Friday, March 24, 2017

Saint March 25 : The Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary : #Annunciation


The fact of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is related in Luke 1:26-38. The Evangelist tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David, and was espoused (i.e. married) to Joseph, of the same royal family. She had, however, not yet entered the household of her spouse, but was still in her mother's house, working, perhaps, over her dowry. (Bardenhewer, Maria Verk., 69). And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said to her: "Hail, full of grace (to whom is given grace, favoured one), the Lord is with thee." Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the angel continued and said: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. 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 forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." The Virgin understood that there was question of the coming Redeemer. But, why should she be elected from amongst women for the splendid dignity of being the mother of the Messiah, having vowed her virginity to God? (St. Augustine). Therefore, not doubting the word of God like Zachary, but filled with fear and astonishment, she said: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?"
The angel to remove Mary's anxiety and to assure her that her virginity would be spared, answered: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." In token of the truth of his word he made known to her the conception of St. John, the miraculous pregnancy of her relative now old and sterile: "And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God." Mary may not yet have fully understood the meaning of the heavenly message and how the maternity might be reconciled with her vow of virginity, but clinging to the first words of the angel and trusting to the Omnipotence of God she said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word."
Since 1889 Holzmann and many Protestant writers have tried to show that the verses Luke 1:34-35, containing the message of conception through the Holy Ghost are interpolated. Usener derives the origin of the "myth" from the heathen hero worship; but Harnack tries to prove that it is of Judaic origin (Isaiah 7:14, Behold a Virgin shall conceive, etc.). Bardenhewer, however, has fully established the authenticity of the text (p. 13). St. Luke may have taken his knowledge of the event from an older account, written in Aramaic or Hebrew. The words: "Blessed art thou among women" (v. 28), are spurious and taken from verse 42, the account of the Visitation. Cardinal Cajetan wanted to understand the words: "because I know not man", not of the future, but only of the past: up to this hour I do not know man. This manifest error, which contradicts the words of the text, has been universally rejected by all Catholic authors. The opinion that Joseph at the time of the Annunciation was an aged widower and Mary twelve or fifteen years of age, is founded only upon apocryphal documents. The local tradition of Nazareth pretends that the angel met Mary and greeted her at the fountain, and when she fled from him in fear, he followed her into the house and there continued his message. (Buhl, Geogr. v. Palaest., 1896.) The year and day of the Annunciation cannot be determined as long as new material does not throw more light on the subject. The present date of the feast (25 March) depends upon the date of the older feast of Christmas.
The Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus in His human nature. Through His mother He is a member of the human race. If the virginity of Mary before, during, and after the conception of her Divine Son was always considered part of the deposit of faith, this was done only on account of the historical facts and testimonials. The Incarnation of the Son of God did not in itself necessitate this exception from the laws of nature. Only reasons of expediency are given for it, chiefly, the end of the Incarnation. About to found a new generation of the children of God, The Redeemer does not arrive in the way of earthly generations: the power of the Holy Spirit enters the chaste womb of the Virgin, forming the humanity of Christ. Many holy fathers (Sts. Jerome, Cyril, Ephrem, Augustine) say that the consent of Mary was essential to the redemption. It was the will of God, St. Thomas says (Summa III:30), that the redemption of mankind should depend upon the consent of the Virgin Mary. This does not mean that God in His plans was bound by the will of a creature, and that man would not have been redeemed, if Mary had not consented. It only means that the consent of Mary was foreseen from all eternity, and therefore was received as essential into the design of God.
Text shared from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday March 24, 2017 - #Eucharist


Friday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 241


Reading 1HOS 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, 'Our god,'
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion."

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
"I am like a verdant cypress tree"–
Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial PsalmPS 81:6C-8A, 8BC-9, 10-11AB, 14 AND 17

R. (see 11 and 9a) I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
An unfamiliar speech I hear:
"I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"Unseen, I answered you in thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;
O Israel, will you not hear me?"
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

Verse Before The GospelMT 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

GospelMK 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Saint March 24 : St. Catherine of Sweden : #ProLife Patron Against #Abortion, #Miscarriage


































CO-FOUNDRESS OF THE BRIGITTINES, DAUGHTER OF ST. BRIGID OF SWEDEN

Born:
1331 at Sweden
Died:
24 March 1381
Canonized:
1484 (cultus confirmed) by Pope Innocent VIII
Patron of:
against abortion, against miscarriages
The fourth child of St. Bridget and her husband, Ulf Gudmarsson, born 1331 or 1332; died 24 March, 1381. At the time of her death St. Catherine was head of the convent of Wadstena, founded by her mother; hence the name, Catherine Vastanensis, by which she is occasionally called. At the age of  seven she was sent to the abbess of the convent of Riseberg to be educated and soon showed, like her mother, a desire for a life of self-mortification and devotion to spiritual things. At the command of her father, when about thirteen or fourteen years, she married a noble of German descent, Eggart von Kürnen. She at once persuaded her husband, who was a very religious man, to join her in a vow of chastity. Both lived in a state of virginity and devoted themselves to the exercise of Christian perfection and active charity. In spite of her deep love for her husband, Catherine accompanied her mother to Rome, where St. Bridget went in 1349. Soon after her arrival in that city Catherine received news of the death of her husband in Sweden. She now lived constantly with her mother, took an active part in St. Bridget's fruitful labours, and zealously imitated her mother's ascetic life. Although the distinguished and beautiful young widow was surrounded by suitors, she steadily refused all offers of marriage. In 1372 St. Catherine and her brother, Birger, accompanied their mother on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; after their return to Rome St. Catherine was with her mother in the latter's last illness and death.
In 1374, in obedience to St. Bridget's wish, Catherine brought back her mother's body to Sweden for burial at Wadstena, of which foundation she now became the head. It was the motherhouse of the Brigittine Order, also called the Order of St. Saviour. Catherine managed the convent with great skill and made the life there one in harmony with the principles laid down by its founder. The following hear she went again to Rome in order to promote the canonization of St. Bridget, and to obtain a new papal confirmation of the order. She secured another confirmation both from Gregory XI (1377) and from Urban VI (1379) but was unable to gain at the time the canonization of her mother, as the confusion caused by the Schism delayed the process. When this sorrowful division appeared she showed herself, like St. Catherine of Siena, a steadfast adherent of the part of the Roman Pope, Urban VI, in whose favour she testified before a judicial commission. Catherine stayed five years in Italy and then returned home, bearing a special letter of commendation from the pope. Not long after her arrival in Sweden she was taken ill and died. In 1484 Innocent VIII gave permission for her veneration as a saint and her feast was assigned to 22 March in the Roman martyrology. Catherine wrote a devotional work entitled "Consolation of the Soul" (Sielinna Troëst), largely composed of citations from the Scriptures and from early religious books; no copy is known to exist. Generally she is represented with a hind at her side, which is said to have come to her aid when unchaste youths sought to ensnare her.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

#PopeFrancis "Blasphemy is the final word on this path that begins with not listening, with the hardening of the heart.” Homily for Lent


(Vatican Radio) Listen to the Word of God to avoid the risk of a hardened heart. That was Pope Francis’ message in his homily at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The Pope pointed out that when we turn away from God and are deaf to His Word, we become unfaithful or even “Catholic atheists.”
Pope Francis drew inspiration from the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah to meditate on the importance of listening to the Word of God. “When we do not stop to listen to the voice of the Lord we end up moving away, we turn away from Him, we turn our backs. And if we do not listen to the voice of the Lord, we listen to other voices.”
The Holy Father suggested that if we do not listen to God’s voice, then in the end we listen to the voices of idols. He noted bitterly that eventually, “we become deaf: deaf to the Word of God.”
“And all of us, if we stop a little today and look at our hearts, we will see how many times – how many times! – we close our ears and how many times we have become deaf. And when a people, a community, but we can also say a Christian community, a parish, a diocese, when they close their ears and become deaf to the Word of the Lord, they search for other voices, other lords, and it ends with idols, the idols of the world, the worldliness that society offers. That community distances itself from the living God.”
If the heart hardens, we become “Catholic pagans”, even “Catholic atheists.” As we move away from the Lord, the Pope added, our hearts harden. When someone “does not listen, the heart becomes harder, more closed in on itself, hard and unable to receive anything; not only is it closed: there is a hardness of heart.” That person lives “in that world, that atmosphere that doesn’t do him good. He moves further away from God every day.”
“And these two things – not listening to the Word of God and a hardened heart, closed in on itself – cause infidelity. You lose your sense of fidelity. The Lord says in the First Reading: ‘faithfulness is gone’, and we become unfaithful Catholics, Catholic pagans or, uglier still, Catholic atheists, because we have no reference to the love of the living God. To not listen and to turn our backs – that makes our hearts harden – takes us on the road to infidelity.
The Pope then asked, “This infidelity, how does it end?” He answered by referring to the Gospel passage from St Luke, in which Jesus is accused of healing people through the power of Beelzebul. “It ends in confusion; you do not know where God is or where He is not, you confuse God with the devil.”
His Holiness said we should ask ourselves whether we really listen to the Word of God or whether we harden our hearts. “This is blasphemy. Blasphemy is the final word on this path that begins with not listening, with the hardening of the heart.” This failure to listen and this hardening of the heart “leads to confusion, making you forget fidelity and, ultimately, blaspheming.”
To those who forget the wonder of the first meeting with Jesus, he said: “Each of us can ask ourselves today: ‘Have I stopped listening to the Word of God, taking the Bible in my hands and talking only to myself? Has my heart been hardened? Am I far from the Lord? Have I lost my fidelity to the Lord and do I live with the idols that offer me worldliness every day? Have I lost the joy of the wonder of my first meeting with Jesus?’. Today is a day to listen. ‘O that today you would listen to His voice! Harden not your hearts!’’. We ask for this grace: the grace to listen so that our hearts will not be hardened.”

#BreakingNews death toll from UK attack rises to 5 including terrorist - Please PRAY


A man identified as Khalid Masood, 52, is behind the deadly attacks Wednesday in London outside Britain's Parliament. This killed four people, including a police officer, outside the UK Parliament on Wednesday. The British police called it an act of "Islamist-related terrorism." 40 people were hurt when the attacker slammed his car through a crowd of people on a bridge over the River Thames. Masood then got out of his vehicle and fatally stabbed police officer Keith Palmer. Palmer, aged 48 and a father, was a 15-year-veteran who was unarmed, on the grounds of Parliament. An armed officer shot the assailant dead. The vehicle hit many  people, including three police officers. "The man -- armed with a knife -- continued the attack, tried to enter Parliament.  London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and to everyone who has been affected," he said, paying tribute to the emergency services. He announced the deployment of additional armed officers on the streets of the British capital. "We stand together in the face of those who would seek to harm us and destroy our way of life," he added
Vatican Radio - Pope Francis has sent a telegram expressing his condolences to the victims of the terror attack at the House of Parliament in London on Wednesday, in which an attacker killed four people before armed police shot him dead.
Addressed to the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, the telegram conveys the Holy Father's promises of prayers and spiritual closeness to the grieving families, as well as his spiritual solidarity with the whole people.
Below, please find the full text of the Telegram, in English
******************************************
His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and of the injuries caused by the attack in central London, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his prayerful solidarity with all those affected by this tragedy.  Commending those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God, His Holiness invokes divine strength and peace upon their grieving families, and he assures the nation of his prayers at this time.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday March 23, 2017 - #Eucharist


Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 240


Reading 1JER 7:23-28

Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.

Responsorial PsalmPS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works."
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Verse Before The GospelJL 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
for I am gracious and merciful.

GospelLK 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons."
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters."

Saint March 23 : St. Turibius de Mogrovejo : Patron of Native rights; Latin American bishops; Peru



Information:
Feast Day:March 23
Born:16 November, 1538, Mayorga, Spain
Died:23 March, 1606, Saña, Peru
Canonized:1726
Patron of:Native rights; Latin American bishops; Peru



CONFESSOR, ARCHBISHOP OF LIMA
St Toribio, or Turibius Alphonsus Mogrobejo, was second son to the lord of Mogrobejo, and born in the kingdom of Leon, on the 16th of November, in 1538. From his infancy he discovered a strong inclination to piety; and in his childhood it was his delight, at times of recreation, to erect and adorn altars, and to serve the poor. He trembled at the very shadow of sin. One day, seeing a poor peddler woman angry because she had lost something out of her pack, he most movingly entreated and exhorted her that she would not offend God by passion; and, in order to appease her, gave her the value of her loss, which he had begged of his mother for that purpose. He was very devout to the Blessed Virgin, said every day her office and rosary, and fasted every Saturday in her honour. Whilst at school, he usually gave part of his slender dinner to the poor, and was so much addicted to fasting that his superiors were obliged, by strict commands, to compel him to moderate his austerities. He began his higher studies at Valladolid, but completed them at Salamanca. He was introduced early to the notice of King Philip II, honoured by him with several dignities, and made president or chief judge at Granada. This office he discharged during five years with so much integrity, prudence, and virtue that the eyes of the whole kingdom were fixed on him, and his life in the world was a holy noviceship to the pastoral charge. The pressing necessities of the infant church of Peru required a prelate who inherited, in a distinguished manner, the spirit of the apostles; and the archbishopric of Lima falling vacant, Turibius was unanimously judged the person of all others the best qualified to be an apostle of so large a country, and to remedy the scandals which obstructed the conversion of the infidels. The king readily nominated him to that dignity, and all parties concerned applauded the choice. Turibius was thunderstruck at this unexpected news, and had no sooner received the message but he cast himself on the ground at the foot of his crucifix, praying, with many tears, that God would deliver him from so heavy a burden, which he thought absolutely above his strength. He wrote the most urgent letters to the king's council, in which he pleaded his incapacity, and other impediments, and laid great stress on the canons, which forbid laymen to be promoted to such dignities in the church. This humility it was that obtained the succor of heaven by which he performed wonders in the service of souls. Being compelled by obedience to acquiesce, he at length testified his submission by falling on his knees and kissing the ground.
After a suitable preparation, he received the four minor orders on four successive Sundays, the better to dispose himself for the  functions of each; and after passing through the other orders, he was consecrated bishop. Immediately after which he set out for Peru, and landed at Lima, in the year 1581, of his age the forty-third. That diocese is extended one hundred and thirty leagues along the coast, comprising three cities and many towns and villages, with innumerable cottages scattered over two ridges of the mountains of the Andes, esteemed the highest and the most rugged in the whole world. Some of the European generals, who first invaded that country were men who seemed to measure every thing by their insatiable avarice and ambition, and had so far lost all sentiments of humanity towards the poor savages, that they deserved the name rather of tyrants and plunderers than of conquerors. Civil wars and dissension completed the misfortune of that country; and covetousness, cruelty, treachery, fraud, and debauchery seemed triumphant. Nor were the repeated orders of the Spanish court able to redress these evils. The sight of these disorders moved the good pastor often to tears, but his prudence and zeal overcame all difficulties, extirpated public scandals, and made the kingdom a flourishing portion of the Christian church. Upon his arrival, he immediately began a visitation of his vast diocese- an undertaking of incredible fatigue, and attended with many dangers. He often crept over the steepest and most rugged mountains, covered with ice or snow, to visit some poor hut of Indians, and give them suitable comfort and instruction. He travelled often on foot, and sometimes barefoot, and by fasting and prayer never ceased to implore the divine mercy for the salvation of the souls committed to his charge. He placed everywhere able and zealous pastors, and took care that no one in the most remote corners of the rocks should be left destitute of the means of instruction and of the benefit of the sacraments. To settle and maintain discipline, he appointed diocesan synods to be held every two years, and provincial synods every seven; and was vigilant and severe in chastising the least scandal, especially of avarice, in the clergy. Without respect of persons, he reproved injustice and vice, and made use of all the means which his authority nut into his hands, to check the insolence of public sinners, and to protect the poor from oppression. Many of the first conquerors and governors of Peru, before the arrival of the most virtuous viceroy Francis of Toledo, were men who often sacrificed every thing to their passions, and for their private ends. From some of these the saint suffered many persecutions, and was often thwarted by them in the discharge of his duty. But by the arms of meekness and patience he overcame all affronts and injuries, and with an invincible constancy he maintained the rights of justice and truth. He showed that many sinners misconstrued the law of God to make it favour their passions; but that, as Tertullian observes, "Christ calls himself the truth, not custom," and will weigh our actions not in the false balance of the world, but in the true scales of the sanctuary. Thus he extirpated the most inveterate abuses, and established with so great fervour the pure maxims of the gospel, as to revive in many the primitive spirit of Christianity. To extend and perpetuate the advantages of religion, which by his zeal he had procured, he filled this country with seminaries, churches, and many hospitals; but would never suffer his own name to be recorded in any of his munificent charities or foundations. When he was at Lima, he every day visited several hospitals, comforted and exhorted the sick. and administered the sacraments. When a pestilence, though that calamity is seldom known in Peru, raged in some parts of his diocese, Turibius distributed his own necessaries in relieving the afflicted: he preached penance, because sins are the cause of chastisements, and infinitely the worst of evils. He walked in the processions, bathed in tears, with his eyes always fixed on a crucifix, and offering himself to God for his flock; fasted, watched, and prayed for them without intermission, till God was pleased to remove the scourge.
Nothing gave the saint so much pleasure as the greatest labours and dangers, to procure the least spiritual advantage to one soul.  Burning with the most vehement desire of laying down his life for his flock, and of suffering all things for him who died for us, he feared no dangers. When he heard that poor Indians wandered in the mountains and deserts, he sought them out; and to comfort, instruct, or gain one of them he often suffered incredible fatigues and dangers in the wildernesses, and boldly travelled through the haunts of lions and tigers.1 He spent seven years in performing his first visitation; his second employed him four years, but the third was shorter. He converted innumerable infidels, and left everywhere monuments of his charity. In travelling, he either prayed or discoursed on heavenly things.. On his arrival at a place, it was his custom to repair first to the church to pray before the altar. To catechise the poor, he would sometimes stay two or three days in places where he had neither bed nor any kind of food. He visited every part of his vast diocese, and when others suggested to him the dangers that threatened him from rocks, precipices, marshes, rivers, robbers, and savages, his answer was that Christ came from heaven to save man, we ought not therefore to fear dangers for the sake of immortal glory. He preached and catechised without intermission, having for this purpose learned, in his old age, all the various languages of the barbarous nations of that country. Even on his journeys he said mass every day with wonderful fervour and devotion. He always made a long meditation before and after it, and usually went to confession every morning; though they who best knew his interior testified that they were persuaded he had never in his whole life forfeited his baptismal innocence by any mortal sin. He seemed to have God and the divine honor alone before his eyes in all his words and actions so as to give little or no attention to any thing else; by which means his prayer was perpetual. He retired in private to that exercise often in the day, and for a long time together. In it his countenance seemed often to shine with a divine light. The care with which he studied to disguise and conceal his great mortifications and works of piety, was the proof of his sincere humility. His munificence in relieving the poor of every class, especially those who were too bashful to make their necessities publicly known, always exhausted his revenues. The decrees of his provincial councils are monuments of his zeal, piety, learning, and discretion: they have been ever since esteemed, not only in the new world, but also in Europe, and at Rome itself, as oracles. The flourishing state of the church of Peru, the great numbers of saints and eminent pastors with which it abounded, and the establishment of innumerable seminaries of piety and learning, and hospitals for the poor, were the fruit of his zeal. If he did not originally plant the faith, he was at least the great propagator of it, and the chief instrument of God in removing scandals and advancing true piety in that vast country, which till then had been a land of abominations: whilst Francis of Toledo, the great viceroy, first settled the civil government in peace and tranquillity by salutary laws, which have procured him the title of the Legislator of Peru. St. Turibius, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, in 1606 during the visitation of his diocese, fell sick at Santa, a town one hundred and ten leagues distant from Lima. He foretold his death, and ordered him to be rewarded who should bring him the first account from his physician that his recovery was despaired of. The ardour of his faith, his hope, his love of his Creator and Redeemer, his resignation, and perfect sacrifice of himself, gathered strength in the fervent exercises and aspirations which he repeated almost without ceasing in his illness. By his last will he ordered what he had about him to be distributed among his servants, and whatever else he otherwise possessed to be given to the poor. He would be carried to the church, there to receive the holy Viaticum, but received extreme  unction in his sick bed. He often repeated those words of St. Paul, <I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ>; and in his last moments he ordered to be sung by his bedside those of the Psalmist, <I rejoiced in the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord.> He died on the 23rd of March, repeating those other words of the same prophet, <Into thy hands I commend my spirit.> His body being translated the year after to Lima, was found incorrupt, the joints flexible, and the skin soft. His historian, and the acts of the canonization, mention many sick restored to their health, and a girl raised to life by him whilst he was living; also many miracles wrought through his intercession after his death. He was beatified by Innocent XI in 1679,1 and solemnly canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. On the miracles wrought by his inter. cession, see Benedict XIV,2 and especially the acts of his canonization.
A pastor of souls must be careful to animate all his exterior actions and labours in the service of his neighbour with the interior spirit of compunction, humility, zeal, charity, and tender devotion. Without this he loses the fruit of all the pains he takes, and by them will often deserve only chastisements in the world to come; so much will his intention and the affections of his heart be infected with self-love, and depraved by various imperfections, and secret sinister desires, even in the most holy functions. Therefore, a fervent noviciate, employed in the exercises of an interior life, ought to be a part of the preparation for this state; and in the discharge of his duties, a person ought always to unite contemplation with action, and reserve to himself sufficient-time for conversing with God and his own soul, and taking a frequent review of his own interior. From his labors he must return frequently to prayer, and constantly nourish in his soul a spirit of fervent devotion, which will thus accompany all his exterior actions and keep his thoughts and affections always united to God. Those who are not faithful in thus maintaining and improving in themselves an interior spirit of piety, and in watching with fear and compunction over the motions of their own hearts, will generally advance very little the kingdom of Christ in the souls of others, and are in great danger of losing their own. This is what St. Bernard feared in his disciple Pope Eugenius III, whom he conjured with tears never to give himself up entirely to the care of others, so as not to live also for himself; so to communicate a spirit of piety to others, as not to suffer it to be drained in his own heart; to be a basin to hold it, not a pipe for it to run through. This lesson is applicable, with due proportion, to other states, especially that of teaching the sciences, in which the exercises of an interior life are so much the more necessary, as the employment is more distracting, more tumultuous, and more exposed to the waves of vanity, jealousy, and other secret petty passions.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

#PopeFrancis "Dear friends, we can never thank God enough for the gift of His Word, which is rendered present in the Scriptures." at Audience FULL TEXT + Video


The Holy Father’s Catechesis 
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
For some weeks now, the Apostle Paul has been helping us to understand better in what Christian hope consists. And we said that it was not optimism, it was something else. And the Apostle helps us to understand this. Today he does so by approaching it from two altogether important attitudes for our life and our faith experience: “perseverance” and “consolation” (vv. 4.5). They are mentioned twice in the passage of the Letter to the Romans that we just heard: first in reference to the Scriptures and then to God Himself. What is their most profound, truest meaning? And in what way do they throw light on the reality of hope? These two attitudes: perseverance and consolation.
We can describe perseverance in fact as patience: it is the capacity to endure, to carry on one’s shoulders, “support,” to remain faithful, even when the burden seems to be too great, unbearable, and we are tempted to judge negatively and to abandon everything and everyone. Consolation, instead, is the grace to be able to receive and show in every situation, even in those largely marked by disappointment and suffering, the compassionate presence and action of God. Now Saint Paul reminds us that particularly the Scriptures, namely, the Bible, transmit to us perseverance and consolation (v. 4). In fact, in the first place, the Word of God leads us to turn our gaze to Jesus, to know Him better and to be conformed to Him, to be ever more like Him. In the second place, the Word reveals to us that the Lord is truly “the God of perseverance and of consolation” (v. 5), who is always faithful to His love for us, namely, that He is perseverant in His love for us, He does not tire of loving us! He is perseverant: He always loves us! And He who takes care of us, covering our wounds with the caress of His goodness and His mercy, that is, He consoles us. He does not tire of consoling us, either.

Understood in this perspective also is the Apostle’s initial affirmation: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (v.1). This expression “we who are strong” might seem presumptuous, but, in the logic of the Gospel, we know that it is not so, rather, it is in fact the contrary, because our strength does not come from ourselves, but from the Lord. One who experiences in his life the faithful love of God and His consolation is able, more than that, has the duty to be close to weaker brothers and take on their frailty. If we are close to the Lord we will have that strength to be close to the weakest, to the neediest and to console them and give them strength. This is what it means. We can do this without being pleased with ourselves but feeling ourselves simply as a “channel” that transmits the Lord’s gifts; and thus become concretely a “sower” of hope. This is what the Lord asks us, with that strength and capacity to console and to be sowers of hope. And today it is necessary to sow hope, but it is not easy . . . 
The fruit of this lifestyle is not a community in which some are “series A,” namely, the strong, and others “series B”, namely, the weak. Instead, as Saint Paul says, the fruit is “to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (v. 5). The Word of God nourishes a hope that is translated concretely in sharing, in mutual service. Because even one who is “strong” finds himself sooner or later experiencing frailty and the need of others’ comfort and, vice versa, in weakness one can always offer a smile or a hand to a brother in difficulty. And it is such a community that “with one spirit and one voice renders glory to God” (cf. v. 6). However, all this is possible if Christ and his Word are put at the center, because He is “strong. He is the one who gives us strength, who gives us patience, who gives us hope, who gives us consolation. He is the “strong brother,” who takes care of each one of us: all of us, in fact, are in need of being carried on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd and of feeling enveloped by His tender and solicitous gaze.
Dear friends, we can never thank God enough for the gift of His Word, which is rendered present in the Scriptures. It is there that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is revealed as “God of perseverance and of consolation.” And it is there that we realize that our hope is not founded on our capacities and our strength, but on God’s support and on the faithfulness of His love, that is, on God’s strength and consolation. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester] 
In Italian
Dear Italian-speaking pilgrims, welcome! I greet the participants in the Migrantes meeting for Directors and I encourage them to continue in their commitment to the reception and hospitality of the displaced and of refugees, fostering their integration, taking account of the mutual rights and duties of the one who receives and the one who is received. Let’s not forget that this problem of today of refugees and migrants is the greatest tragedy since that of World War II.
I greet the youngsters with Down’s Syndrome of the Diocese of Ascoli Piceno and the workers of the Italian Bathing Syndicate, of the Fruit Imprese Group and of the Accenture Services.
A particular greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Next Saturday we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord to the Virgin Mary. Dear young people, be able to listen to the will of God like Mary; dear sick, do not get discouraged in the more difficult moments, knowing that the Lord does not give a cross that is beyond one’s strength; and you, dear newlyweds, build your marital life on the solid rock of the Word of God.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
The Holy Father’s Appeal
I invite all communities to live with faith the appointment of March 23 and 24, “24 Hours for the Lord,” to rediscover the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I hope that this year also this privileged moment of grace of the Lenten journey is lived in many churches to experience the joyful encounter of the mercy of the Father, who receives and forgives all.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday March 22, 2017 - #Eucharist


Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 239


Reading 1DT 4:1, 5-9

Moses spoke to the people and said:
"Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.'
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?

"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children's children."

Responsorial PsalmPS 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20

R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Verse Before The GospelSEE JN 6:63C, 68C

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

GospelMT 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."