SEPTEMBER 24 – THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY OF MERCY.
ST. PETER, of the noble family of Nolasco, was born in Languedoc, about 1189. At the age of twenty-five he took a vow of chastity, and made over his vast estates to the Church. Some time after, he conceived the idea of establishing an order for the redemption of captives. The divine will was soon manifested. The Blessed Virgin appeared on the same night to Peter, to Raymund of Pennafort, his confessor, and to James, King of Arragon, his ward, and bade them prosecute without fear their holy designs. After great opposition, the Order was solemnly established, and approved by Gregory IX, under the name of Our Lady of Mercy. By the grace of God, and under the protection of His Virgin-Mother, the Order spread rapidly, its growth being increased by the charity and piety of its members, who devoted themselves not only to collecting alms for the ransom of the Christians, but even gave themselves up to voluntary slavery to aid the good work. It is to return thanks to God and the Blessed Virgin that a feast was instituted which was observed in the Order of Mercy, then in Spain and France, and at last extended to the whole Church by Innocent XII, and the 24th September named as the day on which it is to be observed.
REFLECTION: St. Peter Nolasco and his knights were laymen, not priests, and yet they considered the salvation of their neighbor entrusted to them. We can each of us by counsel, by prayer, but above all by holy example, assist the salvation of our brethren, and thus secure our own.
WORD OF THE DAY
REMARRIAGE. In general, the repetition of marriage while a married partner is still living. In the Old Testament remarriage was permitted, but, as Christ explained to the Pharisees, “It was because you were so unteachable that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning” (Matthew 19:8). Christ restored marriage to its former monogamous state and, to provide the necessary grace, raised it to the dignity of a sacrament. A valid sacramental marriage is not dissoluble by any human power, civil or ecclesiastical. Instances of remarriage, therefore, are either cases where the previous marriage was not a sacrament, or the original marriage was not valid, or the partners had not consummated their marriage by natural intercourse.Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon SJ (Get the real one at Eternal Life — don’t accept an abridged or edited version of this masterpiece!)
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