St Joseph is a very special, and often overlooked Saint. Adopted father of Jesus and husband to Mary, Joseph was the protector of the Holy Family. Joseph showed mercy to Mary when he didn't understand how she came to be with child. He ensured that Jesus had a safe place to be born, and that Mary and Jesus had a safe place to live their lives.
"Angel" means messenger, but the Archangel Gabriel seems to be God's special messenger, particularly of messages concerning Christ. In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel announces the conception of John the Baptist to his father, Zacharias. Gabriel also announces to Mary God's wish for her to be the bearer of His son. In the Old Testament, Gabriel interprets Daniel's dreams and foretells the coming of the Christ.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is an apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Juan Diego on a hill outside of modern day Mexico City. When she appeared to Juan Diego, he went to the archbishop to share his experience. The archbishop asked for a sign, and Our Lady obliged by directing Juan Diego to collect roses in his cloak.
Prayer for March 2016: Families in Difficulty and Persecuted Christians
In today's Gospel, we hear something special from our Lord:
I have called you friends.
Pope Francis has offered us a lot of advice on how to be better Christians and people. He's also taken a hard look at some practices among the faithful that have long been accepted in different forms, but that are bad for spiritual health.
During Lent, we're called as Christians to practice prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Mostly we understand why we take on these disciplines. The benefits of prayer are obvious, as are the benefits of almsgiving: giving resources of time and money to the poor and to our communities.
How does one become a Saint? Well, repentance is step one, of course, followed by faith in Jesus Christ, frequent participation in the Sacraments, and practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. But the many lists of 7 that the Church offers us to help on our path to Sainthood can be daunting, especially if we don't understand how to implement what they call for on a daily, human level. So why don't we take a small step back, and examine a few ways we can reshape our day-to-day practices by looking at the lives of the Saints.