NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter

Saturday, July 1, 2017

First Saturday Parish Rosary at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 7/1/2017

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man
lay down his life for his friends."

~ Words of Jesus, John 15:13

The Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Guadalajara, Spain (L to R): Sr. Teresa
of the Child Jesus, Sr. Maria Pilar, and Sr. Maria Angeles.

The short scripture passage cited above is perfect for describing the three brave women we honored at today's First Saturday Rosary. They died as innocent victims of the anticlericalism that was rampant during the "Red Terror" at the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936; mercilessly shot dead only days after each of them [separately] offered their lives to God, as sacrifices to end the civil war and the violence against the clergy, religious, and steadfast Catholics. It was a collective self-oblation that had its roots in the greatest of virtues - LOVE - and God heard and accepted. (Also read about the Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne here).

So today, inspired by the example of these holy women, I reminded the group gathered in the Day Chapel about the value of offering personal sacrifices - the act of selflessly giving of oneself.  In today's society the word 'sacrifice' has become almost alien, it seems, as people generally seek more and more self-gratification rather than giving something up in favor of the next person.  But the spiritual practice of offering sacrifice is still relevant and can be a great boost to our prayer life.

"And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

~ Ephesians 5:2

Of course, not everyone is called to offer the ultimate sacrifice like how the Blessed Carmelite Martyrs did... but all of us are capable of giving a measure of our personal Time (e.g. lending a compassionate ear to someone in distress), Talent (e.g. baking for the parish bake sale), and Treasure (e.g. donating money to a charitable cause). Consciously offered with faith and a loving heart, an oblation - no matter how small - never fails to imbue our prayer with power!  Try it the next time you pray for a special intention - remarkable results often follow.  This was our inspiration and faith-lesson this month from the lives of our Saints of the Month and it was a beautiful message.

"Once again I have been able to obtain mercy, and Jesus has sent me, therefore, again
to Montichiari to bring you the grace of His Love.  It requires Prayer, Sacrifice, and Penance
in order to save mankind..."

~ Words of the Mary, the Rosa Mystica, in Montichiari, Italy (May, 1966)

... and my Rosa Mystica pilgrim statue was back in the church today after an absence of three months... and it looked radiant!  I hadn't been able to bring this particular statue because of some recent back issues I've been having (the statue is heavy), but today I felt like I had to bring it for some reason.  From almost the start of the Rosary Prayer, its face noticeably changed and it appeared 'transfigured', as I refer to the unusual transformation it often undergoes; bright and beautiful, dewy features (the above-photo does not do it justice).  I felt the special presence of the Blessed Mother with us through the statue and I think a few others did, too.  I was so grateful.

The next First Saturday Rosary for Peace will be offered on Saturday, August 4th, beginning at 4:25pm in the Day Chapel of our Kailua parish church of St. Anthony of Padua.  Come... and allow Our Lady and the Saints to touch your spirit.  All are welcomed!

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