St. Augustine, Doctor, on The Holy Family

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St. Augustine, in just a few sentences, brilliantly explains how the Holy Family simply works. In his Harmony of the Evangelists [ca. 400 AD]:

“Matthew, therefore, follows out the human generation of Christ, noting His ancestors from Abraham onwards, carrying them on to Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom jesus was born.  For in this way it was not allowed that He should be thought of as apart from the marriage of Mary, although she bore Christ not from intercourse in that marriage but as a virgin.  By this example it is strongly intimated to the married faithful that even when continence is observed by their common consent, their marriage can still perdue and still be called a marriage, not by a physical joining of the sexes but by the maintaining of the affections of the mind.”

So this prescription calls for:

  • Meditate on the first and second chapter of Matthew’s Gospel to better appreciate this understanding of the Holy Family.

St. Mary and St. Joseph, pray for us.

Jesus, have mercy on us.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

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St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor, on the Holy Innocents

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Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents.  The Gospel of Matthew (2:16) tells us, “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men.”

The Church recognizes these children as saints and venerates them because, as St. Thomas Aquinas said, they “suffered as martyrs and confessed Christ non loquendo, sed moriendo, not by speaking, but by dying.” Com. on Mt., in Loc.

So here are some things to consider:

  • If you were to ask the Holy Innocents for their intercession before God, what would you ask them?
  • They died as a result of the most hideous form of selfish jealousy.  Can you be inspired to be less selfish of jealous after reflecting on the passage?
  • Imagine the victories achieved by The Innocents; their distraction to Herod, their role in protecting the Lord, keeping Herod from achieving his evil goal, their happiness forever with God in heaven.

Oh dear, Holy Innocents, pray for us,

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

St. Basil the Great, Doctor, on Stewardship of the Conscience

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St. Basil the Great, who lived from 330 AD – 379 AD is one of the four original Doctors declared by the Eastern Church.  In addition to exegetical and doctrinal works dozens of his homilies are preserved.  Today’s daily prescription of St. Basil, Doctor, is a short edited excerpt from his homily on Deuteronomy 15: 9.  He prescribes the following:

     “We are to be diligent guardians of the resources given to us by God, ever shunning sin as brutes shun poisons, and ever hunting after righteousness, as they seek for the herbage that is good for food. Take heed to yourself, that you may be able to discern between the noxious and the      wholesome.

This taking heed is to be understood in a twofold sense.  Gaze with the eyes of the body at visible objects.   ‘Take heed to yourself.’Look at yourself from every point of view.  Keep your soul’s eye sleepless.  Hidden nets are set for you in all directions by the enemy.

Look well around you, that you may be delivered ‘as a gazelle from the net and a bird from the snare.  It is because of her keen sight that the gazelle cannot be caught in the net.  And the bird, if only she take heed, mounts on her light wing far above the wiles of the hunter.”

And so:

  • Have you thought of your conscience as a resource, that which you are to be a “guardian”?
  • Have you thought of your conscience in terms of “stewardship”?
  • Do you exercise the resource each day in an examination of conscience?

St. Basil, pray for us.

St. Basil the Great, pray for us.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

St. Gregory Nazianzen, Doctor, on Chrism

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St. Gregory Nazianzen, whose Memorial we celebrate on January 2, was a 4th century Patriarch (Bishop) of Constantinople and known as a great teacher and orator.

St. Gregory was one of the first four Doctors named by the Eastern Church, (along with St. Athenasius, St. Basil, and St. John Chrysostom.)

Of his many theological works and impressive letters is a clear treatment of the meaning and importance of the Chrism used at a Christian baptism.  This small excerpt, from (paragraph 4) the Lecture on Chrism, as a prescription, is a worthy assignment.

“For as Christ after His Baptism, and the visitation of the Holy Ghost, went forth and vanquished the adversary, so likewise you, after Holy Baptism and the Mystical Chrism, having put on the whole armour of the Holy Spirit, are to stand against the power of the adversary, and vanquish      it, saying, I can do all things in him who strengthens         me.” (Phil 4:13)

So consider the following:

  • Have you ever considered the receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit, those who have been baptized, as a “putting on the whole armour of the Holy Spirit” as taught by St. Gregory?
  • What is your responsibility as one who is baptized?
  • When you examine your conscience daily, do you plot ways to avoid and, when necessary, stand against Satan the adversary?

St. Basil the Great, pray for us.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

 

St. Basil the Great, Doctor, on Virtue

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St. Basil the Great, who’s feast we’ll celebrate on January 2, is the son of a saint (St. Basil, the Elder), the brother of two saints (St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Peter of Sebaste) and one of his best friends is a saint and also Doctor of the ChurchSt. Gregory Nazianzen.) St. Basil the Great defended the faith against the Arian Heresy (which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ.)  He also preached on the Psalms.

Today’s prescription is a snippet of a homily by St.Basil the Great on Psalm 1

“…the exercise of piety is rather like a ladder, that ladder which once was seen by Blessed Jacob, of which one end was near the earth and reached to the ground, while the other end extended above and reached to heaven itself.

What is necessary is that those who are being introduced to the virtuous life should put their feet on the first steps and from there mount ever to the next, until at last they have ascended by degrees to such heights as are attainable by human nature.”

  • Is taking that first, or next step in virtue a difficulty?  If so, what is it that makes growth in virtue difficult?
  • Change toward virtue is often very difficult and may mean changing friends. for the head of a family, however, much humility and patience may be the virtues prayed for the most so as to allow for growth in overall holiness.
  • Moving a whole family toward holiness might seem, for quite some time, like turning a great ship 180 degrees

St. Basil the Great, pray for us.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

Deacon Tom Gotschall on YouTube.

St. Peter Canisius, Doctor, on Peace, Love and Perseverance

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Prescription of the Day

St. Peter Canisius wrote beautiful prayers drawn from his spiritual experiences.  We share an excerpt of a prayer of his to Jesus below.

So, after daring to approach your most loving heart and to plunge my thirst in it, I received a promise from you of a garment made of three parts: these were to cover my soul in its nakedness, and to belong especially to my religious profession.  They were peace, love and perseverance.  Protected by this garment of salvation, I was confident that I would lack nothing but all would succeed and give you glory.”

Three amazing gifts he received from the Lord:

  • peace
  • love
  • perseverance

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/

 

St. Peter Canisius, Doctor, on Compassion

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Prescription of the Day (a two-for-one thought provoker)

“Is it not inexcusable that there should be so many people in rags while our clothes chests are stuffed with abundance of garments?”

AND

“And what defense can there be for women who are never done aquiring jewels and aids to beauty, who are always thinking of something new in hopes of outshining rivals.”

St. Peter Canisius, who’s memorial we’ll celebrate on December 21st is known as the Doctor of the Catechism.  He whote very catechetically and taught against those revolting from the Church in the 16th century.  Like so many of the wonderful saints, this Doctor of the Church teaches compassionately about the poor.

So ask yourself:

  • Am I sharing or hoarding?
  • What should I share?
  • How much should I share?
  • How can I take the first step?  Share your experiences in taking the first step in sharing.

Peace,

Deacon Tom Gotschall, The Deacon Dad at:

http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/

https://doctorsofthechurch.wordpress.com/