Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Saint November 23 : St. Columban : Abbot of #Ireland


St. Columban
ABBOT
Feast: November 23
Information:
Feast Day:
November 23
Born:
540, Leinster, Ireland
Died:
23 November 615
Major Shrine:
Abbey church at Bobbio

Already a monk at Bangor Columban set out from Ireland with twelve companions as a wandering pilgrim for Christ.
St Columban (543-615)
Already a monk at Bangor Columban set out from there with twelve companions as a wandering pilgrim for Christ. Passing to mainland Europe, he had enormous influence by setting up monastic foundations in France and Italy. A vibrant missionary society serving in fourteen countries worldwide today bears his name – the Columban Missionaries. Patrick Duffy tells Columban’s story.
Formation by Sinell at Cluain Inis and Comgall at Bangor
Born in Leinster, Columban receive a good education in the Bible, classical authors and the Latin Fathers. Finding that girls were distracting him from his studies, a woman hermit advised him to become a monk. After some time with Sinell at the Lough Erne island of Cluain Inis, his major formation was under St Comgall at Bangor, where he spent many years teaching before setting on his wanderings for Christ, probably in 590.
Saint Columban, abbot: “Seek then the highest wisdom, not by arguments in words but by the perfection of your life, not by speech but by faith that comes from God.
In the kingdom of the Franks Columban travelled with a group of companions by sea and land across Cornwall, the English Channel, Brittany and pressed on in a south-easterly direction into the kingdom of the Franks, by then partitioned (since 561) and thoroughly lapsed from its earlier Christianity under Clovis (d. 511) and his his queen, St Clotilde.
The Irish monks found paganism, witchcraft, magic, and brutal ritual murder rife. On their way they had visited the court of King Childebert II of Austrasia (now roughly = Alsace) and then being given an old Roman fort at Annagray, in the foothills of the Vosges mountains, they established their first monastery. Soon they founded another eight miles to the west at Luxeuil.
Conflict with Frankish bishopsTheir austere way of life, codified in Columban’s own Rule, attracted many followers, but their Irish customs, with a bishop subordinate to the abbot, a different date for Easter, and the Irish tonsure across the front part of the head, and some very penitential practices based on those of the desert fathers, all annoyed the Frankish bishops, who summoned Columban to explain himself at a synod. Regarding them as negligent and lax, Columban refused to attend, but wrote them a letter effectively suggesting that they were bothering about trifles and should leave him, “a poor stranger in these parts for the cause of Christ”, and his monks in peace.
Here the abbot and his monks led the simplest of lives, their food often consisting of nothing but forest herbs, berries, and the bark of young trees. The fame of Columbanus’s sanctity spread far and wide.
But the bishops renewed their attacks, concentrating on the Easter question, and Columban wrote to Pope St Gregory I asking for confirmation of the validity of his tradition. Gregory sent him  a copy of his Pastoral Care and advised him consult the Abbot of Lerins.
A kind of truce ensued for some years, followed by renewed attacks and a fresh appeal for tolerance. The Irish introduced a practice of confession with the imposition of harsh penances according to a Penitential Book compiled by Columban.
Writes to Pope Gregory
But the bishops renewed their attacks, concentrating on the Easter question, and Columban wrote to Pope St Gregory I asking for confirmation of the validity of his tradition. Gregory sent him  a copy of his Pastoral Care and advised him consult the Abbot of Lerins. A kind of truce ensued for some years, followed by renewed attacks and a fresh appeal for tolerance.
Conflict with the Burgundian royal family
Columban then fell foul of the Burgundian royal family. The king respected him and used him as an adviser, but Columban could not tolerate the fact that the king kept concubines. He refused to bless the king’s illegitimate children. This incurred the wrath of Theodoric’s formidable grandmother, Brunhilda, who exercised a matriarchal rule and did not want Theodoric marrying and so introducing a legitimate queen who might be a rival. She harrassed the Irish monks until they were forced to leave the kingdom, though the Franks who had joined their monasteries were allowed to stay.
Deported… but sailed up the RhineColumban and his Irish compatriots first tried to settle at Tours but were were forced under military escort to Nantes, to be deported back to Ireland by sea. Their ship ran into a fierce storm and was forced to turn back. They then crossed Gaul once more, but by a more northly route, to Metz, where the Austrasian king, Theodebert II, received them kindly. Finally they rowed up the Rhine in the depths of winter, hoping to settle at Bregenz on Lake Constance, but the excessive zeal of their preaching made them enemies, and when Austrasia and Burgundy went to war and Austrasia was defeated, Columban moved on.

Columban,
God’s wanderer and fierce defender of the faith.
Into Italy
By now aged about 70, he crossed the Alps to Milan, leaving his disciple in Gall and some other monks behind, after what may have been a quarrel. He was well received by the king of Lombardy, an Arian, though his wife and children were Catholics. He found himself caught up in the complex doctrinal issue of the writings (and writers) known as the Three Chapters, about which he knew little. Persuaded by the king’s wife, a passionate defender of the Three Chapters, he wrote a letter to Pope Boniface IV, ostensibly in their defence, but actually defending the orthodoxy of his own position: “We are disciples of Saints Peter and Paul and all the disciples who by the Holy Spirit wrote the divine canon. No one of us has been a heretic, no one a Jew, no one a schismatic… the Catholic faith is maintained unchanged.”
Death and influenceThe royal couple gave Columban land at Bobbio, in an Apennine pass between Genoa and Piacenza, and here he built his last monastery. Invited to return to the Frankish kingdom, he declined, now nearing death.

St Columban’s tomb in Bobbio
He died at Bobbio on 3 November 615 and was buried there.
The next abbot commissioned a monk named Joncas, who had joined the abbey three years after Columban’s death, to write hisLife. Joncas completed this with the help of many who had known him. Over the centuries Bobbio acquired a great library and became a major influence on learning in northern Italy until the 16th century. It was finally suppressed by the French in 1803. Columban’s foundation at Luxeuil also flourished until the French Revolution.
Columban Missionaries todayIn 1918 a missionary society under the patronage of St Columban was founded from the Irish seminary of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth sending missionaries especially to China. There are presently over 500 Columban priests of ten nationalities and many lay missionaries in the Society ministering in 14 countries. Shared from Catholicireland Net

Saint November 23 : Blessed Miguel Pro - Viva Christo Rey - #Martyr for Christ the King

(IMAGE SOURCE: BLOGGER)

BLESSED MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, S.J.—1891-1927

Miguel Pro was born January 13, 1891, at Guadalupe Zacatecas, Mexico.

In 1909, twenty-year-old Miguel Augustin Pro joined the Jesuits as a novice in Mexico. A year later a revolution erupted and by 1914 the Jesuits were forced to flee. Via Texas, California, Nicaragua, and Spain, Miguel received his seminary training en route to Belgium, where he was ordained in 1925.
The Jesuits sent Padre Pro to Mexico City in 1926, hoping a return home might relieve the priest’s chronic stomach ailment. Just twenty-three days after Padre Pro arrived, President Calles banned all public worship. Since he was not known as a priest, Padre Pro went about clandestinely—sometimes in disguise—celebrating Mass, distributing communion, hearing confessions, and anointing the sick. He also did as much as he could to relieve the material suffering of the poor. In a letter he gave this faith-filled account:
We carry on like slaves. Jesus help me! There isn’t time to breathe, and I am up to my eyebrows in this business of feeding those who have nothing. And they are many—those with nothing. I assure you that I spin like a top from here to there with such luck as is the exclusive privilege of petty thieves. It doesn’t even faze me to receive such messages as: “The X Family reports that they are twelve members and their pantry is empty. Their clothing is falling off them in pieces, three are sick in bed and there isn’t even water.” As a rule my purse is as dry as Calles’s soul, but it isn’t worth worrying since the Procurator of Heaven is generous.
People give me valuable objects to raffle off, something worth ten pesos that I can sell for forty. Once I was walking along with a woman’s purse that was quite cute (the purse not the woman) when I met a wealthy woman all dolled up.
“What do you have there?”
“A lady’s purse worth twenty-five pesos. You can have it for fifty pesos which I beg you to send to such-and-such a family.”
I see God’s hand so palpably in everything that almost—almost I fear they won’t kill me in these adventures. That will be a fiasco for me who sighs to go to heaven and start tossing off arpeggios on the guitar with my guardian angel.
In November 1927, a bomb was tossed at Calles’s car from an auto previously owned by one of Miguel’s two brothers. All three brothers were rounded up and condemned to death. The youngest was pardoned, but Padre Pro and his brother Humberto were executed by a firing squad. Calles had news photographers present, expecting the Pros to die cowardly. But Padre Pro refused the blindfold and welcomed the bullets with his arms extended in the form of a cross, crying out, “Viva Cristo Rey!” Although Calles outlawed any public demonstration, thousands of Mexicans defiantly lined the streets, honoring the martyr as he was carried in procession to his grave.
Once while walking with Concepcion, his favorite sister, Miguel noticed in a window an especially gaudy statue of the Virgin. She thought it was “hideous.” To tease her, he ran to the owner’s door and knocked. “Hello,” he said, “my sister loves your beautiful statue. Will you sell it?”
“Sorry,” was the answer. “That madonna is a family treasure.”
Quick-witted and lighthearted Miguel played similar practical jokes all his life. He also played them in death. President Calles thought executing Padre Pro publicly would demoralize Catholics, but it had the opposite effect. Miguel even promised to joke in heaven. “If I meet any long-faced saints there,” he said, “I will cheer them up with a Mexican hat dance!”
Excerpt from Voices of the Saints by Bert Ghezzi.

#PopeFrancis "Jesus, making Himself broken bread for us, sheds on us all His mercy and His love, as He did on the cross, so as to renew our heart" FULL TEXT + Video


General Wednesday Audience of Pope Francis at the Vatican - Nov. 22/17
FULL TEXT
The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Continuing with the catecheses on the Mass, we can ask ourselves: What is the Mass essentially? The Mass is the memorial of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. It makes us participants in His victory over sin and death and gives full meaning to our life.
Therefore, to understand the value of the Mass we must then understand, first of all, the biblical meaning of the “memorial.” It is “not merely the recollection of past events, but in a certain sense renders them present and real. Thus, in fact, Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers, so that they may conform their lives to them. “ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1363). With His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, Jesus Christ has brought Passover to fulfillment. And the Mass is the memorial of His Passover, of His “exodus,” which He carried out for us, to make us come out of slavery and to introduce us in the Promised Land of eternal life. It’s not merely a recollection no, it’s more: it makes present what happened 20 centuries ago. The Eucharist always leads us to the summit of God’s action of salvation: the Lord Jesus, making Himself broken bread for us, sheds on us all His mercy and His love, as He did on the cross, so as to renew our heart, our existence and our way of relating to Him and to brothers. Vatican Council II states: “Every time that the sacrifice of the cross — with which Christ, our Paschal Lamb, was immolated –, is celebrated on the altar, the work of our Redemption is effected” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 3).
Every celebration of the Eucharist is a ray of that sun without a sunset, which is Jesus Risen. To take part in the Mass, in particular on Sunday, means to enter into the victory of the Risen One, to be illumined by His light, warmed by His warmth. Through the Eucharistic Celebration, the Holy Spirit makes us participants in the divine life, which is able to transfigure our whole mortal existence. And in His passage from death to life, from time to eternity, the Lord Jesus draws us with Him to <celebrate> Easter. Easter is celebrated in the Mass. At Mass, we are with Jesus, dead and risen, and He draws us forward, to eternal life. In the Mass, we are united to Him. Rather, Christ lives in us and we live in Him. ”I have been crucified with Christ — says Saint Paul –, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:19-20). Paul thought thus.
In fact, His Blood frees us from death and from the fear of death. It liberates us not only from the dominion of physical death but of spiritual death, which is the evil, the sin that takes hold of us every time that we fall victims of our sin or of that of others. And then our life is polluted, it loses <its> beauty, it loses meaning, it withers.
Instead, Christ gives life back to us; Christ is the fullness of life, and when He confronted death He annihilated it forever: “Rising He destroyed death and renewed life,” (Eucharistic Prayer IV). Christ’s Passover is the definitive victory over death because He transformed His death into a supreme act of love. He died for love! And in the Eucharist, He wishes to communicate to us His paschal, victorious love. If we receive it with faith, we can also truly love God and our neighbor, we can love as He loved us, giving His life.
If the love of Christ is in me, I can give myself fully to the other, in the interior certainty that even if the other were to wound me, I would not die; otherwise, I would have to defend myself. The Martyrs, in fact, gave their life for this certainty of Christ’s victory over death. Only if we experience this power of Christ, the power of His love, are we truly free to give ourselves without fear. This is the Mass: to enter in the Passion, Death, Resurrection <and> Ascension of Jesus; when we go to Mass it’s as if we went to Calvary, the same thing. But think: if we in the moment of Mass go to Calvary – let us think imaginatively – and we know that that man there is Jesus, do we then permit ourselves to chat, to take photographs, to engage somewhat in a show? No! Because it’s Jesus! We will certainly be in silence, in mourning and also in the joy of being saved. When we enter the church to celebrate Mass we <should> think this: I am entering in Calvary, where Jesus gives His life for me. And thus the show disappears, chats disappear, comments and the things that remove us from this most beautiful thing that is the Mass <disappear>, <it’s> the triumph of Jesus.

I think that now it’s clearer how Passover is rendered present and operative every time we celebrate Mass, namely, the meaning of the memorial. Participation in the Eucharist makes us enter in Christ’s Paschal Mystery, making us pass with Him from death to life, namely, there in Calvary. The Mass is to <relive> Calvary, it’s not a show.
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims.
I greet the participants in the Meeting of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations; the participants in the Chapter of the Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation; the participants in the Course of Formation for Missionaries at the Pontifical Salesian University and the members of the Benedict XIII Studies Center of Gravina in Puglia, accompanied by Archbishop Giovanni Ricchiuti.
I greet the Franciscan Family of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pozzo of Capurso; the parish groups, in particular, the faithful of Saint Teresa of the Cross in Lissone; the Association of Italian Blood Donors (AVIS), on the 90th anniversary of its foundation, and the UNITALSI Group of Emilia Romagna.
I greet the representatives of the Food Bank Foundation, and I wish every good for the food collection, which will take place next Saturday in active continuity with the World Day of the Poor, which we celebrated last Sunday.
Finally, I thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the memorial of Saint Cecilia. Dear young people, following her example, grow in the faith and in dedication to your neighbour; dear sick, in suffering you experience the support of Christ who is always beside one who is undergoing trial; and you, dear newlyweds, have the same look of pure love that Saint Cecilia had, to learn to love unconditionally. And let us all pray to Saint Cecilia, may she teach us to sing with the heart, may she teach us the jubilation of being saved
[Original text: Italian]  [Blogger Entry Share of ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

#Novena to Saint Cecilia - Prayers to SHARE to the Patroness of Music

Saint Cecilia And An Angel by Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Lanfranco
NOVENA PRAYER (Novenas are usually said for 9 days, however this prayer can be said at any time) 
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us. (repeat after each line)St. Cecilia,
St. Cecilia, wise virgin,
St. Cecilia, whose heart burned with the fire of divine love,
St. Cecilia, apostle by your zeal and charity,
St. Cecilia, who converted your spouse and procured for him the crown of martyrdom,
St. Cecilia, who by your pleadings moved the hearts of pagans, and brought them into the true Church,
St. Cecilia, who did unceasingly see your guardian angel by your side,
St. Cecilia, who mingled your voice with the celestial harmonies of the virgins,
St. Cecilia, who by your melodious accents celebrated the praises of Jesus,
St. Cecilia, illustrious martyr of Jesus Christ,
St. Cecilia, who during three days suffered most excruciating torments,
St. Cecilia, consolation of the afflicted,
St. Cecilia, protectress of all who invoke you,
St. Cecilia, patroness of holy canticles,
St. Cecilia, special patroness and advocate of all singers, musicians, authors, and students,
We salute you, O Virgin, who gave your blood for the defense and faith of Jesus Christ.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
God glorified St. Cecilia, And He crowned her virtues.
Let us pray, O Eternal God, who gave us in the person of St. Cecilia, a powerful protectress, grant that after having faithfully passed our days like herself, in innocence and holiness, we may one day attain the land of beatitude, where in concert with her, we may praise you and bless you forevermore in eternity. Amen.
Hymn
Let the deep organ swell the lay
In honor of this festive day.
Let the harmonious choirs proclaim
Cecilia’s ever blessed name.
Let the harmonious choirs proclaim
Cecilia’s ever blessed name.
Cecilia with a two-fold crown,
Adorned in heaven we pray look down,
Upon thy fervent children here
And harken to their humble prayer.
Let the harmonious choirs proclaim
Cecilia’s ever blessed name.
Novena Source - Nashville Dominican Nuns
Say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, and 1 Glory Be each day of the Novena.

#BreakingNews ISIS threatens Pope Francis and the Vatican - Please PRAY for the Safety of the Holy Father

ISIS has threatened the Catholic Church and Pope Francis by showing a beheaded Pope. In Rome, security measures are clearly increased. The terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) has made threats against the Vatican and Pope Francis and these apparently continue to increase. Now a particularly cruel photo (seen above) is circulating in Islamist networks.  The work features an ISIS fighter and a beheaded Pope Francis. They were distributed by the Wafa Media Foundation. On the picture is also a text: "" Christmas blood. Wait ... "A few days ago, a picture of the ISIS was published, showing an assassin's vehicle steering towards St. Peter's Basilica.In Rome itself, security measures have been significantly increased in recent weeks.
 Please PRAY for the Safety of the Holy Father Pope Francis.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. November 22, 2017 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 499


Reading 12 MC 7:1, 20-31

It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested
and tortured with whips and scourges by the king,
to force them to eat pork in violation of God's law.

Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother,
who saw her seven sons perish in a single day,
yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.
Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage,
she exhorted each of them
in the language of their ancestors with these words:
"I do not know how you came into existence in my womb;
it was not I who gave you the breath of life,
nor was it I who set in order
the elements of which each of you is composed.
Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe
who shapes each man's beginning,
as he brings about the origin of everything,
he, in his mercy,
will give you back both breath and life,
because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law."

Antiochus, suspecting insult in her words,
thought he was being ridiculed.
As the youngest brother was still alive, the king appealed to him,
not with mere words, but with promises on oath,
to make him rich and happy if he would abandon his ancestral customs:
he would make him his Friend
and entrust him with high office.
When the youth paid no attention to him at all,
the king appealed to the mother,
urging her to advise her boy to save his life.
After he had urged her for a long time,
she went through the motions of persuading her son.
In derision of the cruel tyrant,
she leaned over close to her son and said in their native language:
"Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months,
nursed you for three years, brought you up,
educated and supported you to your present age.
I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth
and see all that is in them;
then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things;
and in the same way the human race came into existence.
Do not be afraid of this executioner,
but be worthy of your brothers and accept death,
so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them."

She had scarcely finished speaking when the youth said:
"What are you waiting for?
I will not obey the king's command.
I obey the command of the law given to our fathers through Moses.
But you, who have contrived every kind of affliction for the Hebrews,
will not escape the hands of God."

Responsorial PsalmPS 17:1BCD, 5-6, 8B AND 15

R. (15b) Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
My steps have been steadfast in your paths,
my feet have not faltered.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.

AlleluiaSEE JN 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 19:11-28

While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
"A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, 'Engage in trade with these until I return.'
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
'We do not want this man to be our king.'
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
'Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.'
He replied, 'Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.'
Then the second came and reported,
'Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.'
And to this servant too he said,
'You, take charge of five cities.'
Then the other servant came and said,
'Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.'
He said to him,
'With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.'
And to those standing by he said,
'Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.'
But they said to him,
'Sir, he has ten gold coins.'
He replied, 'I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.'"

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

#BreakingNews Arrests made of Catholic #ProLife Priests leads to Release and Suspended Fines - Please Pray

Two Catholic priests avoided the jail sentences they were expecting on Monday for a September pro-life protest in Alexandria, Virginia. The judge gave them and four co-defendants suspended fines. "Babies are dying, and that is why we did what we did, to intervene on behalf of the babies," Imbarrato said, outside the courthouse. "I was very happy that the judge was somewhat open to the necessity defense." 
Six members of the pro-life community, including two priests, who were participating in the Red Rose Rescue campaign of September 15, they refused to leave abortion clinics where they attempted to speak with women scheduled for abortions. Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, headed by Monica Miller, Ph.D. was also arrested on the same day for refusing to leave an abortion clinic in Michigan. The Red Rose Rescue consists of pro-lifers offering red roses to women in the waiting room of abortion clinics. Attached to the rose is a card with words of encouragement and phone numbers for local pregnancy help centers. “The goal of the Red Rose Rescue is to persuade women in the waiting room to reconsider their decision to abort and leave the clinic with at least one of the rescuers,”
 The six people arrested were Fr. Stephen Imbarrato who is associated with Priests for Life, Fr. Fidelis Moscinski with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, pro-life heroine Joan Andrews Bell and three other women, Julie Haag, Bonnie Borel Donahue and Joan McKee. At the same time, in the state of Michigan, four more pro-lifers were arrested for trespass. Those arrested at the Michigan clinic were Dr. Miller, who is also a Women of Grace board member, along with Will Goodman, Matthew Connolly and twenty-year-old Abby McIntyre who attends Indiana State University and interned with Bryan Kemper of Stand True.  Their trial is scheduled for Saint Valentine’s Day, Feb.14, 2018. They are represented by Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center. As Dr. Miller explains, “The Red Rose Rescue is an act of charity for women who feel, for whatever reason, that they must abort their innocent unborn children. Those who perform the rescues are willing to embrace risks for these women and their babies. They will go into the very places where the unborn are put to death and extend help to the moms. Should this help be refused—they will not leave the abortion centers but remain in solidarity with the helpless victims oppressed by the injustice of abortion.” She added: “Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said that her work was ‘to go into the dark holes of the poor.’ The Red Rose Rescue is an action of going into the dark holes of the poor—namely abortion centers where the innocent are rejected—and in these dark holes we seek to bring hope, true peace and the presence of God.”

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Saint November 22 : St. Cecilia : Patron of #Musicians


St. Cecilia
MARTYR, PATRONESS OF CHURCH MUSIC
Feast: November 22
Information:
Feast Day:
November 22
Born:
Rome
Major Shrine:
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
Church music,great musicians, poets
Glorious saint, who chose to die
Instead of denying your King. We pray you please to help us As His fair praise we sing!
We lift our hearts in joyous song To honor Him this way, And while we sing, remembering, To sing is to doubly pray.
At once in our hearts and in our tongues 
We offer double prayer Sent heavenward on winged notes 
To praise God dwelling there.
While in our hearts and tongues we try
With song to praise God twice, We ask dear saint, to help us be United closed to Christ!
Today, November 22, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Cecilia (died 117), Virgin and Martyr of the Church. Saint Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, but the facts of her life have been mostly lost to history. Instead, the Holy Legend of Saint Cecilia has been celebrated since the late fourth century. Saint Cecilia further has the distinction of being the patron saint of music—especially the music used during the celebration of Mass—and the patron saint of musicians, composers, instrument makers, and poets. This association grew from her constant song of Christian love in her heart, present throughout her life. From her Acta: “While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse.”
Cecilia was born in the early part of the third century, in Rome. Born to wealthy, pagan parents, she was likely instructed in the Catholic faith by kind relatives or a nurse. As a noble family—known for their bravery and intelligence—her parents were likely to have accepted (although possibly not approved) of her Catholic faith. By all reports, even as a child, Cecilia loved music, and she would spend her days singing the praises of God, accompanying herself on various instruments.
Cecilia embraced the faith from childhood. Drawn to the Lord, she attended Mass daily, desiring nothing more than to embody the virtues of Christ: faith, hope, charity, humility, and purity. As a child, she consecrated herself a bride of Christ, pledging her perpetual virginity to the Lord. As there were no religious orders for women at that time in history (not for at least 200 more years!), Cecilia was limited in her options. She fasted, prayed, and work sackcloth each day. While she spent her days in charitable works, caring for the poor and needy, her parents were searching for a husband for her to marry. They found an upright and honest man, Valerian, who was pagan like themselves.
Cecilia was torn. Obediently, she wish to do as her parents bade her, but she had made a vow of virginity for the Lord. She spent her days and nights in prayer, offering herself to Jesus, fasting, and enacting harsh penances. As her wedding day approached she did little but pray… until the Lord sent comfort. The Lord promised to send an angel to Saint Cecilia, to guard her, and to assist her in keeping her vow. Cecilia was married in a lavish ceremony, internally, in her soul, becoming the bride of Christ.
After the ceremony, Cecilia said to her new earthly husband: “Dear friend, I have a secret to confide to you, but will you promise me to keep it?”
He promised her solemnly that nothing would ever make him reveal it, and she continued, “An Angel of God watches over me, for I belong to God. If he sees that you would approach me under the influence of a sensual love, his anger will be inflamed, and you will succumb to the blows of his vengeance. But if you love me with a perfect love and conserve my virginity inviolable, he will love you as he loves me, and will lavish on you, too, his favors.”
Upon hearing this, Valerian was at first surprised, and then slightly irritated (as one might expect!). "I am very surprised at what you are telling me and I wish to see this angel!"
"You shall see him," Cecilia gently answered, "when you are purified."
"How shall I become so?" asked Valerian.
"Go to Pope Urban," she instructed him. "When you tell the poor that you are Cecilia's friend, they will take you to see the Pope. He will explain to you the mysteries of the Catholic Faith. May God bless you and my angel protect you."
Valerian, for his part, was moved by the grace of the Lord, and traveled to see Pope Urban that very evening. He was converted to Catholicism and baptized into the faith. Wearing his baptismal gown, he returned to his new bride, finding her accompanied by the angel she had promised. The angel, as emissary from the Lord, bestowed upon them both the golden crowns of heaven. Together, they lived in celibacy, and grew in love for the Lord, eventually converting Valerian’s brother, Tiburtius, a man of some importance in Rome—who upon seeing their heavenly crowns was moved to accept Jesus Christ.
Together the brothers made it their mission to find and provide a decent burial to the Christian martyrs being executed throughout Rome. It was not long, however, until word spread of their endeavor. The Governor of Rome, learning of their Christianity through Tiburtius, summoned the brothers before him. When questioned, they refused to recant their faith, stating: "We are Christians and we believe in Jesus Christ, the One and only true God!"
Upon hearing this, the Governor ordered them martyred. Saint Cecilia, assisted by her angel, recovered and buried the bodies. But soon, she was called before the Governor as well. Courageously, she, too, declared her faith: "I too am a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ, the One and only true God!"
The Governor was not furious. He sentenced her to death, stating: "Cecilia! You are condemned to die for loving the poor and for adoring Christ crucified!"
But Cecilia was not to be harmed. The soldiers tried to scald and suffocated her in the steam bath in her own home, but rather than suffer, she could be heard singing to the Lord, seemingly accompanied by the choir of angels. After 36 hours, in which she should not have been able to survive, she was released. The Governor then ordered her head cut off, but the guard who attempted sliced her neck three times with a sword, but was unable to sever it. Scared, he ran away, leaving her wounded and in great pain.
Cecilia survived for three days, bleeding and injured, but cared for by her angel and the Christians in the small community that had developed. During that time, she preached, converting many, gave away all that she had to the poor, and prayed incessantly. Many came to visit her, soaking up her blood with cloths and sponges, reporting miracles at her intercession later. On the last day of her life, Pope Urban traveled to her home, bestowing upon her the Last Rites, and seeing her to Heaven. On her wishes, Pope Urban ordered Cecilia's house converted into a church, with the steam bath—the site of the start of her martyrdom—the chapel. To this day, one can still see the pipes where the hot steam poured in, and the stone floor where Cecilia was struck with the sword.
The mysteries of Saint Cecilia’s life did not end in death, but continued. After some years, a grand church was built in Rome to honor her. Pope Pascal I, who undertook to rebuild the church many years later, was troubled that the saints holy body had never been recovered. One Sunday, while praying in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Cecilia appeared to him, consoling him, and declaring that he would find her body. Inspired by her words, a search was begun, and Saint Cecilia’s body was discovered, buried in a cemetery now named after her. Gold cloth wrapped the incorrupt body, and the blood-soaked linens that had bound her neck wound were preserved within the tomb. Nearby, the body of her husband, Saint Valerian, was also discovered. The relics of these saints were moved to Saint Cecilia’s Church in 821.
Nearly 800 years later, in 1599, the tomb of Saint Cecilia was opened, and her body was found to be perfectly persevered and incorrupt. At that time, a sculptor was called in to examine and sculpt the body prior to resealing the tomb. A likeness was made with the following carved into the floor at the alter at the base of the statue:
“Behold the body of the most holy virgin Cecilia, whom I myself saw lying incorrupt in the tomb. I have in this marble expressed for you the same saint in the very same posture.”
The life of Saint Cecilia is one of great mystery, as we are left uncertain of the actual events of her marriage and martyrdom. What we do know, from Holy Legend, is that Cecilia was called by the Lord to devote herself to Him—in service to others, in practice of virtues, and in praise and music—all of which she did gladly and with abandon. Despite many obstacles, Saint Cecilia remained pure in the eyes of the Lord, a heavenly instrument of His love on earth!
Lord of mercy, be close to those who call upon you. With St. Cecilia to help us hear and answer our prayers. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (365RosariesBlog)

#PopeFrancis ask yourself "Is this new thing from the Lord, does it come from the Holy Spirit, is it rooted in God?"


(Vatican Radio) Cultural and ideological colonization does not tolerate differences and makes everything the same, resulting in the persecution even of believers. Those were Pope Francis’ reflections in his homily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, which centered on the martyrdom of Eleazar, narrated in the book of Maccabees from the First Reading (Maccabees 6: 18-31).
The Pope noted that there are three main types of persecution: a purely religious persecution; a “mixed” persecution that has both religious and political motivations, like the Thirty Years War or the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre”; and a kind of cultural persecution, when a new culture comes in wanting “to make everything new and to make a clean break with everything: the cultures, the laws and the religions of a people.” It is this last type of persecution that led to the martyrdom of Eleazar.
The account of this persecution began in the reading from Monday’s liturgy. Some of the Jewish people, seeing the power and the magnificent beauty of Antiochus Ephiphanes (a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire), wanted to make an alliance with him. They wanted to be up-to-date and modern, and so they approached the king and asked him to allow them “to introduce the pagan institutions of other nations” among their own people. Not necessarily the ideas or gods of those nations, the Pope noted, but the institutions. In this way, this people brought in a new culture, “new institutions” in order to make a clean break with everything: their “culture, religion, law.” This modernizing, this renewal of everything, the Pope emphasized, is a true ideological colonization that wanted to impose on the people of Israel “this unique practice,” according to which everything was done in a particular way, and there was no freedom for other things. Some people accepted it because it seemed good to be like the others; and so the traditions were left aside, and the people begin to live in a different way.
But to defend the “true traditions” of the people, a resistance rose up, like that of Eleazar, who was very dignified, and respected by all. The book of Maccabees, the Pope said, tells the story of these martyrs, these heroes. A persecution born of ideological colonization always proceeds in the same way: destroying, attempting to make everyone the same. Such persecutions are incapable of tolerating differences.
The key word highlighted by the Pope, beginning with Monday’s reading is “perverse root” – that is Antiochus Epifanes: the root that came to introduce into the people of God, “with power,” these new, pagan, worldly” customs:
“And this is the path of cultural colonization that ends up persecuting believers too. But we do not have to go too far to see some examples: we think of the genocides of the last century, which was a new cultural thing: [Trying to make] everyone equal; [so that] there is no place for differences, there is no place for others, there is no place for God. It is the perverse root. Faced with this cultural colonization, which arises from the perversity of an ideological root, Eleazar himself has become [a contrary] root.
In fact, Eleazar dies thinking of the young people, leaving them a noble example. “He gives [his] life; for love of God and of the law he is made a root for the future.” So, in the face of that perverse root that produces this ideological and cultural colonization, “there is this other root that gives [his] life for the future to grow.”
What had come from the kingdom of Antioch was a novelty. But not all new things are bad, the Pope said: just think of the Gospel of Jesus, which was a novelty. When it comes to novelties, the Pope said, one has to be able to make distinctions:
“There is a need to discern ‘the new things’: Is this new thing from the Lord, does it come from the Holy Spirit, is it rooted in God? Or does this newness come from a perverse root? But before, [for example] yes, it was a sin to kill children; but today it is not a problem, it is a perverse novelty. Yesterday, the differences were clear, as God made it, creation was respected; but today [people say] we are a little modern... you act... you understand ... things are not so different ... and things are mixed together.”
 The “new things” of God, on the other hand, never makes “a negotiation” but grows and looks at the future:
“Ideological and cultural colonizations only look to the present; they deny the past, and do not look to the future. They live in the moment, not in time, and so they can’t promise us anything. And with this attitude of making everyone equal and cancelling out differences, they commit, they make an particularly ugly blasphemy against God the Creator. Every time a cultural and ideological colonization comes along, it sins against God the Creator because it wants to change Creation as it was made by Him. And against this fact that has occurred so often in history, there is only one medicine: bearing witness; that is, martyrdom.
Eleazar, in fact, gives the witness by giving his life, considering the inheritance he will leave by his example: “I have lived thus. Yes, I dialogue with those who think otherwise, but my testimony is thus, according to the law of God.” Eleazar does not think about leaving behind money or anything of that kind, but looks to the future, “the legacy of his testimony,” to that testimony that would be “a promise of fruitfulness for the young.” It becomes, therefore, a root to give life to others. And the Pope concludes with the hope that that example “will help us in moments of confusion in the face of the cultural and spiritual colonization that is being proposed to us.”