"...awaken and sharpen your realization of the invisible world about you,... foster a certain familiar acquaintance with the Angels, who are so constant in their solicitude for your salvation and holiness." Pope Pius XII
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The word retreat literally means "withdrawal". When we participate in a silent retreat, we withdraw from our activities, from our environments, from our dealings with the world for a couple of days to be alone with God in prayer.
Pope Benedict XVI defines in an address a retreat as "a strong experience of God, awakened by listening to his Word, understood and welcomed in one's personal life, under the action of the Holy Spirit, which, in a climate of silence, prayer and by means of a spiritual guide, offer the capacity of discernment in order to purify the heart, convert one's life, follow Christ and fulfill one's own mission in the Church and in the world".
The Holy Father emphasized in a special way that a retreat should be "characterized by that climate of complete and profound silence which favors the personal and communitarian encounter with God and the contemplation of the Face of Christ. My Predecessors and I myself have returned to this point several times, and it can never be insisted upon enough."
All of us need time to be alone with God, in order to widen our souls for the streams of God's grace, so that we can live out our lives more perfectly according to God's will. God must become more and more the source and the goal of our daily lives. In fact, our entire Christian life must spring from an intimate union with Christ, and be ordered to this union. All we do should be by the strength of God and for the love of God. At silent retreats, God wishes to give us these special graces.
O glorious Guardian Angel of the United States, to whom God has entrusted the care of our beloved country, we honor you and thank you for the care and protection you have given to this great nation from the first moment of its inception.
O powerful Angel Guardian, whose watchful glance encompasses this vast land from shore to shore, we know that our sins have grieved our Lord and God and marred the beauty of our heritage. Lead us to a deep conversion, so that we may return to the embrace of His merciful love!
O Holy Angel, obtain for us through the intercession of the Queen of Heaven before the throne of God the graces we need to overcome the forces of evil so rampant in our beloved land. Help us, our God-given protector and friend, to respond wholeheartedly to the urgent pleas of the Mother of God at Fatima. Assist us to offer the prayers and sacrifices necessary to bring peace and goodness to our nation.
We want to make you known and loved throughout our land, so that docile to your inspirations we may know, love and serve our Lord more faithfully and so become once more "one Nation under God"! Amen.
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St. Gabriel Building Project
In central Ohio, at the heart of America, the Order and Sisters of the Holy Cross are building a house of Adoration and prayer for priests. It will be the home base for both communities, where they pray and intercede for the Church and run the Opus Angelorum apostolate. From here they will also go out to serve in missions, retreats and family apostolate.
The project includes the National Opus Angelorum Center, a center of spiritual instruction, Adoration and prayer for priests for all who wish to come.
Although the Order and the Sisters of the Holy Cross have had a presence in the States since 1979 through Opus Angelorum missions and retreats, community life for the priests was first established at a parish in Detroit in 1995. A group of the Sisters came over to help the priests with the growing apostolate in 1999. The Order purchased a property in the diocese of Steubenville, and moved to temporary housing in 2015.
The Building Project
The St. Gabriel Building Project consists of 4 phases.
Phase 1 (already complete thanks to your generous help!) was the renovation of the future guest house and the addition of a small chapel. The Priests and Brothers currently live here until the monastery can be built.
Phase 2 (currently well underway!) entails the Sisters’ convent, with space for 12 Sisters and 2 guests, and all the necessary rooms for community life.
Phase 3 consists in the Monastery for the Priests and Brothers.
In phase 4 we plan to build a larger chapel along with the National Opus Angelorum Center.
Would you like to be a part of this project for the good of the Church and her priests? With the help of the holy Angels, together we can transform and renew our culture and society from within, beginning with each individual heart. More than ever, the Church and the world today need the Angels!
Click below to donate today! Please consider also monthly donations – a small amount every month adds up to a large, tax-deductible donation at the end of the year!
(Order of the Holy Cross, Inc and Opus Angelorum, Inc are 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations.
All donations are tax-deductible.)
Global Opus Angelorum
The short answer to this most asked of all questions about the angels is simply "no." For the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Sacraments of the Vatican stated in the document The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy of 2001, that "the practice of assigning names to the holy angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and St. Michael, whose names are contained in Holy Scripture" (217).
We do well to reflect, then, that the term "Holy Guardian Angel" expresses very deeply our bond to the angel assigned to us by God for life. For just as there is only one woman and one man in this whole world who can respond to us when we say, "Mom" or "Dad", so too in all the choirs of angels, there is only one angel who can respond to us when we cry out, "Holy Guardian Angel, help me!"
That every baptized person has a Guardian Angel is clear from what St. Basil taught and the new Catechism of the Catholic Church reiterated, "Every one of the faithful has an angel standing at his side as educator and guide, directing his life" (cf. CCC 336). This passage does not state specifically that every human being, without exception, has a Guardian Angel. Nevertheless, in another passage, the Catechism stresses in no uncertain terms that "From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their [that is, the angels'] watchful care and intercession" (CCC 336).
In accord with this, the general teaching of theologians holds that not only every baptized person, but every human being has their own personal Guardian Angel which also teaches the recently published YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church), approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 2010, "Every person receives from God a Guardian Angel" (n. 55). This view is biblically based and founded on the words of Our Lord in the Gospels, where He states emphatically to His disciples, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven" (Mt 18:10). Moreover, St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the protection of the angels is a gift not only of grace, but also a gift to mankind in the order of nature. Finally, since each individual, based on their own free will, has a unique destiny, it is fitting that there be a one-on-one relationship with an angel. This same position was also taught by St. Gregory the Wonder Worker and St. Jerome, who held that every person has from birth their own special Guardian Angel.
St. Thomas Aquinas maintains that everyone receives a Guardian Angel at birth. Moreover, he states that the Guardian Angel of the mother guards her child while it is still in the womb. Other Fathers and Doctors of the Church, however, for example, St. Jerome and St. Basil the Great, believe that our Guardian Angel is assigned at baptism. St. Anselm, on the other hand, goes a step farther by stating that "every soul is committed to an angel when it is united with a body." In other words, he believes, along with some other saints and theologians, that everyone receives a Guardian Angel at conception. To sum up, then, there are three opinions about when our Guardian Angel may be assigned to us, namely, 1.) at conception, 2.) at birth, or 3.) or at baptism.
The fact, that every human person has a Guardian Angel excludes implicitly that we receive the Guardian Angel at baptism. It remains, then, a question open to speculation whether a human being receives the Guardian Angel at conception or birth. But since a person's life begins at the moment of conception, there is no reason for the angel to have to wait until the person is born. Considering the importance of prenatal care, it is reasonable to believe that the Guardian Angel would be want to be involved. It may also be true, that all benefit from the angelic assistance from the beginning of life according to the natural providence of God, and that in baptism a deeper supernatural bond with the holy angels arises.
It was the day that Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005. I was a student in Rome. My friends and I were in the Piazza San Pietro in the morning in time for the ballot, and black smoke came out of the chimney on top of the Sistine Chapel. It meant that the Pope had not been elected yet. There were rumours that a second election would be taken by the Cardinals in the afternoon, but that was just a rumour. Since I was feeling sick with a slight fever, I decided to go back to the apartment and rest, thinking that the election in the afternoon would also end up with black smoke. I left Piazza San Pietro leaving for the apartment, I went straight to my room, wanting to take a nap. As I lay down in bed, I "heard" this voice, or it was more like an interior voice. I can't really describe it. It's not like I heard it with my ears, it was almost like I understood it as one would understand a thought. It said: "Go to Piazza San Pietro." My response: "But I just came from there, I am sick. I am taking a nap." It insisted: "Go to Piazza San Pietro NOW." My response again was: "No, I am taking a nap." A third time it reiterated much more gravely, "GO...TO....PIAZZA....SAN...PIETRO....NOW!" My response: "Ok.Ok. I will go." So I got up, left the apartment, and waited for the Bus to San Pietro. In that crowd of thousands, I ran into a friend of mine who told me a ballot was just taken by the Cardinals. In about 20 to 30 minutes, smoke came out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, it was grey. But somehow, interiorly, I knew they had already chosen a Pope. Everyone around me thought it would turn to black smoke again, but I told my friend to run with me to the front of the crowd, closest to the balcony of the Basilica where the Pope was to be presented. We did so, and just as the smoke was turning white, a whole mass of people crashed behind us, but we were able to be near where the Pope was to be presented. In an hour or so, Benedict XVI was on that balcony. That's when I knew the "voice" was my guardian angel.
If you have an inspiring Angel story, you would be willing to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Offering with Love: the Legacy of Job
Lent is a special time of grace, a time of salvation; it is a time to overcome our habitual sins, to learn to compassionate and unite ourselves with Jesus in His expiatory suffering, in order to reach the goal: the victory of Easter. The path leads us through forty days, which should be for us a desert – an emptying of ourselves from everything superfluous, and becoming free from attachments, desires and weaknesses. In this desert (the beginning of every retreat is modeled on this image of the desert), JESUS waits for us as Teacher.
The Message of Fatima and the Priesthood
One hundred years ago, Our Lady spoke to three shepherd children at Fatima, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to pray and sacrifice for them.” In our Crusade for Priests, we are dedicated to praying for priests, for good and holy priests, as well as for the tempted and falling. Many Crusaders offer their daily Rosary, their daily Crusade prayer, their Holy Mass and Holy Communion for priests. This is of great benefit to the Church! But do we realize that this is only half the battle?
“The darkness has not overcome It.” (Jn 1:5)
To further cultivate our openness for the invisible world let us continue our reflections on “the Angels in the holy Gospels”, now in the gospel of St. John. “The Eagle” is the Living Being, the Cherubim, who accompanied St. John in his vocation as Evangelist, according to an old tradition, dating back to St. Irenaeus. Eagles with their sharp eyes soar high in the sky, and so gain the proverbial eagle’s global vision of things here below. This characteristic invites us to seek behind the concrete letters and events in St. John’s gospel in order to discern the divine intention and reference to the invisible spiritual world.