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What is an Incorruptible Saint?

St. Bernadette

St. Bernadette 1844-1879.  She has been deceased for 138 years but looks like she is sleeping.

 

Have you ever heard of an incorruptible? or incorruptible saint?  There are saints who, after their death, their bodies never decomposed!!  Why would this be?  Because they were so pure in the love of God.  What that means is that sin corrupts us.  They are so pure in giving that their bodies remain pure also.  Some have incorruptible body parts like their heart.  Many are not known to be incorrupt until they are exhumed for sainthood.   Many have soft pliable skin and blood that still is liquid.  Some produce fragrant oils.  One saint was so good at speaking of God that his tongue became incorrupt.  Some have a fragrance like flowers.  Saint John Paul II is an incorruptible.  These are not mummies!  Mummies are hardened, brittle and have leathered skin.  These saints have none of that.  They have not had anything to preserve them after death.  What do they all have in common?  They are all Catholic and they all loved the Eucharist.  That’s the narrow path to heaven.  They are only found in the Catholic Church.  No other church has this miraculous occurrence.

 

What they have had was a pure heart in love with Jesus.  They have lived their life for Jesus.  They want us to model after them and the lessons they have to teach us from how they lived their lives for Jesus.  They didn’t have an easy life.  Many had hardships and/or long illnesses that they suffered, but they accepted their suffering for Jesus and loved Him all the more.

Check out this website for more.   http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/incorruptible-saints.html

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What is a Novena?

A novena (no-vee-na) is a devotion that you can do for an intention.  You say a particular prayer every day for nine days in a row to Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit , the Virgin Mary or a saint.  When your nine days are done, then you say another nine days of the prayer in thanksgiving regardless of the outcome.  This has been a very effective form of prayer when someone is really in need of something.  There are some good apps in the Google play store you can download on your phone if you put in the search bar “novena”.

This form of prayer shows persistence and obedience in your prayer life.  I have also found one novena prayer to the Infant Jesus of Prague that you say for either nine hours (once per hour) or nine days.  This is not vain repetition of prayer, this is asking for the intercession of the saints or going to Jesus or God for help.

What kind of prayers should you say a novena for?  Well, you can’t make anyone fall in love with you or have selfish intentions.  You have to have good intentions and God’s will in mind when you pray.  Ask yourself, “What would God want?”  Praying for sinners to turn to Jesus is always a good choice.  Another one is, “God, please give that person or myself the graces that others refuse.”  Saying a novena to a saint or the Holy Trinity, for their intercession is always a good idea.  The saints are always there for us, to intercede for us on our behalf.  There is strength in prayers in numbers.

I have been saying a novena for the last five days and already I have received part of my prayer.  It also helps if you can get others to say the novena with you.  I have two others saying the novena everyday for the same intention.  My novena has produced a deeply moving answer for me in reply.  I couldn’t have asked for a better reply.  I was praying to St. Joseph, Patron of the Church.  He always answers your prayer because he is the earthly father of Jesus and He would listen to him.  Blessed be St. Joseph!  Thank you St. Joseph!

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Who was St. Joseph?

St. Joseph was a man who we never hear much about.  He didn’t say anything in the Bible but we know something about him.  Most pictures show him with white hair like he was a lot older than the Virgin Mary but he was not many years older than she was.  She was about 15.  The Bible says that he was a “righteous man”.  He is usually pictured with Baby Jesus and a white lily symbolizing St. Joseph’s purity and virginity.

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The Virgin Mary and St. Joseph were betrothed before Jesus was conceived.  That means they were engaged to be married but in their tradition that means they were married but lived apart for one year.  An angel came to Joseph in a dream telling him “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins,” he did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:19-25).    When she gave birth, he was there and assisted her.  Logically, he was the first one to see the Child Jesus after his birth.  In Matthew 2:13-23, Joseph has another dream telling him of danger to his family, Mary and the child Jesus.  He takes them to Egypt without question and keeps them safe until King Herod dies and it is safe again to return home.  King Herod had killed all children under the age of two.  These are called the Holy Innocents as they are the first martyrs of Christ.

Joseph was a carpenter and taught Jesus how to be a carpenter also.  He died sometime before Jesus began His ministry.  St. Joseph was of noble blood of the House of David.  This fulfills prophesy that the Messiah would be from the lineage of the House of David.

St. Joseph was a man who had the most beautiful woman on earth, the Virgin Mary, as his wife but he never touched her in a disrespectful or sexual way.  He kept her dignity intact and never tarnished her purity.  He protected her virginity and kept it intact for the rest of her life.

Joseph is the patron saint of the dying because, he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.  Joseph is also patron saint of the Catholic Church, families, fathers, stepparents, pregnant women, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker.

Consider a devotion to St. Joseph asking for his intercession in prayer for you.  Jesus listens to his stepfather answering many prayers.  Try putting a piece of paper with your prayer on it stuck in the frame of his picture.  Or put that same prayer in the hand of a statue of St. Joseph or under it.  This is not expecting the statue to answer the prayer, but instead, when St. Joseph sees that you are honoring his image, he will intercede for you.  This is not worshipping the statue but honoring his image, like we would a family member.  St. Joseph is also a great saint to have as a patron saint for anyone who needs fatherly guidance such as a baptismal saint or for someone who doesn’t have a father in the home.

St. Joseph is the protector the family.  Ask for his assistance if you have struggles in your family.  He will take it to Jesus and Jesus can’t refuse His father because He respects His father.

 

 

 

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Do We Become Angels After Death?

All of the angels were created in the beginning when God created the world.  They are purely spirit, without a body and are immortal so they never experience death.

Humans are made of flesh and soul and are mortal so we experience death.  Our souls are immortal but not the same substance as angels.

When someone dies, they will become a saint in heaven (provided they are free from sin), not an angel.  Many, during grief of the death of a loved one, may say that that loved one is a guardian angel now or an angel in heaven, but this is not true.  Although we need to be sensitive of the grief of the loved ones left behind, we also need to help others understand, after the grief, that people become saints not angels.

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Angels and Saints before Heaven

 

When we die, we don’t become an angel, we become a saint!

We can still pray to our loved ones and ask for their intercessory prayers for us.  There is nothing wrong with doing that. We would’ve asked them to pray for us when they were on earth.  They are saints in heaven and saints can offer prayers for us to God’s throne.  That’s a loving thing for them to do for us.  I have asked for my grandparents and godparents to pray for me.  Think of all the people you have known that died…they could be praying for you.  That could be quite an army of saints!  Picture them with armloads of prayers laid at the foot of God, all for you.

A good article for you to check out on this subject is http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2014/03/humans-never-become-angels.html

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What is St. Patrick’s Day About?

St. Patricks’ Day is not about green beer or little leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold.  St. Patrick’s Day is the day that Saint Patrick died in the year 461.

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Three persons, one God (Trinity)

 

St. Patrick’s feast day is March 17th.  He is the patron saint of Ireland and Engineers.  He is also is known for teaching about the Trinity using a three-leaf shamrock (three leaves but one stem=three persons but one God).  He was born in the year 387 and died in 461.  St. Patrick was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish raiders and sold as a slave in Ireland and forced to work as a shepherd.  He suffered hunger and cold.  He escaped at the age of 22 to France and became a bishop at the age of 43.  He had a vision of Ireland’s children reaching out to him, even “from their mother’s wombs”.  He returned to Ireland to preach in a pagan country.  He baptized hundreds of people in a single day.  He obtained many converts, founded diocese and monasteries, and ordained many priests. He is buried in Northern Ireland.  He is usually pictured with snakes at his feet, the staff of Jesus in his left hand or holding a book, holding a three-leaf shamrock in his right hand and dressed in green and gold bishop vestments.

Did Saint Patrick banish all snakes from Ireland?  According to Wikipedia, “Patrick banishes all snakes from Ireland. The absence of snakes in Ireland gave rise to the legend that they had all been banished by St. Patrick chasing them into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill.”

He wrote a book called Confessio consisting of personal writings.  This is where we get much of our information about him.

While you can have green beer, remember the true meaning of the feast day.

There is a very short chaplet prayer (rosary) to St. Patrick to ask for an increase in faith.  Directions are at this link,  St. Patrick Chaplet directions.

Photo credit: clipartkid.com

 

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Who’s Your Authority?

This is a deep question to ask yourself and others.  No matter what your religion, ask yourself “Who’s the authority in my/your church?”  You might say, the pastor, the Synod, the Bible, or a leader who started your church.  If someone comes to your door and wants to offer you literature or talk to you about your religion, ask them the question of authority.

If the answer is the Bible, then lets look at the history of the Bible.  The Bible was put together in the year 382 at the Council of Rome, in the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church is still the authority of interpreting Scripture.  There is nothing in the Bible that states that the Bible is the only authority and source of truth.  The Catholic Bible is the New American Bible.  Other translations of the Bible such as the New World Translation or the King James Version have had books and parts of Scripture removed or changed to fit their doctrines.  The King James Version has had seven books removed.  Most people think that the Catholics have added books but this is not true.

If the answer is a pastor, Synod, or leader of your church, then this can create a pitfall of individual interpretation of the Scriptures.  If we all interpret the Scriptures on our own, then we can end up with several different meanings. These people are well-meaning but how can you be certain that you have the right interpretation? I found an exercise in the book, Where Is That in the Bible? by Patrick Madrid. See below:

If someone wrote the words:  “I never said you stole money.”  Sounds like it would be simple to understand, right?  I’ll write all possible interpretations with different emphasis and see what you think.

  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning someone else said that you stole money.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he thought it but didn’t say it.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he said that someone else did.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he thought you lost it.
  • I never said you stole money.  Meaning he thought you stole something else but not his money.

See how just a little emphasis on a different word can cause a different interpretation of the small simple sentence.  Patrick Madrid asks, “Which would you say is more likely to be open to misinterpretations, this six-word sentence or the Bible?”  You can go to 4 different churches on the same street, on the same Sunday and get four different interpretations and sermons on the same Scripture reading.

If your authority is the Catholic Church, then you are following the Bible which says, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”  Luke 10:16   “I am writing you about these matters, although I hope to visit you soon. But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.”                  1 Timothy 3:14-15   The Catholic Church was given the authority through Jesus when he said, ” I will give you (Peter) the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Matthew 16:19

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St. Peter with Keys to the Kingdom

 

 

The Protestant churches reject the authority of the Catholic Church but yet declare that the Bible, that the Catholic Church put together 1500-2000 years before their existence, is their sole source of Scripture and authority.  The true authority is the Catholic Church, including the magisterium (Apostolic line of Popes, Bishops, Priests) and the Catholic Bible.  In rejecting this authority, a person can easily be led to error in their faith because of individual interpretation.  When you read the Bible with the understanding of the Church, you see faith in a different light and it makes much more sense.  There is a universal understanding of Scripture and Tradition instead of scattered meanings.

So when you ask the question, “Who’s your authority?”, be sure you get the answer of the only church Jesus gave authority to…the Catholic Church.  If not, then it falls flat.

 

Photo credit: The Vatican

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St. Valentine

There was actually a St. Valentine, a bishop, who lived in the first century.  He was martyred in the year 269.  His feast day is February 14th in honor of the day he was martyred, which is now celebrated as Valentine’s Day.  He is the patron saint of love, young people, engaged couples, bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, and travelers.

“One common story about St. Valentine is that in one point of his life, as the former Bishop of Terni, Narnia and Amelia, he was on house arrest with Judge Asterius. While discussing religion and faith with the Judge, Valentine pledged the validity of Jesus. The judge immediately put Valentine and his faith to the test.  St. Valentine was presented with the judge’s blind daughter and told to restore her sight. If he succeeded, the judge vowed to do anything for Valentine. Placing his hands onto her eyes, Valentine restored the child’s vision.  Judge Asterius was humbled and obeyed Valentine’s requests. Asterius broke all the idols around his house, fasted for three days and became baptized, along with his family and entire 44 member household. The now faithful judge then freed all of his Christian inmates…On the day of his execution, he left the girl a note signed, “Your Valentine.”      —http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=159

St. Valentine was a real person and martyred for his faith.  The emperor wanted his army to consist of single men but St. Valentine married many couples against the emperor’s commands.  This may be part of why his was martyred.  St. Valentine believed in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony as a lifelong Covenant between a man, woman and God.  He died for this sacrament and covenant.

As you celebrate this holiday, remember that this is a holy feast day for a saint who gave his life for love and marriage and faith.

(By the way, our calendar has many religious holidays that have become commonplace.  These are Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, All Saint’s Day (Halloween), Christmas, among many other saint feast days.)