Monday, November 20, 2017

Saint November 20 : St. Edmund the Martyr : Patron of: against Plague, Kings, torture victims, wolves

St. Edmund the Martyr
KING AND MARTYR
Feast: November 20
Information:
Feast Day:
November 20
Born:
841 probably at Nuremburg, Germany
Died:
Hoxne, Suffolk, England 20 November 870
Patron of:
against plague, kings, torture victims, wolves

Though from the time of King Egbert, in 802, the Kings of the West-Saxons were monarchs of all England, yet several kings reigned in certain parts after that time, in some measure subordinate to them. One Offa was King of the East-Angles, who, being desirous to end his days in penance and devotion to Rome, resigned his crown to St. Edmund, at that time only fifteen years of age, but a most virtuous prince, and descended from the old English-Saxon kings of this isle. The saint was placed on the throne of his ancestors, as Lydgate, Abbo, and others express themselves, and was crowned by Humbert, Bishop of Elman, on Christmas Day, in 855, at Burum, a royal villa on the Stour, now called Bures, or Buers. Though very young, he was by his piety, goodness, humility, and all other virtues, the model of good princes. He was a declared enemy of flatterers and informers, and would see with his own eyes and hear with his own ears, to avoid being surprised into a wrong judgment, or imposed upon by the passions or ill designs of others. The peace and happiness of his people were his whole concern, which he endeavoured to establish by an impartial administration of justice and religious regulations in his dominions. He was the father of his subjects, particularly of the poor, the protector of widows and orphans, and the support of the weak. Religion and piety were the most distinguishing part of his character. Monks and devout persons used to know the psalter without book, that they might recite the psalms at work, in travelling, and on every other occasion. To get it by heart St. Edmund lived in retirement a whole year in his royal tower at Hunstanton (which he had built for a country solitude), which place is now a village in Norfolk. The book which the saint used for that purpose was religiously kept at St. Edmundsbury till the dissolution of abbeys.

The holy king had reigned fifteen years when the Danes infested his dominions. Hinguar and Hubba, two brothers, the most barbarous of all the Danish plunderers landing in England, wintered among the East-Angles; then, having made a truce with that nation, they in summer sailed to the north, and landing at the mouth of the Tweed, plundered with fire and sword Northumberland, and afterwards Mercia, directing their march through Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and Cambridgeshire. Out of a lust of rage and cruelty, and the most implacable aversion to the Christian name, they everywhere destroyed the churches and monasteries; and, as it were in barbarous sport, massacred all priests and religious persons whom they met with. In the great monastery of Coldingham, beyond Berwick, the nuns, fearing not death but insults which might be offered to their chastity, at the instigation of St. Ebba, the holy abbess, cut off their noses and upper lips, that appearing to the barbarians frightful spectacles of horror, they might preserve their virtue from danger; the infidels accordingly were disconcerted at such a sight, and spared their virtue, but put them all to the sword. In their march, amongst other monasteries, those of Bardney, Crowland, Peterborough, Ely, and Huntingdon were levelled with the ground, and the religious inhabitants murdered. In the Cathedral of Peterborough is shown a monument (removed thither from a place without the building) called Monks'-Stone, on which are the effigies of an abbot and several monks. It stood over the pit in which fourscore monks of this house were interred, whom Hinguar and Hubba massacred in 870. The barbarians, reeking with blood, poured down upon St. Edmund's dominions, burning Thetford, the first town they met with, and laying waste all before them. The people, relying upon the faith of treaties, thought themselves secure, and were unprepared. However, the good king raised what forces he could, met the infidels, or at least a part of their army near Thetford, and discomfited them. But seeing them soon after reinforced with fresh numbers, against which his small body was not able to make any stand, and being unwilling to sacrifice the lives of his soldiers in vain, and grieving for the eternal loss of the souls of his enemies, who would be slain in a fruitless engagement, he disbanded his troops and retired himself towards his castle of Framlingham, in Suffolk. The barbarian had sent him proposals which were inconsistent both with religion and with the justice which he owed to his people. These the saint rejected, being resolved rather to die a victim of his faith and duty to God, than to do anything against his conscience and religion. In his flight he was over taken and surrounded by infidels at Oxon, upon the Waveney: he concealed himself for some short time, but, being discovered, was bound with heavy chains and conducted to the general's tent. Terms were again offered him equally prejudicial to religion and to his people, which the holy Icing refused to confirm, declaring that religion was dearer to him than his life, which he would never purchase by offending God. Hinguar, exasperated at this answer, in his barbarous rage caused him to be cruelly beaten with cudgels, then to be tied to a tree and torn a long time together with whips. All this he bore with invincible meekness and patience, never ceasing to call upon the name of Jesus. The infidels were the more exasperated, and as he stood bound to the tree, they made him a mark wantonly to shoot at, till his body was covered with arrows like a porcupine. Hinguar at length, in order to put an end to the butchery, commanded his head to be struck off. Thus the saint finished his martyrdom on the 20th of November, in 870, the fifteenth of his reign, and twenty-ninth of his age; the circumstances of which St. Dunstan learned from one who was armour-bearer to the saint and an eye-witness. The place was then called Henglesdun, now Hoxon, or Hoxne; a priory of monks was afterwards built there which bore the name of the martyr.
The saint's head was carried by the infidels into a wood and thrown into a brake of bushes; but miraculously found by a pillar of light and deposited with the body at Hoxdon. These sacred remains were very soon after conveyed to Bedricsworth, or Kingston, since called St. Edmundsbury, because this place was St. Edmund's own town and private patrimony; not on account of his burial, for in the English-Saxon language signified a court or palace. A church of timber was erected over the place where he was interred, which was thus built according to the fashion of those times. Trunks of large trees were sawn lengthways in the middle and reared up with one end fixed in the ground, with the bark or rough side outermost. These trunks being made of an equal height and set up close to one another, and the interstices filled up with mud or mortar, formed the four walls, upon which was raised a thatched roof. Nor can we be surprised at the homeliness of this structure, since the same was the fabric of the royal rich abbey of Glastonbury, the work of the most munificent and powerful West-Saxon kings, till in latter ages it was built in a stately manner of stone. The precious remains of St. Edmund were honoured with many miracles. In 920, for fear of the barbarians under Turkil the Dane, in the reign of King Ethelred, they were conveyed to London by Alfun, bishop of that city, and the monk Egelwin, or Ailwin, the keeper of this sacred treasure, who never abandoned it. After remaining three years in the Church of St. Gregory, in London, it was translated again with honour to St. Edmundsbury in 923. The great church of timberwork stood till King Knute, or Canutus, to make reparation for the injuries his father Swein, or Sweno, had done to this place and to the relics of the martyr, built and founded there, in 1020, a new most magnificent church and abbey in honour of this holy martyr. The unparalleled piety, humility, meekness, and other virtues of St. Edmund are admirably set forth by our historians. This incomparable prince and holy martyr was considered by succeeding English kings as their special patron, and as an accomplished model of all royal virtues. The feast of St. Edmund is reckoned among the holidays of precept in this kingdom by the national council of Oxford in 1222; but is omitted in the constitutions of Archbishop Simon Islep, who retrenched certain holidays in 1362.
SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wow #PopeFrancis hosts 1500 for Lunch for World Day for the Poor and sets up Field Hospital on #Vatican Grounds!

Vatican Radio Text Report: This Sunday, November 19th marks the first World Day of the Poor, which Pope Francis called for at the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation on Tuesday announced a number of special events that are taking place throughout the week to highlight this annual initiative.
 On Sunday morning in St Peter’s Basilica, some four thousand poor and needy people, accompanied by volunteers from Italy, France, Spain, Brussels, Luxembourg and Poland will take part in a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis. Following the Eucharist, 1.500 of the visitors will be invited to lunch in the adjacent Paul VI Hall, while the other 2.500 guests will be taken to lunch in some of the Catholic colleges, seminaries and charitable organisations in the vicinity of the Vatican. Festive lunch in Paul VI Hall Those dining in the Paul VI Hall will be served a meal of gnocchi with tomato sauce and veal stew with vegetables, plus tiramisu and coffee for desert, all prepared by papal chef Sergio Dussin from Bassano del Grappa in Italy’s northern Veneto region. The Vatican police band and a children’s choir will provide background music for the festive lunch, which has been organised in collaboration with a number of local charity organisations and parishes. Prayer vigil at St Lawrence Basilica On the previous evening, Saturday 18th at 8pm, there will also be a prayer vigil in the ancient Rome Basilica of St Lawrence to remember volunteers all over the world who offer their services in support of the poor and marginalized. Throughout the week of the 13th to 19th November, meanwhile, a mobile clinic has been set up just in front of St Peter’s Square offering free specialized medical services between the hours of 9am and 4pm. Free medical services A special booklet marking this first World Day of the Poor has also been published in six languages as a pastoral aid for dioceses and parishes worldwide who wish to take part in this important initiative. Radio Vaticana Text-Image

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#PopeFrancis "I hope that the poor will be at the center of our communities...in them we encounter Jesus," #Angelus - FULL TEXT + Video


Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In this penultimate Sunday of the Liturgical Year, the Gospel presents the parable of the talents (Cf. Matthew 25:14-30). Before leaving on a journey, a man gave his servants talents, which at the time were coins of notable value: to one servant five talents, to another two, and to another one, according to each one’s ability. The servant that received five talents was entrepreneurial and made them yield, earning another five. The servant who received two behaved in the same way, and earned another two. Instead, the servant that received one dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s coin.
It’s this same servant that explained to his master, on his return, the reason for his gesture, saying: “Lord, I know you are a hard man, who reap where you have not sown and gather where you have not winnowed. I was afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground (vv. 24-25). This servant doesn’t have a relationship of trust with his master, but is afraid of him, and this blocks him. Fear always immobilizes and often makes one carry out mistaken choices.” Fear discourages one from taking initiatives; it induces one to take refuge in secure and guaranteed solutions, and thus one ends by not doing anything good. One must not be afraid; one must have trust to go forward and to grow in life’s journey.
This parable makes us understand how important it is to have a true idea of God. We must not think that He is a wicked master, hard and severe who wants to punish us. If this mistaken image of God is within us, then our life can’t be fecund, because we’ll live in fear and this won’t lead us to anything constructive, rather, fear paralizes us, it’s self-destructive. We are called to reflect to discover what is truly our idea of God. Already in the Old Testament He revealed Himself as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and a bounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). And Jesus always showed us that God isn’t a severe and intolerant master, but a Father full of love, of tenderness, a Father full of goodness. Therefore we can and must have immense trust in Him.
Jesus shows us the generosity and care of the Father in many ways: with His word, with His gestures, with His reception of all, especially of sinners, little ones and the poor – as the World Day of the Poor reminds us today –; but also with His admonitions, which reveal His interest so that we won’t waste our life uselessly. In fact, it’s a sign that God esteems us greatly: this awareness helps us to be responsible persons in all our actions. Therefore, the parable of the talents calls us to a personal responsibility and a fidelity that becomes also the capacity to set out continually on new paths, without burying our talent, namely, the gifts that God has entrusted to us, and of which He will ask us to account.
May the Holy Virgin intercede for us, so that we remain faithful to the Will of God, making the talents fructify with which He has gifted us. Thus we will be useful to others and, on the last day, the Lord will receive us, <and> will invite us to take part in His joy.
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Yesterday Francis Solano, priest of the Friars Minor Capuchin, was proclaimed Blessed at Detroit, in the United States of America.  Humble and faithful disciple of Christ, he was distinguished for his tireless service to the poor. May his witness help priests, Religious and laity to live with joy the bond between the proclamation of the Gospel and love of the poor.
It’s what we wished to recall with today’s World Day of the Poor, which is expressed in Rome and in dioceses worldwide in many initiatives of prayer and sharing. I hope that the poor will be at the center of our communities and not only in moments such as this, but always, because they are at the heart of the Gospel; in them we encounter Jesus, who speaks to us and challenges us through their sufferings and their needs.
I wish to remember today in a particular way the populations that experience painful poverty caused by war and conflicts. Hence, I renew my heartfelt appeal to the International Community, to make every possible effort to foster peace, in particular, in the Middle East. A special thought goes to the dear Lebanese people and I pray for the country’s stability, so that it can continue to be a “message” of respect and coexistence for the whole Region and for the entire world.
I pray also for the persons of the crew of the Argentine military submarine, <all> traces <of which> have been lost.
Today is also the Day to remember road victims, instituted by the UN. I encourage public institutions in the commitment to prevention, and I exhort drivers to prudence and respect of the norms, as the first form of protection of oneself and others.
I greet all of you, families, parishes, Associations and individual faithful, who have come from Italy and from many parts of the world. In particular, I greet the pilgrims of the Dominican Republic; the participants in the solidarity race from Kosice (Slovakia) to Rome; and the Ecuadorian community resident in Rome, which is celebrating the Virgin of Quinche. I greet the fraternities of the Italian Trinitarian Secular Order, the faithful of Civitanova Marche, Sanzeno, Termoli, Capua and Nola, and the young Confirmation candidates of Mestrino (Padua).
I wish you all a happy Sunday. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
[Original text: Italian]  [Blogger Entry SHARE of ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

#PopeFrancis "In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart' Mass on World Day of the #Poor - FULL TEXT/VIDEO


Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday – the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time and the 1st World Day of the Poor - – in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Below, please find the full text of his homily - official English translation… 
We have the joy of breaking the bread of God’s word, and shortly, we will have the joy of breaking and receiving the Bread of the Eucharist, food for life’s journey. All of us, none excluded, need this, for all of us are beggars when it comes to what is essential: God’s love, which gives meaning to our lives and a life without end. So today too, we lift up our hands to him, asking to receive his gifts.
The Gospel parable speaks of gifts. It tells us that we have received talents from God, “according to ability of each” (Mt 25:15). Before all else, let us realize this: we do have talents; in God’s eyes, we are “talented”. Consequently, no one can think that he or she is useless, so poor as to be incapable of giving something to others. We are chosen and blessed by God, who wants to fill us with his gifts, more than any father or mother does with their own children. And God, in whose eyes no child can be neglected, entrusts to each of us a mission.
Indeed, as the loving and demanding Father that he is, he gives us responsibility. In the parable, we see that each servant is given talents to use wisely. But whereas the first two servants do what they are charged, the third does not make his talents bear fruit; he gives back only what he had received. “I was afraid – he says – and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours” (v. 25). As a result, he is harshly rebuked as “wicked and lazy” (v. 26). What made the Master displeased with him? To use a word that may sound a little old-fashioned but is still timely, I would say it was his omission. His evil was that of failing to do good. All too often, we have the idea that we haven’t done anything wrong, and so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just. But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant: he did no wrong, he didn’t waste the talent, in fact he kept it carefully hidden in the ground. But to do no wrong is not enough. God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; he is a Father looking for children to whom he can entrust his property and his plans (cf. v. 14). It is sad when the Father of love does not receive a generous response of love from his children, who do no more than keep the rules and follow the commandments, like hired hands in the house of the Father (cf. Lk 15:17).
The unworthy servant, despite receiving a talent from the Master who loves to share and multiply his gifts, guarded it jealously; he was content to keep it safe. But someone concerned only to preserve and maintain the treasures of the past is not being faithful to God. Instead, the parable tells us, the one who adds new talents is truly “faithful” (vv. 21 and 23), because he sees things as God does; he does not stand still, but instead, out of love, takes risks. He puts his life on the line for others; he is not content to keep things as they are. One thing alone does he overlook: his own interest. That is the only right “omission”.
Omission is also the great sin where the poor are concerned. Here it has a specific name: indifference. It is when we say, “That doesn’t regard me; it’s not my business; it’s society’s problem”. It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need, when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it. God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good.
How, in practice can we please God? When we want to please someone dear to us, for example by giving a gift, we need first to know that person’s tastes, lest the gift prove more pleasing to the giver than to the recipient. When we want to offer something to the Lord, we can find his tastes in the Gospel. Immediately following the passage that we heard today, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you that, just as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). These least of our brethren, whom he loves dearly, are the hungry and the sick, the stranger and the prisoner, the poor and the abandoned, the suffering who receive no help, the needy who are cast aside. On their faces we can imagine seeing Jesus’ own face; on their lips, even if pursed in pain, we can hear his words: “This is my body” (Mt 26:26).
In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love. When we overcome our indifference and, in the name of Jesus, we give of ourselves for the least of his brethren, we are his good and faithful friends, with whom he loves to dwell. God greatly appreciates the attitude described in today’s first reading that of the “good wife”, who “opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy” (Prov 31:10.20). Here we see true goodness and strength: not in closed fists and crossed arms, but in ready hands outstretched to the poor, to the wounded flesh of the Lord.
There, in the poor, we find the presence of Jesus, who, though rich, became poor (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). For this reason, in them, in their weakness, a “saving power” is present. And if in the eyes of the world they have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our “passport to paradise”. For us it is an evangelical duty to care for them, as our real riches, and to do so not only by giving them bread, but also by breaking with them the bread of God’s word, which is addressed first to them. To love the poor means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material.
And it will also do us good. Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives. It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbour. Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away. What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes. Today we might ask ourselves: “What counts for me in life? Where am I making my investments?” In fleeting riches, with which the world is never satisfied, or in the wealth bestowed by God, who gives eternal life? This is the choice before us: to live in order to gain things on earth, or to give things away in order to gain heaven. Where heaven is concerned, what matters is not what we have, but what we give, for “those who store up treasures for themselves, do not grow rich in the sight of God” (Lk 12:21).
So let us not seek for ourselves more than we need, but rather what is good for others, and nothing of value will be lacking to us. May the Lord, who has compassion for our poverty and needs, and bestows his talents upon us, grant us the wisdom to seek what really matters, and the courage to love, not in words but in deeds.

Quote to SHARE by #MotherTeresa "Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted...let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."

"Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."
 St. Mother Teresa 

#ArchBishop Fisher "millions of Australians still stand by the conviction that marriage is...between a man and woman." Australia - FULL TEXT


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
15 Nov 2017


Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP
The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP, says he is both disappointed and heartened by the result of the National Marriage Postal Survey on changing the legal definition of marriage in Australia.
"While I do not deny the good will of many who voted Yes, I am deeply disappointed that the likely result will be legislation to further deconstruct marriage and family in Australia," Archbishop Fisher said.
"But I am heartened that millions of Australians still stand by the conviction that marriage is a unique relationship between a man and woman. In fact, only 48% of eligible voters voted Yes to redefining marriage in law."
"To the many already-married couples and those contemplating it I say: don't let this decision dishearten you or undermine your appreciation of the sanctity of real marriage."
Archbishop Fisher said he wished to acknowledge all those who had courageously spoken up for traditional marriage in very difficult circumstances.
"From the outset it has often seemed a David and Goliath struggle with politicians, corporates, celebrities, journalists, professional and sporting organisations drowning out the voices of ordinary Australians and pressuring everyone to vote Yes," the Archbishop said. "What's remarkable is how many stuck to their guns and voted No or abstained."
"I recognise that for some people this debate has been a cause of distress. It is time now to come together as a nation, renew our friendships with those who think differently to us, and ensure that respect for different beliefs is clearly enshrined in our laws and customs."
Archbishop Fisher said it was vital that new marriage legislation protects rights to religious belief and expression, free speech and association, in education and parenting. "Polling data shows both yes and no voters support robust religious liberty protections."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously said he believes in religious freedom "even more strongly" than in same-sex marriage and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised to ensure that any marriage redefinition also respects freedom of religion.
"Lame proposals to protect ministers of religion and places of worship offer no protection to the 99.9% of religious believers who are not clergy," the Archbishop said. "It is imperative that our political leaders enact laws that protect the rights of all, religious believers included.
"Many of those who voted Yes and celebrate today's 'victory' no doubt do so out of love and respect for same-sex attracted people. Many of us No voters likewise count same-sex attracted people among family, friends, colleagues and neighbours and we abhor bigotry, vilification or discrimination against them. We trust that our community can show a similar generosity of spirit towards those with religious faith.
"As we create a legal 'right' to marry a person of the same sex, we must not trade off existing rights to religious belief and expression, and other freedoms. There is room in the Australian public square for both. Surely it is not beyond the wit and good will of our political leaders to progress both concerns."
Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP
Catholic Archbishop of Sydney

A Video by Archbishop Fisher made before the Vote Results:

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. November 19, 2017 - #Eucharist - Readings + Video - 33rd Ord. Time - A


Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 157


Reading 1PRV 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Responsorial PsalmPS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

R. (cf. 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Reading 21 THES 5:1-6

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters,
you have no need for anything to be written to you.
For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come
like a thief at night.
When people are saying, "Peace and security, "
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness,
for that day to overtake you like a thief.
For all of you are children of the light
and children of the day.
We are not of the night or of darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do,
but let us stay alert and sober.

AlleluiaJN 15:4A, 5B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord.
Whoever remains in me bears much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.

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

OrMT 25:14-15, 19-21

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'"

Saturday, November 18, 2017

#BreakingNews 66,000 fill Stadium for Beatification of Solanus Casey - Humble Franciscan Priest on the way to Sainthood

 The Catholic Archbishop of Detroit presided over the beatification of Father Solanus Casey who is only the second U.S.-born man to be beatified. The beatification Mass took place in the U.S. city of Detroit on November the 18th in an Athletic Stadium with 66,000 people present. Father Solanus was born in Wisconsin and joined the Capuchin Franciscans in Detroit in 1898. He was particularly helpful to the poor and reports of miraculous favours attributed to his prayers began to spread throughout the region. He died in 1957 at the age of 87. His beatification came after the miraculous healing of a Panamanian woman was attributed to his intercession. Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron: said the beatification “fills us with gratitude and joy” and confirmed "our own sense of the holiness” of Father Solanus. He described the Capuchin priest as a “most beloved figure” within the Catholic community of Detroit and far beyond that. “He was very humble and devoted to his vocation” …… "and connected to people very powerfully,” Archbishop Vigneron said.

Saint November 19 : St. Mechtilde : #Benedictine


St. Mechtilde
BENEDICTINE
Feast: November 19
Information:
Feast Day:
November 19
Born:
1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony
Died:
19 November, 1298

Benedictine; born in 1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony; died in the monastery of Helfta, 19 November, 1298. She belonged to one of the noblest and most powerful Thuringian families, while here sister was the saintly and illustrious Abbess Gertrude von Hackeborn. Some writers have considered that Mechtilde von Hackeborn and Mechtilde von Wippra were two distinct persons, but, as the Barons of Hackeborn were also Lords of Wippra, it was customary for members of that family to take their name indifferently from either, or both of these estates. So fragile was she at birth, that the attendants, fearing she might die unbaptized, hurried her off to the priest who was just then preparing to say Mass. He was a man of great sanctity, and after baptizing the child, uttered these prophetic words: "What do you fear? This child most certainly will not die, but she will become a saintly religious in whom God will work many wonders, and she will end her days in a good old age." When she was seven years old, having been taken by her mother on a visit to her elder sister Gertrude, then a nun in the monastery of Rodardsdorf, she became so enamoured of the cloister that her pious parents yielded to her entreaties and, acknowledging the workings of grace, allowed her to enter the alumnate. Here, being highly gifted in mind as well as in body, she made remarkable progress in virtue and learning.
Ten years later (1258) she followed her sister, who, now abbess, had transferred the monastery to an estate at Helfta given her by her brothers Louis and Albert. As a nun, Mechtilde was soon distinguished for her humility, her fervour, and that extreme amiability which had characterized her from childhood and which, like piety, seemed hereditary in her race. While still very young, she became a valuable helpmate to Abbess Gertrude, who entrusted to her direction the alumnate and the choir. Mechtilde was fully equipped for her task when, in 1261, God committed to her prudent care a child of five who was destined to shed lustre upon the monastery of Helfta. This was that Gertrude who in later generations became known as St. Gertrude the Great. Gifted with a beautiful voice, Mechtilde also possessed a special talent for rendering the solemn and sacred music over which she presided as domna cantrix. All her life she held this office and trained the choir with indefatigable zeal. Indeed, Divine praise was the keynote of her life as it is of her book; in this she never tired, despite her continual and severe physical sufferings, so that in Hisrevelations Christ was wont to call her His "nightingale". Richly endowed, naturally and supernaturally, ever gracious, beloved of all who came within the radius of her saintly and charming personality, there is little wonder that this cloistered virgin should strive to keep hidden her wondrous life. Souls thirsting for consolation or groping for light sought her advice; learned Dominicans consulted her on spiritual matters. At the beginning of her own mystic life it was from St. Mechtilde that St. Gertrude the Great learnt that the marvellous gifts lavished upon her were from God.
Only in her fiftieth year did St. Mechtilde learn that the two nuns in whom she had especially confided had noted down the favours granted her, and, moreover, that St. Gertrude had nearly finished a book on the subject. Much troubled at this, she, as usual, first had recourse to prayer. She had a vision of Christ holding in His hand the book of her revelations, and saying: "All this has been committed to writing by my will and inspiration; and, therefore you have no cause to be troubled about it." He also told her that, as He had been so generous towards her, she must make Him a like return, and that the diffusion of therevelations would cause many to increase in His love; moreover, He wished this book to be called "The Book of Special Grace", because it would prove such to many. When the saint understood that the book would tend to God's glory, she ceased to be troubled, and even corrected the manuscript herself. Immediately after her death it was made public, and copies were rapidly multiplied, owing chiefly to the widespread influence of the Friars Preachers. Boccaccio tells how, a few years after the death of Mechtilde, the book of her revelations was brought to Florence and popularized under the title of "La Laude di donna Matelda". It is related that the Florentines were accustomed to repeat daily before their sacred images the praises learned from St. Mechtilde's book. St. Gertrude, to whose devotedness we owe the "Liber Specialis Gratiae" exclaims: "Never has there arisen one like to her in our monastery; nor, alas! I fear, will there ever arise another such!" -- little dreaming that her own name would be inseparably linked with that of Mechtilde. With that of St. Gertrude, the body of St. Mechtilde most probably still reposes at Old Helfta thought the exact spot is unknown. Her feast is kept 26 or 27 February in different congregations and monasteries of her order, by special permission of the Holy See.There is another honour, inferior certainly to that of sanctity, yet great in itself and worthy of mention here: the homage of a transcendent genius was to be laid at the feet of St. Mechtilde. Critics have long been perplexed as to one of the characters introduced by Dante in his "Purgatorio" under the name of Matelda. After ascending seven terraces of a mountain, on each of which the process of purification is carried on, Dante, in Canto xxvii, hears a voice singing: "Venite, benedicti patris mei"; then later, in Canto xxviii, there appears to him on the opposite bank of the mysterious stream a lady, solitary, beautiful, and gracious. To her Dante addresses himself; she it is who initiates him into secrets, which it is not given to Virgil to penetrate, and it is to her that Beatrice refers Dante in the words: "Entreat Matilda that she teach thee this." Most commentators have identified Matilda with the warrior-Countess of Tuscany, the spiritual daughter and dauntless champion of St. Gregory VII, but all agree that beyond the name the two have little or nothing in common. She is no Amazon who, at Dante's prayer that she may draw nearer to let him understand her song, turns towards him "not otherwise than a virgin that droppeth her modest eyes". In more places than one the revelations granted to the mystics of Helfta seem in turn to have become the inspirations of the Florentine poet. All writers on Dante recognize his indebtedness to St. Augustine, the Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Bernard, and Richard of St. Victor. These are precisely the writers whose doctrines had been most assimilated by the mystics of Helfta, and thus they would the more appeal to the sympathies of the poet. The city of Florence was among the first to welcome St. Mechtilde's book. Now Dante, like all true poets, was a child of his age, and could not have been a stranger to a book which was so popular among his fellow-citizens. The "Purgatorio" was finished between 1314 and 1318, or 1319 --just about the time when St. Mechtilde's book was popular. This interpretation is supported by the fact that St. Mechtilde in her "Book of Special Grace" (pt. I, c. xiii) describes the place of purification under the same figure of a seven-terraced mountain. The coincidence of the simile and of the name, Matelda, can scarcely be accidental. For another among many points of resemblance between the two writers compare "Purgatorio", Canto xxxi, where Dante is drawn by Matelda through the mysterious stream with pt. II, c. ii. of the "Liber Specialis Gratiae". The serene atmosphere which seems to cling about the gracious and beautiful songstress, her virgin modesty and simple dignity, all seem to point to the recluse of Helfta rather than to the stern heroine of Canossa, whose hand was thrice bestowed in marriage. Besides, in politics Dante, as an ardent Ghibelline, supported the imperial pretensions and he would have been little inclined to sing the praises of the Tuscan Countess. The conclusion may therefore be hazarded that this "Donna Matelda" of the "Purgatorio" personifies St. Mechtilde as representing mystic theology.
SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis to #Clergy "..led to Christ every day also in the filial relation with our Mother, Mary Most Holy, especially in...the Rosary." FULL TEXT

Pope Francis held an audience with international members of the Apostolic Confederation for the Clergy in the Vatican on Thursday. 
 Vatican Official Text of Pope’s address to those present:
Dear priests,
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133,1). These verses of the psalm go well after the words of Msgr. Magrin, impassioned president of the International Confederation Apostolic Union of Clergy. It is truly a joy to meet and to feel the fraternity that arises among us, called to the service of the Gospel following the example of Christ, the Good Shepherd. To each one of you I address my cordial greeting, which I extend to the representatives of the Apostolic Union of the Laity.
In this Assembly you are reflecting on the ordained ministry, “in, for and with the diocesan community”. In continuity with previous meetings, you intend to focus on the role of pastors in the particular Church; and in this rereading, the hermeneutic key is the diocesan spirituality that is the spirituality of communion in the manner of the Trinitarian communion. Msgr. Magrin underlined that word, “diocesan”: it is a key word. Indeed, the mystery of the Trinitarian communion is the high model of reference for the ecclesial community. Saint John Paul, in his Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte, recalled that “the great challenge facing us in the millennium which is now beginning” is precisely this: “to make the Church the home and school of communion” (43). This involves, in the first instance, “[promoting] a spirituality of communion, making it the guiding principle of education wherever individuals and Christians are formed” (ibid). And today we have a great need for communion, in the Church and in the world.
One becomes an expert in spirituality of communion primarily thanks to conversion to Christ, to the docile opening to the action of the Spirit, and by welcoming one’s brothers. As we are well aware, the fruitfulness of the apostolate does not depend only on activity or on organizational efforts, although these are necessary, but firstly upon divine action. Today as in the past the saints are the most effective evangelizers, and all the baptized are called to reach towards the highest measure of Christian life, namely, holiness. This is even more applicable to ordained ministers. I think of worldliness, the temptation of spiritual worldliness, so often concealed in rigidity: one calls the other, they are “stepsisters”, one calls the other. The World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, which is celebrated every year on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, constitutes an ideal opportunity to implore of the Lord the gift of zealous and holy ministers for His Church. To achieve this ideal of holiness, every ordained minister is called to follow the example of the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for His sheep. And from where can we draw this pastoral charity, if not from the heart of Christ? In Him the celestial Father has filled us with the infinite treasures of mercy, tenderness and love: here we can always find the spiritual energy indispensable to be able to radiate His love and His joy in the world. And we are led to Christ every day also in the filial relation with our Mother, Mary Most Holy, especially in the contemplation of the mysteries of the Rosary.
Closely linked with the path of spirituality is commitment to pastoral action in the service of the people of God, visible today and in the concreteness of the local Church: pastors are called to be wise and faithful servants who imitate the Lord, who don the apron of service and bend to the lives of their communities, to understand their history and to live the joys and sufferings, expectations and hopes of the flock entrusted to them. Indeed, Vatican Council II taught that the right way for ordained ministers to achieve holiness is in “[performing] their duties sincerely and indefatigably in the Spirit of Christ”; “by the sacred actions which are theirs daily as well as by their entire ministry which they share with the bishop and their fellow priests, they are directed to perfection in their lives” (Decreto Presbyterorum Ordinis, 12).
You rightly highlight that ordained ministers acquire the right pastoral style also by cultivating fraternal relations and participating in the pastoral journey of the diocesan Church, in its appointments, its projects and its initiatives that translate the programmatic guidelines into practice. A particular Church has a concrete face, rhythms and decisions; it must be served with dedication every day, bearing witness to the harmony and unity that is lived and developed with the bishop. The pastoral journey of the local community has as an essential point of reference the pastoral plan of the diocese, which must take precedence over the programmes of associations, movements or any other particular group. And this pastoral unity, of everyone around the bishop, will bring unity to the Church. And it is very sad when, in a presbytery, we find that this unity does not exist, it is apparent. And there gossip reigns: gossip destroys the diocese, destroys the unity of presbyters, the unity among them and with the bishop. Brother priests, remember, please: we always see bad things in others – because cataracts don’t appear in this eye – eyes are always ready to see ugly things, but I urge you not to arrive at gossip. If I see bad things, I pray or, as a brother, I speak. I do not act as a “terrorist”, because gossip is a form of terrorism. Gossiping is like through a bomb: I destroy the other person and go away calmly. Please, no gossip, they are the like the woodworm that eat through the fabric of the Church, of the diocesan Church, of the unity among all of us.
Dedication to the particular Church must then be expressed more broadly, with attention to the life of all the Church. Communion and mission are correlated dynamics. One becomes a minister to serve one’s own particular Church, in obedience to the Holy Spirit and one’s own bishop and in collaboration with other priests, but with the awareness of being part of the universal Church, which crosses the boundaries of one’s own diocese and country. If the mission is an essential quality of the Church, it is especially so for he who, ordained, is called to exercise the ministry in a community that is missionary by nature, and to educate in having a world view – not worldliness, but a world view! Indeed, mission is not an individual choice, due to individual generosity or perhaps pastoral disillusionment, but rather it is a choice of the particular Church that becomes a protagonist in the communication of the Gospel to all peoples.
Dear brother bishops, I pray for each one of you and for your ministry, and for the service of the Apostolic Union of Clergy. And I pray also for you, dear brothers and sisters. May my blessing accompany you. And remember: do not forget to pray for me too, as I am in need of prayers! Thank you.

Pope Francis Awards #Ratzinger Prize to Winners - for the 1st Time to a non-Theological endeavor - FULL Video

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the recipients of the 2017 Ratzinger Prize in Theology on Saturday morning. Catholic Professor Karl-Heinz Menke of the Theological Faculty of the University of Bonn, Lutheran Professor Theodor Dieter of the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, and Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt, share the Prize this year, which Benedict XVI established in 2010 as the leading international award for research in Sacred Scripture, patristics, and fundamental theology.
Broadening horizons of the Ratzinger Prize
This year, therefore, marks the first time in which the Prize is given to someone not engaged in strictly theological endeavor.
When the prize-winners were announced in September, the President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, said, “Benedict XVI’s appreciation for the art of music and the highly religious inspiration behind the musical art of Pärt, justified the attribution of the prize also outside of the strictly theological field.”
In remarks to the roughly 200 guests, including the prize-winners and officials of the Ratzinger Foundation on Saturday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis said, “I welcomed with joy the idea of ​broadening the horizon of the [Ratzinger] Prize to include the arts, in addition to the theology and sciences, which are naturally associated with it.” He went on to say, “It is an enlargement that corresponds well with the vision of [Pope emeritus] Benedict XVI, who so often spoke to us in a touching manner, of beauty as a privileged way of opening ourselves to transcendence and to meeting God.”
Ecumenical focus
The Prize this year also had an ecumenical element.
In addition to Pärt’s Orthodoxy, the year, 2017, is the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Lutheran movement in Christianity, and Lutheran Professor Theodor Dieter one of the three recipients.  “The truth of Christ,” said Pope Francis, “is not for soloists, but is symphonic: it requires docile collaboration, harmonious sharing.” The Holy Father also said, “Seeking it, studying it, contemplating it, and transposing it in practice together, in charity, draws us strongly toward full union between us: truth becomes thus a living source of ever closer ties of love.”
Pope Francis concluded, saying, “[C]ongratulations, therefore, to the illustrious prize winners: Professor Theodor Dieter, Professor Karl-Heinz Menke and Maestro Arvo Pärt; and my encouragement to [the Ratzinger] Foundation,” so that, “we might continue to travel along new and broader ways to collaborate in research, dialogue and knowledge of the truth. – a truth that, as Pope Benedict has not tired of reminding us, is, in God, logos and agape, wisdom and love, incarnate in the person of Jesus.”

#PopeFrancis "man is the image and likeness of a God who created the world for love" FULL TEXT on Anthropology

Pope Francis to participants in the plenary assembly of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture. This occurred at the conclusion of their Nov.15-18 assembly which discussed the theme, “The Future of Humanity: New Challenges to Anthropology.”

FULL TEXT of Pope Francis
Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you and I thank Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi for his greeting and introduction. This Plenary Assembly has chosen the anthropological issue as a theme, proposing to understand the future lines of development of science and technology. Among the many possible arguments of discussion, your focus has focused on three subjects.

First, medicine and genetics, allowing us to look into the intimate structure of the human being and even intervene to modify it. They make us able to eradicate illnesses which are believed to be incurable until recently; but they also open the possibility of determining humans "by programming", so to speak, some qualities.

Secondly, neuroscience offers more and more information on the functioning of the human brain. Through them, fundamental realities of Christian anthropology such as the soul, self-conscience, and freedom are now in an unprecedented light, and may even be some of those seriously questioned.

Finally, the incredible progress of autonomous and thinking machines, which have already become part of our daily lives, lead us to reflect on what is specifically human and makes us different from machines.

All these scientific and technical developments induce some to think that we are in a singular moment in the history of humanity, almost at the dawn of a new era and the birth of a new human being, superior to what we have known so far.
In fact, the questions and issues we are facing are serious and serious. They have been partly anticipated by literature and science fiction films, echoed by fears and expectations of men. For this reason, the Church, who follows carefully the joys and hopes, the anguish and fears of men of our time, wants to put the human person and the issues that concern him in the center of his reflections.

The question about the human being: "What is man ever since you remember him?" (Ps 8,5) resounds in the Bible from his earliest pages and has accompanied the whole path of Israel and the Church. To this question, the Bible itself has offered an anthropological response that is already outlined in Genesis and runs through all Revelation, developing around the fundamental elements of the relationship and freedom. The relationship draws on a threefold dimension: towards matter, land and animals; towards divine transcendence; towards other human beings. Freedom expresses itself in self-reliance - and naturally relative - and in moral choices. This fundamental plant has for centuries ruled the thought of much of mankind and still maintains its validity today. But, at the same time, today we realize that the great principles and fundamental concepts of anthropology are rarely put into question even on the basis of a greater awareness of the complexity of the human condition and require a further deepening.

Anthropology is the horizon of self-understanding in which we all move and determine our own concept of the world and the existential and ethical choices. In our days, it has often become a fluid, changing landscape, due to socio-economic changes, population shifts and intercultural intercourse, but also the spread of a global culture and, above all, incredible discoveries of science and of the technique.

How to react to these challenges? First of all, we must express our gratitude to the men and women of science for their efforts and for their commitment to humanity. This appreciation of the sciences, which we have not always been able to manifest, finds its ultimate foundation in the design of God who "chose us before the creation of the world [...] predestining us to be his adopted children" (Eph 1: 3-5) and who entrusted us with the care of creation: "cultivating and guarding" the earth (cf. Gen 2.15). Precisely because man is the image and likeness of a God who created the world for love, the care of the whole creation must follow the logic of gratuity and love, of service, and not of domination and bullying.

Science and technology have helped us to deepen the boundaries of knowledge of nature and, in particular, of the human being. But they alone do not have to give all the answers. Today, we increasingly realize that it is necessary to draw on the treasures of wisdom preserved in religious traditions, popular wisdom, literature and the arts that touch the depth of the mystery of human existence, without forgetting, rather rediscovering those contained in philosophy and in theology.

How did I say in the Encyclical Laudate yes: "The urgent need for humanism becomes current, calling for the various knowledge [...] for a more complete and integral vision" (No. 141), to overcome the tragic division between the "two cultures", the humanistic-literary-theological and the scientific one, which leads to mutual impoverishment, and to encourage greater dialogue between the Church, community of believers and the scientific community.
The Church, for its part, offers some great principles to support this dialogue. The first is the centrality of the human person, which is to be considered an end and not a means. It must be related in harmony with creation, therefore, not as a despot about God's inheritance, but as a loving guardian of the work of the Creator.

The second principle to remember is that of the universal destination of goods, which also concerns knowledge and technology. Scientific and technological progress serves the good of all humanity, and its benefits can only benefit a few. In this way, it will be avoided that the future adds new inequalities based on knowledge, and increases the gap between the rich and the poor. Great decisions on the orientation of scientific research and investment on it are taken from the whole of society and not dictated solely by market rules or by the interest of few.

Finally, the principle remains that not all that is technically possible or feasible is therefore ethically acceptable. Science, like any other human activity, knows that there are limits to be observed for the good of humanity itself, and requires a sense of ethical responsibility. The true measure of progress, as Blessed Paul VI recalled, is that which is aimed at the good of every man and man.

I thank all of you, Members, Consultors and Collaborators of the Pontifical Council for Culture, because you are doing a valuable service. I invoke upon you the abundance of the Lord's blessings, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. Thank you.
Text Source VATICAN. VA - Google Translation