Sunday, February 19, 2017

Saint February 20 : Blessed Jacinta and Francesco of #Fatima - with #Prayers to SHARE

Francisco Marto (June 11, 1908 – April 4, 1919) and his sister Jacinta Marto (March 11, 1910 – February 20, 1920),  together with their cousin, Lúcia dos Santos (1907–2005) were from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal. They saw three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. They reported visions of Our Lady of Fatima.  The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto were Francisco and Jacinta. They were illiterate and they worked with cousin Lucia, tending sheep. Francisco preferred to pray alone, as he said "to console Jesus for the sins of the world". They saw terrifying vision of Hell at the third apparition. All three children practiced prayer and penance for sin as the lady asked. Jacinta told her parents ‘Oh, Mother! I saw Our Lady today!’. On 13th August, The Administrator, Santos, ‘kidnapped’ the children to prevent them going to the next Apparition, and threatened them with a cauldron of boiling oil. On Sunday, 19th August, the children witnessed their fourth Apparition. 
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At the Apparitions in 1917 Francisco heard nothing and had to rely on Lucia and Jacinta to tell him what was said by the Lady. Jacinta and Francesco became very ill during the Spanish Influenza epidemic in October, 1918.  The priest heard Francisco’s confession on the evening of 2nd April and brought Communion to him the next morning.Opening his eyes, he asked: ‘When will you bring me the Hidden Jesus again?’ This was what he said when talking of the Host in the Tabernacle. 
Jacinta developed pneumonia and then tuberculosis. She died in hospital just before her 11th birthday. Visitors who saw Jacinta in her open coffin exclaimed that she seemed to be alive, with the loveliest colour. When Jacinta’s coffin was opened on 12th September, 1935 and her face was seen to be perfectly incorrupt. 

 Jacinta's relics and those of Francisco lie in the Basilica at Fatima, with the simple inscription: “Here lie the mortal remains of Francisco and Jacinta to whom Our Lady appeared.” Jacinta and her brother Francisco were beatified- declared ‘Blessed’, by Pope John Paul II on 13th May, 2000 at Fatima. 

SPECIAL PRAYERS GIVEN TO THE CHILDREN AT FATIMA:
Our Lady of Fatima:
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee. O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

ANGEL OF FATIMA:
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners. The Angel's Prayer is an Act of Reparation to The Holy Trinity.
Edited from “The Message of Fatima” by Fr. Martindale, S.J. and other sources. (All Images Google )

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#PopeFrancis Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” #Angelus - FULL TEXT + Video


Before the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 5:38-48) – one of those pages that expresses best the Christian “revolution” – Jesus shows the way of true justice through the law of love, which surmounts that of retaliation, namely, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This ancient rule imposed inflicting on transgressors punishments equivalent to the damages caused: death to one who killed, amputation to one who wounded someone, and so on. Jesus does not ask His disciples to suffer evil, rather, He asks them to react, but not with another evil, but with goodness. Only thus is the chain of evil broken: an evil leads to another evil, another evil leads to another evil …  This chain of evil is broken, and things truly change. Evil in fact is a “void,” a void of goodness, and it cannot be filled with another void, but only with “fullness,” namely, with goodness. Reprisals never lead to the resolution of conflicts. “You did it to me, I’ll do it to you”: this never resolves a conflict, nor is it Christian.
For Jesus the rejection of violence can also imply giving up a legitimate right; and He gives some examples: to give the other cheek, to give one’s cloak or one’s money, to accept other sacrifices (cf. vv. 39-42). However, this renunciation does not mean that the demands of justice are ignored or contradicted; on the contrary, Christian love, which manifests itself in a special way in mercy, represents a higher realization of justice. What Jesus wants to teach us is the clear distinction we must make between justice and retaliation – to distinguish between justice and retaliation. Retaliation is never just; we are permitted to ask for justice; it is our duty to practice justice. Instead, we are prohibited from vindicating ourselves and from fomenting retaliation in some way, in as much as <it is an> expression of hatred and of violence.
Jesus does not wish to propose a new civil rule, but rather the commandment to love our neighbor, which also includes love of enemies: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (v. 44). And this is not easy. This word is not understood as approval of the evil done by an enemy, but as an invitation in a higher, a magnanimous perspective, similar to that of the heavenly Father, who – Jesus says — “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (v. 45). In fact, an enemy is also a human person, created as such in the image of God, even if at present this image is obfuscated by unworthy conduct.
When we speak of “enemies” we must not think, perhaps, of those persons who are different and distant from us; we speak also of ourselves, who can enter in conflict with our neighbor, at times with our relatives. How many enmities there are in families, how many! Enemies are those also who speak badly of us, who calumniate us and do us wrongs. And it is not easy to digest this. We are called to respond to all of them with goodness, which also has its strategies, inspired by love.
May the Virgin Mary help us to follow Jesus in this demanding way, which truly exalts human dignity and makes us live as children of our Father who is in Heaven. May she help us to practice patience, dialogue, forgiveness, and thus be craftsmen of communion, craftsmen of fraternity in our daily life, especially in our family.
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
*
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Unfortunately, news continues to reach us of violent and brutal clashes in the region of Central Kasai of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I feel intensely the grief of the victims, especially for so many children torn from their families and from school to be used as soldiers. Child soldiers are a tragedy. I assure my closeness and prayer, also for the religious and humanitarian personnel who work in that difficult region; and I renew my heartfelt appeal to the conscience and the responsibility of the National Authorities and of the International Community, so that appropriate and timely decisions are taken to help these brothers and sisters of ours.
Let us pray for them and for all peoples suffering also in other parts of the African Continent and of the world due to violence and war. I am thinking, in particular, of the beloved populations of Pakistan and of Iraq, scourged by cruel terrorist acts in past days. Let us pray for the victims, for the wounded and for their relatives. Let us pray ardently that every heart hardened by hatred is converted to peace, in keeping with God’s will. Let us pray for a moment in silence. [Hail Mary …]
I greet you all, families, Associations, parish groups and individual pilgrims from Italy and from various parts of the world.
In particular, I greet the students of Armagh, Ireland, the faithful of the dioceses of Asidonia-Jerez, Cadiz and Ceuta and Madrid in Spain; the Guanellian Youth Movement, the Confirmation candidates of Castelnuovo di Prato and the pilgrims of Modena and Viterbo.
I wish you all a good Sunday – a beautiful day! [he points to the blue sky]. And please, do not forget to pray for me.
Have a good lunch and see you soon!
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday February 19, 2017 - 7th Ord. - A - #Eucharist


Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 79


Reading 1LV 19:1-2, 17-18

The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

"You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD."

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Reading 21 COR 3:16-23

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Let no one deceive himself.
If any one among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:
God catches the wise in their own ruses, 
and again:
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are vain.

So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

Alleluia1 JN 2:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

"You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saint February 19 : St. Conrad of Piacenza : Patron of #Cure for #Hernias

Born:
1290, Piacenza, Province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Died:
February 19, 1351, Noto, Province of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
Patron of:
cure of hernias



CONFESSOR
Hermit of the Third Order of St. Francis, date of birth uncertain; died at Noto in Sicily, 19 February, 1351. He belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza, and having married when he was quite young, led a virtuous and God-fearing life. On one occasion, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to fire some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant, who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of being the author. He was imprisoned, tried, and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, made open confession of his guilt; and in order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, was obliged to sell all his possessions. Thus reduced to poverty, Conrad retired to a lonely hermitage some distance from Piacenza, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares. Later he went to Rome, and thence to Sicily, where for thirty years he lived a most austere and penitential life and worked numerous miracles. He is especially invoked for the cure of hernia. In 1515 Leo X permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast, which permission was later extended by Urban VIII to the whole Order of St. Francis. Though bearing the title of saint, Conrad was never formally canonized. His feast is kept in the Franciscan Order on 19 February.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

#BreakingNews #ProLife Convert Norma McCorvey of Roe vs. Wade which made Abortion Legal Dies at age 69 - RIP


McCorvey has died at an assisted living center in Katy, Texas, with her family. She died of heart failure and had been ill for some time. McCorvey at 22, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time in 1969 tried to have an abortion in Texas; where abortion was illegal except to save a woman's life. A lawsuit ensued known as Roe v. Wade, which led to the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling that established abortion rights. McCorvey had given birth and given her daughter up for adoption. She gave birth to the Roe baby in June 1970. 
 One day she went inside the Operation Rescue office and noticed a fetal development poster on the wall. This poster caused a turning point, as she later wrote: “The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma’, I said to myself, ‘They’re right’. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby! “I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.” A year later, she decided to leave behind lesbianism and become an evangelical Christian. On August 8th, 1995, Benham of Operation Rescue  baptized her in a backyard swimming pool on national television. Three years later she reverted to the Catholic Faith through the influence of Fr. Pavone.  He confirmed Norma in 1998. Norma McCorvey was one of the most important people for the pro-abortion cause. 
  "I don't believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it's still a child. You're not to act as your own God," she said in 1998. 
Born in 1947, McCorvey had a troubled childhood. Her father abandoned her family. Her mother was an alcoholic. She went to live with her cousin, who she claimed regularly raped her. At 16, she got married, but left her husband because he abused her. She moved back in with her mother and gave birth to her first child when she was 18. Her mother tricked her into signing papers giving her mother custody of the child and then kicked her out of the house.She had a second child, which she voluntarily placed for adoption. At 21, she was living with her father and working and became pregnant a third time. Some friends advised her to claim she had been gang raped in order to qualify for an exception in Texas’ anti-abortion laws.  McCorvey was referred to two attorneys who were looking for a pregnant woman seeking an abortion in order to challenge Texas’ abortion laws. She repeated her lie to them that she had been gang raped. They decided to pursue the case with her. She started working in an abortion clinic herself. In 1994, she published an autobiography telling her story called I Am Roe.  She wrote of the Influence of Fr. Pavone, writing, “I listened to him [Fr. Pavone] and came to realize that what God was actually saying to me was to ‘come ALL the way home to Him’ in His Church— the Church Jesus Christ Himself founded, the Mother church.” At an evangelical church in Waco, Texas, she announced she had decided to convert to Catholicism. McCorvey received Confirmation and her first Holy Communion on August 17, 1998. 

Saint February 18 : St. Simon of Jerusalem : #Bishop and #Martyr

St. Simon of Jerusalem
BISHOP, MARTYR
Died:
106 or 107 AD, Jerusalem
=
ST. SIMEON was the son of Cleophas, otherwise called Alpheus, brother to St. Joseph, and of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin. He was therefore nephew both to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin, and cousin to Our Saviour. We cannot doubt but that he was ail early follower of Christ, and that he received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, with the Blessed Virgin and the apostles. When the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser,his brother Simeon reproached them for their atrocious cruelty. St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem, being put to death in the year 62, twenty-nine years after Our Saviour's Resurrection, the apostles and disciples met at Jerusalem to appoint him a successor. They unanimously chose St. Simeon, who had probably before assisted his brother in the government of that Church.
In the year 66, in which Sts. Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome, the civil war began in Judea, by the seditions of the Jews against the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned by God of the impending destruction of that city. They therefore departed out of it the same year,—before Vespasian, Nero's general, and afterwards emperor, entered Judea,—and retired beyond Jordan to a small city called Pella, having St. Simeon at their head. After the taking and burning of Jerusalem they returned thither again, and settled themselves amidst its ruins, till Adrian afterwards entirely razed it. The Church here flourished, and multitudes of Jews were converted by the great number of prodigies and miracles wrought in it.
Vespasian and Domitian had commanded all to be put to death who were of the race of David. St. Simeon had escaped their searches; but, Trajan having given the same order, certain heretics and Jews accused the Saint, as being both of the race of David and a Christian, to Atticus, the Roman governor in Palestine. The holy bishop was condemned to be crucified. After having undergone the usual tortures during several days, which, though one hundred and twenty years old, he suffered with so much patience that he drew on him a universal admiration, and that of Atticus in particular, he died in 107. He must have governed the Church of Jerusalem about forty-three years.
(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday February 18, 2017


Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 340


Reading 1HEB 11:1-7

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.
By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God,
so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.
By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain's.
Through this, he was attested to be righteous,
God bearing witness to his gifts,
and through this, though dead, he still speaks.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death,
and he was found no more because God had taken him.
Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him,
for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who seek him.
By faith Noah, warned about what was not yet seen,
with reverence built an ark for the salvation of his household.
Through this, he condemned the world
and inherited the righteousness that comes through faith.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11

R. (see 1) I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

AlleluiaMK 9:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 9:2-13

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
"Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
then from the cloud came a voice,
"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Suddenly, looking around, the disciples no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Then they asked him,
"Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
He told them, "Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things,
yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man
that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt?
But I tell you that Elijah has come
and they did to him whatever they pleased,
as it is written of him."

#PopeFrancis ".. the university can also be a place in which the culture of encounter and the reception of people of different cultural and religious traditions is elaborated." FULL TEXT + Video



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday visited one of Rome’s major institutions of higher education: the  Università degli studi “Roma 3”, which has an enrollment of roughly 40 thousand students.
The Holy Father fielded four questions, each one from a student at a different level of study and in a different department, from post-graduates to married professionals in continuing formation to young undergrads from the business school and the arts and sciences.
One of the students was Nour Essa, a 31 year-old married mother and a refugee from Syria. She came to Rome with her family via Lesbos, making the last leg of her journey with Pope Francis, himself, aboard the Papal plane in 2016.
“I remember a question posed by a reporter on your plane, returning from Lesbos,” she said. “This question was on Europeans’ fear [It. la paura europea] of those coming from Syria or Iraq: do these people not threaten the Christian culture of Europe?”
In his largely off-the-cuff response, Pope Francis said, “Migrations are not a danger, but a challenge to grow.”
Pope Francis also responded to questions of European identity, of the special identity, character, and mission of the city of Rome – and of the duty of the students to the city – as well as of the need for a creative response to overcome a culture of violence, and the need to transform the global culture and become workers of intellectual charity in order to contribute to a constructive renewal of society.
The Pope said that “unity without differences” is one of the great threats in our day. “There is a risk of globalization,” he said, “that fosters uniformity,” and our culture of instant communication and constant connectedness does not allow for thoughtful consideration and could strangle profound dialogue if we are not careful to cultivate a more considerate pace and sensitivity.
Pope Francis also spoke of  the need for young people to cultivate the virtue of hope, the threats against which are many, including joblessness, the blandishments of a culture of hedonism, and the warped sense of religion that can fill the void left when concrete reasons for to hope in a better future appear to be wanting.
“The bitterness of [some young persons’] hearts,” Pope Francis said, “leads to addictions,” or even to suicide. “This lack of work leads to [some of them] to go elsewhere and enlist in a terrorist army,” he said, speculating that perhaps young people who make such a decision think, “at least that way I have something to do and [thus] I give meaning to my life.”
“Terrible,” Pope Francis said, “terrible.”
The Holy Father’s prepared Address
Lord Rector, Distinguished Docents, Dear Students and Staff Members,
I thank you for inviting me to visit this University, the youngest of Rome, and I give my warm greeting to you all. I thank the Rector, Professor Mario Panizza, for his words of welcome, and I wish you every good for the work and mission of this Athenaeum. The academic instruction and formation of the new generations is a primary exigency for the life and development of society. I have listened to your questions, for which I am grateful; I read them beforehand and I will seek to give answers taking my experience also into account.
Our society is rich in goods, in actions of solidarity and of love in relations with our neighbor: so many people and so many young people, certainly among you, are committed in volunteer work and in activities at the service of the neediest. And this is one of the greatest values of which to be grateful and proud. However, if we look around us, we see that there are many, too many signs of enmity and violence in the world. As Giulia rightly observed, there are many signs present of “violent action.” I thank you, Giulia, because the Message for this year’s World Day of Peace proposes, in fact, non-violence as style of life and of political action. In fact, we are living a piecemeal world war: there are conflicts in many regions of the planet, which threaten the future of entire generations. How is it that the International Community, with its organizations, is unable to impede or to stop all this? Do economic and strategic interests have more weight than the common interest for peace? These are certainly questions that find a place in Universities’ classrooms, and they resound first of all in our consciences. See: the University is a privileged place in which consciences are formed, in a heated debate between the exigencies of the good, of the true and of the beautiful, and the reality with its contradictions. A concrete example? The arms industry. For decades there has been talk of disarmament, important processes in this connection have even been implemented but, unfortunately, despite all the speeches and commitments, many countries today are increasing their expenses for armaments. And this — in a world that is still fighting against hunger and sicknesses –, is a scandalous contradiction.
In face of this dramatic reality, you rightly ask, “What must be our answer? –certainly not an attitude of discouragement and mistrust. You young people, in particular, cannot permit yourselves to be without hope; hope is part of yourselves. When hope is lacking life in fact is lacking, and then some go in search of a deceitful existence that is offered by merchants of nothing. They sell things that bring momentary and apparent happiness, but in reality they introduce a way without exit, without future, true existential labyrinths. Bombs destroy bodies; drugs destroy minds, souls and also bodies. And here I give you another concrete example of present-day contradiction: the gambling industry. Universities can give a valid contribution of study to prevent and oppose gambling addiction, which causes grave harm to people and families, with high social costs.
An answer that I would like to suggest to you — and I have present Niccolo’s question — is that of committing yourselves, also as a university, in projects of sharing and of service to the least, to have grow in our city of Rome the sense of belonging to a “common homeland.” Many social urgencies and many situations of hardship and poverty interpellate us: we think of persons that live on the street, of migrants, of all those that need not only food and clothes, but insertion in society as, for example, those who come out of prison. By coming to meet these social poverties, we are rendered protagonists of constructive actions which oppose the destructive <actions> of violent conflicts, and which also oppose the culture of hedonism and waste, based on the idols of money, of pleasure, of appearing … Instead, by working with projects, also small ones, which foster encounter and solidarity, a sense of trust is recovered at the same time.
In every environment, especially in that of the University, it is important to read and address this change of epoch with reflection and discernment, that is, without ideological prejudices, without fear or flights. Every change, including the present one, is a passage that brings with it difficulties, toil and sufferings, but it also brings new horizons of goodness. Great changes call for re-thinking our economic, cultural and social models, to recover the central value of the human person. In the third question, Riccardo made reference to the “information that in a globalized world is spread especially by the social networks. In this very complex ambit, it seems to me necessary to engage in healthy discernment, on the basis of ethical and spiritual criteria. It is necessary, that is, to question oneself on what is good, making reference to values proper of a vision of man and of the world, a vision of the person in all his dimensions, especially in the transcendent.
And, speaking of transcendence, I would like to speak to you as person-to-person, and give witness of who I am. I profess myself Christian and the transcendence to which I open myself and look at has a name: Jesus. I am convinced that His Gospel is a force of true personal and social renewal. Speaking thus, I do not propose to you illusions or philosophical or ideological theories, nor do I wish to engage in proselytism. I am speaking to you of a Person who came to meet me when I was more or less your age, who opened horizons for me and changed my life. This Person can fill our heart with joy and our life with meaning.  He is my fellow traveller; He does not disappoint and does not betray. He is always with us. He puts Himself with respect and discretion along our life’s path, above all, He supports us in the hour of loss and defeat, in the moment of weakness and sin, to always put us back on the way. This is the personal testimony of my life.
Do not be afraid to open yourselves to the horizons of the spirit, and if you receive the gift of faith – because faith is a gift – do not be afraid to open yourselves to the encounter with Christ and to deepen your relationship with Him. Faith never limits the ambit of reason, but opens it to an integral vision of man and of reality, preserving one from the danger of reducing the person to “human material.” Difficulties do not disappear with Jesus, but they are addressed in a different way, without fear, without lying to oneself and to others; they are addressed with the light and strength that come from Him. And, as Riccardo said, you can become “operators of intellectual charity,” starting with the University itself, so that it is a place of formation to “wisdom” in the fullest sense of the term, of the integral education of the person. In this perspective the University offers its peculiar and indispensable contribution to the renewal of society.
And the university can also be a place in which the culture of encounter and the reception of people of different cultural and religious traditions is elaborated. Nour, who comes from Syria, made reference to the “fear” of the Westerner in relations with a foreigner in as much as it might “threaten Europe’s Christian culture.” Apart from the fact that the first threat to Europe’s Christian culture comes, in fact, from within Europe, the closing of oneself in oneself or in one’s culture is never the way to give back hope and to bring about a social and cultural renewal. A culture is consolidated in openness to and encounter with other cultures, so that it has a clear and mature awareness of its own principles and values. Therefore, I encourage docents and students to live the University as an environment of true dialogue, which does not level the differences or exasperate them, but is open to constructive confrontation. We are called to understand and appreciate the other’s values, overcoming the temptations of indifference and of fear. Do not be afraid of encounter, of dialogue, of confrontation.
While you carry forward your course of teaching and study in the university, try to ask yourselves: is my forma mentis becoming more individualistic or more supportive? If it is more supportive, it is a good sign, because you will go against the current but in the only direction that has a future and that gives future. Solidarity, not proclaimed in words but lived concretely, generates peace and hope for every country and for the whole world. And you, by the fact of working and studying in the University, have the responsibility to leave a good mark in history.
I thank you from my heart for this meeting and for your attention. May hope be the light that always illumines your study and your commitment. I invoke upon each one of you and upon your families the Lord’s blessing.
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Friday, February 17, 2017

Saint February 18 : St. Fra Angelico : #Dominican : Patron of #Artists

Feast Day: February 18 Beatified: October 3, 1982
Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro; c. 1395 – February 18, 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects as having "a rare and perfect talent". He was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John of Fiesole) and Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). In modern Italian he is called il Beato Angelico (Blessed Angelic One); the common English name Fra Angelico means the "Angelic friar".  He is listed in the Roman Martyrology as Beatus Ioannes Faesulanus, cognomento Angelicus—
Growing up in a small town in Italy, Guido di Pietro was interested in two things. He wanted to follow Christ’s example in all things and he wanted to develop his talent for painting. God showed him how these two things were his vocation. Our vocation is God’s call to share in Jesus’ life and work. Guido was born in 1387, and when he was 18, he joined the Dominican order as a religious brother. Brothers are not priests. Religious brothers serve their community through prayer and work. It Italy, religious brothers are called “Fra.” Religious brothers are often given a new name. Guido’s religious name was “Fra Giovanni” or Brother John. His work in his community was painting beautiful religious art, initially for manuscripts, which at the time were each copied by hand. The moment the members of his religious community saw his beautiful paintings, they said that he “painted like an angel.” That is how he became known as “Fra Angelico.” Every day before he began to paint, Fra Angelico prayed that God would guide his hand and help him to create a painting that would inspire people to grow closer to God. Fra Angelico became very famous. He painted holy figures and angels and was even called to Rome to paint portraits of the saints on the walls of the chapel of Pope Eugenius IV and then Pope Nicholas V. His work can be found in museums and churches and holy buildings throughout the world. He died in Rome in 1455 and was beatified in 1982 by Pope John Paul II. The pope declared him the patron saint of Catholic artists in 1984. We call Fra Angelico “Blessed.” His life helps us to understand that we are called to use the gifts we have been given to serve others and to give glory and praise to God.
Fra Angelico (Italian, ca. 1390/95-1455)
The Virgin of Humility, ca. 1436-38
Tempera on panel
29 1/8 x 24 in.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands