Monday, May 22, 2017

#Novena Prayer to St. Rita - Patron of Impossible Cases - SHARE Miracle Prayer

NOVENA TO ST. RITA
O holy protectress of those who art in greatest need, thou who shineth as a star of hope in the midst of darkness, blessed Saint Rita, bright mirror of God's grace, in patience and fortitude thou art a model of all the states in life. I unite my will with the will of God through the merits of my Savior Jesus Christ, and in particular through his patient wearing of the crown of thorns, which with tender devotion thou didst daily contemplate. Through the merits of the holy Virgin Mary and thine own graces and virtues, I ask thee to obtain my earnest petition, provided it be for the greater glory of God and my own sanctification. Guide and purify my intention, O holy protectress and advocate, so that I may obtain the pardon of all my sins and the grace to persevere daily, as thou didst in walking with courage, generosity, and fidelity down the path of life. [Mention your request.]
Saint Rita, advocate of the impossible, pray for us.
Saint Rita, advocate of the helpless, pray for us. 
Pray each day of the Novena : 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, and 1 Glory Be

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Also See Today's Saint: ST. RITA 



http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2016/05/saint-may-22-st-rita-of-cascia-patron.html

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday May 22, 2017 - #Eucharist


Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 291


Reading 1ACTS 16:11-15

We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace,
and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.
We spent some time in that city.
On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river
where we thought there would be a place of prayer.
We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there.
One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth,
from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened,
and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention
to what Paul was saying.
After she and her household had been baptized,
she offered us an invitation,
"If you consider me a believer in the Lord,
come and stay at my home," and she prevailed on us.

Responsorial PsalmPS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 15:26B, 27A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 15:26—16:4A

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

"I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues;
in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.
I have told you this so that when their hour comes
you may remember that I told you."

#PopeFrancis ‘Lord, open my heart so that the Spirit can enter it, and I can understand that Jesus is the Lord.’” Homily

It is only the Holy Spirit Who can teach us to say: “Jesus is the Lord.” That was the focus of Pope Francis’ reflections during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Monday. The Holy Father emphasized that we must open our hearts in order to hear the Holy Spirit, and thus be able to bear witness to Christ.
“Be calm, I will not leave you orphans; I will send you an advocate, the Holy Spirit, to defend you before the Father.” Pope Francis based his homily on the long discourse of Jesus to His disciples at the Last Supper. The Pope dwelt especially on the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, who accompanies us and “gives us the assurance of being saved by Jesus.”
The Holy Spirit, the gift of Jesus, is the travelling companion of the Church
It is only the Holy Spirit, the Pope said, Who teaches us to say, “Jesus is the Lord”:
“Without the Holy Spirit, none of us is able to say it, to perceive it, to live it. Jesus, in other places in this long discourse, said of Him [the Holy Spirit]: ‘He will lead you into all truth,’ He will accompany you towards the full truth. ‘He will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you; He will teach you all things.’ That is, the Holy Spirit is the travelling companion of every Christian, and also the travelling companion of the Church. And this is the gift that Jesus gives us.”
We must open our hearts to the Holy Spirit; otherwise, He cannot enter in
The Holy Spirit, he continued, is “a gift, the great gift of Jesus,” Who does not lead us astray. But where does the Spirit dwell? the Pope asked. He looked to the first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, where we see the figure of Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, someone who “knew how to do things.” The Lord opened her heart, so that she might follow the Word of God:
“The Lord opened her heart so that the Holy Spirit could enter, and she became a disciple. It is precisely within our hearts that we carry the Holy Spirit. The Church calls the Spirit ‘the sweet guest of the heart’: He is there. But He cannot enter a closed heart. ‘Ah, but where can one buy the keys to open the heart?’ No! That too is a gift. It is a gift of God: ‘Lord, open my heart so that the Spirit can enter it, and I can understand that Jesus is the Lord.’”
This, the Pope said, is a prayer that we should say every day: “Lord, open my heart so that I can understand what You have taught us; so that I can remember Your words; so that I can follow Your words; so that I can come to the fullness of the truth.”
Let us ask ourselves if our hearts are truly open to the Spirit
Our hearts must be open, then, so that the Holy Spirit can enter, and so that we can hear the Spirit. Pope Francis said the readings of the Mass suggest two questions we can ask ourselves:
“The first: Do I ask the Lord for the grace that my heart might be opened? The second question: Do I seek to hear the Holy Spirit, His inspirations, the things He tells my heart that I might advance in the Christian life, and that I too might bear witness that Jesus is the Lord? Think about these two things today: Is my heart open? Do I make an effort to listen to the Holy Spirit, to what He tells me? And so we advance in the Christian life, and we too bear witness to Jesus Christ.”

    Saint May 22 : St. Rita of Cascia : Patron of #Impossible Causes, #Marriage Problems and #Abuse Victims


    St. Rita of Cascia
    AUGUSTINIAN NUN

    Feast: May 22
    Feast Day:May 22
    Born:
    1381, Roccaporena, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
    Died:May 22, 1457, Cascia, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
    Canonized:May 24, 1900, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
    Patron of:Lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, mothers
    The Precious Pearl/The Story of Saint Rita of Casica (Abridged) by Michael DiGregorio, OSA
    Antonio and Amata Lotti, natives of Roccaporena, a tiny village in the Umbrian Hills of the republic of Cascia, were well-respected peacemakers in their town who welcomed their only child, Margherita in 1381.  In the local dialect, her name meant “pearl” and she was known as Rita.  Baptized in the church of St. Augustine in Cascia, Rita became acquainted with the local Augustinian nuns of St. Mary Magdalene and was attracted to their way of life.  But her parents arranged a marriage for her in order to provide safety and security, and so Rita obediently married Paolo Mancini with whom she had two sons.  In the climate of the times, there was often open conflict between families, and her husband Paolo was murdered.  Her sons were young, but the expectation would be for them eventually to avenge the murder of their father to defend family honor.  Rita, influenced by the peacemaking example of her parents, pledged to forgive her husband’s killers.  She faced a steep challenge, however, in convincing her sons to do the same.  Tradition has it that she often pointed out to them the image of the crucified Christ and the fact that he forgave those who killed him.  Within a year, however, both sons succumbed to a deadly illness leaving Rita not only a widow, but also childless.  Following these tragedies, Rita placed her trust in God, accepting them and relying on her deep faith to find her way.  After eighteen years of marriage, Rita felt called to a second but familiar vocation, to religious life in the Augustinian convent.
    But the sisters were hesitant and refused her request; however, Rita was not discouraged, convinced that she was called to the contemplative community.  The sisters even more firmly refused, citing that although Rita had forgiven her husband’s killers, her family had not.  There were members of the rival family in the convent; her presence would be detrimental to community harmony.  And so, inspired by her three patron saints (Augustine, Nicholas of Tolentino and John the Baptist), Rita set out to make peace between the families.  She went to her husband’s family and exhorted them to put aside their hostility and stubbornness.  They were convinced by her courage and agreed.  The rival family, astounded by this overture of peace, also agreed.  The two families exchanged a peace embrace and signed a written agreement, putting the vendetta to rest forever.  A fresco depicting the scene of the peace embrace was placed on a wall of the Church of Saint Francis in Cascia, an enduring reminder of the power of good over evil and a testament to the widow whose forgiving spirit achieved the impossible.
    At the age of 36, Rita finally was accepted into the Augustinian convent.  She lived a regular life of prayer, contemplation and spiritual reading, according to the Rule of Saint Augustine.  For forty years she lived this routine lifestyle, until fifteen years before her death, on Good Friday 1442, she had an extraordinary experience.  In contemplation before an image of Jesus that was very dear to her, the Jesus of Holy Saturday or, as it is also known,the Resurgent Christ, she was moved by a deeper awareness of the physical and spiritual burden of pain which Christ so freely and willingly embraced for love of her and of all humanity.  With the tender, compassionate heart of a person fully motivated by grateful love, she spoke her willingness to relieve Christ’s suffering by sharing even the smallest part of his pain.  Her offer was accepted, her prayer was answered, and Rita was united with Jesus in a profound experience of spiritual intimacy, a thorn from his crown penetrating her forehead.  The wound it caused remained open and visible until the day of her death.
    Toward the end of her life, Rita progressively weakened physically.  Several months before her death, she was visited by a relative from Roccaporena who asked if she could do something for her.  Rita at first declined, but then made a simple request to have a rose from the garden of her family home brought to her.  However, it was January, the dead of winter in the hills of Umbria.  But upon her return home, the relative passed Rita’s family garden and found to her astonishment a single fresh rose in the snow-covered garden on an otherwise barren bush.  She immediately returned to the convent where she presented it to Rita who accepted it with quiet and grateful assurance.  For the four decades she had spent in Casica’s convent she had prayed especially for her husband Paolo, who had died so violently, and for her two sons, who had died so young.  The dark, cold earth of Roccaporena, which held their mortal remains, had now produced a beautiful sign of spring and beauty out of season.  So, Rita believed, had God brought forth, through her prayers, their eternal life despite tragedy and violence.  She now knew that she would soon be one with them again.
    Rita died peacefully on May 22, 1457.  An old and revered tradition records that the bells of the convent immediately began to peal unaided by human hands, calling the people of Cascia to the doors of the convent, and announcing the triumphant completion of a life faithfully lived.  The nuns prepared her for burial and placed her in a simple wooden coffin.  A carpenter who had been partially paralyzed by a stroke, voiced the sentiments of many others when he spoke of the beautiful life of this humble nun in bringing lasting peace to the people of Cascia.  “If only I were well,” he said, “I would have prepared a place more worthy of you.”  With those words, Rita’s first miracle was performed, as he was healed.  He fashioned the elaborate and richly decorated coffin which would hold Rita’s body for several centuries.  She was never buried in it, however.  So many people came to look upon the gentle face of the “Peacemaker of Cascia” that her burial had to be delayed.  It became clear that something exceptional was occurring as her body seemed to be free from nature’s usual course.  It is still preserved today, now in a glass-enclosed coffin, in the basilica of Cascia. Text from St. Rita Shrine

    Sunday, May 21, 2017

    Saint May 21 : St. Eugene de Mazenod : Founder of the #Missionary #Oblates

    Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861)
    Bishop of Marseille, founder of the Congregation
    of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate  
      
    CHARLES JOSEPH EUGENE DE MAZENOD came into a world that was destined to change very quickly. Born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on August 1, 1782, he seemed assured of position and wealth from his family, who were of the minor nobility. However, the turmoil of the French Revolution changed all that forever. When Eugene was just eight years old his family fled France, leaving their possessions behind, and started a long and increasingly difficult eleven year exile.
    The Years in Italy
    The Mazenod family, political refugees, trailed through a succession of cities in Italy. His father, who had been President of the Court of Accounts, Aids and Finances in Aix, was forced to try his hand at trade to support his family. He proved to be a poor businessman, and as the years went on the family came close to destitution. Eugene studied briefly at the College of Nobles in Turin, but a move to Venice meant the end to formal schooling. A sympathetic priest, Don Bartolo Zinelli, living nearby, undertook to educate the young French emigre. Don Bartolo gave the adolescent Eugene a fundamental education, but with a lasting sense of God and a regimen of piety which was to stay with him always, despite the ups and downs of his life. A further move to Naples, because of financial problems, led to a time of boredom and helplessness. The family moved again, this time to Palermo where, thanks to the kindness of the Duke and Duchess of Cannizzaro, Eugene had his first taste of noble living and found it very much to his liking. He took to himself the title of "Count" de Mazenod, did all the courtly things, and dreamed of a bright future.
    Return to France: the Priesthood
    In 1802, at the age of 20, Eugene was able to return to his homeland - and all his dreams and illusions were quickly shattered. He was just plain "Citizen" de Mazenod, France was a changed world, his parents had separated, his mother was fighting to get back the family possessions. She was also intent on marrying off Eugene to the richest possible heiress. He sank into depression, seeing little real future for himself. But his natural qualities of concern for others, together with the faith fostered in Venice began to assert themselves. He was deeply affected by the disastrous situation of the French Church, which had been ridiculed, attacked and decimated by the Revolution. A calling to the priesthood began to manifest itself, and Eugene answered that call. Despite opposition from his mother, he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, and on December 21, 1811, he was ordained a priest in Amiens.

    Apostolic endeavours: Oblates of Mary Immaculate
    Returning to Aix-en-Provence, he did not take up a normal parish appointment, but started to exercise his priesthood in the care of the truly spiritually needy-prisoners, youth, servants, country villagers. Often in the face of opposition from the local clergy, Eugene pursued his course. Soon he sought out other equally zealous priests who were prepared to step outside the old, even outmoded, structures. Eugene and his men preached in Provencal, the language of the common people, not in "educated" French. From village to village they went, instructing at the level of the people, spending amazingly long hours in the confessional. In between these parish missions the group joined in an intense community life of prayer, study and fellowship. They called themselves "Missionaries of Provence". However, so that there would be an assured continuity in the work, Eugene took the bold step of going directly to the Pope and asking that his group be recognized officially as a Religious Congregation of pontifical right. His faith and his persistence paid off-and on February 17d, 1826, Pope Leo XII approved the new Congregation, the "Oblates of Mary Immaculate". Eugene was elected Superior General, and continued to inspire and guide his men for 35 years, until his death. Together with their growing apostolic endeavours-preaching, youth work, care of shrines, prison chaplaincy, confessors, direction of seminaries, parishes - Eugene insisted on deep spiritual formation and a close community life. He was a man who loved Christ with passion and was always ready to take on any apostolate if he saw it answering the needs of the Church. The "glory of God, the good of the Church and the sanctification of souls" were impelling forces for him.
    Bishop o f Marseilles
    The Diocese of Marseilles had been suppressed after the 1802 Concordat, and when it was re-established, Eugene's aged uncle, Canon Fortune de Mazenod, was named Bishop. He appointed Eugene Vicar General immediately, and most of the difficult work of re-building the Diocese fell to him. Within a few years, in 1832, Eugene himself was named auxiliary bishop. His Episcopal ordination took place in Rome, in defiance of the pretensions of the French Government that it had the right to sanction all such appointments. This caused a bitter diplomatic battle, and Eugene was caught in the middle, with accusations, misunderstandings, threats, and recriminations swirling around him. It was an especially devastating time for him, further complicated by the growing pains of his religious family. Though battered, Eugene steered ahead resolutely, and finally the impasse was broken. Five years later, he was appointed to the See of Marseilles as its Bishop, when Bishop Fortune retired.
    A heart as big as the world
    Whilst he had founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate primarily to serve the spiritually needy and deprived of the French countryside, Eugene's zeal for the Kingdom of God and his devotion to the Church moved the Oblates to the advancing edge of the apostolate. His men ventured into Switzerland, England, Ireland. Because of his zeal, Eugene had been dubbed "a second Paul," and bishops from the missions came to him asking for Oblates for their expanding mission fields. Eugene responded willingly despite small initial numbers, and sent his men out to Canada, to the United States, to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), to South Africa, to Basutoland (Lesotho). As missionaries in his mould, they fanned out preaching, baptising, caring. They frequently opened up previously uncharted lands, established and manned many new dioceses, and in a multitude of ways they "left nothing undared that the Kingdom of Christ might be advanced." In the years that followed, the Oblate mission thrust continued, so that today the impulse of Eugene de Mazenod is alive in his men in 68 different countries.
    Pastor of his Diocese
    During all this ferment of missionary activity, Eugene was an outstanding pastor of the Church of Marseilles-ensuring the best seminary training for his priests, establishing new parishes, building the city's cathedral and the spectacular Shrine of Notre Dame de la Garde above the city, encouraging his priests to lives of holiness, introducing many Religious Congregations to work in the diocese, leading his fellow Bishops in support of the rights of the Pope. He grew into a towering figure in the French Church. In 1856, Napoleon III appointed him a Senator, and at his death he was the senior bishop of France.
    Legacy of a Saint
    May 21, 1861, saw Eugene de Mazenod returning to his God, at the age of 79, after a life crowded with achievements, many of them born in suffering. For his religious family and for his diocese, he was a founding and life-giving source: for God and for the Church, he was a faithful and generous son. As he lay dying he left his Oblates a final testament, "Among yourselves-charity, charity, charity: in the world-zeal for souls." The Church in declaring him a saint on December 3, 1995, crowns these two pivots of his living-love and zeal. His life and his deeds remain for all a window unto God Himself. And that is the greatest gift that Eugene de Mazenod, Oblate of Mary Immaculate, can offer us.
    Text from the Vatican.va Website

    Saturday, May 20, 2017

    Sunday Mass Online : Sunday May 20, 2017 - Readings + Video : 6th of Easter - A - #Eucharist


    Sixth Sunday of Easter
    Lectionary: 55


    Reading 1ACTS 8:5-8, 14-17

    Philip went down to the city of Samaria
    and proclaimed the Christ to them.
    With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
    when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
    For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
    came out of many possessed people,
    and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.
    There was great joy in that city.

    Now when the apostles in Jerusalem
    heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
    they sent them Peter and John,
    who went down and prayed for them,
    that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
    for it had not yet fallen upon any of them;
    they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
    Then they laid hands on them
    and they received the Holy Spirit.

    Responsorial PsalmPS 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

    R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
    sing praise to the glory of his name;
    proclaim his glorious praise.
    Say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds!"
    R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    "Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
    sing praise to your name!"
    Come and see the works of God,
    his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
    R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    He has changed the sea into dry land;
    through the river they passed on foot;
    therefore let us rejoice in him.
    He rules by his might forever.
    R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
    what he has done for me.
    Blessed be God who refused me not
    my prayer or his kindness!
    R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.

    Reading 21 PT 3:15-18

    Beloved:
    Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
    Always be ready to give an explanation
    to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
    but do it with gentleness and reverence,
    keeping your conscience clear,
    so that, when you are maligned,
    those who defame your good conduct in Christ
    may themselves be put to shame.
    For it is better to suffer for doing good,
    if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

    For Christ also suffered for sins once,
    the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous,
    that he might lead you to God.
    Put to death in the flesh,
    he was brought to life in the Spirit.

    AlleluiaJN 14:23

    R. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord,
    and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

    GospelJN 14:15-21

    Jesus said to his disciples:
    "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
    And I will ask the Father,
    and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
    the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
    because it neither sees nor knows him.
    But you know him, because he remains with you,
    and will be in you.
    I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
    In a little while the world will no longer see me,
    but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
    On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
    and you are in me and I in you.
    Whoever has my commandments and observes them
    is the one who loves me.
    And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
    and I will love him and reveal myself to him."

    Saint May 21 : St. Godric of Finchale : #Hermit

    St. Godric of Finchale
    HERMIT
    Feast: May 21


         Information:
    Feast Day:May 21
    Born:1069 at Walpole, Norfolk, England
    Died:1170 at Finchale, County Durham, England
    He was born of very mean parents at Walpole, in Norfolk, and in his youth carried about little peddling wares which he sold in villages. Having by degrees improved his stock, he frequented cities and fairs, and made several voyages by sea to traffic in Scotland. In one of these he called at Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, where he was charmed and exceedingly edified with the retirement and religious deportment of the monks, and especially with the account which they gave him of the wonderful life of St. Cuthbert. He inquired of them every particular relating to him, visited every corner of that holy solitude and of the neighboring isle of Fame, and falling on his knees, prayed with many tears for grace to imitate the fervor of that saint in serving God, resolving for that purpose to give up all earthly pretensions. He entered upon a new course of life by a penitential devout pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and visited Compostella in his way home. After his return into Norfolk, he accepted the charge of house-steward in the family of a very rich man. The servants were not very regular, and for  their private junketings often trespassed upon their neighbors. Godrick finding he was not able to prevent these injustices, and that the nobleman took no notice of his complaints about them, being easy so long as he was no sufferer himself, left his place for fear of being involved in the guilt of such an injustice.

    After making a pilgrimage to St. Giles in France, and to Rome, he went to the north of England in order the better to carry into execution his design of devoting himself wholly to a retired life. A fervent servant of God, named Godwin, who had passed a considerable time in the monastery of Durham, and by conversing with the most holy monks and exercising himself in the interior and exterior practices of all virtues, was well qualified to be a director to an inexperienced novice, joined our saint, and they led together an austere anchoretical life in a wilderness situated on the north to Carlisle, serving one another, and spending both the days and nights in the praises of God. After two years God called Godwin to himself by a happy death after a short sickness. St. Godrick having lost his companion, made a second painful pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After his return he passed some time in the solitude of Streneshalch, now Whitby; but after a year and some months went to Durham to offer up his prayers before the shrine of St. Cuthbert, and from thence retired into the desert of Finchal, or Finkley, three miles from Durham, near the river Wear. St. John Baptist and St. Cuthbert he chose for his principal patrons and models. The austerities which he practiced are rather to be admired than imitated. He had his regular tasks of devotion, consisting of psalms and other prayers which he had learned by heart, and which he constantly recited at midnight, break of day, and the other canonical hours, besides a great number of other devotions. Though he was ignorant of the very elements of learning, he was too well experienced in the happy art of conversing with God and his own soul ever to be at a loss how to employ his time in solitude. Whole days and nights seemed too short for his rapturous contemplations, one of which he often wished with St. Bruno he could have continued without interruption for eternity, in inflamed acts of adoration, compunction, love, or praise. His patience under the sharpest pains of sicknesses or ulcers, and all manner of trials, was admirable; but his humility was vet more astonishing. His conversation was meek, humble, and simple. He concealed as much as possible from the sight and knowledge of all men whatever might procure their esteem, and he was even unwilling any one should see or speak with him. Yet this he saw himself obliged to allow on certain days every week to such as came with the leave of the prior of Durham, under whose care and obedience he died. A monk of that house was his confessor, said mass for him, and administered him the sacraments in a chapel adjoining to his cell, which the holy man had built in honor of St. John Baptist. He was most averse from all pride and vanity, and never spoke of himself but as of the most sinful of creatures, a counterfeit hermit, an empty phantom of a religious man: lazy, slothful, proud, and imperious, abusing the charity of good people who assisted him with their alms. But the more the saint humbled himself, the more did God exalt him by his grace, and by wonderful miraculous gifts. For several years before his death he was confined to his bed by sickness and old age. William of Newbridge, who visited him during that time, tells us that though his body appeared in a manner dead, his tongue was ever repeating the sacred names of the three divine Persons, and in his countenance there appeared a wonderful dignity, accompanied with an unusual grace and sweetness. Having remained in the desert sixty-three years, he was seized with his last illness, and happily departed to his Lord on the 21st of May, 1170, in the reign of Henry II. His body was buried  in the chapel of St. John Baptist. Many miracles confirmed the opinion of his sanctity, and a little chapel was built in his memory by Richard, brother to Hugh Pidsey, bishop of Durham. See William of Newbridge, 1. 2, c. 20; Matthew Paris, Matthew of Westminster, his life written by Nicholas of Durham his confessarius, and abridged by Harpsfield, Saec. 12, c. 45. Source : Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler

    #PopeFrancis “The Church must never tire of being an advocate for life...." #ProLife Apostolic Blessing to March for Life Participants in Italy!

    Pope Francis sent a special message to Italy’s annual March for Life.
    Francis said he hoped the March would  “promote adherence to the value of human life and the acceptance of this incommensurable divine gift in all its fascinating richness.” The pope acknowledged his prayers for the event and granted his “apostolic blessing” to all participants. “The Church must never tire of being an advocate for life and must not neglect to proclaim that human life is to be protected unconditionally from the moment of conception until natural death,” the Pope’s message said. 
    The Full Text in Italian can be found here: 

    Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday May 20, 2017 - #Eucharist


    Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
    Lectionary: 290


    Reading 1ACTS 16:1-10

    Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
    where there was a disciple named Timothy,
    the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
    but his father was a Greek.
    The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
    and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
    On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
    for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
    As they traveled from city to city,
    they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
    reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
    Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
    and increased in number.

    They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
    because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
    from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
    When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
    but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
    so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
    During the night Paul had a vision.
    A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
    "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
    When he had seen the vision,
    we sought passage to Macedonia at once,
    concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

    Responsorial PsalmPS 100:1B-2, 3, 5

    R. (2a) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
    serve the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful song.
    R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    Know that the LORD is God;
    he made us, his we are;
    his people, the flock he tends.
    R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.
    The LORD is good:
    his kindness endures forever,
    and his faithfulness, to all generations.
    R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
    or:
    R. Alleluia.

    AlleluiaCOL 3:1

    R. Alleluia, alleluia.
    If then you were raised with Christ,
    seek what is above,
    where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

    GospelJN 15:18-21

    Jesus said to his disciples:
    "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
    If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
    but because you do not belong to the world,
    and I have chosen you out of the world,
    the world hates you.
    Remember the word I spoke to you,
    'No slave is greater than his master.'
    If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
    If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
    And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
    because they do not know the one who sent me." 

    Saint May 20 St. Bernardine of Siena - Patron of #Gamblers and #Advertisers

    St. Bernardine of Siena
    FRANCISCAN PREACHER AND MISSIONARY
    Feast: May 20


    Information:
    Feast Day:May 20
    Born:1380, Massa Marittima, Italy
    Died:1444, Aquila, Italy
    Canonized:24 May 1450 by Pope Nicholas V
    Patron of:advertisers; advertising; Aquila, Italy; chest problems; Italy; gambling addicts; public relations personnel; public relations work;
    St. Bernardine, a true disciple of St. Francis, and an admirable preacher of the word of God, inflamed with the most ardent love of our divine Redeemer, was made by God an instrument to kindle the same holy fire in innumerable souls, and to inspire them with his spirit of humility and meekness. He was born at Massa in 1380, of the noble family of Albizeschi, in the republic of Sienna. He lost his mother when he was but three years old, and his father, who was chief magistrate of Massa, before he was seven. The care of his education devolved on a virtuous aunt called Diana who infused into his tender soul ardent sentiments of piety towards God, and a tender devotion to his blessed Mother. This aunt always loved him as if he had been her own son; and indeed his towardly dispositions won him exceedingly the affections of all who ever had the care of him. He was modest, humble, and devout; and took great delight in prayer, visiting churches, serving at mass, and hearing sermons, which he would repeat again to his companions with an admirable memory and gracefulness of action. In that tender age he had a great compassion for the poor. One day it happened that his aunt sent away a poor person from the door without an alms, because there was but one loaf in the house for the dinner of the family. Bernardine was much troubled to see the beggar go away unrelieved, and said to his aunt, "For God's sake, let us give something to this poor man; otherwise I will neither dine nor sup this day. I had rather the poor should have a dinner than myself." This  wonderfully comforted his good aunt, who never ceased to incite him to all virtues, and, according to his strength, to accustom himself by degrees to fasting. Young as he was, he fasted every Saturday in honor of the blessed Virgin; which pious custom he always continued. At eleven years of age he was called to Sienna by his uncles, and put to school under the ablest masters, who all admired the quickness of his parts, and the solidity of his judgment; but much more, his docility, modesty, and virtue. If he chanced to hear any word the least unbecoming, he, by blushing, testified what confusion it gave him, and how much it wounded his very heart; and though he was otherwise most condescending, civil, and respectful to all, he could never bear with patience any indecent discourse. For a single word of that kind he so severely reprimanded a man of quality, that it was to him a warning during the remainder of his life to govern his tongue; and many years alter, hearing Bernardine preach, he was so moved that he seemed to be drowned in tears. The modesty of the virtuous youth was a check to the most impudent, and kept them in awe in his presence: in whatever company, if the conversation was too free, it was dropped when he appeared, and the very loosest rakes would say, "Hush! here comes Bernardine:" as the presence of Cato among the Romans restrained the lewd libertinism of a festival.1 Nor did the saint behave on these occasions in such a manner as might render virtue the subject of ridicule, but with a surprising dignity. Nevertheless, an impure monster had once the insolence to make an attempt upon his virginal purity, and to solicit him to sin. But the saint, not content to testify his scorn and indignation, excited the whole troop of his little innocent playfellows against the lewd villain, who pelted him with clods and stones, and made him ashamed any more to show his face. Bernardine was exceeding comely and beautiful; but his known virtue secured him from any further assaults; and he never ceased to beg of God the grace of purity, particularly through the intercession of the blessed  Virgin Mary. When he had completed the course of his philosophy, he applied himself to the study of civil and canon law, and afterwards of that of the holy scriptures, with such ardor that he could never from that time relish any other study.

    At seventeen years of age he enrolled himself in the confraternity of Our Lady in the hospital of Scala, to serve the sick. Here he began with new vigor to tame his flesh by severe fasts, watchings, hair-shirts, disciplines, and other austerities; but he applied himself more to the interior mortification of his will, which rendered him always most mild, sweet, patient, and affable to every one. He had served this hospital four years, when, in 1400, a dreadful pestilence which had already made great havoc in several other parts of Italy, and was increased by the concourse of pilgrims to the jubilee, reached Sienna; insomuch that twelve, eighteen, or twenty persons died every day in this hospital; and among others were carried off almost all the priests, apothecaries, and servants, that belonged to the place. Bernardine therefore  persuaded twelve young men to bear him company in the service of the hospital, expecting heaven for their speedy recompense; and they all strove which should come up the nearest to Bernardine in cheerfulness, humility, and assiduity in performing the most sacred offices, and in exerting themselves in the service of the sick. The saint was intrusted in a manner with the whole care of the hospital, which, in the space of four months, he put into excellent order. It is hardly credible how many lives he saved, or with what charity and pains he night and day attended the patients, and furnished them with every comfort and succor which it was in his power to afford them. God preserved him from the contagion during these four months, at the end of which the pestilence ceased. He then returned home, but sick of a fever which he had contracted by his fatigues, which obliged him to keep his bed four months; during which time he edified the city, no less by his resignation and patience, than he had done by his charity. He was scarce well recovered when he returned to the like works of charity, and with incredible patience attended a dying aunt for fourteen months, named Bartholomaea, a woman of great piety, who was blind and bedridden. When God had called her to himself, Bernardine retired to a house at some distance from the city, making the walls of his garden the bounds of his enclosure. Here, in solitude, fasting, and prayer, he endeavored to learn the will of God in the choice of a state of life. After some time he took the habit of the order of St. Francis, among the fathers of the Strict Observance at Colombiere, a solitary convent a few miles from Sienna; and after the year of his novitiate, made his profession on the 8th of September, 1404. Having been born on the feast of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin, out of devotion to her, he chose the same day for the principal actions of his life: on it he took the religious habit, made his vows, said his first mass, and preached his first sermon. His fervor increased daily; and while some sought interpretations to mollify the severity of the rule, he was always studying to add to it greater austerities and heroic practices of virtue, the more perfectly to crucify in himself the old man. He was pleased with insults and humiliations, and whatever could be agreeable to the most ardent spirit of humility and self-denial. When he went through the streets in a threadbare short habit, the boys sometimes cast stones at him, with injurious language; in which contempt the saint found a singular joy and satisfaction. He showed the same sentiments when a near kinsman with bitter invectives reproached him, as disgracing his friends by the mean and contemptible manner of life he bad embraced. These and all other virtues he learned in the living book of Christ crucified, which he studied night and day, often prostrate before a crucifix, from which he seemed one day to hear our Lord speak thus to him: "My son, behold me hanging upon a cross: if thou lovest me, or art desirous to imitate me, be thou also fastened naked to thy cross, and follow me; thus thou wilt assuredly find me." In the same school he learned an insatiable zeal for the salvation of souls, redeemed by the blood of Christ. Having in retirement prepared himself for the office of preaching, his superiors ordered him to employ his talent that way for the benefit of others. He labored under a natural impediment from weakness and hoarseness of voice; the removal of which obstacle he obtained by addressing himself to his glorious patroness, the mother of God. For fourteen years his labors were confined to his own country; but when the reputation of his virtue was spread abroad, he shone as a bright light to the whole church.

    In vain cloth the minister of God confide in the weak resources of mere human eloquence and pomp of words, by which he rather debases the dignity and majesty of the sacred oracles: while he pleases the ear and gains the applause of his audience, he leaves their hearts dry. The great apostle of Andalusia, the venerable holy John D'Avila, being desired to lay down some rules for the art of preaching, answered, he knew no other art than the most ardent love of God and zeal for his honor. He used to say to young clergymen, that one word spoken by a man of prayer would do more good, and have a more powerful influence, than all the most eloquent discourses; for it is only the language of the heart that speaks to the heart; and a life of mortification and prayer not only draws down the dew of the divine benediction upon the labors of the preacher, but it replenishes his soul with a sincere spirit of humility, compunction, and all virtues, and with an experimental knowledge and feeling sense of the great truths which he delivers. Zealous ministers who are filled with the Spirit of God, are a great blessing to the people among whom they labor; and this reflection unfolds the secret how saints possess so extraordinary a grace of converting souls to God. This was the excellent talent of Bernardine. They who heard him preach felt their souls to melt in sentiments of compunction, divine love, humility, and the contempt of the world, and returned home new men, striking their breasts, and bathed in tears. The word, of God was in his mouth as a fire, and as a hammer breaking the hardest rocks. Another eminent preacher of his order being asked the reason why his sermons did not produce equal fruit with those of Bernardine, answered, "Brother Bernardine is a fiery glowing coal. What is only warm hath not the power of kindling a fire in others like the burning coal." The saint himself being consulted what was the way to preach with profit, gave this rule: "In all your actions seek in the first place the kingdom of God and his glory; direct all you do purely to his honor; persevere in brotherly charity, and practice first all that you desire to teach others. By this means the Holy Ghost will be your master, and will give you such wisdom and such a tongue that no adversary will be able to stand against you." This he faithfully practiced, and from his assiduous communication with God he imbibed that eminent spirit of virtue which gave him the most powerful ascendant over the hearts of men. Among the great truths of religion, he principally labored to inculcate a sincere contempt of the vanity of the world, and an ardent love of our blessed Redeemer. He wished he could cry out with a trumpet which could be heard over the whole earth, that he might sound aloud in the ears of all men that great oracle of the Holy Ghost: O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying? O children, how long will you love childishness?3 And he never ceased with the thunder of his voice to raise men from grovelling always on this earth, to the important consideration of the things which belong to their eternal welfare, and to the love of Jesus Christ. So much was he affected with the mysteries of the incarnation and sufferings of the Son of God, that he could never pronounce his sacred name without appearing in transports of love and adoration. Often at the end of his sermon he showed to the people the sacred name of Jesus curiously cut on a board with gold letters, inviting them to adore Christ with him on their knees, reciting a pious doxology. This was misconstrued by some, who also cavilled at certain expressions which he had used. Upon their complaints, pope Martin V. summoned him to appear, and commanded him silence for a while. The humble saint meekly acquiesced without making any reply. But his holiness, after a full examination of his doctrine and conduct, dismissed him with his benediction, high commendations, and ample leave to preach everywhere. The same pope pressed him to accept the bishopric of Sienna in 1427; but he declined that dignity, alleging for his excuse, that if he were confined to one church, he could no longer employ himself in the service of so many souls. In 1431 he no less resolutely refused that of Ferrara, which Eugenius III. earnestly desired to confer upon him, and again that of Urbino, in 1435. When the saint preached first at Milan, the haughty duke Philip Mary Visconti took offence at certain things which he had said in his sermons, and threatened him with death if he should presume to speak any more on such subjects; but the saint declared, that no greater happiness could befall him than to die for the truth. The duke, to try him, sent him a present of one hundred ducats of gold in a golden bowl. The saint excused himself from receiving the money to two different messengers; but being compelled by a third to accept it, he took the messenger with him to the prisons, and laid it all out in his presence in releasing debtors. This disinterestedness turned the duke's aversion into the greatest veneration for the saint ever after.

    St. Bernardine preached several times through the greatest part of Italy; some say also in Spain; but this seems uncertain. Nothing was more spoken of over all Italy than the wonderful fruit of his sermons, miraculous conversions, restitution of ill-gotten goods, reparations of injuries, and heroic examples of virtue. The factions of the Guelfs and Ghibellins then horribly divided many cities of Italy, and gave frequent employment to the saint. Hearing once of a great dissension at Perugia, he hastened thither from the marquisate of Ancona, and entering the city, thus addressed the inhabitants, "God, who is highly offended at this division among you, hath sent me, as his angel, to proclaim peace to men of good will upon earth." After preaching four sermons to persuade them to a mutual forgiveness of all injuries, and a general amnesty, at the end of the last he bade all those who forgave each other and desired to live in peace, to pass to the right hand. All present did so except one young nobleman, who stayed on the left, muttering some thing between his teeth. The saint, after a severe reproach, foretold him his sudden death, which happened soon after, and without the benefit of the sacraments. In 1433 he accompanied the emperor Sigismund to his coronation at Rome; after which he retired for a short time to Sienna, where he put the finishing hand to his works.

    Amidst the greatest applause and honors, the most sincere humility always appeared in his words and actions; and he ever studied to conceal the talents with which God had enriched him. How great his esteem of humility was, he testified when a brother of his order asked him the means by which he might speedily arrive at perfection. The saint, instead of giving him any answer by words, threw himself at his feet; showing at the same time his own great affection to humility, and also that this virtue raises the soul to divine love and every grace. God, however, was pleased to honor his servant before men. Besides several predictions and miraculous cures of many lepers and other sick persons, the saint is recorded to have raised four dead to life. He was appointed vicar-general of his order of the Strict Observance in Italy, in 1438, in which he settled a rigorous reformation; but, after five years, obtained a discharge from his office; and in his old age continued the function of preaching through Romania, Ferrara, and Lombardy. He returned to Sienna in 1444, preached a most pathetic farewell sermon at Massa on concord and unity, and being taken ill of a malignant fever on the road, still preached as usual till he arrived at Aquila in Abruzzo. There, being confined to his bed, he prepared himself for his passage out of this life by the rites of the church. When he was speechless, he made a sign to be taken off his bed and laid upon the floor; where, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he surrendered his pure soul into the hands of his Creator on the 20th of May, 1444, after a life of sixty-three years, eight months, and thirteen days. His tomb was rendered illustrious by many miracles, and he was canonized by Nicholas V. in 1450. His body is kept in a crystal shrine, enclosed in one of silver, in the church of his order at Aquila.
    Source Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler

    Friday, May 19, 2017

    #PopeFrancis “They had hearts open to what the Holy Spirit said. And after the discussion ‘it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.’” Homily

    (Vatican Radio) True doctrine unites; ideology divides. That was the message of Pope Francis in the homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Friday.
    The Pope based his reflections on the so-called Council of Jerusalem which, around the year 49 A.D., decided that gentile converts to Christianity would not have to be circumcised.
    The Holy Father was commenting on the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles. He noted that even in the first Christian community “there were jealousies, power struggles, a certain deviousness that wanted to profit from and to buy power.” There are always problems, he said: “We are human, we are sinners” and there are difficulties, even in the Church. But being sinners leads to humility and to drawing close to the Lord, as Saviour who saves us from our sins. With regard to the gentiles who the Spirit called to become Christians, the Holy Father recalled that, in the reading, the apostles and the elders chose several people to go to Antioch together with Paul and Barnabas. The reading describes two different kinds of people: those who had “forceful discussions” but with “a good spirit,” on the one hand; and those who “sowed confusion”:
    “The group of the apostles who want to discuss the problem, and the others who go and create problems. They divide, they divide the Church, they say that what the Apostles preached is not what Jesus said, that it is not the truth.”
    The apostles discussed the situation among themselves, and in the end came to an agreement:
    “But it is not a political agreement; it is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that leads them to say: no things, no necessities. Only those who say: don’t eat meat at the time, meat sacrificed to idols, because that was communion with the idols; abstain from blood, from animals that were strangled, and from illegitimate unions.”
    The Pope pointed to the “liberty of the Spirit” that leads to agreement: so, he said, the gentiles were allowed to enter the Church without having to undergo circumcision. It was at the heart of the “first Council” of the Church: the Holy Spirit and they, the Pope with the Bishops, all together,” gathered together in order “to clarify the doctrine;” and later, through the centuries – as at Ephesus or at Vatican II – because “it is a duty of the Church to clarify the doctrine,” so that “what Jesus said in the Gospels, what is the Spirit of the Gospels, would be understood well”:
    “But there were always people who without any commission go out to disturb the Christian community with speeches that upset souls: ‘Eh, no, someone who says that is a heretic, you can’t say this, or that; this is the doctrine of the Church.’ And they are fanatics of things that are not clear, like those fanatics who go there sowing weeds in order to divide the Christian community. And this is the problem: when the doctrine of the Church, that which comes from the Gospel, that which the Holy Spirit inspires – because Jesus said, “He will teach us and remind you of all that I have taught’ – [when] that doctrine becomes an ideology. And this is the great error of those people.”
    These individuals, the Pope explained, “were not believers, they were ideologized,” they had an ideology that closed the heart to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles, on the other hand, certainly discussed things forcefully, but they were not ideologized: “They had hearts open to what the Holy Spirit said. And after the discussion ‘it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.’”
    Pope Francis’ final exhortation was to not be afraid in the face “of the opinions of the ideologues of doctrine.” The Church, he concluded, has “its proper Magisterium, the Magisterium of the Pope, of the Bishops, of the Councils,” and we must go along the path “that comes from the preaching of Jesus, and from the teaching and assistance of the Holy Spirit,” which is “always open, always free,” because “doctrine unites, the Councils unite the Christian community, while, on the other hand, “ideology divides.”