Sunday, June 5, 2016

52 Saints ~ Week 23 ~ St. Gertrude the Great

St Gertrude the Great (1256-1302)
While her birthplace, parentage and ancestry are shrouded in obscurity—it is known that at the age of five, Gertrude entered the cloistered convent of Helfta, in Germany. Despite her cheerful disposition, she did not care to play with the others—preferring to spend her time in church conversing with the heavenly Playmate of her childish soul.

Gertrude was a true Bride of Christ and a devotee to the Sacred Heart. To please Jesus in all things was the one aim of her life. Though every movement of her body and soul was offered to God and directed to His glory...she did not neglect her exterior occupations, happily combining active labor with interior union with Christ.

Saint Gertrude understood that confidence is the key which opens the treasures of the infinite mercy of God—and it was to her confidence alone that she attributed all the gifts she received. As a child has to its mother, in all things, Gertrude had recourse to Jesus—nothing was too trivial to ask of Him.

On the 27th of January, 1281, she was favored for the first time with a vision of her Bridegroom and from this hour she discontinued all secular studies. As God taught her heart to penetrate the most hidden sense of Holy Scripture—the Bible alone became very dear to her and she was able to use the texts to comfort and refresh all who came to her, according to each one's need.

Like all of us, Gertrude had her favorite saints and frequently they came to converse with her. On the feast day of St. John, her favorite, our Savior appeared to her along with the beloved disciple. In a dialogue with him she asked St. John why he wrote so little of the Heart of Jesus and his reply was that his mission was to write of the Eternal Word---the Sacred Heart is reserved for latter times, when the world having grown cold would have need to rekindle its love. Four centuries later on this same feast, our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary urging devotion to His Sacred Heart.

Our Lord often instructed St. Gertrude regarding the advantages of frequent communion and urged all to seek his Sacred Heart in the Eucharist.

Though this saint was never formally canonized, in 1606 her liturgical office was approved and extended to the universal church by Clement XII and Benedict XIV conferred on her the title of 'Great' recognizing the depth of her spiritual and theological insight.

Of her numerous writings, The Herald of Divine Love, a collection of spiritual exercises can still be used by anyone aspiring to deepen their spirituality. Philip Neri and Frances de Sales used her prayers and recommended them to others as well. St. Theresa of Avila's confessor urged her to take Gertrude as her spiritual mistress and guide.

Each time it is said, the following prayer will release 1,000 souls from purgatory as told by our Lord to St. Gertrude. The prayer was later extended to include living sinners as well.

“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and within my own family. Amen.”

APPROVAL AND RECOMMENDATION: M. Cardinal Pahiarca at Lisbon, Portugal, March 4, 1936

Sue is a dear friend from homeschooling days. Now she has moved back to her home state and I miss her all the time. I really appreciate her participation in this series.

If you want to see all of the posts in this series, click HERE.

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