures of life, which he himself has prepared through the Paschal Mystery of his Death and Resurrection.
Do not be afraid of the risks! God's strength is always far more powerful than your difficulties! Immeasurably greater than the evil in the world is the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which the Fathers of the Church rightly called a "second Baptism." Much more influential than the corruption present in the world is the divine power of the Sacrament of Confirmation, which brings Baptism to its maturity. And incomparably greater than all is the power of the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is truly a wondrous sacrament. In it Christ has given himself as food and drink, as a source of saving power. He has left himself to us that we might have life and have it in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10): the life which is in him and which he has shared with us by the gift of the Spirit in rising from the dead on the third day. The life that comes from Christ is a life for us. It is for you, dear husbands and wives, parents and families! Did Jesus not institute the Eucharist in a family-like setting during the Last Supper? When you meet for meals and are together in harmony, Christ is close to you. And he is Emmanuel, God with us, in an even greater way whenever you approach the table of the Eucharist. It can happen, as it did at Emmaus, that he is recognized only in "the breaking of the bread" (cf. Lk 24:35). It may well be that he is knocking at the door for a long time, waiting for it to be opened so that he can enter and eat with us (cf. Rev 3:20). The Last Supper and the words he spoke there contain all the power and wisdom of the sacrifice of the Cross. There is no other power and no other wisdom by which you, parents, can educate both your children and yourselves. The educational power of the Eucharist has been proved down the generations and centuries.
Be A Family
You are to be a family, to be that presence of Christ to each other. God has sent the family to be His Love. Love each other tenderly as Jesus loves each one of you.
Jesus is always there...
Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity. If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more Christ like, for His Heart was meek, and He always thought of the needs of others. If we also have that kind of thoughtfulness for each other, our homes would really become the abode of God most high.
Consecration to the Holy Family
O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example; didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou defend us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace and concord in Christian love: in order that by conforming ourselves to the divine pattern of Thy family we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain eternal happiness.
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be three times.
God made us a family
"We cannot help but marvel at the faith of Saint Joseph. Tormenting doubts harass his soul and he is on the point of leaving Mary. But an angel appears to him and all his doubts and fears vanish. On the angel's word He accepts the mystery of the Incarnation. In the ensuing years his faith was to be frequently put to the test. At Bethlehem he had to content himself with a stable for a home where the Incarnate Word might be born. Soon after, he was forced to flee in order to save the Infant God, and when later he returned to the tiny village of Nazareth it was to live there unknown and in dire poverty. All these trials only tempered his faith. Although he sees only the Child's wretchedness and poverty, his faith pierces the shroud and uncovers the hidden God within this weak baby frame." (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
"At Nazareth Joseph's days were filled with work which necessarily took him away at times from his Infant God. During these hours Mary replaced him, but when evening brought him home again, he would pass the entire night in adoration, never tiring, only too happy for the chance to contemplate the hidden riches of Jesus' divinity. For he pierced the rough garments the Child wore, until his faith touched the Sacred Heart." (St. Peter Julian Eymard)
"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph had only one life, one purpose: To glorify the Heavenly Father. That is what we also must want. To achieve it, we have to enter into union with Mary and Joseph, share their life--family life, the intimate interior life of which God alone is the secret. What happiness to be called to this life. Our love will consist in living with Mary and Joseph on the love of Jesus Eucharistic."(St. Peter Julian Eymard)
Jesus, Mary and Joseph most kind,
A FAMILY OF SAINTS
"Remain in Him now, little ones, so that, when He reveals Himself, we may be fully confident and not retreat in shame at His coming. If you consider the holiness that is His, you can be sure that everyone who acts in holiness has been begotten by Him" (1 Jn. 3:28-29).
During her short life on this earth St. Thérèse of Lisieux was a 'little one.' Born January 2, 1873, Thérèse was the youngest child of 9 in the Martin family, 4 having died in infancy. Louis and Zelie had instilled a strong Catholic faith in their children, both in teaching and example. They attended daily mass and frequent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as a family. In addition, Louis belonged to the Nocturnal Adoration Society. They prayed at home daily, together, and had a great devotion to Our Lady. Zelie's greatest desire in life was that all of her children become Saints. Zelie became very ill and was so weak that she could not even open the Church door. She would go to Church and wait on the steps for someone to open the door so she could attend Mass and adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. When Zelie died of cancer at age 45, little Thérèse was only 4 years old. Zelie left her children with their strong faith and love which carried them through their intense period of grief and mourning. Marie, Pauline, Leonie and Celine, Thérèse's older sisters, became her great consolation. Her Father, Louis Martin, tried to lovingly protect Thérèse and her sisters from the darkness of the world.
Little Thérèse grew very close to Our Lady, especially after her earthly mother went to heaven. Our Lady took this special little one by the hand and formed her into a beautiful spouse for her Son. When Thérèse was 14 years of age she went to Rome on a pilgrimage with her father and sister to see the Holy Father. She begged the Pope to allow her to enter Carmel, as a religious sister, even though the rules clearly stated that she had to be much older.
He told her not to worry, if it was God's will it would happen. Upon returning home, in thanksgiving to Jesus, her King, for the grace of the pilgrimage, she donated her gold bracelet to be part of a monstrance which would adorn Him from that time to the present. This monstrance is at Le Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, Paris, where they have Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, which began during her life and still continues today--over a hundred years later!
When Thérèse entered Carmel, at age 15, she grew rapidly in the virtue of humility, the mother of all virtues. She quickly grew in wisdom and grace, so much so that she was appointed novice mistress a few years after she entered the convent. This little one with her little way grew in such holiness in such a short time that God soon called her home to heaven where she could adore Him perpetually for eternity, and do so much more to help save souls and bring them to Him. Thérèse died on September 30, 1897, at 24 years of age. She said "My mission--to make God loved--will begin after my death." Thérèse promised, "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses." To this day she still showers down countless roses on those who invoke her aid.
St. Thérèse, the Little Flower, is one of God's very special little ones indeed! She was an exceptionally gifted writer, poet, lyricist and artist. Yet, in spite of her many talents, it was her little way, which is so very powerful, that crowned her as a Doctor of the Church! Her little way is a way that anyone can follow, with God's grace. It is being small--humble, in being loving-- charitable, in being meek--docile, in being a little child of God. It is the way of salvation, the way of holiness, the way of Sanctity, the way of God!
St. Thérèse did not learn her little way by means of extensive travel, by attending great universities, or by reading scholarly books. She learned this little way at the feet of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament (Whom she spent several hours with each day): by praying, meditating and contemplating His real presence in the Sacred Host, and by pondering His words in scripture, the book of love, as she called it. He gave her all she needed, and more, so that she could love and serve others not only in her monastery but in the whole world. Those who have read her autobiography, The Story of A Soul, know how she prayed, sacrificed and aided in the salvation of numerous souls while she was on this earth. At one time during her life, she wanted to be a missionary and travel to China, and many other countries, to help save souls. She did exactly that, not by traveling, but by offering up all of the routine, daily little prayers, penances and sacrifices for the success of the work of the missionaries and the salvation of souls. She did such an outstanding job that she has the title of Co-Patroness of the missions, with St. Francis Xavier! She is also Co-Patroness of France along with her patroness St. Joan of Arc!
St. Thérèse of Lisieux is a Saint that we can all try to emulate. Her little way can be our little way; it is within our reach. We can offer up all of our daily annoyances, inconveniences, trials, disappointments, things that we don't like doing and so forth, for the love of God and others--for the salvation of souls.
St. Thérèse is also a tremendous witness to the great importance of Holy Families. Her faith was born of the strong Catholic faith and the daily living of it, which came from her parents. They are role models for Catholic parents today. As parents, both biological and spiritual, we need to keep God's design for us and our children foremost in our minds, hearts and lives. That design is no less than Sanctity for each one of us and our children, and all of His children!
St. Thérèse said of her parents "God gave me a father and a mother more worthy of heaven than of earth." Louis and Zelie did such an outstanding job as parents and were so holy that both of their causes for beatification are being considered. All five of their daughters became religious sisters. Strengthened by The Eucharist Louis and Zelie inspired and led Therese, and her sisters, along the path of Sanctity. Some of their other daughters are also being considered for beatification!
These times in which we live are surely not enveloped in any less darkness than the time of the Martin family. Let us invoke the intercession of St. Thérèse, and her family, for our own salvation and that of our families, indeed the salvation of the whole family of God. She is still doing a tremendous amount of good on earth. She will intercede for us and continue to shower down roses from heaven!
St. Thérèse is the patroness of missionaries, although she never left her convent. She died at the early age of 24, yet accomplished great things through the power of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The Church made her the patroness of missionaries to emphasize this most important truth: one soul coming before the Blessed Sacrament can change the world! "There is only one thing to do here below, to love Jesus, to win souls for Him that He may be loved"
Angel of my Eucharist
To look like the heavenly Seraphim!
In order to obtain this miracle
“By our little acts of charity practiced in the shade we convert souls far away, we help missionaries, we win for them abundant alms; and by that means build actual dwellings spiritual and material for our Eucharistic Lord.” (St. Thérèse)
"Let us rejoice at the birth of our Queen and Mother, which filled heaven with joy, earth with hope, and hell with terror! Behold, at last 'the strong woman,' the predestined Mother of the Messiah!
PRAYER TO SAINT ANNE
Glorious St. Anne, filled with compassion for those who invoke thee, and with love for those who suffer, heavily laden with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at thy feet and humbly beg of thee to take the present affair which I recommend to thee under thy special protection. Vouchsafe to recommend it to thy daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and lay it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted. Above all obtain for me the grace, of one day, beholding my God, face to face, and with thee and Mary and all the Saints, praising and blessing Him for all eternity. Amen.
Good St. Anne, mother of her who is our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope, pray to her for us, and obtain our request. (3 times)
GOOD SAINT ANNE
We find you called Comfortress of the sorrowing - Mother of the poor - Health of the sick - Patroness of the childless - Help of the pregnant - Model of married women and mothers - Protectress of widows. Good Saint Anne pray for us!
PRAYER TO ST. ANNE & ST. JOACHIM
Saints Anne and Joachim, we bless you for your great faith and love as parents. Your respect and reverence for the sacredness of human life made you the parents of Mary, Mother of the Lord. Through your intercession, we ask God to grant young people today that same reverence for the gift of new life. May they accept, cherish, and nourish life from the very moment of conception. Grant to us as a nation a renewed reverence for every human life. As Mary cherished her Child from the womb even to the tomb, so may we see in every person the very image of God. Great Saints Anne and Joachim, we ask this grace in the name of Mary’s Son, Jesus the Lord. Amen.
A Grandmother's Prayer
Dearest Saint Anne, grandmother of Christ, I wish to pray to you for my grandchildren. I know how much you loved your grandchild Jesus. You also know how much my own grandchildren's physical and spiritual well-being means to me.
Keep them in good health, or--should they be sick or crippled--bring them back to an early and full recovery. May I remind you, dearest Saint Anne, of the special fondness that filled Christ's heart for all the children he met while on earth, and of the many cures and other blessings he showered upon them.
By your own Grandson's amazing tenderness for all children, I beg you, Saint Anne, to ask God to keep my grandchildren in his loving care. May he shield them from all evil, either natural or spiritual. Sow into their hearts the seeds of the Christian habits of self-control and of self-dedication to the good and happiness of others. Plant deep in them the basic virtues of faith, hope and true love for their Lord and neighbor.
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