Ask Alice: How to treat a 1st class relic (one you’re not currently married to.)


Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Joan asks: I have in my possession a 1st class relic of Blessed Seelos and need to know how to take care of it when it is not being used by someone in special need.  What is the best paper back book on Saints (one that gives  a detailed account of Saints lives. )

Alice replies: How fortunate you are to have a first class relic of the New Orleans priest, dubbed the “cheerful saint” who was blessed with the gift of healing. If the Blessed Seelos relic is contained in a reliquary (relic case) you can keep it in any little box on your dresser. If the relic is simply affixed to a small paper or cloth, you can place the relic inside a clear plastic box.

An excellent paperback about saints’ lives is: Saint of the Day (5th revised edition) by Leonard Foley, O.F.M. and Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. (2003) ISBN 0-86716-535-9.  Another fine paperback is titled: The Saints from A to Z, by Cynthia Cavnar (2000) ISBN 1-56955-190-1.

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Joseph asks: Today is November 26, and a terrorist killed more than 100 people, calling them unbelievers and believing that by killing, God will reward them. How can one Love such people????

Alice replies:

I am very sorry to learn of the 100 innocent people who lost their lives on November 26. Your question is one of the biggest challenges of our faith.

One of my favorite scripture passages is (Luke 6:27-28) where Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who maltreat you.”

Forgiveness is a vital component of love. It is the fabric from which miracles are fashioned.

As Jesus was dying, He forgave the repentant thief on the cross. St. Stephen, the first martyr, forgave the people who stoned him.

Ten years ago, Jennifer Bishop Jenkins taught me a lesson about loving one’s enemies: With God’s grace, Jennifer forgave the teen who brutally murdered her sister Nancy, her brother-in-law, and the couple’s unborn child.

As she lay dying Nancy wrote, “I (heart) YOU” in her own blood, on the wall of the couple’s townhouse.
Gradually, Jennifer realized that Nancy left her family a message of love to guide them for the rest of their lives.

Jennifer’s story changed my life forever. If Jennifer could forgive the unrepentant teen who murdered her beloved Nancy and her family, how can I not forgive people for everything they’ve done against me?

As human beings, we are naturally incapable of forgiveness. It is only with God’s grace that we can forgive others. “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”

Forgiveness is a process. When I ask God for the grace to forgive an enemy, He always answers my prayer. Please pray for the souls of the 100 victims who died on November 26, and pray for their murderer(s) as well. In this way you provide relief for their souls and heal your own heart, as well.

Doug Lawrence adds: Forgiveness is the true test of love. Jesus commanded Christians to love God and love our neighbors. Yet, unless an offender sincerely apologizes and makes amends, forgiveness appears to remain optional. And when it comes to matters of life and death (as in self-defense) it’s sometimes necessary for we Christians to preserve our rights (and our lives) by use of the “sword”.

The Catholic Church has formulated doctrines to guide us in such matters, but there are really no invariable, hard and fast rules to go by … other than the commandment mentioned above.

In an earlier post (on a different matter) Msgr. Charles Pope explained things this way: We do not love merely with good results in mind, we love unconditionally, as God does. God loves because God is love and that’s what Love does, He loves. And so to for us, called to be possessed of God’s love, we love. We risk  to love. The Lord was killed for the love he had for us. We do not love merely to get something from it, we simply love. Others may accept or refuse our love, but as for us we love. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16).

Christians also need to believe that God will restore whatever we might (temporarily) lose, by faithfully acting as “other Christs”. (Nobody ever said the Christian life would be easy.)

Forgiving, like love, is fundamental to our faith. Once we make up our mind to do it, just because Jesus asked, the matter should be settled. And from a purely practical point of view, when we refuse to forgive, we provide God with an exceedingly strict rule, by which to judge our personal soul:

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

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