Originally posted February 1, 2021
Today is the Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch. The Communion verse is literally his own words at the point of his martyrdom: “I am the wheat of Christ; may I be ground by the teeth of beasts that I may be found pure bread.”
GOSPEL (John 12:24-26)At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, Itself remaineth alone. But if it die it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it and he that hateth his life in this world keepeth it unto life eternal. If any man minister to me, let him follow me: and where I am, there also shall my minister be. If any man minister to me, him will my Father honour.”
Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch after St. Peter. When Emperor Trajan tried to force the Christians of that region to worship the Roman gods, the greatest obstacle to his purpose proved to be the aged bishop of Antioch. Trajan ordered that the intrepid prelate be taken to Rome in the year 107 and then thrown to the lions in the arena. The magnificent letters Ignatius sent to several Christian communities during his journey recall the mysticism of St. Paul’s Epistles. “My yearning is for death. My love has been crucified, and I am not on fire with the love of earthly things. I desire incorruptible love,” he wrote. https://tridentine-mass.blogspot.com/2021/02/saint-ignatius-of-antioch-107-ad-saint.html
Yesterday was the feast of St. John Bosco. John Bosco (1815-88) grew up on a Piedmont farm in Italy. While still a student-priest at Turin, he began his mission for the abandoned boy apprentices of the early industrial era, who roamed uncared for on the streets of the city. Priests and Brothers gathered about John Bosco as his work developed, and formed the Salesian Order, named in honor of St. Francis of Sales. He also founded a community of Sisters to aid needy girls. Today, the missioners of John Bosco carry on his ideals of gentleness and charity among poor children in Asia, Africa, and South America, as well as in Europe and North America.
St. John Bosco was given much knowledge through prophetic dreams. The most famous is the one where the pope guides the barque away from shipwreck, to be anchored on two giant pillars, one being the Blessed Virgin Mary, the other being the Eucharist. Following is a lesser known one, that is quite telling:
One of the prototypical dream-visions St. John Bosco had concerned “The Snake and the Rosary.” In it, he and the boys were in a meadow where a stranger took him to see “a huge, ugly snake, over twenty feet long.” The stranger impelled him to dangle a rope over the snake, which he was quite hesitant to do out of fear. He finally agreed to hold the rope over the menacing snake, and the snake leaped up and “ensnared itself as in a noose.” The snake then furiously writhed to free itself but ended up tearing itself to pieces. The stranger then took the rope and put it in a box saying “watch carefully.” Then, opening the box he saw the rope had taken the shape of the words “Ave Maria” or “Hail Mary.” The man then explained to him that the snake is a symbol of the devil and the Ave Maria rope stands for the Rosary — with which “we can strike, conquer, and destroy all of hell’s demons.”
The dream, however, was not done. In the second part of the dream, the boys of the Oratory were now congregated around the remnants of flesh from the snake. Then, against St. John Bosco’s protests that it was poisonous, some of the boys began to pick up the snake flesh and eat it saying, “It’s delicious!” They promptly crumpled to the ground, with their bodies swelled and hardened like stone. The saint tried vigorously to keep them from eating the meat but they just kept eating it. He questioned the stranger why do they keep eating the meat even though it will kill them? The stranger replied, “Because the sensual man does not perceive the things that are of God!” He pleaded to the stranger that there must be some way to save them. To which, the stranger said there is, by “anvil and hammer.” St. John Bosco then put the boys on an anvil and hit them with a hammer. With that, most of the boys were “restored to life and recovered.” The stranger then explained to him that the anvil and hammer are symbols respectively for Holy Communion and Confession. By Confession we strike away at sin, and by Holy Communion we are sustained. https://catholicexchange.com/snake-rosary-dreams-st-john-bosco