Sunday, September 30, 2012

VATICAN : POPE : A LIFE OF PURITY AND INTEGRITY AND OTHER NEWS

RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Ahead of the traditional Angelus prayer with the faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading, this week taken from the 9th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Mark. Here are the Holy Father’s English-language remarks:

I welcome the English-speaking pilgrims here at Castel Gandolfo and in Rome! Dear friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to be not only open-hearted, but also firm in our opposition to what is dishonest or evil. May God grant us to be both generous to others and steadfast in living a life of purity and integrity. Upon you and your loved ones, I invoke the strength and peace of Christ our Lord!


APPEAL FOR AFRICA : DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
 (Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered to pray the Angelus with him at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father deplored the violence that flared again recently in the DRC between a rebel group and irregular militia forces seeking to establish control over an already much-contested area during a lull in activity by regular government forces. This latest round of fighting has driven thousands of people from their homes since the middle of September. “With affection and concern,” said Pope Benedict, “I follow the developments in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Intermittent fighting involving regular government forces, rebels and militia groups experienced a serious flare-up between April and July, during which nearly a quarter-million people were displaced internally and as many as 60 thousand others fled into neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda – a refugee crisis that UN agencies say will require at least $40 million in supplementary emergency funding.

The Holy Father expressed prayerful spiritual closeness to the refugees, many of whom are women and children, and to all those affected by the violence. He prayed that, by God’s grace, there might be found peaceful means of dialogue, effective protection of innocents, and a return – as soon as possible – to a peace based on justice. The Pope also called for the restoration of brotherly concord throughout the whole people of the DRC and throughout the entire region.

BENEDICT XVI:
I follow with affection and concern the affairs of the people in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, object, in these days of attention from a high-level meeting at the United Nations. I am particularly close to the refugees, to the women and children, who because of persistent armed clashes, undergo suffering, violence and profound hardship. I pray to God: that there be found peaceful means of dialogue and for the protection of innocents; that peace based on justice return as swiftly as possible; for the restoration of fraternal coexistence within that sorely tried population, and throughout the entire region.

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

AMERICA : USA : BASEBALL MVP BECOMES MONK - GIVES UP ALL FOR CHRIST



GRANT DESME was a MVP from the Oaklands Athletics baseball team. He won a Most Valuable Player award in 2009 and was drafted with a sallary of $430, 000. However, he gave up everything to become a monk in the Norbertine Order and professes the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. In an article by Yahoo news, http://sports.yahoo.com/news/from-prospect-to-priest--grant-desme-leaves-the-a-s--becomes-a-monk-and-tries-to-find-his-peace.html, he said, "I had everything I wanted, and it wasn't enough." He now lives in St. Michael's Abbey near Limestone Canyon Regional Park. He wakes up at 5 am to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, prescribed prayers 10 times per day. The monks attend Mass daily and do manual labor such as mowing lawns, mopping, cleaning and digging trenches. The go to bed at 9 pm in a small cell with a bed, desk, chair, dresser and sink.

Desme retired from baseball in 2009 at the age of 23. He is quoted as saying, "I should be happy about this. But I wasn't. There was something more. God was just tugging at my heart. That's what religious life is. God calls us." His new name is Frater Matthew, after the Apostle tax collector, for Desme had an illustrious life but gave it up as St. Matthew did. (Frater Matthew pictured below with incense)
(IMAGE SOURCE : FACEBOOK)
Although he was planning on marriage he says, "I really wanted to be married,"  "To come to terms with living a celibate life was where it really was like, 'OK, do I want to do this?' And I needed to realize it's not a repression of these natural desires that are good. We have to learn to sublimate them into God on a supernatural level. We give them to God."
He still struggles in the monastic life but explains,  "Living in the present moment. The future isn't ours. The past is done. It's all right now. Every day you have to get up and choose to be here."

AUSTRALIA : SYMPOSIUM - FRUITS OF VATICAN II

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE REPORT: Fruits and Future of Vatican II


Friday 28 September 2012

FIFTY years ago in October, the Second Vatican Council, known as Vatican II, began in Rome. To mark this anniversary, Catholic Theological College, Australian Catholic University, Yarra Theological Union and Jesuit Theological College collaborated to host a three day Symposium in Melbourne from 19-21 September.
View gallery Listen to lectures

The Symposium, “Fruits and Future of Vatican II” provided an opportunity for more than 100 participants to look at the history of the Council in the context of the Church today through lectures, nearly forty presentations, discussion and liturgies.
Others attended the two public lectures, book launch, or Opening Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Mark Coleridge. The Symposium echoed the Council’s reflections on the Pilgrim People of God, by holding sessions at three of the institutions, and moving between them.
Keynote speakers included Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane; Professor Alberto Melloni, Director of the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies, Bologna; Rev. Professor Gerald O'Collins SJ AC, Former Dean of Theology, Gregorian University, and Professor Anne Hunt FACE OAM, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University.

The Symposium featured the presentation of the findings of the Australian Catholic University-sponsored book, Vatican II: Reception and Implementation in the Australian Church (edited by Neil Ormerod, Ormond Rush, David Pascoe, and Joel Hodge; published by John Garratt). The book was officially launched during the conference by Most Rev. Philip E. Wilson, Archbishop of Adelaide and Vice-President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. The book analyses the effects and reception of the Council in different areas of Church life over the last 50 years and discusses the challenges and opportunities that remain for on-going reception. The areas explored include liturgy, Scripture, theology and theological education, social justice, mission, the laity, young people, priestly and religious life, bishops, Aboriginal people, ecumenism, religious education, ecclesiology, and more. The book brings together a wide range of expertise—drawn from ACU and beyond—and a number of the chapters were presented during the conference.

Listen to audio
recordings from Vatican II Symposium
  1. Homily at Opening Mass, 21 Sep 2012 – Rev. Prof. Francis J. Moloney SDB AM

  2. Public Lecture, 21 Sep 2012 – Archbishop Mark Coleridge – “A Different Fire: Vatican II and the New Evangelisation”
    Includes respondents: Dr Clare Johnson and Br Mark O’Connor FMS

  3. Plenary Lecture, 22 Sep 2012 – Prof. Anne Hunt FACE OAM – “The Trinitarian Depths of Vatican II”
    Includes respondent: Rev. Prof. Gerald O'Collins SJ AC

  4. Book Launch, 22 Sep 2012 – Archbishop Philip Wilson – “Vatican II: Reception and Implementation in the Australian Church,” ed. Neil Ormerod et al.
    Includes introduction by Archbishop Hart, comments by Dr Clare Johnson and Garratt Publishing representatives

  5. Public Lecture, 22 Sep 2012 – Prof. Alberto Melloni – “Vatican II and its History: A Choice and a Challenge”
    Includes respondent: Rev. Assoc. Prof. Orm Rush

  6. Plenary Lecture, 23 Sep 2012 - Rev. Professor Gerald O'Collins SJ AC – “Vatican II and the Religious Other”
    Includes respondent: Prof. John D’Arcy May

Archbishop Mark Coleridge: ‘A Different Fire: Vatican II and the New Evangelisation’


Alberto Melloni presents: ‘Vatican II and its History: a choice and a challenge’



Archbishop Mark Coleridge: ‘A Different Fire: Vatican II and the New Evangelisation’
By Fiona Power

IN his public lecture on Wednesday 19 September, Archbishop Mark Coleridge spoke on ‘A Different Fire: Vatican II and the New Evangelisation’.
Archbishop Coleridge told those gathered that he has come to see a “single Conciliar arc” from the Council of Trent (1545- 1564) to Vatican II via Vatican I (1868-1870). He said that Trent was an attempt to position the Catholic Church to enter the modern world without abandoning God, Vatican I reaffirmed the Church’s ability to teach truth and Vatican II sought to respond to the European crisis following World War II which cast doubt over the promises of modernity.

“Beyond the ash-heaps, it was not possible for the Church to adopt a hermeneutic of either rupture-as if the past had gone on forever- or a hermeneutic of continuity- as if nothing was changed by the twin apocalypse,” he said. “In the Second Vatican Council, the Church opted instead for a hermeneutic of reform, which contained elements of both rupture and continuity. It was not one or the other, but a right mix of the two. Now, we might argue to this day about what exactly a right mix might mean, but there is no doubt that that was the choice of the Council.”

Archbishop Coleridge said Vatican II represented the beginning of the birth of a world Church and heralded a new missionary phase. He said both Vatican II and the pontificate and New Evangelisation of John Paul II, were founded on an encounter with Christ.
“… in the end, they were nothing other than a single great contemplation of the face of Christ, in whom alone the world will find its way beyond the ash-heaps,” he said.
Archbishop Coleridge said there were a number of surges of Gospel energy in history, often in “dark times” and “against the tide”.

“What both Vatican II and successive popes have said is that, in our own time, beyond the ash-heaps of Auschwitz and Hiroshima and all they symbolise, we need another new surge of Gospel energy, a surge which will come only if there is another new and deeper contemplation of the face of Christ, a new and deeper encounter with the Lord crucified and risen.”

Archbishop Coleridge said such a surge will bring a kind of “Copernican revolution”, whereby the Church will go to the world with the gift of the Gospel, rather than seeking to recreate a world which revolves around the Church. This involves evangelising the culture, providing, or working to create, “a rich and supportive context within which personal choices can be made”. It also means resisting pressure to sideline or disqualify the Church from speaking on issues of public morality.

Archbishop Coleridge said Vatican II was primarily about new mission.
“Any New Evangelisation, which takes its cue from Vatican II will also be a clear affirmation of the body, community and history,” he said. The goal of Vatican II, in that sense, was a more Eucharistic Church and world.

“The Second Vatican Council sought to respond to the fires of the death-camps and the bomb by setting hearts on fire through a new evangelisation which would enable people everywhere to see the Risen Lord and hear him, and to know that he is the one who walks with them on their journey out of hopelessness into hope. That different fire is what the Council was all about and what the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been all about.”

SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE

ASIA : BANGLADESH : FLOODS DISPLACE THOUSANDS

UCAN REPORT:
More than half a million residents face displacement and food shortages
ucanews.com reporters, Dhaka, Kurigram and Bogra
Bangladesh
September 28, 2012
 
Catholic Church News Image of Floods ravage north and south districts
Tens of thousands have been stranded by flooding in Bangladesh (Photo by Abdul Khaleque)
Catastrophic floods have ravaged communities in several districts leaving more than half a million people stranded, officials said today.
The Brahmaputra River and its tributaries have burst their banks in many places, due to unexpected heavy downpours over the past few days, said Chandranath Basak, director general of Disaster Management and Rehabilitation Ministry.
The subsequent flooding has seriously affected around 600,000 people in six districts in the north and south of the country, he said.
“District administrators have told us that around 112,221 families have been hit. Moreover, river erosion in Kurigram district in the north has destroyed the homes of 1,835 families,” Basak added.
Authorities say they have set up 50 temporary camps to offer shelter and food to flood victims, but are struggling to cope with the sheer number of people who have been affected.
Many flood victims said disaster relief has been slow in coming, while others are still waiting to receive aid.
“It’s been days since we fled our home which has been inundated. We have yet to get aid from the government or NGOs,” said Shariful Islam, 30, a farmer from Kurigram.
He said the flood not only destroyed his home and food stocks, but also destroyed his crops, the only source of food for his five-member family for the whole year.
Another flood victim, Tazul Mollah, from Bogra district has been stranded on the tin roof of his house with his family and cattle.
“We have survived on puffed rice and it’s almost finished. Neither we nor our cattle have any more food,” he said.
District officials say they are doing everything they can to tackle the disaster, adding that thankfully there have been no flood-related death so far.
“We are enlisting the help of flood victims and have food and money allocated by the Disaster Management Ministry. Our boats are out looking for stranded people in the area,” said Kurigram deputy commissioner Habibur Rahman.
Azhar Ali, a Union Council chairman in Konibari, in Bogra district said people living by rivers are usually prepared for flooding but this time they were taken by surprise.
“People were caught unawares because they thought the rainy season was over. Moreover, the crops they had growing in the fields are gone, which is a serious loss for them.”
The monsoon season in Bangladesh usualy runs from June to mid-September.
Home to over 152 million people, Bangladesh is located on the world’s largest river delta system, with over 300 rivers that empty into the Bay of Bengal. It makes the country prone to frequent natural disasters such as floods, which kill hundreds every year.
SHARED FROM UCAN NEWS

EUROPE : FRANCE : EXHIBITION ON MISSIONS IN THE WORLD

Agenzia Fides REPORT – To call one’s attention to the memory of the confreres who gave their lives for a mission considered "impossible" for man; to follow the example of their courage and their self-sacrifice to not look at the events only "according to the human perspective "; to consider the growth of the Church in Arunachal Pradesh and the energy of the existing Christian communities in Tibet, as a result of preaching and witness of these missionaries: are the main reasons indicated by Fr. Georges Colomb, Superior General of the Society for Foreign Missions of Paris (FMP) at the base of the exhibition "Missions du Toit du Monde", which will be inaugurated in Paris (128, rue du Bac) on Saturday, September 29, by Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni.
"It is natural that the first visitor of the exhibition is Cardinal Filoni - explains Fr. Colomb to Fides Agency -. Firstly, because he is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which since eighteenth century, has close, fraternal and constructive links, with the Society of Foreign Missions. In addition, the Cardinal knows the problems of mission in China. With the exception of Arunachal Pradesh, which is in India, all the territories referred to in this exhibit are in the Tibetan region, namely China (Yunnan, Sichuan, Tibet)."
Describing to Fides the content of the exhibition, Fr. Colomb points out, "The Mission is presented
like an impossible mission, recalling previous attempts, from the seventeenth century until 1950, and as a decentralized mission on the territory: since its beginning in 1846 until its disappearance in 1952, the Apostolic Vicariate of Tibet, entrusted to the Society for Foreign Missions in Paris, has never encountered a continuous presence within the country. The missionaries settled on the outskirts.
There were four districts in the mission of Eastern Tibet: Tatsienlou and the outlying locations (Moximian, Chapa), the border area of Sichuan (Bathang, Yerkalo, Yaregong); the horn of Yunnan (Tsekou, Cizhong, Weixi, Xiao Weixi); the Salouen (Bahang, Kionatong) and also a district in the mission in southern Tibet (Pedong, Maria-Basti, Kalimpong). Missionaries are presented according to the different periods they lived: the conquerors (1854-1865), those who resisted (1865-1905) and the survivors (1905-1952). " In 1951 all the missionaries were expelled.
The territory of the Tibetan region is dominated by high mountain ranges with an average height of 4,500 meters, with peaks ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 meters. The rugged terrain makes travel particularly dangerous and difficult, and the exhibition also describes how the missionaries crossed mountains and rivers.
"Different ethnic groups (Lisu, Lutse, Mosso) occupy the area between the main rivers - continues Fr. Colomb -. The Tibetans are the majority in the north and west and maintain ties with Central Tibet. The Chinese minority groups are mainly in the cities. In the exhibition lifestyles, political organization, popular beliefs linked to the forces of nature, Tantric Buddhism, the monastic life are presented. The activities of the missionaries (health care, education and human development), as well as those of the auxiliary of the mission,
show how the introduction of an indigenous clergy (FMP priests’ priority ) was difficult to achieve. The only Tibetan priest, Telesphore Hiong, was ordained in 1891. The missionaries of Tibet were also great builders: Father André, in the valley of Salouen built schools and chapels, 300 km of slopes and a 58 m long bridge! The exhibition also presents the Catholic communities in the contemporary Tibetan China – concludes Fr. Colomb - and the mission of Arunachal Pradesh (India) reminds us of the wonderful adventure of two FMP missionaries killed (father Krick and father Bourry) and the fruitfulness of their sacrifice." (SL) (Agenzia Fides 28/09/2012)

AFRICA : KENYA : GRENADE ATTACK ON CHURCH - CHILD KILLED

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT:
Kenya: child killed, many injured in attack on church |  St Polycarp Kenyan Anglican, Juja Road, Mombasa, grenade attack,Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist militants
One child was killed and six are in hospital with critical injuries, after a grenade attack on a church in Nairobi this morning, the Red Cross report.
A hand grenade was thrown into St Polycarp Kenyan Anglican church on Juja Road during a crowded service. Following the attack more people were hurt as they rushed to escape the building.
There have been a series of attacks in Kenya over the past six months - in churches, a bar in Mombasa and a bus station.
Police say they suspect 'sympathisers of Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist militants were responsible.
Kenyan troops are currently part of an African Union mission that has forced al-Shabab from its last Somali urban stronghold of Kismayo.
Nairobi police chief Moses Ombati has appealed for calm after youths reportedly attacked a nearby mosque in retaliation.
Source: Red Cross/Daily Nation

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : SUNDAY SEPT. 30, 2012 - 26TH ORD.


Numbers 11: 25 - 29
25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more.
26 Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.
27 And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, forbid them."
29 But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"
Psalms 19: 8, 10, 12 - 14
8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
12 But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
James 5: 1 - 6
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.
3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.
4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
6 You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.
Mark 9: 38 - 43, 45, 47 - 48
38 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us."
39 But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.
40 For he that is not against us is for us.
41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.
42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

Sep 30, 2012 - 26th Sun Ordinary Time

 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 30: ST. JEROME: D. 420



St. Jerome
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: September 30
Information:
Feast Day:
September 30
Born:
340-342, Stridon, on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia
Died:
420, Bethlehem, Judea
Major Shrine:
Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
archeologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators

Born at Stridon, a town on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, about the year 340-2; died at Bethlehem, 30 September, 420.
He went to Rome, probably about 360, where he was baptized, and became interested in ecclesiastical matters. From Rome he went to Trier, famous for its schools, and there began his theological studies. Later he went to Aquileia, and towards 373 he set out on a journey to the East. He settled first in Antioch, where he heard Apollinaris of Laodicea, one of the first exegetes of that time and not yet separated from the Church. From 374-9 Jerome led an ascetical life in the desert of Chalcis, south-west of Antioch. Ordained priest at Antioch, he went to Constantinople (380-81), where a friendship sprang up between him and St. Gregory Nazianzus. From 382 to August 385 he made another sojourn in Rome, not far from Pope Damasus. When the latter died (11 December, 384) his position became a very difficult one. His harsh criticisms had made him bitter enemies, who tried to ruin him. After a few months he was compelled to leave Rome. By way of Antioch and Alexandria he reached Bethlehem, in 386. He settled there in a monastery near a convent founded by two Roman ladies, Paula and Eustochium, who followed him to Palestine. Henceforth he led a life of asceticism and study; but even then he was troubled by controversies which will be mentioned later, one with Rufinus and the other with the Pelagians.
Chronology
The literary activity of St. Jerome, although very prolific, may be summed up under a few principal heads: works on the Bible; theological controversies; historical works; various letters; translations. But perhaps the chronology of his more important writings will enable us to follow more easily the development of his studies.
A first period extends to his sojourn in Rome (382), a period of preparation. From this period we have the translation of the homilies of Origen on Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Isaias (379-81), and about the same time the translation of the Chronicle of Eusebius; then the "Vita S. Pauli, prima eremitae" (374-379).
A second period extends from his sojourn in Rome to the beginning of the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew (382-390). During this period the exegetical vocation of St. Jerome asserted itself under the influence of Pope Damasus, and took definite shape when the opposition of the ecclesiastics of Rome compelled the caustic Dalmatian to renounce ecclesiastical advancement and retire to Bethlehem. In 384 we have the correction of the Latin version of the Four Gospels; in 385, the Epistles of St. Paul; in 384, a first revision of the Latin Psalms according to the accepted text of the Septuagint (Roman Psalter); in 384, the revision of the Latin version of the Book of Job, after the accepted version of the Septuagint; between 386 and 391 a second revision of the Latin Psalter, this time according to the text of the "Hexapla" of Origen (Gallican Psalter, embodied in the Vulgate). It is doubtful whether he revised the entire version of the Old Testament according to the Greek of the Septuagint. In 382-383 "Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi" and "De perpetua Virginitate B. Mariae; adversus Helvidium". In 387-388, commentaries on the Epistles to Philemon, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to Titus; and in 389-390, on Ecclesiastes.
Between 390 and 405, St. Jerome gave all his attention to the translation of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew, but this work alternated with many others. Between 390-394 he translated the Books of Samuel and of Kings, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Esdras, and Paralipomena. In 390 he translated the treatise "De Spiritu Sancto" of Didymus of Alexandria; in 389-90, he drew up his "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" and "De interpretatione nominum hebraicorum." In 391-92 he wrote the "Vita S. Hilarionis", the "Vita Malchi, monachi captivi", and commentaries on Nahum, Micheas, Sophonias, Aggeus, Habacuc. In 392-93, "De viris illustribus", and "Adversus Jovinianum"; in 395, commentaries on Jonas and Abdias; in 398, revision of the remainder of the Latin version of the New Testament, and about that time commentaries on chapters xiii-xxiii of Isaias; in 398, an unfinished work "Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum"; in 401, "Apologeticum adversus Rufinum"; between 403-406, "Contra Vigilantium"; finally from 398 to 405, completion of the version of the Old Testament according to the Hebrew.
In the last period of his life, from 405 to 420, St. Jerome took up the series of his commentaries interrupted for seven years. In 406, he commented on Osee, Joel, Amos, Zacharias, Malachias; in 408, on Daniel; from 408 to 410, on the remainder of Isaias; from 410 to 415, on Ezechiel; from 415-420, on Jeremias. From 401 to 410 date what is left of his sermons; treatises on St. Mark, homilies on the Psalms, on various subjects, and on the Gospels; in 415, "Dialogi contra Pelagianos".
Characteristics Of St. Jerome's Work
St. Jerome owes his place in the history of exegetical studies chiefly to his revisions and translations of the Bible. Until about 391-2, he considered the Septuagint translation as inspired. But the progress of his Hebraistic studies and his intercourse with the rabbis made him give up that idea, and he recognized as inspired the original text only. It was about this period that he undertook the translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew.
But he went too far in his reaction against the ideas of his time, and is open to reproach for not having sufficiently appreciated the Septuagint. This latter version was made from a much older, and at times much purer, Hebrew text than the one in use at the end of the fourth century. Hence the necessity of taking the Septuagint into consideration in any attempt to restore the text of the Old Testament. With this exception we must admit the excellence of the translation made by St. Jerome. His commentaries represent a vast amount of work but of very unequal value. Very often he worked exceedingly rapidly; besides, he considered a commentary a work of compilation, and his chief care was to accumulate the interpretations of his predecessors, rather than to pass judgment on them. The "Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesim" is one of his best works. It is a philological inquiry concerning the original text. It is to be regretted that he was unable to continue, as had been his intention, a style of work entirely new at the time.
Although he often asserted his desire to avoid excessive allegory, his efforts in that respect were far from successful, and in later years he was ashamed of some of his earlier allegorical explanations. He himself says that he had recourse to the allegorical meaning only when unable to discover the literal meaning. His treatise, "De Interpretatione nominum hebraicorum", is but a collection of mystical and symbolical meanings. Excepting the "Commenta rius in ep. ad Galatas", which is one of his best, his explanations of the New Testament have no great value. Among his commentaries on the Old Testament must be mentioned those on Amos, Isaias, and Jeremias. There are some that are frankly bad, for instance those on Zacharias, Osee, and Joel. To sum up, the Biblical knowledge of St. Jerome makes him rank first among ancient exegetes. In the first place, he was very careful as to the sources of his information. He required of the exegete a very extensive knowledge of sacred and profane history, and also of the linguistics and geography of Palestine. He never either categorically acknowledged or rejected the deuterocanonical books as part of the Canon of Scripture, and he repeatedly made use of them.
On the inspiration, the existence of a spiritual meaning, and the freedom of the Bible from error, he holds the traditional doctrine. Possibly he has insisted more than others on the share which belongs to the sacred writer in his collaboration in the inspired work. His criticism is not without originality. The controversy with the Jews and with the Pagans had long since called the attention of the Christians to certain difficulties in the Bible. St. Jerome answers in various ways. Not to mention his answers to this or that difficulty, he appeals above all to the principle, that the original text of the Scriptures is the only one inspired and free from error. Therefore one must determine if the text, in which the difficulties arise, has not been altered by the copyist. Moreover, when the writers of the New Testament quoted the Old Testament, they did so not according to the letter but according to the spirit. There are many subtleties and even contradictions in the explanations Jerome offers, but we must bear in mind his evident sincerity. He does not try to cloak over his ignorance; he admits that there are many difficulties in the Bible; at times he seems quite embarrassed.
Finally, he proclaims a principle, which, if recognized as legitimate, might serve to adjust the insufficiencies of his criticism. He asserts that in the Bible there is no material error due to the ignorance or the heedlessness of the sacred writer, but he adds: "It is usual for the sacred historian to conform himself to the generally accepted opinion of the masses in his time" (P.L., XXVI, 98; XXIV, 855).
Among the historical works of St. Jerome must be noted the translation and the continuation of the "Chronicon Eusebii Caesariensis", as the continuation written by him, which extends from 325 to 378, served as a model for the annals of the chroniclers of the Middle Ages; hence the defects in such works: dryness, superabundance of data of every description, lack of proportion and of historical sense. The "Vita S. Pauli Eremitae" is not a very reliable document. The "Vita Malchi, monachi" is a eulogy of chastity woven through a number of legendary episodes. As to the "Vita S. Hilarionis", it has suffered from contact with the preceding ones. It has been asserted that the journeys of St. Hilarion are a plagiarism of some old tales of travel. But these objections are altogether misplaced, as it is really a reliable work.
The treatise "De Viris illustribus" is a very excellent literary history. It was written as an apologetic work to prove that the Church had produced learned men. For the first three centuries Jerome depends to a great extent on Eusebius, whose statements he borrows, often distorting them, owing to the rapidity with which he worked.
His accounts of the authors of the fourth century however are of great value. The oratorical consist of about one hundred homilies or short treatises, and in these the Solitary of Bethlehem appears in a new light. He is a monk addressing monks, not without making very obvious allusions to contemporary events. The orator is lengthy and apologizes for it. He displays a wonderful knowledge of the versions and contents of the Bible. His allegory is excessive at times, and his teaching on grace is Semi-pelagian. A censorious spirit against authority, sympathy for the poor which reaches the point of hostility against the rich, lack of good taste, inferiority of style, and misquotation, such are the most glaring defects of these sermons. Evidently they are notes taken down by his hearers, and it is a question whether they were reviewed by the preacher.
The correspondence of St. Jerome is one of the best known parts of his literary output. It comprises about one hundred and twenty letters from him, and several from his correspondents. Many of these letters were written with a view to publication, and some of them the author even edited himself; hence they show evidence of great care and skill in their composition, and in them St. Jerome reveals himself a master of style. These letters, which had already met with great success with his contemporaries, have been, with the "Confessions" of St. Augustine, one of the works most appreciated by the humanists of the Renaissance. Aside from their literary interest they have great historical value. Relating to a period covering half a century they touch upon most varied subjects; hence their division into letters dealing with theology, polemics, criticism, conduct, and biography. In spite of their turgid diction they are full of the man's personality. It is in this correspondence that the temperament of St. Jerome is most clearly seen: his waywardness, his love of extremes, his exceeding sensitiveness; how he was in turn exquisitely dainty and bitterly satirical, unsparingly outspoken concerning others and equally frank about himself.
The theological writings of St. Jerome are mainly controversial works, one might almost say composed for the occasion. He missed being a theologian, by not applying himself in a consecutive and personal manner to doctrinal questions. In his controversies he was simply the interpreter of the accepted ecclesiastical doctrine. Compared with St. Augustine his inferiority in breadth and originality of view is most evident. His "Dialogue" against the Luciferians deals with a schismatic sect whose founder was Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia. The Luciferians refused to approve of the measure of clemency by which the Church, since the Council of Alexandria, in 362, had allowed bishops, who had adhered to Arianism, to continue to discharge their duties on condition of professing the Nicene Creed. This rigorist sect had adherents almost everywhere, and even in Rome it was very troublesome. Against it Jerome wrote his "Dialogue", scathing in sarcasm, but not always accurate in doctrine, particularly as to the Sacrament of Confirmation. The book "Adversus Helvidium" belongs to about the same period. Helvidius held the two following tenets:
—Mary bore children to Joseph after the virginal birth of Jesus Christ;—from a religious viewpoint, the married state is not inferior to celibacy.
Earnest entreaty decided Jerome to answer. In doing so he discusses the various texts of the Gospel which, it was claimed, contained the objections to the perpetual virginity of Mary. If he did not find positive answers on all points, his work, nevertheless, holds a very creditable place in the history of Catholic exegesis upon these questions. The relative dignity of virginity and marriage, discussed in the book against Helvidius, was taken up again in the book "Adversus Jovinianum" written about ten years later. Jerome recognizes the legitimacy of marriage, but he uses concerning it certain disparaging expressions which were criticized by contemporaries and for which he has given no satisfactory explanation. Jovinian was more dangerous than Helvidius. Although he did not exactly teach salvation by faith alone, and the uselessness of good works, he made far too easy the road to salvation and slighted a life of asceticism. Every one of these points St. Jerome took up. The "Apologetici adversus Rufinum" dealt with the Origenistic controversies. St. Jerome was involved in one of the most violent episodes of that struggle, which agitated the Church from Origen's lifetime until the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). The question at issue was to determine if certain doctrines professed by Origen and others taught by certain pagan followers of Origen could be accepted. In the present case the doctrinal difficulties were embittered by personalities between St. Jerome and his former friend, Rufinus. To understand St. Jerome's position we must remember that the works of Origen were by far the most complete exegetical collection then in existence, and the one most accessible to students. Hence a very natural tendency to make use of them, and it is evident that St. Jerome did so, as well as many others. But we must carefully distinguish between writers who made use of Origen and those who adhered to his doctrines. This distinction is particularly necessary with St. Jerome, whose method of work was very rapid, and consisted in transcribing the interpretations of former exegetes without passing criticism on them. Nevertheless, it is certain that St. Jerome greatly praised and made use of Origen, that he even transcribed some erroneous passages without due reservation. But it is also evident that he never adhered thinkingly and systematically to the Origenistic doctrines. Under these circumstances it came about that when Rufinus, who was a genuine Origenist, called on him to justify his use of Origen, the explanations he gave were not free from embarrassment. At this distance of time it would require a very subtle and detailed study of the question to decide the real basis of the quarrel. However that may be, Jerome may be accused of imprudence of language and blamed for a too hasty method of work. With a temperament such as his, and confident of his undoubted orthodoxy in the matter of Origenism, he must naturally have been tempted to justify anything. This brought about a most bitter controversy with his wily adversary, Rufinus. But on the whole Jerome's position is by far the stronger of the two, even in the eyes of his contemporaries. It is generally conceded that in this controversy Rufinus was to blame. It was he who brought about the conflict in which he proved himself to be narrow-minded, perplexed, ambitious, even timorous. St. Jerome, whose attitude is not always above reproach, is far superior to him. Vigilantius, the Gascon priest against whom Jerome wrote a treatise, quarrelled with ecclesiastical usages rather than matters of doctrine. What he principally rejected was the monastic life and the veneration of saints and of relics. In short, Helvidius, Jovinian, and Vigilantius were the mouthpieces of a reaction against asceticism which had developed so largely in the fourth century. Perhaps the influence of that same reaction is to be seen in the doctrine of the monk Pelagius, who gave his name to the principal heresy on grace: Pelagianism. On this subject Jerome wrote his "Dialogi contra Pelagianos". Accurate as to the doctrine of original sin, the author is much less so when he determines the part of God and of man in the act of justification. In the main his ideas are Semipelagian: man merits first grace: a formula which endangers the absolute freedom of the gift of grace. The book "De situ et nominibus locorum hebraicorum" is a translation of the "Onomasticon" of Eusebius, to which the translator has joined additions and corrections. The translations of the "Homilies" of Origen vary in character according to the time in which they were written. As time went on, Jerome became more expert in the art of translating, and he outgrew the tendency to palliate, as he came across them, certain errors of Origen. We must make special mention of the translation of the homilies "In Canticum Canticorum", the Greek original of which has been lost.

VATICAN : POPE : VATILEAKS BUTLER TRIAL AND MEETING OF GANDOLFO

Vatican Radio REPORTS:  Pope Benedict XVI greeted the religious and civil authorities of Castel Gandolfo on Saturday morning in the Apostolic Palace in the resort town where Pope Benedict XVI spent the summer months. Pope Benedict said the period at Castel Gandolfo had been one of study, prayer and rest, during which he noted with admiration the care and concern of all involved in giving assistance and hospitality to him, his colleagues, and all the guests and Pilgrims who travel to the resort town to meet him. The Holy Father had thanks and greetings for the bishop of Albano, Marcello Semeraro, for the pastor of Castel Gandolfo, and for the religious communities and lay groups, in the area: he invited them all to continue to make him feel their spiritual closeness even after his departure, as they have during his stay. Pope Benedict also thanked the civil authorities of Castel Gandolfo in the person of the Mayor, Maurizio Colacchi, promising to pray for him, for his colleagues in government and for the entire community, especially for families in need and for the sick. The Pope had special thanks for the police and military forces that provide security and transportation during his stay at the Papal summer retreat. These include the Corps of Papal Gendarmes, the Italian State Police, the Swiss Guard and the 31st Squadron of the Italian Air Force. The Pope prayed that the Lord might reward them all with abundant heavenly gifts, and watch over them and their families.

(Vatican Radio) – The trial against former Papal butler, Paolo Gabriele and Secretary of State employee Claudio Sciarpelletti opened on Saturday, during which the Vatican Court ruled that the accused will be tried separately on charges of aggravated theft of private documents and aiding and abetting a crime, respectively.

The trial is linked to the leaking of the Holy Father’s personal and private documents to Italian press, which first came to light in March last. Emer McCarthy reports Listen: RealAudioMP3

The opening session was preceded by a consultation in Council Chambers among the three presiding judges that lasted over an hour, during which they discussed pre-trial requests presented by the defense.

46 year-old Gabriele was present at the session. Sciarpelletti was represented by his attorney. Nine of the thirteen witnesses called to testify were present. The Pope’s personal secretary Msgr. Georg Gänswein was among those absent because of prior official commitments. Eight journalists where also present to follow court proceedings.

The trial itself got underway in the small Vatican Courtroom, when President of the Vatican Tribunal, Giuseppe dalla Torre, read the list of charges. Attorneys for the defence then presented their clients pleas.

Sciarpelletti attorney’s Gianluca Benedetti began by filing a “not guilty” plea for his client who was absent – according to the lawyer - due to unspecified "unexpected reasons”. Benedetti noted the lesser gravity of the charge against his client and presented a motion for a separate trial, which was accepted by the Court. This will take place at a later unspecified date.

The judges then proceeded to throw out requests presented by Paolo Gabriele’s defense attorney Cristiana Arru. She had asked the Court to allow as evidence the results of a separate investigation by the Commission of Cardinals, convoked earlier this year by Pope Benedict XVI, to investigate the broader implications of the leaks.

The Court ruled that the results of the investigation were reserved to Pope Benedict and cannot be counted as evidence. Judge dalla Torre emphasized that trial evidence will be solely based on the results of the investigation carried out in Vatican City State by Vatican City State police and prosecutors.

The Court also rejected the pre-trial plea for a ruling on "Sub secreto pontificio"; in short evidence that is subject to Pontifical secret. The Court observed that this is not part of the criminal code of Vatican City State.

Instead the Court confirmed the legality of the installation of cameras near Gabriele’s house by Vatican police and upheld Arru’s request for the removal from the body of evidence of two interrogations of Paolo Gabriele which had been conducted by the head of the Vatican Police Domenico Giani, without the presence of a lawyer.

Other objections raised by Arru are pending; such as the issue of the 82 boxes of different sizes, seized in Gabriele’s house as well as objections relating to the way the search was carried out.

The trial has been adjourned until Tuesday, when Paolo Gabriele is due to take the stand. Should he be found guilty he could face up to a maximum four years in prison.
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : SAT. SEPTEMBER 29, 2012 - ARCHANGELS FEAST

John 1: 47 - 51
47 Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"
48 Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
49 Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
50 Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."
51 And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."


ASIA : LEBANON : MARONITE CHURCH CALLS FOR NEW ELECTORAL SYSTEM

ASIA NEWS IT REPORT:
Patriarch Bechara Rai rejects the existing system, which refers to the majority system established in 1960, and calls for a reform that grants the vote to expatriates. He calls for "respect" for the election date scheduled for the spring of 2013. Meanwhile, the March 8 and March 14 factions bring battle over reform into the open.


Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Lebanese Church is calling for a new electoral system ahead of the parliamentary vote next year, which gives greater assurance of "representation" to Christians and allows "even expatriates" to express their preference. A statement released yesterday by the Patriarch Bechara Rai, at the end of the Maronite Bishops monthly meeting in Beirut. At the same time, he rejects the current system which does not protect all the souls that make up the country and calls for "respect" for the election date, scheduled for the spring of 2013.

The appeal of the Maronite leadership comes at a time of bitter political battle on the future electoral law, with the two main parties (the rival factions of March 8, linked to the Shiite movement Hezbollah, and the March 14, close to the former prime minister Hariri) divided on the way forward. At the center of debate is a bill approved by the executive last month, which aims to divide Lebanon into 13 medium-large districts, with a system of proportional representation.

In contrast, the mechanism currently in force, adopted in September 2008 in anticipation of the vote in June 2009, refers instead to the electoral law of 1960, which according to Bechara Rai, does not guarantee a fair representation of Christians. It is characterized by a majority system and by the division of Lebanon into numerous small size constituencies, corresponding largely to districts (Qada ').

This week, the battle has intensified, with the proposal of Christian parties of the faction of the March 14 to create small election districts t, a project rejected by the rival March 8 and progressive social Party, led by Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Druze faction.

"The Lebanese people - Patriarch Rai warned - both residents and those who live abroad, look with renewed hope to the work of Parliament" that it may approve a new Law that "ensures a true representation of all citizens." The Maronite bishops hope "priority" will be given to the law, as the "time factor" is working against "reforms long invoked by the Lebanese people."

 SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

AMERICA : CANADA : BISHOPS END PLENARY ASSEMBLY

CCCB REPORT:
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Plenary_2012_013(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Catholic Bishops of Canada were in Plenary Assembly this week, since 24 September, at the Hotel Mont-Gabriel, Sainte-Adèle, Quebec. This morning, they welcomed the Honourable Jason Kenney, federal Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. Minister Kenney responded to questions from the Bishops on immigration as well as to their concerns about refugees. The meeting of the Plenary Assembly closed at noon today.
Plenary_2012-008Yesterday, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop Emeritus of Montreal. The evening included a special reception honouring Canada’s two resident Cardinals, Cardinal Turcotte and His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto. Cardinal Collins was elevated to the College of Cardinals during the Consistory held in Vatican City on 18 February 2012.
In March 2012, the Holy Father accepted Cardinal Turcotte’s resignation as Archbishop of Montreal. He had offered his resignation after attaining the age of 75 in 2011. Cardinal Turcotte was responsible for the Archdiocese of Montreal for 22 years. Throughout these years, he was also an ex officio member of the CCCB Permanent Council, and served as President of the Conference from 1997 to 1999. As a member of the College of Cardinals, he has held appointments to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
SHARED FROM CCCB

AFRICA : SUDAN - ETHIOPIA - AGREEMENTS ON SECURITY

CISA REPORT:
Sudans-Deal-Lauded-Despite-Abyei-Deadlock
ADDIS ABABA, September 28, 2012 (CISA) –Sudan President Omer Al-Bashir and his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir Mayardit inked a cooperation agreement committing their countries to the implementation of eight other agreements signed in a ceremony held in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, which has been hosting their marathon talks since Sunday, September 22; one day after the countries missed a UN deadline for the conclusion of negotiations.
Defense ministers of both countries, John Kong Nyuon of South Sudan and his counterpart Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussain, preceded the two presidents by signing an agreement on security arrangements which will pave the way for the establishment of a demilitarized buffer zone with a depth of 10 kilometers along the unmarked 1,800-km common border.
Beside the security arrangements agreement, the other seven deals include the following: an Agreement on Banking, which aims to enhance cooperation in the management of monetary policy, an Agreement on Border Issues, which deals with the demarcation of common borders, an Agreement on Post-Service Benefits, which addresses the situation of workers who served on both sides of the borders before secession, an Agreement on Trade, which mainly deals with regulation of trade, an Agreement on Certain Economic Matters, which deals with assets, liabilities and debt, an Agreement on Oil, which deals with the management of oil resources and exportation, and an Agreement of Nationals, which grants citizens of both countries the four freedoms of movement, ownership, work and residence in the other country.
Al-Bashir said that Sudan is committed to implementing the agreements signed and promised to “open a new page” in the relations between Khartoum and Juba in order to enhance the deep ties between the people of the two countries.
He further declared his commitment to opening the borders between the two countries and facilitating cross-border trade and movement of citizens “but in accordance with the international law”
The Sudanese leader hailed the agreements as a role model of the ability of Sudanese and Africans to resolve differences through dialogue and described Kiir as “a partner in peace”
For his part, Salva Kiir described the signing as “a great day in history of the region”, saying it ended a long conflict between the two countries.
Kiir however did little to disguise his frustration at the absence of a deal on Abyei, blaming Khartoum’s rejection of an AUHIP proposal for holding a referendum in the oil-producing region.
Sudan and South Sudan agree on the principle that Abyei’s status should be determined via a referendum but they disagree on the issue of who can vote, with Juba persisting that only the area’s indigenous population of Dinka Ngok should be allowed to vote and Khartoum saying that the Arab nomadic tribe of al Messriyah, who reside in Abyei for few months a year to graze their cattle, should also be allowed to vote.
“Unfortunately my brother Al-Bashir and his government rejected the proposal in its totality” he said.
Meanwhile, South Sudan chief negotiator Pagan Amum has expected that the production of oil would resume by the end of the year. “We’ve already began the preparations. I think the oil will start pumping by the end of the year” he said on Thursday September 27.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS

AUSTRALIA : MISSIONARIES HELP ASYLUM SEEKERS

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
28 Sep 2012


Nauru's people are warm, generous and caring
The Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart has established a community centre on Nauru to support the welfare of asylum seekers held in detention on the island.
The Parish priest of Nauru, Father Tatieru Ewenteang MSC along with the Island's three Sisters of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart together with a retired German priest have mobilised the local population to assist with acts of kindness to the 150 men currently held there, with a further 1300 men, women and children expected to arrive over the next few months.

"The refugees need to be welcomed and given care and assistance beyond 'the system,' and we can do this by supplying clothing, toys, food, medicine, the use of phones to call their families as well as opening our schools and social facilities for their use," says Father Fr Adrian Meaney, Director of the MSC Mission Office Australia.
Fr Adrian Meaney MSC
Fr Meaney has spent considerable time on Nauru working alongside the three religious sisters and the Island's Parish priest.
"The people of Nauru are a warm and generous people," he says. "I was on the Island in 2002 when asylum seekers were first sent to Nauru. Most wore no shoes and I will never forget how the women of Nauru without any prompting, saw their bare feet and immediately took off the thongs they were wearing and gave them to the refugees," he says.
While many Australians argue the rights and wrongs of sending people who are already traumatised after escaping persecution and civil war to a remote Pacific island, Fr Adrian says the focus of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart is on the welfare of the detainees.

Asylum seeker children will be welcome at Nauru's Catholic primary school and high school
"Acts of kindness can do far more than arguments over the right and wrongs and condemning governments and politicians. At the end of the day, it is kindness not who is right or wrong that matters," Fr Adrian says.
The Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Australia has already sent $10,000 to Nauru to be used to help support and improve day to day life for the detainees and plans to send more over the coming weeks.
Rather than shipping extras such clothing, food, toys or medicine or whatever else might be needed from Australia, Fr Adrian says it is better for the Island's economy that items are purchased locally on the Island. This also means there is no problem with storage at the Australian end and whatever is needed can be quickly delivered to the detainees rather than having to rely on infrequent flights in and out of Nauru.

Christ the King Catholic Church Nauru where asylum seekers are made welcome
While living on Nauru, detainees no matter what their faith, are given a warm welcome at Nauru's Catholic Church. Many enjoy the calm and quiet of Sunday worship at the local Catholic Church and also appreciate being able to use the parish phone to call their families after Mass.
While no children have so far been sent to Nauru from Christmas Island, the Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen insists minors will not be exempt.
When children and their families finally do arrive later this year, Fr Adrian says they will be welcome to attend Nauru's Catholic primary schools as well as the local Catholic high school.
Catholics account for 32% of Nauru's population of 9,000.
To donate funds to assist in the welfare of asylum seekers and refugees held on Nauru to be used to purchase clothing, toys for children, school books, food, medicine and the cost of overseas telephone calls, goto www.australia.mscmission.org/relief-work/naurumakeadifference.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

NOVENA : FEAST OF THE ANGELS - ST. MICHAEL - GABRIEL - RAPHAEL - DAY 9





September 29th is the Feast of the Archangels. Here are three novenas to the archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and ST. Raphael.
Novena to St. Michael the Archangel

Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value on my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God's messenger for the care of his people, I entrust to you this special request: (Mention your request).

St. Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy Will, my petition will be granted.

Pray for me, St. Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen.


Novena to St. Gabriel the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the "Angel of the Incarnation," because God has specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a tender and devoted Mother, more like your own.

I venerate you also as the "strength from God," because you are the giver of God's strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God's faithful and to teach them important truths. I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions, renew my courage, comfort and console me in the problems, trials, and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in His agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials. I put my confidence in you.

St. Gabriel, I ask you especially for this favor: (Mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God-Made-Man and for His blessed Mother, I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, if it be God's holy Will.

Pray for us, St. Gabriel the Archangel. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray. Almighty and ever-living God, since You chose the Archangel Gabriel from among all the Angels to announce the mystery of Your Son's Incarnation, mercifully grant that we who honor him on earth may feel the benefit of his patronage in heaven. You live and reign for ever. Amen.



Novena to St. Raphael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

Holy Archangel Raphael, standing so close to the throne of God and offering Him our prayers, I venerate you as God's special Friend and Messenger. I choose you as my Patron and wish to love and obey you as young Tobiah did. I consecrate to you my body and soul,all my work, and my whole life. I want you to be my Guide and Counselor in all the dangerous and difficult problems and decisions of my life.

Remember, dearest, St. Raphael, that the grace of God preserved you with the good Angels in heaven when the proud ones were cast into hell. I entreat you, therefore, to help me in my struggle against the world, the spirit of impurity, and the devil. Defend me from all dangers and every occasion of sin. Direct me always in the way of peace, safety, and salvation. Offer my prayers to God as you offered those of Tobiah, so that through your intercession I may obtain the graces necessary for the salvation of my soul. I ask you to pray that God grant me this favor if it be His holy Will: (Mention your request).

St. Raphael, help me to love and serve my God faithfully, to die in His grace, and finally to merit to join you in seeing and praising God forever in heaven. Amen.

Friday, September 28, 2012

TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 29: ST. MICHAEL, ST. GABRIEL AND ST. RAPHAEL: ARCHANGELS



St. Michael, St. Gabriel, & St. Raphael
ARCHANGELS
Feast: September 29
Information:
Feast Day:
September 29

The Sacred Scriptures have revealed the proper names of only three Angels, all of whom belong to the Choir of the Archangels. The names are well known to all, namely: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. Ancient apocryphal literature of the Old Testament contains several other names of Archangels in addition to the three just mentioned. Like the sources themselves, these other names are spurious. Names like Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jeremiel are not found in the canonical books of Sacred Scripture, but in the apocryphal book of Enoch, fourth book of Esdras, and in rabbinical literature. The Church does not permit proper names of Angels that are not found in the canonical books of the Bible. All such names that were taken from apocryphal writings were rejected under Pope Zachary, in 745. There must have been danger of serious abuses in this regard during that century, because a similar step was taken in a synod held at Aix-la-Chapelle in 789.
THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL
Michael from the Hebrew , meaning: ? His name is a battle cry; both shield and weapon in the struggle, and an eternal trophy of victory. The popularity of this name in the Old Testament appears from the fact that no less than ten persons bearing the name of Michael are mentioned in the sacred books, like: "Sthur the son of Michael." A similar name is found also in the Accadian language with a meaning identical to that of Michael; the Accadian equivalent is
As the proper name of one of the great Archangels, the word Michael appears for the first time in the book of the prophet Daniel, where he is called: "Michael, one of the chief princes," and again: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."
The name "Archangel" is given only to Saint Michael, even though sacred tradition and the liturgy of the Church attribute the same title to Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael: "When Michael, the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee." In spite of such an explicit testimony of the Scripture, a few writers have maintained that Saint Michael, because of his exalted position among the Angels, must belong to a much higher order, perhaps to that of the Seraphim, rather than to the order of Archangels. We do not believe that this opinion can be defended. The exalted position occupied by Saint Michael can be explained by the fact that, even though he belongs to a relatively low order by nature, his outstanding zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of his fellow Angels, at the time of Satan's rebellion, merited him such glory and power as to equal and even to excel through grace such celestial spirits that belong to a much higher Choir by nature. If we remember, ie Angels lived through a period of probation during which they could merit each according to his works. The great variety of merit explains, in addition to other natural elements, the great difference in their glory and in their power.
Father Joseph Husslein points out that the Church calls Saint Michael "Prince of the heavenly hosts"-, adding further: "The fact that the three Angels I have just mentioned are spoken of as Archangels need not imply more than that they were entrusted with extraordinary missions. Michael is the only one to whom the Scriptures apply this title, but there is good reason for the opinion that he may be the very highest of all the angels." Saint Michael is indeed a prince of the heavenly hosts, but this is sufficiently explained by the power granted him by God and not necessarily by superiority of nature. We believe that a power of that sort would not be conferred upon Seraphim and Cherubim who are the living throne of God, but rather upon those who belong to the order of ministering spirits, namely Principalities, Archangels, and Angels, who "are sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation."
According to Gustav F. Oehler, "this name: Michael-Who is as God?-of the prince of the Angels does not imply merely a humble acknowledgment on the part of the Angel, but it is rather an actual assertion concerning the Angel himself. The name thus expresses the irresistibility of him to whom God gives the power to execute His behests."
Saint Michael has always been the warrior Angel, fighting first Satan and his demons from the beginning, then, in the course of time, all the enemies of God's own People. He is "the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people." As of old, so today, Saint Michael is the great defender of the Church of Christ on earth.
The now famous problem, "The Angel of the Lord," , that has engaged the attention of Scripture scholars for decades, may perhaps be solved by admitting that this mysterious Angel of the Lord (who in various books of the Old Testament is represented as acting in ie name of God Himself, and is often received and honored as God would), is none other than the Archangel Saint Michael, God's own legate to His people. The words of the prophet Daniel seem to insinuate this: "None is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince." "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people." A legate can speak and act in the name and by the authority of the supreme ruler who sent him and whom he represents. This seems to have been Saint Michael's position with the children of Israel; he was both the heavenly Prince representing the King of Heaven and the heavenly protector of God's own people against both human and diabolical enemies.
Saint Michael who had defended and protected God's children in the spirit world, was to extend the same protection to the human children of God here on earth. Surrounded and threatened as they were by hostile pagan nations, over which Satan had established his tyrannical rule, Saint Michael could not remain indifferent to this new form of seduction and rebellion introduced by his archenemy among the children of men. As long as Satan persists in his attacks, the heavenly champion, the Prince of the heavenly hosts will continue to shatter his plans with the war cry of old: "Who is as God?" In the Old Testament, therefore, Saint Michael is the Angel par excellence, the Angel of the Lord, the national Guardian Angel of the Israelites.
At times, especially in the book of Exodus, this "Angel of the Lord" is called simply, the Lord; as for example in this passage, "And the Lord went before them to show the way by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire, that he might be the guide of their journey at both times." He who is called "the Lord" in this passage, is mentioned again in the same capacity as the "Angel of God" in the following passage: "And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, leaving the forepart, stood behind, between the Egyptian camp and the camp of Israel, and it was a dark cloud, and enlightening the night." This very clever military maneuver dearly shows the strategy of the Prince of heavenly hosts.
As the national Guardian Angel of the Israelites, and God's special legate to His people, Saint Michael is introduced with words which reveal the great divine love and solicitude of the Lord, together with man's duties towards Guardian Angels in general: "Behold I will send my Angel who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned, for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and my name is in him. But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee."
The other opinion which holds that the expression the "Angel of the Lord" is not really an Angel, or Saint Michael, but the Word of God (the Logos) God Himself, is now regarded as a mere conjecture and a rather obsolete opinion.
Several apparitions of the Archangel Michael have been reported during the Christian centuries. One of the most outstanding of all such apparitions is the one which is commemorated in the universal Church on May 8. The Archangel Saint Michael appeared on Mount Gargano in Apulia, South Italy, in the days of Pope Gelasius (492- 496). A shrine was erected in the cave of the apparition and it became the goal of devout pilgrimages in subsequent centuries. Another feast in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel, on September 29, formerly known as , is the anniversary of the Dedication of the former basilica of Saint Michael and all the Angels on the Salarian Way in Rome. An apparition, similar to that of Mount Gargano, was honored in the great shrine called , near Constantinople, according to the historian Sozomenus, who wrote about the middle of the fifth century, a century of great devotion to the Holy Angels in general and to Saint Michael in particular.
In the liturgy of the Mass Saint Michael is regarded as the Angel who leads the souls of the faithful departed to heaven: "Deliver them from the lion's mouth, that hell engulf them not, that they fall not into darkness; but let Michael, the holy standard-bearer, bring them into the holy light."
Saint Michael is invoked in a particular manner in the prayers recited at the foot of the altar after Mass: "Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, etc." This particular prayer is a condensed form of the general exorcism against Satan and all the evil spirits, published by Pope Leo XIII.
As long as God's children are exposed to the attacks of Satan in this world, Saint Michael's battle cry: "Who is like God?" will continue to scare and shatter all the forces of evil, and his powerful intervention in the struggle in behalf of the children of God will never cease.
THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL
The name Gabriel seems to be composed of the Hebrew words, : man, and <'el>: God. It means, therefore, , or,
Practically all the missions and manifestations of this Archangel are closely connected with the coming of the Messias. The most accurate prophecy regarding the time of the coming of Christ was made by Saint Gabriel through the prophet Daniel.
Immediately before the coming of Christ we meet the Archangel Gabriel in the temple of Jerusalem, announcing to Zachary the birth of a son, John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ: "I am Gabriel, who stand before God, and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings."
The greatest and by far the most joyful message ever committed to an Angel from the beginning of time, was the one brought by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, announcing to her the Incarnation of the Word of God and the birth of Christ, the Savior of mankind. The simplicity and heavenly grandeur of this message, as related to us by her who was the only witness to Gabriel's good tidings, should be read in full in order to understand the sublime and delicate mission of Gabriel in the work of human redemption.
It is the first time that a prince of the court of heaven greets an earthly child of God, a young woman, with a deference and respect a prince would show to his Queen. That Angel's flight to the earth marked the dawn of a new day, the beginning of a new covenant, the fulfillment of God's promises to His people: The Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary."
Heavenly wisdom, tact, adroitness are evident in Gabriel's conversation with the Virgin Mary: "The Angel being come in said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." Gabriel must overcome Mary's reaction of surprise at both his appearance and especially at his "manner of salutation." He has to prepare and dispose her pure virginal mind to the idea of maternity, and obtain her consent to become the mother of the Son of God. Gabriel nobly fulfills this task: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God." He calls her by her own name in order to inspire confidence and to show affection and solicitude in her perturbation. The great message is presented to her as a decree of the Most High God, a thing ordained in the eternal decree of the Incarnation, predicted centuries before by the prophets, and announced now to her as an event of imminent occurrence depending on her consent: "Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." From these words of the Angel, it became very evident to Mary that her son was to be the promised Messias, the Son of David. But she did not know how to reconcile her vow of virginity with the promised motherhood, hence her question: "How shall this be done, because I know not man." Gabriel's reply shows that God wanted to respect Mary's vow of virginity and thus make her a mother without a human father, in a unique and miraculous way: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee."
As a last word of encouragement and, at the same time, a most gratifying information, the Archangel reveals to Mary that her elderly and barren cousin Elizabeth is now an expectant mother in her sixth month of pregnancy. This final argument was offered in order "to prove that nothing can be impossible with God."
Mary, unshaken in her profound humility, replied: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word." This reply was Mary's consent, a consent awaited by heaven and earth. The Archangel Gabriel departed from Mary to bring to all the Angels the glorious tidings of the Incarnation of the Word.
It seems very probable that Gabriel, the Archangel of the Annunciation, was given special charge of the Holy Family of Nazareth. He was probably the Angel who brought "good tidings of great joy" to the shepherds "keeping night watches over their flock," the night that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. We notice, on this occasion, the same procedure of first assuaging fear and surprise, as had been the case at Mary's Annunciation by Gabriel: "Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.... This day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David." Who else could be the messenger of such good tidings, but he who had promised them through the prophet Daniel, and announced them to Mary, Gabriel the Archangel?
Having delivered the joyful message, the Archangel is joined suddenly by a vast multitude of the heavenly hosts, singing for the first time in this valley of tears the canticle of the celestial Sion. It was fitting that the Archangel of Redemption should intone the canticle of human redemption: "Suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will."
Gabriel's duties towards the Messias did not come to an end with his birth. Gabriel was probably the Angel who "appeared in sleep to Joseph," first in Bethlehem when he warned him saying: "Arise, and take the child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be there until I shall tell you. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him." After the death of Herod the Angel appeared to Joseph again in Egypt to tell him to bring the child and his mother back into the land of Israel.
Gabriel who is "the strength of God" must have been the Angel mentioned by Saint Luke, in his narrative of Christ's agony in the garden: "And there appeared to him an Angel from heaven, strengthening him." It was fitting that the Angel who had witnessed the Savior's agony, and who had announced His coming to both the Old and New Testament, should also be the first to announce to the world the Savior's Resurrection, His triumph over sin and death on Easter morning: "An Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow."
It is very probable that the Archangel Gabriel is meant when Saint Paul speaks of the second coming of Christ at the end of the world, when Saint Michael's struggle with Satan shall be over, and when all the physical and spiritual remedies of Saint Raphael are needed no more. It would seem that of the three
Archangels known to us, Saint Gabriel is the one who with a mighty voice will call the dead to life and to judgment: "The Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first." The voice of the Archangel and the trumpet of God seem to be the same thing, having the purpose to convey the divine command to the dead to rise again by the power of the Almighty God. The resurrection of "the dead who are in Christ" is the harvest, the gathering of the fruits of Redemption. Gabriel, who helped along during the long day of man's life on earth, in preparing man for the work of Redemption by the Messias, would seem to be the first among the Angels who are sent out to gather the elect from the four corners of the earth.
THE ARCHANGEL RAPHAEL
Raphael, from the Hebrew : to heal, and <'el:> God, means "God heals," or the "Divine healer."
The history of Tobias, father and son, contains the grandest angelophany of the whole Bible, and it all revolves around the manifestation of the Archangel Raphael under the assumed name and form of a beautiful young man named Azarias. At the very end of his long mission the Archangel revealed his own identity and his real name, together with the actual purpose of his mission: "And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord." In this angelophany, Saint Raphael reveals himself as a divine healer not only of physical infirmities, the blindness of old Tobias, but also of spiritual afflictions and diabolical vexations, as in the case of Sara, young Tobias' wife. Had not the Archangel resorted to an assumed human form and personality, it might not have been possible for him to consort in such a familiar way with men, for several consecutive weeks, because of the instinctive fear that man experiences in the presence of celestial beings. Had either father or son, or both, known the real identity of the stranger, from the beginning, the Angelic mission could not have been accomplished in the charming human way in which it was actually carried out. However, the assumed form, and especially the assumed name and paternity-"Azarias the son of the great Ananias"-has been regarded by some as a sort of deception and a lie. However, the perfect sanctity of the Angels is opposed to even the appearance of sin and deception, even to what we call a white lie. In order to carry out his mission, it was necessary for the Angel to assume a form perceptible to man, a human form and a human name. In this case he assumed the appearance of an Israelite, a young relative of Tobias himself. By divine command the Archangel was to act as proxy for that young Israelite, Azarias, whose name he took; hence there was no lie on his part when he gave the name of the person he was representing in his human form. His true identity was revealed at the close of his mission, and whatever misconception had been created in the minds of the various persons he had met, was completely removed, and these were then grateful to the Archangel not only for his many benefits but also for his consideration in dealing with them like a human being. Besides, the Archangel was not hiding a human name and personality and giving another instead; in taking the place of Azarias he could in all truth call himself Azarias.
The story of the Archangel Raphael and the two Tobias' is too beautiful and too instructive for us to dismiss it with a simple reference: it reveals how Angels act when in human form; their Angelic nature, their power, wisdom, holiness are made manifest in the various incidents of this charming narrative. The Archangel is God's legate, he carries out God's plan acting as an instrument of Divine Providence, and Divine Goodness.
The old, charitable, and pious man Tobias is blind and feels that his days are numbered. He gives his young son Tobias some godly admonitions and tells him of some money he had lent to Gabelus of the city of Rages in Media, many years back, for which he had a regular note with Gabelus' signature. He wants his son to go and collect that money, but he first wants him to find a man to accompany him on the long journey: "Go now and seek thee out some faithful man, to go with thee for his hire, that thou may receive it, while I yet live."
While this was going on in Tobias' home, Heaven was listening in and preparing the companion, the "faithful man" young Tobias was looking for. The Lord gave the Archangel Raphael the command to appear as a young man named Azarias, to accompany young Tobias to the land of the Medes, and to bring peace and happiness to two God-fearing but very unhappy families. As the young man stepped out of his house in search of a companion, one morning, the Archangel Raphael was there as if waiting for him, in the disguise of "a beautiful young man." "And not knowing that he was an Angel of God, he saluted him, and said: From whence art thou, good young man? But he answered: Of the children of Israel." In a very short time the Archangel informed young Tobias that he knew the road to Gabelus, and knew Gabelus himself, having spent some time there; he knew all that country very well. Tobias could hardly believe in such a happy coincidence. Immediately he took his new friend and companion and returned to his blind father. The Angel who well knew the purpose of his mission, implicitly announced it in his words of greeting directed to the blind old man, when he said: "Joy be to thee always!"
Not knowing who was he who wished him joy, old Tobias replied: "What manner of joy shall be to me, who sit in darkness, and see not the light of heaven." Here the Archangel Raphael became more explicit, making both a promise and a prophecy: "Be of good courage, thy are from God [God heals, was Raphael's own name] is at hand." He could not say more without engendering suspicion and betraying his own identity. Old Tobias regarded those kind words as an expression of good will and paid no particular attention to them; he had heard such expressions so often in the past. His interest is now in the voyage of his son, and he wants to know in whose hands he is committing the life of his only child and part of his own fortune. Upon hearing that the young guide is no less than Azarias, the son of the great Ananias, he remarks: "Thou art of a great family." Old Tobias, like his kinsman Gabelus, later on in this story, expresses his belief in the protection and guidance of guardian Angels. Not knowing that an Archangel is actually accompanying his son, he says: "May you have a good journey, and God be with you on your way, and his Angel accompany you." Had this circumstance been known to him, both he and his wife would have been spared all the worry and the sleepless nights during the long absence of their son. One thought, however, sustained the mind of old Tobias during his waiting: "Our son is safe: that man with whom we sent him is very trustworthy."
How carefree, and how joyful must have been that journey for young Tobias. To travel in the happy company of an Angel! He knew the road so well. He was never in doubt about anybody or anything they met on the road; always cheerful, never tired or sleepy; so sweet and kind in his conversation, yet always full of respect and attention. He was deeply spiritual and profoundly devout in his prayers, pure in all his words and actions. How true and inspired were the words of old Tobias when, comforting his weeping wife, he said to her: "I believe that the good Angel of God doth accompany him, and doth order all things well that are about him, so that he shall return to us with joy."
The sacred text remarks that when young Tobias started on his journey with his Angel companion, his pet dog followed him all the way to the East. Tobias was one of the thousands of Israelites living in the Babylonian captivity. Some of them had settled down in neighboring provinces, such as Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Media. It was exactly in this last province of Media that Tobias' kinsman Raguel lived with his family. This was not really the goal of his trip to the East, but it was here that God and His Angel wanted him to go; whereas his father had sent him to collect his money from Gabelus in the city of Rages in the mountains of Ecbatana, in Media. The Angel by diverting his trip accomplished more fully his mission, bringing unexpected joy and happiness to three families.
Having left his home town, the great city of Ninive, that morning, Tobias and his guide reached the river Tigris just before dark. They decided to spend that night by the bank of the Tigris. Here the Archangel Raphael began to reveal medical knowledge and experience. At the same time he provided food for that evening and for the rest of the journey. Weary of walking all day, young Tobias went to wash his feet in the cool water of the river before retiring. Here the sight of a monstrous fish that seemed to be coming up to devour him, frightened him exceedingly and made him cry for help: "Sir, he cometh upon me !" The Angelic guide, without coming to his rescue, instructed him on what to do, both giving him directions and inspiring him with confidence. At the end of the first day young Tobias had not yet acquired familiarity with his guide, so he calls him, Sir. Later he will call him brother. When the monstrous fish had been successfully drawn out of the river, it was cut open, roasted, and salted. "Take out the entrails of this fish," ordered the Angel, "and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee, for these are necessary for useful medicines." These, no doubt, may have seemed strange medicines to young Tobias and he wanted to know when and how to use them. Here he begins to show more confidence and affection for the heavenly guide: "I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish." The Angel explains the medical virtue of those parts of the fish. More practical details are imparted as the proper time for their use approaches. The liver of the fish was needed as a material ingredient for an exorcism in order to free Tobias' future wife Sara from the evil influence of the devil; the gall was to be used for the cure of the blindness of old Tobias.
The Archangel Raphael had been sent by God to cure and comfort two afflicted souls, old Tobias and Raguel's young daughter Sara, the widow of seven husbands, all of whom had died on the first night following their wedding to her.
As night was falling, at the end of another day of their long journey, young Tobias turning to his guide asked him the customary question: "Where wilt thou that we lodge ?" Here begins the first part of Raphael's mission. He must induce young Tobias to marry Sara, Raguel's daughter, and at the same time deliver her from all diabolical influence and vexation. This was a very delicate matter, for sinister rumors about this young dame, as being the cause of death to seven husbands, had reached Ninive and young Tobias himself knew all about her and was deathly afraid of associating with her. At the question of where to lodge for the night, Raphael had proposed to put up at Raguel's and for Tobias to propose to Sara, his own cousin. "I hear," answered Tobias, "that she hath been given to seven husbands, and they all died; moreover I have heard, that a devil killed them." Imagine this young man, now, going to ask for the hand of such a dame! The Archangel Raphael obtained just that, and what is more, their marriage was a very happy one, blessed with good health and long life, so that they both saw their children's children to the fifth generation. The instructions on marital union given by the Archangel Raphael to young Tobias on this occasion remain an ideal of moral perfection for married couples for all time. Prayer, continence, and pure intention dispose the soul for God's blessings and thwart all influence of the evil spirit. Young Tobias listened intently to his heavenly guide and later carried out his instructions most faithfully, first repeating them to his bride: "We are the children of the saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God."
Amid the charming and intimate family reunion in Raguel's home, described in chapter seven of the book of Tobias, an unseen struggle goes on in the spirit world. Young Azarias (the Archangel Raphael) absents himself for a very short while from the gathering of the family and friends in order to attend to a very important business of his own. During those few minutes, Raphael, in the name and with the power of God, "took the devil, and bound him in the desert of upper Egypt." This devil Asmodeus, who had caused so much sorrow to Sara and her family, was Satan himself. With the exile of the spirit of evil, joy, peace and all blessings came to Raguel's home. Having attended to his business, young Azarias returned and took his place at the wedding feast, while actually contemplating the face of the Father Who is in heaven. The following morning, leaving Tobias there with his happy bride, he continues on the journey, accompanied by four servants and two camels. He finally found Gabelus and collected the money for old Tobias and, on his return, he took Gabelus to the wedding feast of his kinsman young Tobias.
The last part of the mission entrusted to Raphael the Archangel was now to follow. Having brought joy and happiness to Sara and all her family, it was time to bring a similar and even greater joy to old Tobias and his wife. The slow pace of the caravan that accompanied the bride to Ninive did not suit the Archangel who well knew the pain and the worries of Tobias' old parents: "Brother Tobias," said the Archangel, thou knowest how thou didst leave thy father. If it please thee, let us go before, and let the family follow softly after us, together with thy wife and with the beasts." Tobias agreed and taking with himself the gall of the fish, he and the Angel began to advance with much greater speed, the dog following them. It was time now to give the final instruction as to the use of the gall: "As soon as thou shalt come into the house, forthwith adore the Lord thy God, and giving thanks to Him, go to thy father and kiss him, and immediately anoint his eyes with this gall of the fish.... Thy father shall see the light of heaven, and shall rejoice in the sight of thee."
In the meantime Tobias' old mother was waiting for her son, sitting daily on top of a hill, scanning the horizon for a sign of her son and his guide. Finally one day Tobias' pet dog, running ahead brought the joyful news to the afflicted parents by his fawning and wagging his tail. All these human and earthly elements blend beautifully with the heavenly in this charming story of Angels and men.
Everything happened as promised by the Angel. Old Tobias regained his sight. At this point the heart of young Tobias was filled with gratitude, love, and admiration for his wonderful guide; so many and so great were the benefits received through him. Having witnessed the miraculous cure of his father he could find no words to express his feelings: "We are filled with all good things through him," he kept telling his father. Old Tobias understood that it was God Who was actually working all these marvels through young Azarias, and thus, full of reverence, he calls the young guide a holy man: "What can we give to this holy man, that is come with thee?"
The Lord never permits man to remain in error because of the disguise assumed by His ministering spirits in any of their apparitions. Sooner or later the truth about them will be made manifest. For several weeks in succession, the Archangel Raphael had been acting under assumed human form and human name. Now that his mission has been happily completed, he begins to prepare his two friends, father and son, for a great surprise, the revelation of his real self. At the moment that they both humbly approach him offering one half of everything that had been brought home as payment for his service, young "Azarias" answers with a wonderful explanation of why God has so blessed them. He recalls to the mind of old Tobias all the good he did in his days, his charity, his mercy, his patience, his alms, and his tearful prayers. Thus he begins to reveal himself gradually in order not to frighten them with a sudden disclosure. The enumeration of all the good deeds and of secrets of conscience known only to God are the first step in this revelation; the second is the statement: "Now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil." The third and final step was liable to trouble and frighten them, hence he begins with comforting and reassuring words: "Peace be to you; fear not." As he said this, both father and son fell upon the ground on their faces, for suddenly the human form of Azarias was transfigured into that of an Archangel of light and beauty, and the final revelation came: "I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord . . . when I was with you I was there by the will of God: bless ye him, and sing praises to him." This is the only reward that he will accept, but none of the material things, money and cattle and clothes offered him generously by his good friends. Yet, these could still entertain some doubts, because they had seen him eat and drink like any other human being, and Angels do not eat and drink as men do. To this secret doubt he answers with saying: "I seemed indeed to eat and to drink with you, but I use an invisible meat and drink, which cannot be seen by men." Now that his work has been done, and that they know that God has sent His Angel to fill them with blessings, it is time for him to return to Heaven: "It is time therefore that I return to him that sent me; but bless ye God, and publish all his wonderful works." Here the Archangel returned to his invisible form, and from the company of men returned to that of the Angels.
Raphael, the Divine healer, seems to have been at work at Jerusalem, in the days of Christ our Lord, in the pool called Bethsaida by the Sheepgate. In the five porticoes surrounding that pool there was a multitude of sick people, waiting for the action of the Angel upon the water of the pool, an action which cured immediately any person who first descended into the pool: "An Angel of the Lord used to come down at certain times into the pool and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pool after the motion of the water, was cured of whatever infirmity he had."
The health-giving ministry of Saint Raphael may still be seen in the miraculous cures that have taken place up to our own times in many of the sacred Shrines throughout the Christian world.