From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Mon Aug 1 23:51:25 2022
On the Royal Road of the Holy Cross: [XIII]
Man is not by nature inclined to carry the cross, to love the cross,
to chasten the body, and bring it into subjection; (I Cor. 9:27) to
refuse honors, to submit to insults with goodwill, to despise himself
and welcome disparagement; to bear all adversity and loss, and to
desire no kind of prosperity in this world. And if you trust in your
own strength, you will be unable to achieve any of these things. But
if you trust in the Lord, you will be given strength from Heaven, and
the world and the flesh will become subject to your will. Neither will
you fear your enemy the Devil, if you are armed with faith and signed
with the Cross of Christ.
--Thomas à Kempis--Imitation of Christ Bk 2, Ch 12
August 2nd - Bl. Joan of Aza
Matron praise is due in her own right; to beauty of soul she added
beauty of body, and both were handed on to the greatest of her sons
The mother of St. Dominic is said to have been born in the castle of
Aza, near Aranda in Old Castile; nothing is known of her childhood,
but doubtless her marriage took place when she was very young,
according to the custom of the time and country. Her husband was
Felix, perhaps de Guzman, who was warden of the small town of
Calaruega in the province of Burgos, of which Dante writes in speaking
of St. Dominic: "Happy Calaroga I there where the gentle breeze
whispers and wanders among the young flowers that bloom over the
garden of Europe, near that shore where the waves break and behind
which the great sun sinks at evening."
Here they lived and here were born to them four children, Antony, who
became a canon of St. James and sold all that he had that he might
serve the poor and sick in a hospital; Bl. Mannes, who followed his
younger brother, Dominic; and an unknown daughter, whose two sons
became preaching friars.
The greatest of these children was a child of promise, for when Antony
and Mannes were already grown up and clerics, Joan wished for another
son and prayed to that end in the abbey-church of Silos; and a vision
of St. Dominic of Silos is said to have appeared to her in sleep,
telling her that a son would be born to her and that he would be a
shining light to the Church: and she in thankfulness determined that
he should be baptized Dominic.
While the child was yet unborn Bl. Joan dreamed "that she bore a dog
in her womb and that it broke away from her with a burning torch in
its mouth wherewith it set the world aflame"; this dog became a symbol
of the Dominican Order and in later ages gave rise to the pun Domini
canes, "the watch-dogs of the Lord".
His godmother at his baptism (or, as some say, Bl. Joan again)
likewise had a dream in which the babe appeared with a shining star
upon his forehead, enlightening the world: wherefore is a star often
shown upon images of the saint. Dominic remained under the care of his
mother till he was seven years old, and then was sent to school with
his uncle, the parish priest of Gumiel d'Izan. Other stories are
told, but by later writers, about the saint's infancy.
It has not been given to many mothers of saints to be themselves
beatified, and Joan achieved this distinction by her own virtues and
not by those of her children: it is not unusual for hagiographers to
praise the parents of their heroes, but the mother of St. Dominic such
praise is due in her own right; to beauty of soul she added beauty of
body, and both were handed on to the greatest of her sons.
Her cultus dates from the moment of her death; a hermitage at Uclés,
where she would go to visit the commandery of the Knights of St.
James, was called after her, and likewise a chapel in the cemetery at Calaruega. At the request of King Ferdinand VII this cultus was
confirmed in 1828.
It is to be feared that the little we are told concerning Bl. Joan
does not rest upon a very sound basis of evidence. See, however,
Ganay, Les Bienheureuses Dominicaines, pp. 13 seq. R. Castano,
Monografia de Santa Joanna (1900); Procter, Dominican Saints, pp.
215-219 and the standard lives of St. Dominic .
There are in truth three states of the converted: the beginning, the
middle, and the perfection. In the beginning, they experience the
charms of sweetness; in the middle, the contests of temptation; and in
the end, the fullness of perfection.
--Pope St. Gregory the Great
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love. (John 15:10)
Meditation for troubled times:
Turn out all thoughts of doubt and fear and resentment. Never
tolerate them if you can help it. Bar the windows and doors of your
mind against them, as you would bar your home against a thief who
would steal in to take away your treasures. What greater treasures can
you have than faith and courage and love? All these are stolen from
you by doubt and fear and resentment. Face each day with peace and
hope. They are results of true faith in God. Faith gives you a feeling
of protection and safety that you can get in no other way.
-- From Twenty-Four Hours a Day