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.

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JANUARY 25 - ST. PAUL'S CONVERSION

Paul was born at Tarsus in Cilicia (Turkey) lived around the time of Jesus but never met Him. Paul was first called Saul. As a young man, he was a very bright student of the Hebrew religion. He was a Pharisee and a tent-maker by trade.

He hated the Christians. When he grew older he tortured and harassed the followers of Jesus. He even helped at the stoning of St. Stephen the martyr.

In the Bible’s Acts of the Apostles, we read about Saul’s amazing conversion (chapters 9, 22, 26). What happened?

One day, Paul was on his way to the city of Damascus to hunt down more Christians. Suddenly, a great light shone all around him and he was knocked to the ground. He was struck blind; and he heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

Saul answered, “Who are you, Sir?” And the voice said, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.” Saul was shocked and confused. After a few seconds, he asked, “What do you want me to do?” Jesus told him to continue on to Damascus and there he would be told what to do.

At that moment, through the power of God, Saul received the gift to believe in Jesus. Weak and trembling, he reached out for help and his companions led him into Damascus. The light had blinded him temporarily. Now that he was blind he could really “see” the truth.

And Jesus had come personally to meet him, to invite him to conversion. Saul became a great lover of Jesus. He was baptized and changed his name to Paul to show that he was a changed person. Now he thought only of helping everyone know and love Jesus, the Savior.

We know Saul by his Roman name of Paul. He is called “the apostle.” He traveled all over the world, preaching the Good News and led so many people to Jesus. He worked and suffered.

His enemies tried to kill him several times but nothing could stop him. When he was old and tired, he was once again put in prison and sentenced to die. Still St. Paul was happy to suffer and even die for Christ.

This great apostle wrote wonderful letters to the Christians. They are in the Bible. These letters, called epistles, are read often during the Liturgy of the Word at Mass.

JANUARY 27 - ST. ANGELA MERICI

Angela was born in the small Italian town of Desenzano, Lake Garda, Italy. Her parents died when she was ten. She and her only sister, who was three years older, loved each other very much.

A rich uncle took the girls into his home. While still suffering from the loss of her parents, Angela’s sister also died. The older girl died even before a priest could arrive to administer the last sacraments.

Angela worried about her sister’s soul but Jesus revealed to her that her sister had been saved. Angela felt peace return to her own soul and thanked the Lord in prayer. She wanted to do something to show her gratitude. So she promised to spend the rest of her life serving Jesus totally.

She joined the Secular Fransiscan Order when she was fifteen and received a vision telling her that by her example she would lead other holy women to God.

In Crete, while on a pilgrimage to Holy Land, she was struck blind. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going on, visiting the shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she could see. On the way home, while praying before a crucifix, she got back her sight at the same place where it had been lost.

When she was about twenty-two, Angela began to notice that the children of her town knew little about their religion. Angela invited some of her girlfriends to join her in teaching religion classes. Angela’s friends were anxious to help her with the children.

At that time there were no religious orders of teaching sisters. No one had ever thought of such a thing. St. Angela Merici was the first to gather together a group of women to open schools for children.

On November 25, 1535, twenty-eight young women offered their lives to God. It was the beginning of the Ursuline order. Angela placed the congregation under the protection of St. Ursula and this is how they got their name.

The women stayed in their own homes at first. Because of many difficulties, it was a long time before they could live together in a convent. Angela died on January 27, 1540, when her congregation was still in its beginning stages.

Her trust in God had seen her through many hard tests in her lifetime. There was no doubt in her mind that the Lord would take care of the mission she had begun. And so he did.

The Ursuline Sisters have now spread to many countries. The order continues its works for Jesus and his Church, especially in the education of children and young adults.

JANUARY 26 - ST. TIMOTHY AND ST. TITUS

Besides being saints and bishops in the early Church, these two men have something else in common. Both received the gift of faith through the preaching of St. Paul.

Timothy was born in Lycaonia in Asia Minor. His mother Eunice was a Jew and his father was a Gentile. When Paul came to preach in Lycaonia, Timothy, his mother and his grandmother all became Christians.

Many years later, Paul went back and found Timothy grown up. He felt that Timothy had a call from God to be a missionary. Paul invited him to join him in preaching the Gospel and Timothy left his home and parents to follow Paul.

He soon began to share in Paul’s sufferings as well. They joyfully brought the Word of God to many people. Timothy was Paul’s beloved disciple, like a son to him. He went everywhere with Paul until he became bishop of Ephesus. Then Timothy stayed there to shepherd his people. Timothy, too, died a martyr and was stoned to death in the year 97 because he refused to worship King Dionysius.

Titus was a Gentile nonbeliever. He, too, became Paul’s disciple. Titus was generous and hard-working. He joyfully preached the Good News with Paul on their missionary travels.

Because Titus was so trustworthy, Paul freely sent him on many “missions” to the Christian communities. Titus helped people strengthen their faith in Jesus. He was able to restore peace when there were arguments among the Christians. Titus had a special gift for being a peacemaker.

Paul appreciated this gift in Titus and recognized it as the Holy Spirit’s work. Paul would send Titus to solve problems. When Titus would arrive among a group of Christians, the guilty ones would feel sorry. They would ask forgiveness and would make up for what they had done. When peace was restored, Titus would go back and tell Paul about the good results. This brought Paul and the first Christians much happiness.

St. Paul made Titus bishop of the island of Crete, where he stayed until his death.

JANUARY 28 - ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

Thomas was the son of the Count of Aquino and was born in the family castle in Lombardy near Naples, Italy. Thomas was one of nine children and was very intelligent, but he never boasted about it. He knew that his mind was a gift from God.

His parents hoped that he would become a Benedictine abbot some day. The family castle was in Rocca Secca, just north of Monte Cassino where the monks lived. Thomas was sent to the abbey for schooling when he was five and he was educated by the Benedictine monks there. When he was eighteen, he went to the University of Naples to finish his studies.

There he met a new group of religious men called the Order of Preachers. Their founder, St. Dominic, was still living. Thomas knew he wanted to become a priest and felt that he was called to join these men. So he secretly joined the Dominican order in 1244.

His parents were angry with him. When he was on his way to Paris to study, his brothers kidnapped him and kept him a prisoner in one of their castles for over a year. During that time, they did all they could to make him change his mind.

One of his sisters, too, came to convince him to give up his vocation. But Thomas spoke so beautifully about the joy of serving God that she changed her mind. She decided to give her life to God as a nun. After fifteen months, Thomas was finally allowed to follow his call.

St. Thomas wrote so well about God that people all over the world have used his books for hundreds of years. His explanations about God and the faith came from Thomas’ great love for God. He writings touched the hearts of people because he was not trying to impress anyone. He just wanted with all his heart to offer the gift of his life to Jesus and the Church.

St. Thomas is one of the greatest Doctors of the Church and is considered the universal patron of universities, colleges, and schools.

Around the end of 1273, Pope Gregory X asked Thomas to be part of an important Church meeting called the Council of Lyons. While traveling to the meeting, Thomas became ill. He had to stop at a monastery at Fossanova, Italy, where he died. It was March 7, 1274. He was only forty-nine.

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