Saints and blessed – Holyart.com Blog http://192.168.99.122/com Holyblog Fri, 31 Aug 2018 14:37:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.14 http://192.168.99.122/com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/02/cropped-cropped-Holyart-Logo-32x32-32x32.png Saints and blessed – Holyart.com Blog http://192.168.99.122/com 32 32 The cult of Archangel St. Michael http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/cult-archangel-st-michael/ Thu, 02 Aug 2018 14:33:27 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=692 St. Michael the Archangel is one of the three archangels recognized by Christianity, and not just that. His figure is in fact the object of worship and veneration also by other professions of faith, such as Judaism and Islam. Indeed, he is recognised by all […]

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St. Michael the Archangel is one of the three archangels recognized by Christianity, and not just that. His figure is in fact the object of worship and veneration also by other professions of faith, such as Judaism and Islam. Indeed, he is recognised by all of them as the Archangel par excellence, before this term was used for Gabriel and Raphael. His name means “Who is like God?”, His symbols have always been the sword, or the spear and the armour. Michael is a celestial warrior, indeed, the warrior, commander of the angelic hosts, the one who led the armies of Paradise against Lucifer and his rebels, driving them over the clouds and making them fall to Hell.

For the Muslims, he was the angel who, together with Gabriel, instructed Muhammad with the Koran, an austere and shady angel who never laughed. Some traditions, especially Eastern ones, represent it with a balance in hand, intent on weighing and judging the souls of the dead.

St. Michael the Archangel is an emblematic figure, which crosses the history of Europe, not only the religious, object of veneration by the Byzantines and the Lombards, compared by the latter to the God Odin, which traced the warlike virtues and the war dimension , and elsewhere in Hercules, Mitra, Hermes. His cult has spread to the East and West, leading to the construction of places of veneration placed along a straight line, the so-called Sacred Line, which connects Ireland with Israel, passing through England, France, Italy, Greece.

Patron of many cities and towns, Protector of the Jewish people, Guardian of the Catholic Church, Protector of the Sick and Paramedics; of the Police Forces, from the Police to the Sailors, from the Paratroopers to the Firemen; Radiologists and Grocers and all those who use scales, such as pharmacists, pastry chefs, merchants; of swordsmen, masters of arms; of the gilders; of the manufacturers of tubs,

It is definitely worth knowing it better.

History of Archangel St. Michael

Saint Michael the Archangel in the Bible is mentioned five times, and always as the supreme head of the heavenly army.

Once upon a time he and Lucifer guided the divine militias together, as the most shining among the angels, the strongest, the bravest, the closest to God.

Revelation 12.7-8: 7 Then a war broke out in the sky: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon fought together with his angels, 8 but they did not prevail and there was no more room for them in heaven.

After the treason of Lucifer, after his rebellion, the perfection represented by these two angels was broken, and became bitter enemies. Michael made the war against his old brother the reason for his very existence, driving him from heaven, persecuting him through the millennia, defending humanity from its snares and its temptations. Since then the Archangel Michael has become the punisher of all those who rise up against God, the proud, the defenders of the Faith, of Truth, of the Church itself.

As we’ve already written, its name derives from the Hebrew Mi-ka-El which means “who is like God?”

“Archangel” derives from the Greek and is a word composed of àrchein, “comandare” and ànghelos, “messenger”). So the Archangels, and Michael in particular, are those who command the other angels.

Often the cult of St. Michael is intertwined with that of the Virgin Mary. Both fight against the devil, both are represented as they crush it under their feet, in the form of a snake or a dragon. Both, above all, are protectors of humanity, against its flattery, and guardians of God’s flock against Evil. According to an ancient tradition, St. Michael the Archangel will be the one who will play the trumpet of the Judgment announcing the end of the world.

St. Michael the Archangel is celebrated together with the other two Archangels, Gabriele and Raffaele, on 29 September.

We have already mentioned how the cult of St. Michael the Archangel spread from East to West, and how its spread in the West was due in large part to the Lombards, who adopted it the sixth century, on the occasion of their travels to Italy, as a great devotion and erected many religious buildings in his name, including the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo on Monte Gargano, in Puglia. Here, where today stands the village of Monte Sant’Angelo, with its splendid sanctuary dedicated to San Michele, it is said that the Archangel appeared to the young archer Galgano, while he was chasing a marvellous white bull. Through the intercession of the Archangel the arrows thrown against the bull came back and struck his hunter, who converted to Christianity.

It was Pope Gregory the Great who brought the Lombards to conversion, above all thanks to Queen Teodolinda. Saint Michael immediately liked these ferocious warriors from the north, because he embodied Odin’s talents, and chose him as protector. Thanks to the Lombards the cult of San Michele spread throughout northern Italy. Even today there are testimonies of this diffusion in Pavia, former capital of the Lombard kingdom, and in the Val di Susa, in Piedmont, where the Sacra di San Michele still stands, a monastery perched on the peak of Mount Pirchiriano, which was for centuries used by pilgrims between Italy and France. This superb architectural complex was inspired by Umberto Eco for his novel ‘Il Nome della Rosa’.

 The sacred lay line of Archangel St. Michael

We have also spoken about the sacred line that connects all the most important places of worship dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, otherwise known as the Ley Line of St. Michael:

  • Skellig Michael in Ireland
  • St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, England
  • Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France
  • the Sacra di San Michele in Val di Susa,
  • San Michele, Monte Sant’Angelo, Puglia
  • San Michele Monastery on the Island of Simi, Greece
  • Monastery of Monte Carmelo in Israel.

Besides being along the same, imaginary straight line, three of these important places are also equidistant from each other: these are Mont Saint Michel in France, the Sacra di San Michele in Val di Susa and the sanctuary of Monte Sant Angelo on the Gargano.

“Ley Lines” are straight lines that join places on the Earth that have always been considered special, perhaps energy nodes of the planet, whose meaning is impossible to trace. The Ley Line of St. Michael, or Ley Line of the Dragon, is, among other things, perfectly aligned with the setting of the Sun on the day of the Summer Solstice. It is therefore no secret that, since ancient times, the cult of Archangel St. Michael has been studied from many perspectives, following suggestions that often transcend religion and the spiritual value of places of devotion.

Prayers to the Archangel St. Michael

We have already mentioned that sometimes the cult of St. Michael the Archangel is associated with that of the Virgin Mary. Both are emblems of the fight against evil, both are guardians and protectors of humanity, both fight the Devil, crushing him under their feet, driving him to hell.

Prayers which are addressed to St. Michael the Archangel are above all requests for help, protection.

The Prince of the Celestial Militia relies on it in the everyday troubles, but also in view of the Last Judgment. It is invoked as a guide, as a protector, as a shield against evil and support. Never as in the prayers addressed to other Saints it is clear that the invocations to St. Michael the Archangel are real weapons of faith, to be challenged in daily battles. And how could it be otherwise, given the iconography that characterizes this beautiful and implacable Archangel? Since the origins of his cult, therefore, invocations, consecration, angelic crowns were dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel.

One prayer in particular deserves further study. It was written in October 1884 by Pope Leo XIII, following a frightful vision in which the Devil threatened to destroy the Church and Saint Michael stood in his defence. Leo XIII made it law that this prayer be recited at the end of each mass, and inserted it among the most powerful exorcisms, in Exorcismus in Satanam et Angelos Apostaticos. This exorcism hides a prophecy that touches us closely, given that the exorcism dates back to the nineteenth century, and speaks of events that would take place in the immediate future. According to the prophecy, Lucifer and his allies will take control of the Papacy, but nevertheless they will not succeed in destroying the Church. Exorcism can only be recited by an authorized priest, but the prayer written by Leo XIII can be recited by the faithful, and although it is not as efficacious as exorcism in the case of overt possession, it can prevent possession from taking place, protecting those who have been targeted by the evil one.

We report only the abbreviated version reported by the Roman Ritual and published in 1902:

Glorious Prince of the Celestial Militia, Archangel Saint Michael,

Defend us in this ardent battle against all the powers of darkness and their spiritual malice.

Come to the aid of men, whom God created immortal, made in his own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.

You are revered by the Holy Church as her guardian and patron, and to you, the Lord has entrusted the souls who will one day occupy the heavenly seats. “Oh, pray to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, conquered so resoundingly that he will no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church.

Present our prayers to the Most High, with your own, so that His Divine Mercies will descend upon us soon, and you can chain the dragon, the ancient serpent Satan, and throw him into the abyss. Only in this way will he seduce souls no longer.

Since the prophecy and exorcism of Leo XIII, it is clear that now, more than ever, the gravity of what is happening around us, the succession of wars, suffering, prevarication, which are now so frequent and constant they have been normalised, and are taken for granted, requires the intervention of a benign force, equipped with the appropriate weapons to defeat evil. The Archangel St. Michael is a symbol of inexhaustible spiritual strength, courage, loyalty, purity still capable of guiding and saving souls who wish to follow the right path.

Another prayer dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel worth mentioning is the angelic Crown, composed by Antonia de Astonac, a Portuguese Carmelite, in 1751. Recognised by Pope Pius IX, it is a sort of Rosary which is addressed above all to the Archangels and the angelic choirs. It is in fact made up of an invocation to God (Gloria), an invocation (composed of one Our Father and three Hail Marys) for each of the nine angelic choirs, and four Our Fathers, three for each of the Archangels and one for the Guardian angel.

Representations of St. Michael the Archangel in art and the collective imagination

In general, the salient features with which Saint Michael Archangel is depicted are armour, a sword, or a spear, with a warlike posture. Since the cult of St. Michael the Archangel was founded in the East, or in any case in the Byzantine area,  he is very often depicted with elegant robes, like a Byzantine dignitary, as can be seen in many of the icons of St. Michael the Archangel, as well as in the works of Simone Martini, for example. In this context, the Saint is usually dressed by a purple cloak or the imperial loros; in his hand he carries the Labar, a banner bearing the trisághion, an ancient anthem, bearing the text: “Holy God, Holy Strength, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.” As regards the Byzantine’s devotion to St. Michael,, it is worth remembering that Emperor Constantine I had the Michaelion built in his name in Constantinople, a huge sanctuary, while in the West the first basilica dedicated to St. Michael probably dates back to the fifth century.

As regards Byzantine iconography, the western tradition prefers Saint Michael presented at the Apocalypse, a as  celestial warrior, a prince in armour with his wings spread, who guides the divine armies against the Evil One. The Archangel Michael is generally depicted on foot, in the form of a young beardless, hieratic man, with his wings spread, a spear or a sword in his hand, and a crossed globe in the other. He wears a flowing tunic, sometimes a cloak, but is always the armour.

On the contrary, we owe the Islamic tradition the occurrences, in some representations of him, to a scale, that the Archangel uses to weighs souls, with a view to their Judgement. This is a tradition that has its origins in paganism, in particular in the Egyptian myth of Osiris, and in Persian mythology, but has been portrayed by many artists. It spread, particularly in the Romanesque-Gothic context, to both the East and West. In this interpretation, St. Michael the Archangel appears as protector of the dead, their psychopomp or guide, as was Hermes or Charon in the Greek tradition, and as a weigher of souls.

Moreover, the iconography of Saint Michael, as he appears in the icons, paintings and statues that depict him, owes much to that of gods and heroes of pagan mythology, in which a heroic figure appears at the end of time, and defeats Evil, which is often represented by a monster. Think of the Babylonian god Marduk, of Mithras, or Hermes, all of them are connected by the characteristic of being a mediator between the heavenly powers and man, the bearers of light and salvation, which we also find associated with St. Michael.

As regards the statues dedicated to Archangel Michael, they are innumerable, and again take on the pictorial iconography of the warrior armed with a sword that defeats the Devil, or a Dragon, as well as the more oriental interpretation of a St. Michael who judges the souls of men.

In addition to the Byzantine and Romanesque bas-reliefs, of which there are many examples all over the world, we can consider in particular the Statue of the Archangel Michael in the Basilica at Monte Sant’Angelo, or the numerous statues of San Michele that succeeded on the top of Castel Sant ‘Angelo in Rome, the first, in wood, since the eleventh century, and finally, the San Michele di Raffaello  by Montelupo, made from marble and metal, with magnificent painted wings, which unfortunately have been lost, and  the bronze statue by Peter Anton van Verschaffelt, which was erected in 1752, and even today, watches over the Eternal City.

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How to recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/how-to-recite-the-chaplet-of-divine-mercy/ Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:10:34 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=574 The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a devotional prayer that guarantees those who recite it, especially at the point of death, the grace of conversion and the forgiveness of all sins. It is also a prayer that invokes God’s mercy on all humanity, offering the Passion […]

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The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a devotional prayer that guarantees those who recite it, especially at the point of death, the grace of conversion and the forgiveness of all sins. It is also a prayer that invokes God’s mercy on all humanity, offering the Passion and Love of Jesus, His suffering, as a sacrifice, to bring God closer to men.

Its origin is linked to the figure of Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, a religious woman who lived in the early 1900s, a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy who was canonized in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

The many graces she received in her short life, the visions, the miracles, the revelations of which she was the bearer, made her the main propagator of devotions to the Merciful Jesus. Jesus himself, on one of the occasions when he appeared to her, called her the “Secretary of Divine Mercy”, and as an Apostle of Divine Mercy, she is worshiped everywhere.

Born and raised in a very religious but poor family, Sister Faustina showed a precocious and authentic vocation, but had to wait a long time before she could embrace a religious life. With poor health, she died at thirty-three, but left a testimony of faith and religious fervor of great intensity and humanity, a complete union with God and his Will.

She was a great populariser of the Divine Mercy cult, after an apparition of Jesus who, dressed in white and in blessing, ordered her to depict him and spread His image, promising that anyone who venerated him would know salvation and the eternal life. This image was created for the first time by a Lithuanian artist, following instructions from Sister Faustina’s spiritual father and under strict control of the latter. It depicts Jesus wearing a white robe, his right hand raised and two rays coming out of his heart, a white one representing water and a red one representing blood. Always under the indication of Sister Faustina, the image shows the inscription “Jezu, ufam tobie” (Jesus, I trust in you).Passion and Love of Jesus

On the occasion of a later apparition, Jesus taught her a particular form of prayer, which would have guaranteed His mercy to those who had recited it, especially at the time of death. This is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

With this prayer, we address ourselves directly to God by offering him the body, blood and soul of His Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The suffering of Jesus brings God closer to men, places the salvation of all mankind in His hands and in His Will. The graces that can be requested through this prayer, the hope of Salvation, are commensurate with the full trust placed in the mercy of Jesus and in the Will of God, to which ours can only adapt and entrust himself. In fact, Jesus told Sister Faustina: “For the recitation of this Chaplet I like to grant everything that will ask me if this will conform to my will.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy also guarantees the grace of being able to die peacefully and in peace. This promise is not only valid for those who recite it, but also for those who are dying and have someone else to pray for them. Jesus assured Sister Faustina that when someone says this Chaplet next to a dying man, He will place himself between the soul of the latter and His Father, not as a judge, but as a saviour, and His infinite Mercy will welcome that soul.

chaplet of the divine mercy
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Chaplet of the Divine Mercy

The Chaplet is also a hope for sinners, even the most ardent ones. Jesus indicated it to the priests as the last tablet of salvation for those who spent their lives in sin. According to Sister Faustina in her diaries, Jesus said: “When you recite this prayer with a repentant heart and with faith for some sinner, I will grant him the grace of conversion …” It will be enough to recite this Chaplet only once, and the infinite mercy of God will descend on the most hardened sinner, freeing his soul from guilt and granting him eternal salvation. Sister Faustina spoke of having been invited by Jesus to recite the Chaplet at the bedside of a sinner. His guardian angel was at his side, helpless before his suffering, while a host of demons already anticipated his soul. But thanks to Faustina’s intervention and to the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy the demons disappeared and the poor man could breathe in peace and grace.

It is a good idea to recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day, or at least for nine consecutive days, preferably at 3 pm, the hour when Jesus gave his life for us. In one of her diaries, Sister Faustina wrote that Jesus, speaking to her about his death, told her: “In that hour you will get everything for yourself and for others; in that hour grace was given to the whole world, Mercy won justice.” Reciting the Chaplet at that time is as if we find ourselves with the spirit under the Cross of Christ, and beg for God’s mercy for ourselves and for the whole world, by virtue of His passion.  Jesus said to Sister Faustina: “At three o’clock in the afternoon, implore My Mercy especially for sinners and even for a brief moment immerse yourself in My Passion, especially in my abandonment at the time of death. It is an hour of great Mercy for the whole world.”

It takes only 5 minutes

It takes only five minutes, and it is an act of truly comforting devotion, which infuses peace with joy.

To recite the chaplet of Divine Mercy it is sufficient to use the crown of the Holy Rosary, even though, with the diffusion of prayer, specially created rosaries were made, with a medal depicting the Merciful Jesus and a portrait of Sister Faustina.

We begin by reciting the Sign of the Cross, followed by an Our Father, a Hail Mary and the Creed.

Each of the five major beads is recited: “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and the Blood, the Soul and the Divinity of Your most beloved Son and Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in expiation of our sins and for those of the whole world”, while for each of the fifty minor beads you say: “For your painful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

The Chaplet continues on arriving at the end of the Rosary and repeating three times: “Holy God, Holy Strength, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us and on the whole world” and ends with the invocation: “Oh Blood and Water that spring from the Heart of Jesus as a source of mercy for us, I trust in you!” and with the sign of the cross.

In summary:

Sign of the cross

misericordina of pope francis
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Misericordina of Pope Francis

Lord’s Prayer

Ave Maria

APOSTOLIC CREDITS

On the 5 beads of the Our Father, we recite:

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and the Blood, the Soul and the Divinity of Your Most Beloved Son and our Lord Jesus Christ, in expiation of our sins and for those of the whole world.

On the 50 beads of the Ave Maria we recite:

For His painful Passion, have Mercy of us and of the whole world.

Finally, we repeat 3 times:

Holy God, Holy Strength, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

In conclusion, before the Sign of the Cross, we recite:

Oh Blood and Water that springs from the Heart of Jesus, as Source of Mercy for us, I trust in You.

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The Novena to Mary that loosens the knots http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/the-novena-to-mary-that-loosens-the-knots/ Wed, 06 Jun 2018 14:49:33 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=565 The Novena is a Christian devotional form that is usually practiced on a religious recurrence or a particularly important holiday, like at Christmas, Easter, Immaculata or Pentecost. It involves reciting a particular prayer for nine consecutive days, or different prayers, addressed to God, and usually aimed at requesting the intercession […]

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The Novena is a Christian devotional form that is usually practiced on a religious recurrence or a particularly important holiday, like at ChristmasEasterImmaculata or Pentecost. It involves reciting a particular prayer for nine consecutive days, or different prayers, addressed to God, and usually aimed at requesting the intercession of Our Lady, of a Saint or the angels to give comfort, protection, ask for a favour or the resolution of a particular problem.

Meaning of Devotion

The Novena, which takes its name from the medieval Latin ‘novenus’, arises from Jesus request to his disciples to pray after his death while waiting for the Holy Spirit to manifest. Thus Our Lady and the Apostles prayed together for nine days, from the Ascension to Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit finally descended upon them. This episode, reported in the Acts of the Apostles, gave rise to this practice, which is particularly valuable for those who are in a situation of trouble and suffering for themselves or for someone they love. Jesus had already revealed what it was necessary to do to find peace: “pray always without getting tired“(Lk 18.1). To pray with humility, with absolute trust, without believing that prayer is a sort of magic formula that will solve every problem by magic, but we should be aware of the fact that, by praying, we are entrusting ourselves to God and to his infinite mercy.

In this context, the practice of a particular form of Novena was born and developed: the Novena to Mary that loosens the knots. A bizarre name, but one that perfectly embodies the spirit of those who are preparing to recite this particular prayer and to face the spiritual path it requires.

Dissolve the knots that generate pain

mary untier of knots statue
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Mary untier of knots statue multilingual prayer

The image of Mary who melts knots expresses very well the need of the faithful to receive help from the Blessed Virgin to solve a problem, find comfort and a solution when in a particularly difficult situation. In a word, dissolving a knot that prevents him or her from living well, which blocks their life, interrupting their natural flow. The knots that can create discomfort are of various kinds and entities. Some knots we carry with us for years without even knowing it, others are open and apparently incurable wounds, which poison our days. A quarrel with a family member, a lack of communication or respect, a sick child, or being prey to a habit that consumes their life, someone we love and who has turned away from God, the pain caused by a child who takes drugs , who is sick or who has left home, guilty of mistakes made in the past, incurable diseases, depression, awareness of having sinned in a way that they consider cannot be forgiven. With this Novena, the intercession of Mary is requested to dissolve any knot that causes us pain. This may be a problem related to everyday life, work, a family problem, a sick relative, or a situation of physical or mental discomfort, a personal quarrel with a partner, a child, a parent. Whatever the knot that prevents us from living peacefully, which makes our days heavy and burdensome, we can ask Mary to help us to untie it and find peace. Mary is particularly suitable as a reference for a prayer of this kind, she who has always been considered the Mother of all mothers, the reference point for those who are lost in a stormy and dark sea and vaguely search for a star to guide them. It is no coincidence that San Bernardo di Chiaravalle referred to her as “Stella del Mare” (The Star of the Sea).

The first Novena to Mary who breaks the knots was written in 1998 by an Argentinian priest, Juan Ramón Celeiro. With his sensitivity, he was able to give voice to the devotion of many people, even far from the Church, who were able to find in Mary the help and intercession needed to solve their problems. Mary, Virgin and Mother, who was consoling and merciful, opened her hands and her heart to those who were able to believe and rely on her. Immediately appreciated and authorised by the Church, this Novena spread rapidly, thanks above all to Cardinal Bergoglio, then Pope Francis, who sustained it immediately.

How do you pray the Novena di Maria who melts the knots?

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Rosary with Maria that loosens the knots

The Novena di Maria who melts the knots is recited for nine consecutive days as a prelude or tail of the Holy Rosary. First you need to make the Sign of the Cross and recite the act of contrition. At this point, with the soul predisposed to prayer, we turn to Mary reciting the “Supplication to Mary who Melts the Knots”. Alternatively, the petition can be recited at the end of the Rosary. This prayer is found in a booklet specially written to help the faithful in their devotional practice.

Then the real Rosary begins, with the first three dozen, the Meditation corresponds to each day of the Novena, the last two dozen, followed by the “Salve Regina” and another prayer to Mary that loosens the knots. But in reality the scheme can be varied depending on the possibilities and conditions of those who pray. The important thing is the attitude with which one asks oneself to pray. If on the one hand we must avoid thinking of prayer as a sort of magic formula, covering the words or the way in which they are recited with an entirely external importance, devoid of spiritual depth, it is, on the other hand, necessary to trust prayer with complete confidence along with the effects we hope to achieve with it.

In this, as in every other practice, what matters is how we place ourselves, with humility, availability, an open soul, elevated to God, the spirit free from doubts and hesitation. We are supplicants, and as such we must address ourselves to Her who, in her infinite goodness and love, can solve our problems only if we are willing to trust in her help.

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Archangels: who are they and what is their function? http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/archangels-who-are-they-and-what-is-their-function/ Wed, 30 May 2018 14:39:12 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=555 The Catholic Church recognises the existence of only three Archangels, or the three mentioned in the Scriptures: Michael (“Who is like God?”), Gabriel (“God’s Power”) and Raphael (“God’s Doctor”). This clarification is needed, because one could object that in the texts of the past, other archangels have been mentioned, the same as […]

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The Catholic Church recognises the existence of only three Archangels, or the three mentioned in the Scriptures: Michael (“Who is like God?”), Gabriel (“God’s Power”) and Raphael (“God’s Doctor”).

This clarification is needed, because one could object that in the texts of the past, other archangels have been mentioned, the same as the number of sects in the Book of Enoch: Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Phanuel and Gabriel. The system of seven archangels is in fact an ancient tradition of Judaic origin.

The Catholic Church, however, considered it necessary to stop such arbitrary and fanciful interpretations of texts that did not belong to the canonical Holy Scriptures. In fact, we remind you that all individual traditions must be examined and verified in accordance with what is stated in the Holy Canonical Scripture, which is the only true revelation.

Therefore, with regard to the Archangels, it was established in the Middle Ages that the worship and veneration of any of the other archangels mentioned by the Bible apart from Michele, Gabriele and Raphael was forbidden.  Even in the past, in the early Church, great efforts were made to prevent the cult of angels, which was influenced by heterodox practices and the pagan traditions of divine messengers, from leading to a form of idolatry.

In 1992, the decree Litteris Diei stated that “it is forbidden to teach and use notions about angels and archangels, their personal names and their particular functions, outside of what is directly reflected in the Holy Scriptures; consequently, every form of consecration to the angels, and any practices other than the official customs of worship are forbidden.”

Given this, who and what are the Archangels?

The existence of angels is a truth of the faith. Their presence in the Bible is incontrovertible testimony to this. These are incorporeal beings, who are spiritualperfect, created by God at the dawn of time for the purpose of being his servants and messengers. They have always and forever contemplated the face of God, are ready to rush to his every command, as attentive listeners and executors of His Word.

They are therefore spirits that exist for Him and in Him, who are, however, also close to humans, through the faithfulness between the will of the Most High and his creatures.

Angels therefore live in the contemplation of God and act as His messengers.

And the Archangels?

Since ancient times, we have considered the fact that the angelic hosts are organised into a sort of Heavenly Court, in which the angels have different ranks and graces. The three Archangels occupy the highest domains of this angelic hierarchy. They too have tasks similar to those of the common angels, but their duties are even higher and more important. They are the task of contemplating God, day and night, glorifying Him incessantly by preserving and protecting His mystery. Their own names suggest their roles and their nature: all end with “El”, which signifies “God”.

The Sacred Scripture then, attributes a particular mission to each Archangel.

Michael is the warrior who fights against Satan and his emissaries (Jn 9, Ap 12, 7, cf. Zec 13: 1-2), the defender of those who love God (Dn 10, 13.21), the protector of the people of God (Dn. 12, 1).

Gabriel is one of the spirits closest to God, before his heavenly throne (Lk 1, 19), the one who revealed to Daniel the secrets of God’s plan (Dn 8, 16; 9, 21-22), announced to Zechariah the birth of John the Baptist (Lk 1, 11-20) and to Mary that of Jesus (Lk 1, 26-38).

Raphael stands before the throne of God (Tb 12, 15, see Rev 8: 2), accompanied and protects Tobias in his perilous journey and healed his father from blindness and his future bride from the influence of evil.

In general, therefore, the task of the three Archangels, in addition to contemplation of God, is to communicate His Will to man in various ways, to be an inspiration for human beings, and the catalysts of divine grace for them.

Saint Michael

Saint Michael appears in the Holy Scriptures, in particular in the Book of Daniel, in the Letters of the Apostle Saint Jude Thaddeus and in the Apocalypse.

His name derives from the Hebrew Mi-ka-El which means “who is like God?”

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Saint Michael Statue in Coloured Wood Pulp

Popular iconography represents him as a warrior in armour wielding a sword, or intending to slay a dragon that symbolises the Devil, with a spear. In fact, this is the role played by Michael, that of the fighter fighting against rebel angels who are led by Lucifer. It was Michael who led the heavenly hosts in the war leading to the expulsion of rebellious angels from Paradise, and since then, he has continued to stand up as God’s defender against Evil and its deceits. The theatre for this new battle is no longer heaven, forbidden to Satan, but the souls of we humans, constantly targeted by the flattery of Evil, and instigated at every moment to rebel against God. The Devil tries to convince men that God is a tyrant, who limits their freedom and their own full realisation in the creation. The Archangel Michael is sent from heaven to protect men and guide them, to teach them to distinguish good from evil and truth from falsehood.

In the Apocalypse, where he revealed himself to John, he is described as a majestic being, vested with the task of examining the souls destined for the Last Judgment.

The Judger of souls, therefore, and protector, defender of the Church, and of the people of God.

It is no coincidence that Castel S. Angelo, the fortress where the Pope takes refuge when in danger, is watched over by his statue, and travellers and pilgrims invoke his name and his protection against the hazards of the journey.

Some studies have sought to see in Archangel Michael, the influence of ancient myths linked to the legendary figure of a god-hero killer of monsters, like the Babylonian god Marduk, or of pagan gods who were engaged to act as mediators between heaven and earth, like the Greek god Hermes. The same festival dedicated to the Archangel, on 29 September, falls on this day as a legacy of the celebrations of the Autumn Equinox, a consecrated feast in Mithras, of a divinity linked to the Sun by the Persians and then the Romans.

His cult, within the Catholic Church, started in the East, but spread rapidly throughout Europe, especially following his appearance on the Gargano, in Puglia, when the Archangel appeared in San Lorenzo Maiorano in a cave that centuries later became a pilgrimage for popes, sovereigns and future saints. Near the cave rose the Basilica Sanctuary, which still today remains one of the most important and magnificent places of worship among those dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

In 2013, Pope Francis consecrated the Vatican City State to St. Joseph and St. Michael the Archangel, recognising once again his role as defender of the Faith and of the Church.

The Archangel Michael, the ‘celestial warrior’, is the protector of swordsmen and masters of arms. His skills as a judger of souls have also made him the patron of all trades that involve the use of assessments, such as traders, pharmacists, pastry chefs. He is also patron saint of the Police.

St. Gabriel

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Archangel Gabriel Wooden Statue Painted

Even the Archangel Gabriel, like Michael and Raphael, has a festival day- which is celebrated on September 29th.

His name derives from the Hebrew, and means “Power of God” or “God is Mighty”.

In the biblical tradition, he was considered to be one of the angels closest to the throne of God, to the point of being referred to as “the left hand of God”.

In the Bible, he is also presented as an angel of death, while for the Muslims he is one of the chief Messengers of God and the angel who revealed the Koran to Muhammad.

In the Christian tradition, Gabriel is particularly remembered as a messenger.

He revealed the future birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah, he appeared in a dream to Joseph to make him desist from repudiating Mary, because her pregnancy was the work of the Holy Spirit, and, naturally, because she was the bearer of a miraculous conception and of the birth of Jesus. In this case, more than in any other, he consecrated himself as being the messenger of God. It was Gabriel who appeared to Mary and told her that God had chosen her as the mother for His only Son. No imposition, no obligation. Only a request, addressed by one of the most powerful angels to a simple and humble girl. The role of Gabriel was therefore pivotal. He brings God’s message to us, making it understandable to us, helping us to listen with a pure heart and to accept the will of the Almighty.

Some interpretations have sought to see him as the angel who will blow the horn announcing the Day of Judgment, according to the Apocalypse of John.

Gabriel is considered to be the protector of those who work in communications, postmen, ambassadors, journalists and couriers.

Christian iconography depicts him as a young winged cherub, who often carries a lily in his hands, as a symbol of the Annunciation to Mary.

St. Raphael

Raphael is the Archangel whose mission is to bring healing. In fact, his name derives from Hebrew and means “God’s Doctor”.

In the Bible, he is among the angels closest to the throne of God, who was chosen by Tobias to guide him on his journey to collect the payments left by his father. During the journey, Raphael, in human form, found a suitable bride for Tobias and restored the sight to the boy’s father.

Raphael was considered to be the patron of conjugal love, of young people, engaged couples, spouses, pharmacists, educators, travellers and refugees. Although not mentioned in the Qur’an, for Muslims, he is the angel in charge of sounding the horn that will signal the start of the Day of Judgement (according to other traditions, this was the task of Gabriel).

Often depicted with a jar containing medicaments and fishes, he is the patron of pharmacists, travellers and refugees.

His role as a healer, as “God’s Doctor” should always be interpreted as the will to heal the soul, to relieve it from its suffering and make it best disposed to welcome God. By restoring sight to the father of Tobias, Raphael opened his eyes to the Truth of the Almighty, just as, by driving out the demons that persecuted the girl who was promised to him, he made their marriage and their love possible. That is why he is also considered to be a protector of engaged couples and of conjugal love. Both are symbolic and meaningful healings, therefore. The power of the Archangel Raphael heals blindness, like the faith and love that priests show us and communicate to us every day opens our eyes to God. Equally, divine intervention, through its emissary, dissipates the clouds between men and women, makes them pure and suitable for union, in the name of a love blessed by God and by the Church.

Through St. Raphael, the healing and purifying power of God’s love descends on us, making us more worthy, and closer to God.

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The cult of Mary Help of Christians http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/cult-mary-help-christians/ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 11:57:13 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=261 Mary has always been seen as the ideal mediator between God and men, the one who, by her very nature, can take to the ears of our Heavenly Father the pain, afflictions, prayers of his children. With the name of Mary Help of Christians, from […]

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Mary has always been seen as the ideal mediator between God and men, the one who, by her very nature, can take to the ears of our Heavenly Father the pain, afflictions, prayers of his children.

With the name of Mary Help of Christians, from the ‘Auxilium’, there has been a movement since the antiquity to honour this exceptional figure of a woman, who by her virtue, her grace and her devoted sacrifice and suffering merited the title of ‘mother’ of all Christians.

It was Jesus himself who indicated her as the mother of mankind, as she watched helplessly, at the foot of the cross, his agony. It’s a difficult, painful legacy that this woman accepted with the usual spirit of sacrifice. Comforter of the afflicted, then refuge of sinners and Help of Christians, with a totality of love and mercy that could only be expected of a mother.

Born under Pius V (1566-1572), the cult of Mary Help of Christians met her true consecration in the nineteenth century through the work of two great figures of Catholicism: Bartolo Longo and St. John Bosco.

In particular, St. John Bosco, a great educator and innovator from Turin, attentive to the problems of youth, was one of the most devoted apostles of the cult of Mary Help of Christians. It was he who built the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in the Salesian citadel of Valdocco. He also connect the cult of Mary Help of Christians to religious institutes and congregations that he founded: the Salesians of Don Bosco, the ‘Daughters of Mary Help of Christians’ and the ‘Salesian Cooperators’.

For this reason, the Mary Help of Christians is also known as the ‘Mary of Don Bosco‘ and the Salesian Family is inextricably linked to this mother-saviour figure.

Mary Help of Christians is the patroness of Catholic Australia, China, Argentina, and Poland. Her devotion is particularly wide spread in Slavic countries.

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The Miraculous Madonna http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/miraculous-madonna/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:18:21 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=56 With Miraculous Madonna, the Catholic Church defines a miracle that took place in the Church of Saints James and Philip in Taggia, in the province of Imperia. Here, in 1855, while the population was gathered in prayer, the faithful noticed the eyes of a plaster […]

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With Miraculous Madonna, the Catholic Church defines a miracle that took place in the Church of Saints James and Philip in Taggia, in the province of Imperia. Here, in 1855, while the population was gathered in prayer, the faithful noticed the eyes of a plaster statue of the Madonna prodigiously turning and the face taking the color of a person alive and in the flesh. There were many witnesses who saw the movement of the eyes and the change in the face of the Virgin. The phenomenon repeated itself several times, in the following days during vespertine functions, leading to the recognition of the miracle by the Pope. It was decreed that the statue of the Miraculous Madonna must be crowned with a golden crown. The coronation was accompanied by religious celebrations and great popular celebrations culminated with a fireworks display. To all the faithful that on that occasion went to church, confessed and took the Eucharist, was granted a plenary indulgence and remission of all sins.

The first miraculous statue of Our Lady was a work of the local sculptor Salvatore Revelli. It shows the Virgin Mary with the heart in her hands and is still preserved in the Church of Saints James and Philip in Taggia, but it is the object of worship and devotion throughout Italy. Graces and mercies are attributed to the Miraculous Madonna over the local population, even in situations of great danger like the Second World War.

The cult of the Miraculous Madonna is linked in some ways to that of the Miraculous Medal (or medal of the Madonna delle Grazie, or Medal of the Immaculate Conception) linked to the Marian visions of St. Catherine Labouré, a novice in the convent of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, in Paris, in 1830. Again, as in that of the Miraculous Madonna, the so-called “Chapel of the Apparitions” became a place of worship, which is still open to all the faithful and very popular.

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Pope John Paul II: 10 curiosities you might not know http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/pope-john-paul-ii-10-curiosities-might-not-know/ Wed, 13 Sep 2017 08:56:04 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=416 Pope John Paul II, or Pope Wojtyla, made the history of the twentieth century with his pontificate. He directed the Church for 27 years, establishing relationships with rulers and heads of state, taking part in the most significant events of our time with his constant presence […]

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Pope John Paul II, or Pope Wojtyla, made the history of the twentieth century with his pontificate. He directed the Church for 27 years, establishing relationships with rulers and heads of state, taking part in the most significant events of our time with his constant presence and tirelessness, even when his health conditions wouldn’t allow it. A passionate man in love with life, close to young people as no other Pope before him.

But today we don’t want to talk about his early sanctification, his merciful acts, profound humanity, joy and admirable living. Maybe there is still something about him that you don’t know.

  1. John Paul II was the first non-Italian Pope after 400 years. Just elected, he appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Square, and to justify his unfamiliar knowledge of the language he pronounced the famous phrase: “… and if I’m wrong, you’ll correct me.”
  2. He was the first Pope after St. Peter to enter a synagogue. John Paul II always had a special relationship with the Jews.
  3. John Paul II was always on the move. He traveled more than all Popes before him put together! He officially travelled in 129 countries around the world, but also made secret trips, to enjoy relaxation and solitude.
  4. Always on the road, he received the honorary Globetrotter award. The Globetrotter have been promoting, since the late 19th century, a new form of travel with improvised and adventurous means.
  5. His passion for sport, in particular mountaineering, skiing and swimming, is the reason behind his nickname of ‘athlete of God’.
  6. He was the first Pope whose face appeared on a banknote, in the 50 Polish zloty since 2006.
  7. During his papacy he performed 1338 beatifications of 482 sanctifications: a record never equaled by his predecessors.
  8. The World Youth Days, started in 1985, reached 5 million people in 1995 in Manila. The most famous was the one in Rome in 2000 for the Jubilee, when the press invented the word ‘papaboys’ to describe the more than 2 million young people who came to the Tor Vergata Square for the Pope.
  9. John Paul II apologized for many acts of cruelty and barbarism committed by the Catholic Church over the centuries, such as persecution of Protestants, participation in African slave trafficking and the persecution of the astronomer Galileo Galilei.
  10. John Paul II appears among the 10 most important and admired people of the twentieth century according to Citizen’s chart Gallup, a US company specializing in world socio-demographic research.

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Saint Paul of Tarso: story of a missionary http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/saint-paul-tarso-story-missionary/ Wed, 09 Aug 2017 14:50:46 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=382 Saint Paul of Tarso can be considered the first great missionary of the Christian Church. His work as proselyte and contribution to spreading the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean find no equal. His excellence is even more remarkable because of his conversion, from the fierce persecutor […]

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Saint Paul of Tarso can be considered the first great missionary of the Christian Church. His work as proselyte and contribution to spreading the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean find no equal. His excellence is even more remarkable because of his conversion, from the fierce persecutor of Christians to their pastor and defender. Though he had not personally known Jesus, he was among the most fervent and passionate of his disciples. His own life is a testimony to divine greatness and saving power of Grace.

Saint Paul was born in Tarso, Cilicia, around 5-10 AD. His family was of Jewish origin, but had Roman citizenship. Paul, or Saul as he was called then, grew up in a Jewish culture, and his studies followed the rules of the rabbinical school.

Saint Paul of Tarso statue
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Sent to Jerusalem to study, he had the first contact with Christians, which seemed to him a sect of dangerous subversives that must be extirpated by any means, in the name of the Jewish law.

Growing up, his anti-Christian fervor turned into a real mission. Saint Paul, before becoming the one the important figure we know today, contributed to the arrest and condemnation of countless Christians.

It was while chasing a group of Christians fleeing to Damascus that Paul was caught up by a sudden vision. A light from heaven struck him, making him blind, and a voice asked him, “Saul, Saul, why do you pursue me?” And he: “Who are you, Lord?”; and the voice said: “I am Jesus, the one you pursue. Now rise up and enter the city, where you will be told what you must do “(Acts 9: 3-7).

It was not easy for Saul to understand that call, nor to adapt to his new life. Riddled by his own people, looked suspiciously by those who were accustomed to seeing him as an enemy, he began his preaching armed only with his enthusiasm. The meetings with Peter and the other Apostles made him aware of the life and the Word of Jesus. From then on he began a series of apostolic journeys, often accompanied by the apostle Barnabe and other disciples and friends. He knew persecution and imprisonment by the hand of Jews and Romans, but never stopped, animated by an inexhaustible zeal, and desire for the truth. His mission led him to the martyrdom, in Rome.

The Letters and the texts he left are the foundations of the Doctrine of the Church as we know it.

In his studies and preaching, he analyzed all the arguments related to the earthly life of men and the way to salvation.

In Saint Paul, the Church sees one of his greatest, wisest men, and the first of his preachers.

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The story of Mother Teresa of Calcutta http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/story-mother-teresa-calcutta/ Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:48:37 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=378 We will always remember Mother Teresa of Calcutta for her untiring will to help the last ones, the deprived and poor. Today she is a Saint, celebrated all over the world, and surely one of the most important figures in modern history, awarded with the […]

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We will always remember Mother Teresa of Calcutta for her untiring will to help the last ones, the deprived and poor. Today she is a Saint, celebrated all over the world, and surely one of the most important figures in modern history, awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize and countless other awards.

But we must not forget that she was first of all a woman: a simple woman who has consciously decided to devote all her life to others.

We should never forget this because it’s from this that we can find the will to imitate, in our small, such important and precious figures.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta statue
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Santa Teresa of Calcutta (Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu) was born in Albania. After a difficult childhood with the premature death of her father, she shows an early interest in charity and mercy; she became nun at eighteen and, after a short stay in England and Ireland, she was sent to India. Since very young she showed her love towards this country in her close correspondence with the Jesuit missionaries in Bengal.

Since then, Saint Teresa lived between Calcutta and Darjelling, divided between prayer and charity, until in August 1946 when, while Calcutta was bloodied by independent fights, she was reached by the ‘call within the call’. She understood that she had to leave the quiet life of the convent to fully immerse in the poverty of those who lived in the street. Saint Teresa considered it as a precise order of God.

Since then, even by fighting the rejected of the Church itself, she began her true mission as the poorest among the poor. She abandoned the black veil and assumed citizenship in the newly independent Republic of India. Soon her example was followed by others. Around her began a bigger network of volunteers: their tasks ranged from distributing food, teaching, assisting the sick and dying.

In 1950, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a congregation devoted to the mercy and care of the poor and those in need. As a robe Mother Theresa chose a white sari with blue stripes, the colors of the caste of the Untouchables.

Mother Teresa’s influence grew rapidly, also thanks to the worldwide media attention. With the help of local and foreign personalities, she opened reception centers and care for the poor, sick and lepers. She received the visit of heads of state, the most powerful men in the world, and had a long friendship with Pope John Paul II, who already considered her a living Patron of Hospitality.

She remained in charge of her congregation as long as health permitted her to, continuing to serve among her people, and died in her Calcutta the age of 87. John Paul II started a special beatification process for her, only two years after her death, to confirm the holiness that accompanied her throughout her life.

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Sant’Agostino d’Ippona: philosopher, bishop and theologian http://192.168.99.122/com/saints-and-blessed/santagostino-dippona-philosopher-bishop-theologian/ Wed, 28 Jun 2017 13:10:21 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=363 Very few men of faith can be compared to Sant’Agostino d’Ippona. He was not only a great theologian and bishop, philosopher and doctor of the Church. Sant’Agostino d’Ippona put his higher sensitivity and genius in the service of Faith as a priest, but also as […]

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Very few men of faith can be compared to Sant’Agostino d’Ippona. He was not only a great theologian and bishop, philosopher and doctor of the Church. Sant’Agostino d’Ippona put his higher sensitivity and genius in the service of Faith as a priest, but also as orator, writer of some of the most beautiful and intimate pages that ecclesiastical literature can recall.

A great man, an elevated mind who discovered Faith after long inner labor: it is perhaps because of the sufferings of this research that his reflections are so deep, and so strenuous his defense of orthodoxy.

Born African, Roman for culture and mentality, Christian for education taught by his mother, Sant’Agostino was a teacher of rhetoric and grammar in Tagaste, Carthage and Rome.

He moved away from Catholicism when very young, and followed for some time the Manicheans, seeking the truth and wisdom he was looking for through rationalism, materialism and dualism they professed.

Only later, and mostly because of the preaching of St. Ambrose, he came to the conclusion that the journey to Jesus was through Church and the Holy Scriptures he had given it.

When he came to this new revelation, he renounced teaching and the marriage, and took the vows. After many trips he settled in Hippo and founded a monastery. He later became bishop. He led a lifetime of asceticism, devoting himself to study, theology, and preaching, as well as charitable works for orphans, poor and infirm. His long journeys led him to be the chair of numerous councils and to stand up as proud defender of faith against heresies.

Sant’Agostino d’Ippona was certainly the first and one of the greatest Christian philosophers. His many works speak of the search of God, but always through self-knowledge, deep reflection on man’s nature, eternity, time, freedom, and evil.

The moral doctrine he spread is a doctrine based on love, a love that from his writings emerges in an almost sensual, profoundly and desperately human way.

A magnificent speaker, a formidable dialect master, he studied the works of his opponents, respecting the diversity of thought. Among his most important works we remember: the Confessions, the City of God, the Speeches, and the Letters.

His image is among the most common statues of saints; His depictions recall his life and the greatness of his intellect throughout the Christian world. Sant’Agostino d’Ippona is still considered as one of the Fathers of Western spirituality: a master of faith and life, shepherd of souls and inspiration for hungry minds looking of knowledge and beauty. The superior beauty which in his mind and works coincided with God.

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