Saturday, August 27, 2016

#Novena Prayer to St. Monica - Patron of #Mothers to SHARE - #Miracle Prayer

PRAYER TO
NOVENA TO SAINT MONICA

(Say this for 9 Days)

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
You perserveringly pursued your wayward son
Not with wild threats 
But with prayerful cries to heaven. 

Intercede for all mothers in our day 
So that they may learn 
To draw their children to God. 


Teach them how to remain
Close to their children, 
Even the prodigal sons and daughters 
Who have sadly gone astray. 

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother, 
Many sorrows pierced your heart
During your lifetime. 
Yet you never despaired or lost faith. 
With confidence, persistence and profound faith, 
You prayed daily for the conversion
Of your beloved husband, Patricius 
And your beloved son, Augustine. 

Grant me that same fortitude, 
Patience and trust in the Lord. 
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica, 
That God may favorably hear my plea 
For 

[State your petition here.) 

And grant me the grace 
To accept his will in all things, 
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
In the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
One God forever and ever.

Amen.
Pray Hail Mary 3 times 
Pray Glory Be 3 times 
St. Monica, pray for us

#PopeFrancis "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners..." Jubilee Message FULL TEXT + Video

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Video Message to the Church in the Americas, to mark the Jubilee of the Americas, organized by the Bishops’ Conference of Latin America (CELAM) and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
Scheduled to take place in Bogota, Colombia, from the 27th to the 30th of August, the theme of the continental Jubilee celebration is taken from Pope Francis’ homily at Mass on May 2nd, 2015, at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he had gone to visit as part of preparations for the canonization of St. Junipero Serra: “May a powerful gust of holiness sweep through all the Americas during the coming Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy!”
Along with the bishops, priests, religious men and women, and laity of the 22 Latin American and Caribbean countries, delegates from Canada and the United States and representatives of the Holy See are taking part in the Jubilee celebration.
The schedule of events over the three-day celebration includes a penitential liturgy including time for personal confessions, a reflection on the legacy of holiness found in the American saints, a full day dedicated to Works of Mercy on the American continent, and a public conversation on mercy as the soul of a culture of encounter. (Compiled from Radio Vaticana)
Below, please find the full text of the Pope’s Message
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I welcome the initiative of CELAM and CAL, in association with the bishops of the United States and Canada – this makes me think of the Synod of America – to make possible this continent-wide opportunity to celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy.  I am pleased to know that all the countries of America have been able to take part.  Given the many attempts to fragment, divide and set our peoples at odds, such events help us to broaden our horizons and to continue our handshake; a great sign that encourages us in hope.
I would like to begin with the words of the apostle Paul to his beloved disciple: “I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence.  But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the foremost.  But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience” (1 Tim 1:12-16a).
So Paul tells Timothy in his First Letter, chapter 1, verses 12 to 16.  In speaking to him, he wants to speak to each of us.  His words are an invitation, I would even say, a provocation.  Words meant to motivate Timothy and all those who would hear them throughout history.  They are words that cannot leave us indifferent; rather, they profoundly affect our lives.
Paul minces no words: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom Paul considers himself the worst.  He is clearly aware of who he is, he does not conceal his past or even his present.  But he describes himself in this way neither to excuse or justify himself, much less to boast of his condition.  We are at the very beginning of the letter, and he has already warned Timothy about “myths and endless genealogies” and “meaningless talk”, and warned him that all these end up in “disputes”, arguments.  At first, we might think that he is dwelling on his own sinfulness, but he does this so that Timothy, and each of us with him, can identify with him.  To use football terms we could say: he kicks the ball to the center so that another can head the ball.  He “passes us the ball” to enable us to share his own experience: despite all my sins, “I received mercy”.
We have the opportunity to be here because, with Paul, we can say: “We received mercy”.  For all our sins, our limitations, our failings, for all the many times we have fallen, Jesus has looked upon us and drawn near to us.  He has given us his hand and showed us mercy.  To whom?  To me, to you, to everyone.  All of us can think back and remember the many times the Lord looked upon us, drew near and showed us mercy.  All those times that the Lord kept trusting, kept betting on us (cf. Ez 16).  For my part, I think of the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel, and the Lord’s constant betting on each one of us.  That is what Paul calls “sound teaching” – think about it! – sound teaching is this: that we received mercy.  That is the heart of Paul’s letter to Timothy.  During this time of the Jubilee, how good it is for us to reflect on this truth, to think back on how throughout our lives the Lord has always been near us and showed us mercy.  To concentrate on remembering our sin and not our alleged merits, to grow in a humble and guilt-free awareness of all those times we turned away from God – we, not someone else, not the person next to us, much less that of our people – and to be once more amazed by God’s mercy.  That is a sure message, sound teaching, and never empty talk.
There is one particular thing about Paul’s letter that I would like to share with you.  Paul does not say: “The Lord spoke and told me” or “The Lord showed me or taught me”.  He says: “He treated me with mercy”.   For Paul, his relationship with Jesus was sealed by the way he treated him.  Far from being an idea, a desire, a theory – much less an ideology –, mercy is a concrete way of “touching” weakness, of bonding with others, of drawing closer to others.  It is a concrete way of meeting people where they are at.  It is a way of acting that makes us give the best of ourselves so that others can feel “treated” in such a way that they feel that in their lives the last word has not yet been spoken.  Treated in such a way that those who feel crushed by the burden of their sins can feel relieved at being given another chance.  Far from a mere beautiful word, mercy is the concrete act by which God seeks to relate to his children.  Paul uses the passive voice – pardon me for being a bit pedantic here – and the past tense.  To put it loosely, he could well have said: “I was ‘shown mercy’”.  The passive makes Paul the receiver of the action of another; he does nothing more than allow himself to be shown mercy.  The past tense of the original reminds us that in him the experience took place at a precise moment in time, one that he remembers, gives thanks for, and celebrates.
Paul’s God starts a movement from heart to hands, the movement of one who is unafraid to draw near, to touch, to caress, without being scandalized, without condemning, without dismissing anyone.  A way of acting that becomes incarnate in people’s lives.
To understand and accept what God does for us – a God who does not think, love or act out of fear, but because he trusts us and expects us to change – must perhaps be our hermeneutical criterion, our mode of operation: “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37).  Our way of treating others, in consequence, must never be based on fear but on the hope God has in our ability to change.  Which will it be: hope for change, or fear?  The only thing acting out of fear accomplishes is to separate, to divide, to attempt to distinguish with surgical precision one side from the other, to create false security and thus to build walls.  Acting on the basis of hope for change, for conversion, encourages and incites, it looks to the future, it makes room for opportunity, and it keeps us moving forward.  Acting on the basis of fear bespeaks guilt, punishment, “you were wrong”.  Acting on the basis of hope of transformation bespeaks trusting, learning, getting up, constantly trying to generate new opportunities.  How many times?  Seventy times seven.  For that reason, treating people with mercy always awakens creativity.  It is concerned with the face of the person, with his or her life, history and daily existence. It is not married to one model or recipe, but enjoys a healthy freedom of spirit, and can thus seek what is the best for the other person, in a way they can understand.  This engages all our abilities and gifts; it makes us step out from behind our walls.  It is never empty talk – as Paul tells us – that entangles us in endless disputes.  Acting on the basis of hope for change is a restless way of thinking that sets our heart pounding and readies our hands for action.  The journey from heart to hands.
Seeing how God acts in this way, we might be scandalized, like the older son in the parable of the Merciful Father, by how the father treats his younger son upon seeing him return.  We might be scandalized that he embraced him, treated him with love, called for him to be dressed in the best robes even though he was so filthy.  We might be scandalized that upon seeing him return, he kissed him and threw a party. We might be scandalized that he did not upbraid him but instead treated him for what he was: a son.
We start being scandalized – and this happens to us all, it’s almost automatic, no? – we start being scandalized when spiritual Alzheimer’s sets in: when we forget how the Lord has treated us, when we begin to judge and divide people up.  We take on a separatist mindset that, without our realizing it, leads us to fragment our social and communal reality all the more.  We fragment the present by creating “groups”.  Groups of good and bad, saints and sinners.  This memory loss gradually makes us forget the richest reality we possess and the clearest teaching we have to defend.  The richest reality and the clearest teaching.  Though we are all sinners, the Lord has unfailingly treated us with mercy.  Paul never forgot that he was on the other side, that he was chosen last, as one born out of time.  Mercy is not a “theory to brandish”:  “Ah!  Now it is fashionable to talk about mercy for this Jubilee, so let’s follow the fashion”.  No, it is not a theory to brandish so that our condescension can be applauded, but rather a history of sin to be remembered.  Which sin?  Ours, mine and yours.  And a love to be praised.  Which love?  The love of God, who has shown me mercy.
We are part of a fragmented culture, a throwaway culture.  A culture tainted by the exclusion of everything that might threaten the interests of a few.  A culture that is leaving by the roadside the faces of the elderly, children, ethnic minorities seen as a threat.  A culture that little by little promotes the comfort of a few and increases the suffering of many others.  A culture that is incapable of accompanying the young in their dreams but sedates them with promises of ethereal happiness and hides the living memory of their elders.  A culture that has squandered the wisdom of the indigenous peoples and has shown itself incapable of caring for the richness of their lands.
All of us are aware, all of us know that we live in a society that is hurting; no one doubts this.  We live in a society that is bleeding, and the price of its wounds normally ends up being paid by the most vulnerable.  But it is precisely to this society, to this culture , that the Lord sends us.  He sends us and urges us to bring the balm of “his” presence.  He sends us with one program alone: to treat one another with mercy.  To become neighbors to those thousands of defenseless people who walk in our beloved American land by proposing a different way of treating them.  A renewed way, trying to let our form of bonding be inspired by God’s dream, by what he has done.  A way of treating others based on remembering that all of us came from afar, like Abraham, and all of us were brought out of places of slavery, like the people of Israel.
All of us still vividly recall our experience in Aparecida and its invitation once more to become missionary disciples.  We spoke at length about discipleship, and wondered how best to promote the catechesis of discipleship and mission.  Paul gives us an interesting key to this: showing mercy.  He reminds us that what made him an apostle was how he was treated, how God drew near to his life: “I received mercy”.  What made him a disciple was the trust God showed in him despite his many sins.  And that reminds us that we may have the best plans, projects and theories about what to do, but if we lack that “show of mercy”, our pastoral work will be cut off midway.
All this has to do with our catechesis, our seminaries – do we teach our seminarians this path of showing mercy? – our parish structures and pastoral plans.  All this has to do with our missionary activity, our pastoral plans, our clergy meetings and even our way of doing theology.  It is about learning to show mercy, a form of bonding that we daily have to ask for – because it is a grace – and need to learn.  Showing mercy among ourselves as bishops, priests and laity.  In theory we are “missionaries of mercy”, yet often we are better at “mistreating” than at treating well.  How many times have we failed in our seminaries to inspire, accompany and encourage a pedagogy of mercy, and to teach that the heart of pastoral work is showing mercy.  Being pastors who treat and not mistreat.  Please, I ask you: be pastors who know how to treat and not mistreat.
Today we are asked especially to show mercy to God’s holy and faithful people – they know a lot about being merciful because they have a good memory –, to the people who come to our communities with their sufferings, sorrows and hurts.  But also to the people who do not come to our communities, yet are wounded by the paths of history and hope to receive mercy.  Mercy is learned from experience – in our own lives first – as in the case of Paul, to whom God revealed all his mercy, all his merciful patience.  It is learned from sensing that God continues to trust in us and to call us to be his missionaries, that he constantly sends us forth to treat our brothers and sisters in the same way that he has treated us.  Each of us knows his or her own story and can draw from it.  Mercy is learned, because our Father continues to forgive us.  Our peoples already have enough suffering in their lives; they do not need us to add to it.  To learn to show mercy is to learn from the Master how to become neighbors, unafraid of the outcast and those “tainted” and marked by sin.  To learn to hold out our hand to those who have fallen, without being afraid of what people will say.  Any treatment lacking mercy, however just it may seem, ends up turning into mistreatment.  The challenge will be to empower paths of hope, paths that encourage good treatment and make mercy shine forth.
Dear brothers and sisters, this gathering is not a congress or a meeting, a seminary or a conference.  This gathering is above all a celebration: we have been asked to celebrate the way God has treated each of us and all his people.  For this reason, I believe that it is good time for us to say together: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you.  I need you.  Save me once again, Lord; take me once more into your redeeming embrace” (Evangelii Gaudium, 3).
Let us be grateful, as Paul told Timothy, that God trusts us to repeat with his people the immense acts of mercy he has shown us, and that this encounter will help us to go forth with renewed conviction as we seek to pass on the sweet and comforting joy of the Gospel of mercy.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Sat. August 27, 2016


Memorial of Saint Monica
Lectionary: 430


Reading 11 COR 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

Responsorial PsalmPS 33:12-13, 18-19, 20-21

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Gospel JN 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

Saint August 27 : St. Monica : Patron of #Mothers, #Alcoholics and Victims of Abuse


Patron of: patience, married women, homemakers and housewives, mothers, wives, widows, alcoholics, difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery or unfaithfulness, and victims of (verbal) abuse
Widow; born of Christian parents at Tagaste, North Africa, in 333; died at Ostia, near Rome, in 387.
We are told but little of her childhood. She was married early in life to Patritius who held an official position in Tagaste. He was a pagan, though like so many at that period, his religion was no more than a name; his temper was violent and he appears to have been of dissolute habits. Consequently Monica's married life was far from being a happy one, more especially as Patritius's mother seems to have been of a like disposition with himself. There was of course a gulf between husband and wife; her almsdeeds and her habits of prayer annoyed him, but it is said that he always held her in a sort of reverence. Monica was not the only matron of Tagaste whose married life was unhappy, but, by her sweetness and patience, she was able to exercise a veritable apostolate amongst the wives and mothers of her native town; they knew that she suffered as they did, and her words and example had a proportionate effect.
Three children were born of this marriage, Augustine the eldest, Navigius the second, and a daughter, Perpetua. Monica had been unable to secure baptism for her children, and her grief was great when Augustine fell ill; in her distress she besought Patritius to allow him to be baptized; he agreed, but on the boy's recovery withdrew his consent. All Monica's anxiety now centred in Augustine; he was wayward and, as he himself tells us, lazy. He was sent to Madaura to school and Monica seems to have literally wrestled with God for the soul of her son. A great consolation was vouchsafed her — in compensation perhaps for all that she was to experience through Augustine — Patritius became a Christian. Meanwhile, Augustine had been sent to Carthage, to prosecute his studies, and here he fell into grievous sin. Patritius died very shortly after his reception into the Church and Monica resolved not to marry again. At Carthage Augustine had become a Manichean and when on his return home he ventilated certain heretical propositions she drove him away from her table, but a strange vision which she had urged her to recall him. It was at this time that she went to see a certain holy bishop, whose name is not given, but who consoled her with the now famous words, "the child of those tears shall never perish." There is no more pathetic story in the annals of the Saints than that of Monica pursuing her wayward son to Rome, wither he had gone by stealth; when she arrived he had already gone to Milan, but she followed him. Here she found St. Ambrose and through him she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine yield, after seventeen years of resistance. Mother and son spent six months of true peace at Cassiacum, after which time Augustine was baptized in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan. Africa claimed them however, and they set out on their journey, stopping at Cività Vecchia and at Ostia. Here death overtook Monica and the finest pages of his "Confessions" were penned as the result of the emotion Augustine then experienced.
St. Monica was buried at Ostia, and at first seems to have been almost forgotten, though her body was removed during the sixth century to a hidden crypt in the church of St. Aureus. About the thirteenth century, however, the cult of St. Monica began to spread and a feast in her honour was kept on 4 May. In 1430 Martin V ordered the relics to be brought to Rome. Many miracles occurred on the way, and the cultus of St. Monica was definitely established. Later the Archbishop of Rouen, Cardinal d'Estouteville, built a church at Rome in honour of St. Augustine and deposited the relics of St. Monica in a chapel to the left of the high altar. The Office of St. Monica however does not seem to have found a place in the Roman Breviary before the sixteenth century.
In 1850 there was established at Notre Dame de Sion at Paris an Association of Christian mothers under the patronage of St. Monica; its object was mutual prayer for sons and husbands who had gone astray. This Association was in 1856 raised to the rank of an archconfraternity and spread rapidly over all the Catholic world, branches being established in Dublin, London, Liverpool, Sydney, and Buenos Aires. Eugenius IV had established a similar Confraternity long before.

Friday, August 26, 2016

#BreakingNews 2 Nuns Killed who worked as Nurses for the Poor in Mississippi - RIP Sr. Held and Sr. Merrill - Please PRAY

Two nuns who worked as nurses and helped the poor in rural Mississippi were found killed in their home. Authorities  recovered a car missing from the home and towed it to a crime lab for analysis. Police said the sisters were stabbed. The nuns were Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68. Their bodies have been taken for autopsies. Sister Margaret Held belonged to the School Sisters of St. Francis. They were both nurse practitioners, and were found Thursday August 25, 2016 in the morning. "They were two of the sweetest, most gentle women you can imagine. Their vocation was helping the poor," said Rev. Plata, the pastor of the 35-member Catholic church the sisters attended. There were signs of a break-in at the home.  Sister Paula Merrill belonged to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Merrill worked in Mississippi for over 30 years, according to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky. She was from Massachusetts and joined the order in 1979. Two years later, she moved to the South. In a 2010 article in The Journey, a publication by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.  Merrill explained, "We simply do what we can wherever God places us," St. Thomas Catholic Church in Lexington, was where the sisters were members.  Held had 49 years with the her order and was involved by "living her ministry caring for and healing the poor." The two nuns were involved almost all the care at a clinic which helped the poor.

#PopeFrancis "Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace" - Message for the 50th World Day of Peace

Radio Vaticana report: «Non-Violence: A Style of  Politics for Peace».
This is  the title of the Message for the 50th World Day of Peace, the fourth of Pope Francis.
Violence and Peace are at the origin of two opposite ways to building society.
The proliferation of hotbeds of violence produces most serious negative social consequences. The Holy Father sums up this situation in the expression: “A Third World War in Pieces”. Peace, by contrast, promotes social positive consequences and it allows the achievement of real progress. Therefore, we should act within what is possible, and negotiate ways of peace even where they seem tortuous and impractical. Thus, non-violence can acquire a more comprehensive and new meaning. It will not only consist of desire, of moral rejection of violence, barriers, destructive impulses, but also of a realistic political method that gives rise to hope.
Such a political method is based on the primacy of law. If the rights and the equal dignity of every person are safeguarded without any discrimination and distinction, then non-violence, understood as a political method, can constitute a realistic way to overcome arm conflicts. In this perspective, it becomes important to increasingly recognize not the right of force but the force of right.
With this Message, Pope Francis wants to show a further step, a path of hope, appropriate to today’s historical circumstances. In this way, the settlement of disputes may be reached through negotiation without then degenerating into armed conflict. Within such a perspective the culture and identity of Peoples are respected and the opinion that some are morally superior to others is overcome.
At the same time, however, it does not mean that one Nation can remain indifferent to the tragedies of another. Rather it means a recognition of the primacy of diplomacy over the noise of arms.
Arms trade is so widespread that it is generally underestimated. Illegal arms trafficking supports not a few world’s conflicts. Non-violence as a political style can and must do much to stem this scourge.
***
The World Peace Day initiated by Paul VI is celebrated each year on the first day of January. The Holy Father's Message is sent to all Foreign Ministries of the world and it indicates the diplomatic concerns of the Holy See during the coming year

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Fri. August 26, 2016


Friday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 429


Reading 11 COR 1:17-25

Brothers and sisters:
Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.


Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Responsorial PsalmPS 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11

R. (5) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

AlleluiaLK 21:36

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Be vigilant at all times and pray,
that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Saint August 26 : St. Zephyrinus : #Pope of #Rome

(Reigned 198-217). Date of birth unknown; died 20 Dec., 217. After the death of Pope Victor in 198, Zephyrinus was elected his successor and consecrated. The pope is described by Hippolytus in the "Philosophymena" (IX, xi) as a simple man without education. This is evidently to be understood as meaning that Zephyrinus had not taken the higher studies and had devoted himself to the practical administration of the Church and not to theological learning. Immediately after his elevation to the Roman See, Zephyrinus called to Rome the confessor Callistus, who lived at Antium and who had received a monthly pension from Pope Victor, and intrusted him with the oversight of the coemeterium. It is evident that shortly before this the Roman Christian community had, under Victor, become the owner of a common place of burial on the Via Appia, and Zephyrinus now placed Callistus over this cemetery which was given the name of Callistus. Undoubtedly Callistus was also made a deacon of the Roman Church by Zephyrinus. He was the confidential counsellor of the pope, whom he succeeded. The positions of the Christians, which had remained favourable in the first years of the government of Emperor Septimus Severus (193-211), grew constantly worse, and in 202 or 203 the edict of persecution appeared which forbade conversion to Christianity under the severest penalties. Nothing is known as to the execution of the edict in Rome itself nor of the martyrs of the Roman Church in this era.
More, however, is certain concerning the internal disputes in the Roman Church over the doctrine of the Trinity. The adherents of the heretical teacher Theodotus the Tanner had been excommunicated with their leader by Pope Victor. They formed an independent heretical community at Rome which was ruled by another Theodotus, the Money Changer, and Aselepodotus. These men persuaded a confessor of Rome named Natalis, who had acknowledged his faith without wavering before the heathen judge and had suffered torture, to permit himself to be made the bishop of the sect for a monthly payment of 170 denarii. Natalis, however, received many warnings in dreams. At first he paid no attention to these visions, but on one occasion he believed that he had been severely tortured by angels and now he began to ponder the matter. Early in the morning he put on a penitential garment, covered himself with ashes, and threw himself with tears at the feet of Zephyrinus. He confessed his wrong-doing and begged to be received again into the communion of the Church, which was finally granted him (Eusebius, Church History V.32). In the same era the adherents of Montanus also worked with great energy at Rome. The Montanist Proculus (or Proclus) published a work in defense of the new prophecies. A refutation of Proclus in the form of a dialogue was written by a learned and rigidly orthodox Roman Christian named Caius, wherein he refers to the grave of St. Peter on the Vatican Hill and of St. Paul on the Via Ostiensis. Caius rejects the Apocalypse of St. John, which he regards as a work of the heretic Cerinthus. In opposition to Caius, Hippolytus wrote his "Capita contra Caium" (cf. Eusebius, Church History III.28 and VI.20).
Hippolytus was the most important theologian among the Roman presbyters of this era. He was an avowed adherent of the doctrine of the Divine Logos. He taught that the Divine Logos became man in Christ, that the Logos differs in every thing from God, that he is the mediary between God and the world of creatures. This doctrine in the form in which it was set forth by Hippolytus and his school aroused many doubts, and another theological school appeared in opposition to it. This latter school was represented at Rome in this era by Cleomenes and particularly by Sabellius. These men were rigid opponents of the Theodotians, but were not willing to acknowledge the incarnation of the Logos, and emphasized above all the absolute unity (monarchia) of God. They explained the Incarnation of Christ in the sense that this was another manifestation (modus) of God in His union with human nature. Consequently they were called Modalists or Patripassians, as according to them it was not the Son of God but the Father Who had been crucified. The Christian common people held firmly, above all, to the Unity of God and at the same time to the true Godhead of Jesus Christ. Originally no distrust of this doctrine was felt among them. Pope Zephyrinus did not interpose authoritatively in the dispute between the two schools. The heresy of the Modalists was not at first clearly evident, and the doctrine of Hippolytus offered many difficulties as regards the tradition of the Church. Zephyrinus said simply that he acknowledged only one God, and this was the Lord Jesus Christ, but it was the Son, not the Father, Who had died. This was the doctrine of the tradition of the Church. Hippolytus urged that the pope should approve of a distinct dogma which represented the Person of Christ as actually different from that of the Father and condemned the opposing views of the Monarchians and Patripassians. However, Zephyrinus would not consent to this. The result was that Hippolytus grew constantly more irritated and angry against he pope and particularly against the deacon Callistus whom, as the councillor of the pope, he made responsible for the position of the latter. When after the death of Zephyrinus Callistus was elected Roman bishop, Hippolytus withdrew from the Church with his scholars, caused a schism, and made himself a rival bishop.
Zephyrinus was buried in a separate sepulchral chamber over the cemetery of Calistus on the Via Appia (cf. Wilpert, "Die papstgruber und die Suciliengruft in der Katakombe des hl. Kallistus", Freiburg, 1909, 91 sqq.). The "Liber Pontificalis" attributes two Decrees to Zephyrinus; one on the ordination of the clergy and the other on the Eucharistic Liturgy in the title churches of Rome. The author of the biography has ascribed these Decrees to the pope arbitrarily and without historical basis.
Text Shared from the Catholic Encyclopedia  

Saint August 26 : Our Lady of Czestochowa of #Poland - #BlackMadonna - #Czestochowa

Our Lady of Czestochowa
Feast day: August 26 ( Hist. )
The image of Our Lady in Czestochowa, Poland [at right] is among that small group of Black Madonnas recognized throughout the entire world, largely due to the recent manifestations of public piety shown by the reigning Polish Pope, John Paul II. The image is sometimes called Our Lady of Jasna Gora after the name of the monastery site in which it has been kept for six centuries. Joan Carroll Cruz relates the following 'miracle story' regarding the selection of this site:
St. Ladislaus determined to save the image from the repeated invasions of the Tartars by taking it to the more secure city of Opala, his birthplace. This journey took him through Czestochowa, where he decided to rest for the night. During this brief pause in their journey, the image was taken to Jasna Gora [meaning "Bright Hill"]. There it was placed in a small wooden church named for the Assumption. The following morning, after the portrait was carefully replaced in its wagon, the horses refused to move. Accepting this as a heavenly sign that the portrait was to remain in Czestochowa, St. Ladislaus had the image solemnly returned to the Church of the Assumption.
Another 'miraculous' aspect of this image is that its antiquity is so great that its origins are unknown, as if "dropped from the heavens." Legend attributes its creation to St. Luke, the evangelist, who "painted a portrait of the Virgin on the cedar wood table at which she had taken her meals." St. Helena, the Queen-Mother of Emperor Constantine is said to have located the portrait during her visit to the Holy Land and to have brought it to Constantinople in the fourth century. After remaining there for five centuries, it allegedly was transferred in royal dowries until it made its way to Poland, and the possession of St. Ladislaus in the fifteenth century.
The legend continues: During Ladislaus' time, the image was damaged during a siege, by a Tartar arrow, "inflicting a scar on the throat of the Blessed Virgin." In 1430, Hussites stole and vandalized the precious image, breaking it into three pieces. Adding insult to injury:
One of the robbers drew his sword, struck the image and inflicted two deep gashes. While preparing to inflict a third gash, he fell to the ground and writhed in agony until his death ... The two slashes on the cheek of the Blessed Virgin, together with the previous injury to the throat, have always reappeared--despite repeated attempts to repair them.
However, modern scholarship has its own views on this legend. Leonard Moss claims: "the figure is distinctly thirteenth-fourteenth century Byzantine in form." In general, its Byzantine style is obvious, a variant on Hodegetria. Janusz Pasierb states of the image that "in 1434 it was painted virtually anew" due to the extensive damage caused by vandalism. He adds that "the authors of the new version were faithful to the original as regards its contents." This might explain the persistence of the damage marks mentioned earlier. Finally, note that Pasierb sees the prototype of Our Lady of Czestochowa as "a Byzantine icon ... which from the fifth century on had been worshipped in a church in Constantinople's ton hodegon quarter."
Miracles
The miracles worked by Our Lady of Czestochowa seem to occur mainly on a public scale. During her stay in Constantinople, she is reported to have frightened the besieging Saracens away from the city. Similarly, in 1655 a small group of Polish defenders was able to drive off a much larger army of Swedish invaders from the sanctuary. The following year, the Holy Virgin was acclaimed Queen of Poland by King Casimir. It is also recorded that Our Lady dispersed an army of Russian invaders by an apparition at the River Vistula on September 15, 1920. In more recent times, the Czestochowa Madonna has also been acknowledged for her protection of and cooperation with the Polish nation. Beyond these public prodigies:
The miracles attributed to Our Lady of Czestochowa are numerous and spectacular. The original accounts of these cures and miracles are preserved in the archives of the Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora.
The image is not so well-known only on account of its history of miracles. Its international reputation has been considerably enhanced because of the personal devotion of Blessed John Paul II:
In modern times, Karol Wojtyla, a native son of Poland, prayed before the Madonna during his historic visit in 1979, several months after his election to the Chair of Peter as John Paul II. He made another visit to Our Lady of Czestochowa in 1983 and again in 1991.
Why Is She Black?
A final question remains: why is Our Lady of Czestochowa black? Cruz mentions a possible link to the Canticle of Canticles: "I am black but beautiful."; but concludes that "The darkness is ascribed to various conditions [e.g. accumulated residue from candles], of which its age is primary."
Broschart, by contrast, opines:
the shrine was destroyed by fire, but the picture was not burned--however, the flames and smoke had darkened it and from that day it has been known as the "Black Madonna."
Recall that Moss saw the image as Byzantine in form, dating from the Medieval period. He added: "the skin pigmentation is characteristic of this stylized portraiture."
Interestingly, Ernst Scheyer, an art historian who studied the image, believed that "the present image was restored in the nineteenth century and painted somewhat darker than previously."
Adding to all this confusion, a notable Swiss copy, completed by Kosmoski in 1956 and kept in the Hospice of the Great St. Bernard Pass, is much darker than the version in Jasna Gora, while a copy at a shrine in Doylestown, Pennsylvania is depicted in lighter flesh tones. All of which makes the question of authorial intent extremely complicated. Her miraculous reputation, though, is beyond dispute.
For further information on Our Lady of Czestochowa, refer to "In Quest of the Black Virgin ..." by Leonard W. Moss; pp. 53-74 in Mother Worship: Themes and Variations (1982) by James Preston (ed.); Miraculous Images of Our Lady (1993) by Joan Carroll Cruz; Call Her Blessed (1961) by Charles B. Broschart; and The Shrine of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa (1989) by Janusz Pasierb.
Source: The Marian Library : Michael Duricy