Tuesday, 20 February 2018

 

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Những tài liệu này thuộc quyền sở hữu của Trường Thánh Tôma Thiện. Khi sử dụng, quý vị đồng ý chỉ sử dụng trong việc giáo dục, không sử dụng cho việc kinh doanh dưới bất cứ hình thức nào. Quý vị cũng đồng ý sẽ không sao chép, thay đổi nội dung hoặc phân phối nếu chưa có sự chấp thuận của trường.

Nếu quý vị thấy tài liệu này hữu ích trong công việc giáo dục các em, xin giúp chúng tôi trang trải chi phí cho việc biên soạn để chúng tôi có thể tiếp tục cung cấp các tài liệu miễn phí trong tương lai. Xin chân thành cảm ơn quý vị.

JANUARY 21 - ST. AGNES

St. Agnes was a Roman girl who loved Jesus so much that she chose only him for her husband. She was very beautiful and when she was just twelve years old, many young men wished to marry her. But as Agnes had given her heart to Jesus, she would always say, “Jesus is my only husband.”

She even turned down the governor’s son, who became very angry. He tried to win her affection with gifts and promises but Agnes said to him, “I am already promised to the Lord.” Agnes was accused of being a Christian and brought to the governor.

Then she was taken to a Roman temple in Minerva (Athena), and asked to sacrifice to pagan gods. When Agnes was led to the altar, she made the Sign of the Cross.

The governor tried to scare her by putting her in chains, but even then she refused to turn against God. Agnes suffered other tortures. Finally, she was condemned and killed for her faith at the young age of twelve in 304.

St. Ambrose and other well-known early Church saints have written about this brave girl. Agnes is buried in a cemetery named after her. In 354, Emperor Constantine’s daughter built a large church there and had Agnes’ body placed under the altar.

JANUARY 23 - ST. JOHN THE ALMSGIVER

St. John was born at Arnathus, in Cyprus, Greece and came from a rich family. He married and had a child. John was a good Christian who used his wealth and position to help poor people. When John’s wife and child died of a disease, John became a priest and then a bishop.

In 608, he was given a very important position and made the patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt. St. John went to his new ministry determined to heal the divisions among his people. He made himself a promise that he would practice “charity without limits.”

As he had come to serve, the first thing he did was ask for a complete list of his “masters” - the poor. When they were counted, the poor of Alexandria numbered 7,500. St. John promised to be their personal protector.

As patriarch, St. John made many changes to the way things were done and set new rules. He was respectful and kind, but firm. He set aside two days each week, Wednesday and Friday, and made himself available for anyone who wanted to see him.

People lined up in queues and waited patiently for their turn. Some were rich. Some were homeless and penniless. St. John treaded them all with the same respect and attention. When he found out that the church funds had eighty thousand pieces of gold, he divided it all among the hospitals and monasteries.

He set up a system so that poor people received enough money to support themselves. Refugees from neighboring areas were welcomed warmly. When the Persians attacked and robbed the people of Jerusalem of their wealth, St. John sent money and supplies to the suffering people. He even sent Egyptian workmen to help them rebuild their churches.

When people asked how St. John could be so charitable and unselfish, he had an amazing answer. Once when he was very young he had a dream or vision. He saw a beautiful girl and she represented “charity.” She told him: “I am the oldest daughter of the King. If you are devoted to me, I will lead you to Jesus. No one is as powerful with him as I am. Remember, it was for me that he became a baby to redeem humankind.”

St. John never grew tired of telling about that vision. He gently led the rich to be generous. He helped the poor trust that God would always be there for them. Because of his great charity, he is called “the almsgiver.”

St. John died peacefully on November 11, 619.

JANUARY 22 - ST. VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA

Vincent was born in Heusca and grew up at Saragossa in Spain. He was educated by the bishop, St. Valerius. Valerius recognized his talents and goodness and made Vincent a deacon when he was quite young. Bishop Valerius asked him to preach and teach about Jesus and the Church.

Then one day Emperor Dacian arrested both Valerius and Vincent. Although he kept them in jail for a long time, they remained happy and peaceful and their faith in Jesus stayed strong. Then the emperor sent Bishop Valerius away from the country, but he sent Deacon Vincent to be cruelly tortured.

Vincent asked the Holy Spirit for strength. He wanted to be true to Jesus no matter how terrible things were for him. The Lord gave him that strength and Deacon Vincent remained peaceful through all his sufferings.

When they finished torturing Vincent, he was returned to prison where he converted the jailer. Finally, the emperor allowed people to visit Vincent. The Christians came and cared for his wounds and tried their best to make him comfortable. It was not long before he died in 304.

JANUARY 24 - ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

Francis was born at the de Sales castle called Chateau of Thorens in Savoy, France. His wealthy family provided him with an excellent education. He studied at La Roche, Annecy, Clermont College in Paris, and did law at the University of Padua.

By the age of twenty-four, Francis was a Doctor of Law. He returned home, and led a hard-working life as Senate advocate. He was not really interested in important positions or a social life.

In his heart, Francis was listening to a call that kept coming back like an echo. It seemed to be an invitation from the Lord telling him to “Leave all and follow Me.” Francis finally tried to explain his struggle to his family.

His father was very disappointed. He wanted Francis to be a great man of the world.But Francis spent lots of time in prayer, finally his gentle ways won over the family and Francis became a priest on December 18, 1593.

In those times Christians were bitterly divided. Father Francis offered to go to a dangerous area of France to win back Catholics who had become Protestants. His father tried to stop him. He said it was bad enough that he had allowed Francis to become a priest; he was not going to let him die as a martyr as well.

But Francis knew that the Lord would protect him. He and his cousin, Father Louis de Sales, began their long walk to the Duchy of Chablais. The two priests soon learned how to live with insults and physical discomforts and their lives were often in danger.

Francis explained the teachings of the Catholic faith in very simple and clear language. And his gentle way with everyone, slowly brought many back to the Roman Catholic Church.

When he was thirty-five years old, Francis became the bishop of Geneva, Switzerland. He travelled and preached throughout the Duchy of Savoy, working with children whenever he could.

He was a good friend of Saint Vincent de Paul. With the help of St. Jane de Chantal, he started a religious order of sisters in 1610. These women are called the order of the Visitation.

Francis wrote wonderful books about the spiritual life and the way to become holy. The books, “Treatise on the Love of God” and “Introduction to the Devout Life”, are still available in book stores today. They are considered spiritual “classics.”

Bishop de Sales died at Lyons on December 28, 1622, at the age of fifty-six. Because of his good work that brought many people back to God and the Church, he was given the special title “Doctor of the Church.” He is also the patron saint of journalists.

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