Saturday, July 25, 2020

Sunday Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Sun., July 26, 2020 - Virtual Church - 17th Ord. Time - A


Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 109
Reading 11 KGS 3:5, 7-12
The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”
Solomon answered:
“O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king
to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him:
“Because you have asked for this—
not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches,
nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right—
I do as you requested.
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
R. (97a) Lord, I love your commands.
I have said, O LORD, that my part
is to keep your words.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
Let your kindness comfort me
according to your promise to your servants.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
For I love your command
more than gold, however fine.
For in all your precepts I go forward;
every false way I hate.
R. Lord, I love your commands.
Wonderful are your decrees;
therefore I observe them.
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.
R. Lord, I love your commands.

Reading 2ROM 8:28-30
Brothers and sisters:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers and sisters.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

AlleluiaCF. MT 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
for you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 13:44-52 OR 13:44-46
Jesus said to his disciples:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household
who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

or

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

Prayer to make Spiritual Communion:
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.
At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint July 26 : Saint Joachim the Father of Mary and Grandfather of Jesus

St. Joachim
FATHER OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Patron of:Fathers, Grandparents
Joachim (whose name means Yahweh prepares), was the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we were to obey the warning of St. Peter Damian, we should consider it a blameable and needless curiosity to inquire about those things that the Evangelists did not deem it advisable to relate, and, in particular, about the parents of the Blessed Virgin (Serm. iii de Nativ. B.M.V.). Tradition nevertheless, grounded on very old testimonies, very early hailed Saints Joachim and Anne as the father and mother of the Mother of God. True, this tradition seems to rest ultimately on the so-called "Gospel of James", the "Gospel of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary", and the Pseudo-Matthew, or "Book of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Childhood of the Saviour"; and this origin is likely to rouse well-founded suspicions. It should be borne in mind, however, that the apocryphal character of these writings, that is to say, their rejection from the canon, and their ungenuineness do not imply that no heed whatever should be taken of some of their assertions; side by side, indeed, with unwarranted and legendary facts, they contain some historical data borrowed from reliable traditions or documents; and difficult though it is to distinguish in them the wheat from the tares, it would be unwise and uncritical indiscriminately to reject the whole. Some commentators, who believe that the genealogy given by St. Luke is that of the Blessed Virgin, find the mention of Joachim in Heli (Luke, iii, 23; Eliachim, i.e. Jeho-achim), and explain that Joseph had, in the eyes of the law, become by his marriage the son of Joachim. That such is the purpose and the meaning of the Evangelist is very doubtful, and so is the identification proposed between the two names Heli and Joachim. Neither can it be asserted with certainty, in spite of the authority of the Bollandists, that Joachim was Heli's son and Joseph's brother; nor, as is sometimes affirmed, from sources of very doubtful value, that he had large possessions in herds and flocks. Much more interesting are the beautiful lines in which the "Gospel of James" describes how, in their old age, Joachim and Anne received the reward of their prayers to obtain issue. Tradition has it that the parents of the Blessed Virgin, who, apparently, first lived in Galilee, came later on to settle in Jerusalem; there the Blessed Virgin was born and reared; there also they died and were buried. A church, known at various epochs as St. Mary, St. Mary ubi nata est, St. Mary in Probatica, Holy Probatica, St. Anne, was built during the fourth century, possibly by St. Helena, on the site of the house of St. Joachim and St. Anne, and their tombs were there honoured until the close of the ninth century, when the church was converted into a Moslem school. The crypt which formerly contained the holy tombs was rediscovered on 18 March, 1889.

St. Joachim was honoured very early by the Greeks, who celebrate his feast on the day following the Blessed Virgin's birthday; the Latins were slow to admit it to their calendar, where it found place sometimes on 16 Sept. and sometimes on 9 Dec. Assigned by Julius II to 20 March, the solemnity was suppressed some fifty years later, restored by Gregory XV (1622), fixed by Clement XII (1738) on the Sunday after the Assumption, and finally raised to the rank of double of the second class by Leo XIII (1 Aug., 1879).


SOURCE: the Catholic Encyclopedia

Saint July 26 : St. Anne the Grandmother of Jesus and Patron of Wives, Women in Labor, Canada


 


St. Anne MOTHER OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Patron of:
Housewives, women in labor, cabinet-makers, and miners
Of St. Anne we have no certain knowledge. She is not mentioned in the New Testament, and we must depend on apocryphal literature, chiefly the Protoevangelium of James, which dates back only to the second century.

In this document we are told that Anne, wife of Joachim, was advanced in years and that her prayers for a child had not been answered. Once as she prayed beneath a laurel tree near her home in Galilee, an angel appeared and said to her, "Anne, the Lord hath heard thy prayer and thou shalt conceive and bring forth, and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world." Anne replied, "As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life " And thus Anne became the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The devotion of St. Anne was known in the East in the fifth century, but it was not diffused in the West until the thirteenth. A shrine at Douai, in northern France, was one of the early centers of the devotion. In 1382 her feast was extended to the whole Western Church, and she became very popular, especially in France. Her two most famous shrines are at St. Anne d'Auray in Brittany and at St. Anne-de Beaupre in the province of Quebec.

She is patroness of housewives, women in labor, cabinet-makers, and miners. Her emblem is a door. St. Anne has been frequently represented in art, and the lovely face depicted by Leonardo da Vinci comes first to mind in this connection. The name Anne derives from the Hebrew Hannah, meaning "grace." 

Read more: The Catholic Encyclopedia
 

Prayer to St. Christopher for Safe Travels and Motorists - Share #StChristopher 's Prayer!

Saint Christopher Prayer"Motorist's Prayer:" Grant me, O Lord, a steady hand and watchful eye, that no one shall be hurt as I pass by. Thou gavest life, I pray no act of mine may take away or mar that gift of Thine. Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear my company from the evils of fire and all calamity.Teach me to use my car for others need; Nor miss through love of undue speed. The beauty of the world; that thus I may with joy and courtesy go on my way. St. Christopher, holy patron of travelers, protect me, and lead me safely to my destiny.
Saint Christopher's Protection Prayer
 Dear Saint Christopher, protect me today in all my travels along the road's way. Give your warning sign if danger is near so that I may stop while the path is clear. Be at my window and direct me through when the vision blurs From out of the blue. Carry me safely to my destined place, like you carried Christ in your close embrace. Amen.

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 St. Christopher's Prayer
O Glorious St. Christopher you have inherited a beautiful name, Christbearer, as a result of the wonderful legend that while carrying people across a raging stream you also carried the Child Jesus. Teach us to be true Christbearers to those who do not know Him. Protect all of us that travel both near and far and petition Jesus to be with us always. Amen. Join us on

Novena to St. James the Greater the Patron of Arthritis, Veterinarians and #Compostela Pilgrims

Every Day of Novena 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be

First Day
The Call of James (Matthew 4:18-22)

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.
            He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
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Reflection
Mending their nets on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, James and John look up to see Jesus.  And he calls them to do something totally new—to follow him; and to become something new as well—“fishers of men.”  Why did Jesus choose fishermen for his first disciples?  Perhaps because fishing takes strength, skill, persistence, and patience.  Perhaps because fishermen live amidst the beauty and danger of the natural world, and understand their dependence on God.  Perhaps because fishermen know when to work long, hard hours, and when to rest.  An Apostle needs all these qualities as well.
     When they hear the Lord’s call, James and John respond at once.  They do not ask questions, finish the task at hand, or even consult with their father; instead, “immediately” they leave the old life behind and follow Jesus. For us, too, the call to discipleship usually comes in the midst of the humdrum patterns of our daily lives, when we are least expecting it.  Are we ready to respond to the Lord’s call—to do something different; to become something new?

Second Day
The Sons of Thunder (Luke 9:51-56)

When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?"

            Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

Reflection

Jesus gave Simon a special name – “Peter.”  Jesus also gives James and John a special name, “Boanerges,” which means “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17).  Scripture scholars tell us that the giving of a new name is a sign of an inner transformation:  think of Abram, who became Abraham, and Jacob, who became Israel.  James and John must have been full of zeal for the Kingdom to receive a name like “sons of thunder.”
    We get a glimpse of that zeal for the Lord’s work in this passage from Luke.  When the people of one town refuse to welcome Jesus, James and John offer to “call down fire from heaven,” to destroy them as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed when they refused to receive the Lord.  But Jesus “rebukes” them.  That is not the way of the Kingdom.  Jesus invites, but he does not command, and his disciples are to do the same.
How do we respond to rejection?  With the “thunder” of James, or with the peace of Christ?

Third Day
A Child Raised from the Dead (Luke 8:40-42, 49-56)

            A man named Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came forward. He fell at the feet of Jesus and begged him to come to his house, because he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying…. Someone from the synagogue official's house arrived and said, "Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer."

            On hearing this, Jesus answered him, "Do not be afraid; just have faith and she will be saved."
            When he arrived at the house he allowed no one to enter with him except Peter and John and James, and the child's father and mother. All were weeping and mourning for her, when he said, "Do not weep any longer, for she is not dead, but sleeping."
            And they ridiculed him, because they knew that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called to her, "Child, arise!" Her breath returned and she immediately arose. He then directed that she should be given something to eat.
            Her parents were astounded, and he instructed them to tell no one what had happened.

Reflection

When Jesus raises the daughter of Jairus from the dead, he does not take all of his disciples with him.  Only Peter, James, and John are in the room with the girl and her parents, when, with a word and a touch of the hand, Jesus restores her to life.
            Jesus tells them all to keep silence about this great miracle.  Only when Jesus himself is raised from the dead will the three Apostles understand what it is they have witnessed:  the very power of God, triumphant over evil, over disease and sickness of every kind, over death itself.  James, with Peter and John, is a special witness to resurrection.  He will be able to speak to others the saving words of Christ:  “just have faith.”
James, Witness to the Glory of Christ (Matthew 17:1-9)

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.

            Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
            When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and do not be afraid." And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.  As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, "Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

Reflection

In the Gospel according to Matthew, the Transfiguration of Jesus comes immediately following his first prediction of his Passion.  This is a hard teaching indeed:  how can the Messiah, the Chosen One of God, the Savior, be crucified?  Peter speaks for all of them when he says, “God forbid, Lord!  No such thing shall ever happen to you” (Matthew 16:22).  Jesus reply is harsh:  “get behind me, Satan!  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”  The disciples begin to understand that to follow Jesus is to carry the cross.
            But there is more.  Jesus allows Peter, James, and John a blinding glimpse of his heavenly glory.  They see him shining brighter than the sun, speaking with Moses and Elijah; and they hear God’s voice, urging them to listen to what he says.  In glimpsing the Transfiguration of Jesus, Peter, James and John are glimpsing the Resurrection.  Jesus shows them this glimpse to help them understand that for all who follow Jesus, suffering and glory go hand in hand.
Fifth Day
With the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42)

            They came to a place named Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray."  He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch."

            He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will."
            When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?  Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
            Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him.
            He returned a third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand."

Reflection

The same three who witnessed Christ in glory – Peter, James, and John – witness his sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane.  As scripture commentator Marie Noonan Sabin observes, the contrasts between the two scenes are poignant.  There, Jesus shone with dazzling light; here, all is darkness.  There, Jesus stood above the mountain; here, he falls to the ground.  There, the Father spoke words of love; here, Jesus asks his Father to take the cup of suffering away from him.
     In this last hour, Jesus does not want to be alone:  he wants his friends at his side.  But these friends, who will scatter when Jesus is arrested, have already begun to abandon him:  they cannot even stay awake to keep him company.
     Peter, James, and John will become pillars of the Church, preaching the Good News far and wide.  Jesus wants these Apostles to be witnesses, not just of the divine signs and wonders he performs, but of his humanity and his suffering.  He wants them to be aware of his weakness—and their own.  Perhaps that is why the sacrament of penance is such an important part of our faith.  In becoming more aware of our own weakness, we become more compassionate and understanding towards others.
Sixth Day
James, one of the Twelve (Matthew 10:1-10)

            Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

            Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep.”

Reflection

Jesus gives the Apostles a mission.  They are to drive out demons, cure the sick, and proclaim the Kingdom of God:  in other words, their mission is Christ’s mission.
     The Apostles have an incredible gift to give:  freedom, healing, life.  But they are to give this gift as freely as they have received it.  They are to travel not like rich people, with horses, chariots, and retinues, but like homeless wanderers:  alone, unarmed, without so much as a change of clothes.  They are given great “authority,” but they must also become totally vulnerable, accepting the hospitality and generosity of others.  They are to be, in short, like Jesus, who “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, and coming in human likeness.” (Philippians 2)  The Church is called to do the same.
Seventh Day
Their Mothers’ Request (Matthew 20: 20-23)

            The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?"

            She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom."
            Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?"
            They said to him, "We can."
            He replied, "My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

Reflection

In the Gospel according to Mark, James and John come to Jesus and ask for seats at his right and left—seats of honor and power—in the Kingdom.  In Matthew’s Gospel, it is their mother who makes the request.  It is ironic, to say the least, that this request comes immediately after Jesus tells his disciples, for the third time, what awaits him:  crucifixion and death; and after a whole series of parables with the theme “the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16)!  Jesus responds honestly but gently to the ambition of the two brothers.  They will indeed drink his cup – James was the first of the Apostles to suffer martyrdom – but only the Father knows who will sit at his right and left in the Kingdom of heaven.  The only thing Jesus promises the brothers is suffering.

Eighth Day
Response of the Other Apostles (Matthew 20: 24-28)

When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."


Reflection

The disciples have listened as Jesus teaches them in parables – parables that speak of the topsy-turvy logic of God – the first last, and the last first.  In asking to sit at the right and left of Jesus in the Kingdom, James and John become a parable.  Do not jockey for position, Jesus warns his followers.  Do not be ambitious.  Instead, if you want to be great, become a servant; if you want to be first, take the last place.  Why?  Because that is what Jesus did.

Ninth Day
James, Witness to the Resurrection (Matthew 20: 16-20)
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.  When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
Reflection
“Apostle” means “one who is sent.”  In calling James and the others to be his Apostles, Jesus is sending them forth to continue the work he himself has begun, baptizing the nations, teaching, and proclaiming the Kingdom.  How did James live this call?  We know that he became a leader of the Church in Jerusalem (Paul referred to him as one of the “pillars” [Galatians 2:9]).  We know that he preached the Gospel – tradition tells us that he journeyed as far as Spain, the “ends of the earth.”  And we know that he was the first of the Apostles to suffer death for Christ (Acts 12:2).  We are not all called to be Apostles, but we can all make the pattern of James’ life our own:  listening to Christ, living for Christ, and dying for Christ.

Feast of St. James
Let Catholics rejoice!
Let the citizens of Heaven be glad
This day.
Let the priest with beautiful songs
And with chants busy himself
This day.
This is the praiseworthy day,
Noble with divine light,
This day.
When James to the palace
Of the Heavens ascended
This day.
Conquering Herod's sword,
He received the reward of life
This day.
Therefore without end
Let us bless the Lord
This day.
To the great Father in Heaven
Let us offer thankful praises
This day.
Pilgrims Prayer 
St. James!
We come to you in eager pilgrimage.
We come as part of a great throng of pilgrims
who through the centuries have come to this place,
where you are pilgrim and host, apostle and patron.
We come to you today
because we are on a common journey.
Place yourself, patron of pilgrims,
at the head of our pilgrimage.
Teach us, apostle and friend of the Lord,
the WAY which leads to him.
Open us, preacher of the Gospel,
to the TRUTH you learned from your Master’s lips.
Give us, witness of the faith,
the strength always to love the LIFE Christ gives.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Saint July 25 : St. Christopher the Patron of Bachelors , Travelers and Toothache


Born:
Canaan
Died:
251, Asia Minor
MARTYR
 Patron of:
bachelors, transportation (drivers, sailors, etc.), travelling (especially for long journeys), storms, epilepsy, gardeners, holy death, toothache
St. Christopher, a martyr, probably of the third century. Although St. Christopher is one of the most popular saints in the East and in the West, almost nothing certain is known about his life or death. The legend says: A heathen king (in Canaan or Arabia), through the prayers of his wife to the Blessed Virgin, had a son, whom he called Offerus (Offro, Adokimus, or Reprebus) and dedicated to the gods Machmet and Apollo. Acquiring in time extraordinary size and strength, Offerus resolved to serve only the strongest and the bravest. He bound himself successively to a mighty king and to Satan, but he found both lacking in courage, the former dreading even the name of the devil, and the latter frightened by the sight of a cross at the roadside. For a time his search for a new master was in vain, but at last he found a hermit (Babylas?) who told him to offer his allegiance to Christ, instructed him in the Faith, and baptized him.
Christopher, as he was now called, would not promise to do any fasting or praying, but willingly accepted the task of carrying people, for God's sake, across a raging stream. One day he was carrying a child who continually grew heavier, so that it seemed to him as if he had the whole world on his shoulders. The child, on inquiry, made himself known as the Creator and Redeemer of the world. To prove his statement the child ordered Christopher to fix his staff in the ground. The next morning it had grown into a palm-tree bearing fruit. The miracle converted many. This excited the rage of the king (prefect) of that region (Dagnus of Samos in Lycia?). Christopher was put into prison and, after many cruel torments, beheaded.
The Greek legend may belong to the sixth century; about the middle of the ninth, we find it spread through France. Originally, St. Christopher was only a martyr, and as such is recorded in the old martyrologies. The simple form of the Greek and Latin soon gave way to more elaborate legends. We have the Latin edition in prose and verse of 983 by the subdeacon Walter of Speyer, "Thesaurus anecdotorum novissimus" (Augsburg, 1721-23), II, 27-142, and Harster, "Walter von Speyer" (1878). An edition of the eleventh century is found in the Acta SS., and another in the "Golden Legend" of Jacob de Voragine. The idea conveyed in the name, at first understood in the spiritual sense of bearing Christ in the heart, was in the twelfth or thirteenth century taken in the realistic meaning and became the characteristic of the saint. The fact that he was frequently called a great martyr may have given rise to the story of his enormous size. The stream and the wait of the child may have been intended to denote the trials and struggles of a soul taking upon itself the yoke of Christ in this world.
The existence of a martyr St. Christopher cannot be denied, as was sufficiently shown by the Jesuit Nicholas Serarius, in his treatise on litanies, "Litaneutici" (Cologne, 1609), and by Molanus in his history of sacred pictures, "De picturis et imaginibus sacris" (Louvain, 1570). In a small church dedicated to the martyr St. Christopher, the body of St. Remigius of Reims was buried, 532 (Acta SS., 1 Oct., 161). St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) speaks of a monastery of St. Christopher (Epp., x., 33). The Mozarabic Breviary and Missal, ascribed to St. Isidore of Seville (d. 636), contains a special office in his honour. In 1386 a brotherhood was founded under the patronage of St. Christopher in Tyrol and Vorarlberg, to guide travellers over the Arlberg. In 1517, a St. Christopher temperance society existed in Carinthia, Styria, in Saxony, and at Munich. Great veneration was shown to the saint in Venice, along the shores of the Danube, the Rhine, and other rivers where floods or ice-jams caused frequent damage. The oldest picture of the saint, in the monastery on the Mount Sinai dates from the time of Justinian (527-65). Coins with his image were cast at Wurzburg, in Wurtermberg, and in Bohemia. His statues were placed at the entrances of churches and dwellings, and frequently at bridges; these statues and his pictures often bore the inscription: "Whoever shall behold the image of St. Christopher shall not faint or fall on that day." The saint, who is one of the fourteen holy helpers, has been chosen as patron by Baden, by Brunswick, and by Mecklenburg, and several other cities, as well as by bookbinders, gardeners, mariners, etc. He is invoked against lightning, storms, epilepsy, pestilence, etc. His feast is kept on 25 July; among the Greeks, on 9 March; and his emblems are the tree, the Christ Child, and a staff. St. Christopher's Island (commonly called St. Kitts), lies 46 miles west of Antigua in the Lesser Antilles.
IMAGE SOURCE GOOGLE IMAGES- Text the Catholic Encyclopedia