Immaculate Conception

+Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Mary’s predestination

488 “God sent forth his Son”, but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary”:

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life.

489 Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living. By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age. Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women. Mary “stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established.”


Psalm 97

The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad.

Cloud and darkness surround the Lord; justice and right are the foundation of his throne.

Fire goes before him; everywhere it consumes the foes.

Lightning illumines the world; the earth sees and trembles.

The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim God’s justice; all peoples see his glory.

All who serve idols are put to shame, who glory in worthless things; all gods bow down before you.

Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice because of your judgments, O LORD.

You, LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods.

The LORD loves those who hate evil, protects the lives of the faithful, rescues them from the hand of the wicked.

Light dawns for the just; gladness, for the honest of heart.

Rejoice in the LORD, you just, and praise his holy name.

Source: The New American Bible


The Immaculate Conception, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, is the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary free from original sin by virtue of the foreseen merits of her son Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that Mary was conceived by normal biological means in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne, but God acted upon her soul, keeping it “immaculate”.

The Immaculate Conception is commonly confused with the Virgin Birth of Jesus. Jesus’s birth is covered by the Doctrine of Incarnation, while the Immaculate Conception deals with the conception of Mary, not that of her son.

Although the belief that Mary was sinless, or conceived with an immaculate soul, has been widely held since Late Antiquity, the doctrine was not dogmatically defined until 1854, by Pope Pius IX in his papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8; in many Catholic countries, it is a holy day of obligation or patronal feast, and in some a national public holiday.

Source: Wikipedia


 

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Friday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 21:29-33

Jesus told his disciples a parable: ‘Think of the fig tree and indeed every tree. As soon as you see them bud, you know that summer is now near. So with you when you see these things happening: know that the kingdom of God is near. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

. . .until all things are subjected to him

671 Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King’s return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover. Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.” That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ’s return by saying to him: Marana tha! “Our Lord, come!”

672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace. According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by “distress” and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.


Daniel 3:75-81

Mountains and hills! bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Every thing that grows on the earth! bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Springs of water! bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Seas and rivers! bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Sea beasts and everything that lives in water! bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Birds of heaven! all bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Animals wild and tame! all bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Source: Jerusalem Bible


 

Andrew Dung-Lac, P & M, and companions, Mm

+Luke 19:45-48

Jesus went into the Temple and began driving out those who were selling. ‘According to scripture,’ he said ‘my house will be a house of prayer. But you have turned it into a robbers’ den.’

He taught in the Temple every day. The chief priests and the scribes, with the support of the leading citizens, tried to do away with him, but they did not see how they could carry this out because the people as a whole hung on his words.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus’ ascent to Jerusalem

557 “When the days drew near for him to be taken up [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem.” By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to die there. Three times he had announced his Passion and Resurrection; now, heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus says: “It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.”

558 Jesus recalls the martyrdom of the prophets who had been put to death in Jerusalem. Nevertheless he persists in calling Jerusalem to gather around him: “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”306 When Jerusalem comes into view he weeps over her and expresses once again his heart’s desire: “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.”


1 Chronicles 29:10-12

Then David blessed the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, praying in these words: “Blessed may you be, O LORD, God of Israel our father, from eternity to eternity.

“Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory. For all in heaven and on earth is yours; yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty; you are exalted as head over all.

“Riches and honor are from you, and you have dominion over all. In your hand are power and might; it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all.

Therefore, our God, we give you thanks and we praise the majesty of your name.”

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should have the means to contribute so freely? For everything is from you, and we only give you what we have received from you.

For we stand before you as aliens: we are only your guests, like all our fathers. Our life on earth is like a shadow that does not abide.

O LORD our God, all this wealth that we have brought together to build you a house in honor of your holy name comes from you and is entirely yours.

I know, O my God, that you put hearts to the test and that you take pleasure in uprightness. With a sincere heart I have willingly given all these things, and now with joy I have seen your people here present also giving to you generously.

O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep such thoughts in the hearts and minds of your people forever, and direct their hearts toward you.

Give to my son Solomon a wholehearted desire to keep your commandments, precepts, and statutes, that he may carry out all these plans and build the castle for which I have made preparation.”

Source: The New American Bible


 

Andrew Dũng-Lạc (Vietnamese: Anrê Trần An Dũng Lạc , Vietnamese pronunciation: [aːnze˧ tɕən˨˩ aːn˧ zuŋ˧˥ lak˧˨]), French: André Dũng-Lạc) (1795 – 21 December 1839) was a Vietnamese Roman Catholic priest. He was executed by beheading in the reign of Minh Mạng. He is a saint and martyr of the Catholic Church.

He was born Trần An Dũng in 1795, taking the name Andrew at his baptism (Anrê Dũng) and was ordained a priest on 15 March 1823. During persecution, Andrew Dũng changed his name to Lạc to avoid capture, and thus he is memorialised as Andrew Dũng-Lạc (Anrê Dũng Lạc). His memorial is 24 November; this memorial celebrates all of the Vietnamese Martyrs of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries (1625–1886).

Source: Wikipedia


 

Elizabeth of Hungary, Rel

+Luke 17:26-37

Jesus said to the disciples:

‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it also be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating and drinking, marrying wives and husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in Lot’s day: people were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but the day Lot left Sodom, God rained fire and brimstone from heaven and it destroyed them all. It will be the same when the day comes for the Son of Man to be revealed.

‘When that day comes, anyone on the housetop, with his possessions in the house, must not come down to collect them, nor must anyone in the fields turn back either. Remember Lot’s wife. Anyone who tries to preserve his life will lose it; and anyone who loses it will keep it safe. I tell you, on that night two will be in one bed: one will be taken, the other left; two women will be grinding corn together: one will be taken, the other left.’ The disciples interrupted. ‘Where, Lord?’ they asked. He said, ‘Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

CONVERSION AND SOCIETY

1886 Society is essential to the fulfillment of the human vocation. To attain this aim, respect must be accorded to the just hierarchy of values, which “subordinates physical and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones:”

Human society must primarily be considered something pertaining to the spiritual. Through it, in the bright light of truth, men should share their knowledge, be able to exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations, be inspired to seek spiritual values; mutually derive genuine pleasure from the beautiful, of whatever order it be; always be readily disposed to pass on to others the best of their own cultural heritage; and eagerly strive to make their own the spiritual achievements of others. These benefits not only influence, but at the same time give aim and scope to all that has bearing on cultural expressions, economic, and social institutions, political movements and forms, laws, and all other structures by which society is outwardly established and constantly developed.

1887 The inversion of means and ends, which results in giving the value of ultimate end to what is only a means for attaining it, or in viewing persons as mere means to that end, engenders unjust structures which “make Christian conduct in keeping with the commandments of the divine Law-giver difficult and almost impossible.”

1888 It is necessary, then, to appeal to the spiritual and moral capacities of the human person and to the permanent need for his inner conversion, so as to obtain social changes that will really serve him. The acknowledged priority of the conversion of heart in no way eliminates but on the contrary imposes the obligation of bringing the appropriate remedies to institutions and living conditions when they are an inducement to sin, so that they conform to the norms of justice and advance the good rather than hinder it.

1889 Without the help of grace, men would not know how “to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil, and the violence which under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse.” This is the path of charity, that is, of the love of God and of neighbor. Charity is the greatest social commandment. It respects others and their rights. It requires the practice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it. Charity inspires a life of self-giving: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.”


Psalm 18

For the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD, who sang to the LORD the words of this song after the LORD had rescued him from the clutches of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

He said: I love you, LORD, my strength,

LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!

Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! I have been delivered from my enemies.

The breakers of death surged round about me; the menacing floods terrified me.

The cords of Sheol tightened; the snares of death lay in wait for me.

In my distress I called out: LORD! I cried out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry to him reached his ears.

The earth rocked and shook; the foundations of the mountains trembled; they shook as his wrath flared up.

Smoke rose in his nostrils, a devouring fire poured from his mouth; it kindled coals into flame.

He parted the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet.

Mounted on a cherub he flew, borne along on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness the cover about him; his canopy, heavy thunderheads.

Before him scudded his clouds, hail and lightning too.

The LORD thundered from heaven; the Most High made his voice resound.

He let fly his arrows and scattered them; shot his lightning bolts and dispersed them.

Then the bed of the sea appeared; the world’s foundations lay bare, At the roar of the LORD, at the storming breath of his nostrils.

He reached down from on high and seized me; drew me out of the deep waters.

He rescued me from my mighty enemy, from foes too powerful for me.

They attacked me on a day of distress, but the LORD came to my support.

He set me free in the open; he rescued me because he loves me.

The LORD acknowledged my righteousness, rewarded my clean hands.

For I kept the ways of the LORD; I was not disloyal to my God.

His laws were all before me, his decrees I did not cast aside.

I was honest toward him; I was on guard against sin.

So the LORD rewarded my righteousness, the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

Toward the faithful you are faithful; to the honest you are honest;

Toward the sincere, sincere; but to the perverse you are devious.

Humble people you save; haughty eyes you bring low.

You, LORD, give light to my lamp; my God brightens the darkness about me.

With you I can rush an armed band, with my God to help I can leap a wall.

God’s way is unerring; the LORD’S promise is tried and true; he is a shield for all who trust in him.

Truly, who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is the rock?

This God who girded me with might, kept my way unerring,

Who made my feet swift as a deer’s, set me safe on the heights,

Who trained my hands for war, my arms to bend even a bow of bronze.

You have given me your protecting shield; your right hand has upheld me; you stooped to make me great.

You gave me room to stride; my feet never stumbled.

I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till I destroyed them.

I struck them down; they could not rise; they fell dead at my feet.

You girded me with strength for war, subdued adversaries at my feet.

My foes you put to flight before me; those who hated me I destroyed.

They cried for help, but no one saved them; cried to the LORD but got no answer.

I ground them fine as dust in the wind; like mud in the streets I trampled them down.

You rescued me from the strife of peoples; you made me head over nations. A people I had not known became my slaves;

as soon as they heard of me they obeyed. Foreigners cringed before me;

their courage failed; they came trembling from their fortresses.

The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock! Exalted be God, my savior!

O God who granted me vindication, made peoples subject to me,

and preserved me from my enemies, Truly you have exalted me above my adversaries, from the violent you have rescued me.

Thus I will proclaim you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.

You have given great victories to your king, and shown kindness to your anointed, to David and his posterity forever.

Source: The New American Bible


Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, T.O.S.F. (German: Heilige Elisabeth von Thüringen, Hungarian: Árpád-házi Szent Erzsébet; 7 July 1207 – 17 November 1231), also known as Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia or Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia, was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, Landgravine of Thuringia, Germany, and a greatly venerated Catholic saint who was an early member of the Third Order of St. Francis, by which she is honored as its patroness.

Elizabeth was married at the age of 14, and widowed at 20. After her husband’s death she sent her children away and regained her dowry, using the money to build a hospital where she herself served the sick. She became a symbol of Christian charity after her death at the age of 24 and was quickly canonized.

Early Life and Marriage

Elizabeth was the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary and Gertrude of Merania. Her mother’s sister was Hedwig of Andechs, wife of Duke Heinrich I of Silesia. Her ancestry included many notable figures of European royalty, going back as far as Vladimir the Great of the Kievan Rus. According to tradition, she was born in Hungary, possibly in the castle of Sárospatak, on 7 July 1207.

A sermon printed in 1497 by the Franciscan friar Osvaldus de Lasco, a church official in Hungary, is the first to name Sárospatak as the saint’s birthplace, perhaps building on local tradition. The veracity of this account is not without reproach: Osvaldus also translates the miracle of the roses (see below) to Elizabeth’s childhood in Sárospatak and has her leave Hungary at the age of five.

According to a different tradition she was born in Pozsony, Hungary, (present-day Bratislava, Slovakia), where she lived in the Castle of Posonium until the age of four.

Elizabeth was brought to the court of the rulers of Thuringia in central Germany, to be betrothed to Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia (also known as Ludwig IV), a future union which would reinforce political alliances between the families. She was raised by the Thuringian court and would have been familiar with the local language and culture.

In 1221, at the age of fourteen, Elizabeth married Louis; the same year he was enthroned as Landgrave, and the marriage appears to have been happy.

Religious inclinations, influences

In 1223, Franciscan friars arrived, and the teenage Elizabeth not only learned about the ideals of Francis of Assisi, but started to live them. Louis was not upset by his wife’s charitable efforts, believing that the distribution of his wealth to the poor would bring eternal reward; he is venerated in Thuringia as a saint, though he was never canonized by the Church.

It was also about this time that the priest and later inquisitor Konrad von Marburg gained considerable influence over Elizabeth when he was appointed as her confessor. In the spring of 1226, when floods, famine, and plague wrought havoc in Thuringia, Louis, a staunch supporter of the Hohenstaufen Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, represented Frederick II at the Imperial Diet held in Cremona.

Elizabeth assumed control of affairs at home and distributed alms in all parts of their territory, even giving away state robes and ornaments to the poor. Below Wartburg Castle, she built a hospital with twenty-eight beds and visited the inmates daily to attend to them.

Widowhood

Elizabeth’s life changed irrevocably on 11 September 1227 when Louis, en route to join the Sixth Crusade, died of a fever in Otranto, Italy, just a few weeks before the birth of her daughter Gertrude. Upon hearing the news of her husband’s death, Elizabeth reportedly said, “He is dead. He is dead. It is to me as if the whole world died today.” His remains were returned to Elizabeth in 1228 and entombed at the Abbey of Reinhardsbrunn.

After Louis’ death, his brother, Henry (German: Heinrich) Raspe, assumed the regency during the minority of Elizabeth’s eldest child, Hermann (1222–1241). After bitter arguments over the disposal of her dowry — a conflict in which Konrad was appointed as the official Defender of her case by Pope Gregory IX — Elizabeth left the court at Wartburg and moved to Marburg in Hesse.

Up to 1888 it was believed, on account of the testimony of one of Elizabeth’s servants during the canonization process, that Elizabeth was driven from the Wartburg in the winter of 1227 by her brother-in-law, Heinrich Raspe, who acted as regent for her son, then only five years old. About 1888 various investigators (Börner, Mielke, Wenck, E. Michael, etc.) asserted that Elizabeth left the Wartburg voluntarily. She was not able at the castle to follow Konrad’s command to eat only food obtained in a way that was certainly right and proper.

Following her husband’s death, Elizabeth made solemn vows to Konrad similar to those of a nun. These vows included celibacy, as well as complete obedience to Konrad as her confessor and spiritual director. Konrad’s treatment of Elizabeth was extremely harsh, and he held her to standards of behavior which were almost impossible to meet. Among the punishments he is alleged to have ordered were physical beatings; he also ordered her to send away her three children. Her pledge to celibacy proved a hindrance to her family’s political ambitions. Elizabeth was more or less held hostage at Pottenstein, the castle of her uncle, Bishop Ekbert of Bamberg, in an effort to force her to remarry. Elizabeth, however, held fast to her vow, even threatening to cut off her own nose so that no man would find her attractive enough to marry.

Elizabeth’s second child Sophie of Thuringia (1224–1275) married Henry II, Duke of Brabant, and was the ancestress of the Landgraves of Hesse, since in the War of the Thuringian Succession she won Hesse for her son Heinrich I, called the Child. Elizabeth’s third child, Gertrude of Altenberg (1227–1297), was born several weeks after the death of her father; she became abbess of the monastery of Altenberg Abbey, Hesse near Wetzlar.

Elizabeth built a hospital at Marburg for the poor and the sick with the money from her dowry, where she and her companions cared for them. Her official biography written as part of the canonization process describes how she ministered to the sick and continued to give money to the poor.

Lifetime miracles

Elizabeth is perhaps best known for her miracle of the roses which says that whilst she was taking bread to the poor in secret, she met her husband Ludwig on a hunting party, who, in order to quell suspicions of the gentry that she was stealing treasure from the castle, asked her to reveal what was hidden under her cloak. In that moment, her cloak fell open and a vision of white and red roses could be seen, which proved to Ludwig that God’s protecting hand was at work.

Her husband, according to the vitae, was never troubled by her charity and always supported it. In some versions of this story, it is her brother in law, Heinrich Raspe, who questions her. Hers is the first of many miracles that associate Christian saints with roses, and is the most frequently depicted in the saint’s iconography.

Crucifix in the Bed

Another story about St Elizabeth, also found in Dietrich of Apolda’s Vita, relates how she laid the leper Helias of Eisenach in the bed she shared with her husband. Her mother-in-law, who was horrified, told this immediately to Ludwig on his return. When Ludwig removed the bedclothes in great indignation, at that instant “Almighty God opened the eyes of his soul, and instead of a leper he saw the figure of Christ crucified stretched upon the bed.” This story also appears in Franz Liszt’s oratorio about Elizabeth.

Death and Legacy

Very soon after the death of Elizabeth, miracles were reported that happened at her grave in the church of the hospital, especially those of healing. On the suggestion of Konrad, and by papal command, examinations were held of those who had been healed between August 1232 and January 1235. The results of those examinations was supplemented by a brief vita of the saint-to-be, and together with the testimony of Elizabeth’s handmaidens and companions, proved sufficient reason for quick canonization. She was canonized by Pope Gregory IX.

The papal bull declaring her a saint is on display in the Schatzkammer of the Deutschordenskirche in Vienna, Austria. Her body was laid in a magnificent golden shrine—still to be seen today—in the Marburg church bearing her name. Her remains were removed and scattered by her own descendant, the Landgrave Philip I “the Magnanimous” of Hesse, at the time of the Reformation.

It is now a Protestant church, but has spaces set aside for Catholic worship. Marburg became a center of the Teutonic Order, which adopted St. Elizabeth as its secondary patroness. The Order remained in Marburg until its official dissolution by Napoleon in 1803. A bejeweled reliquary believed to have contained her head was taken as loot by the Swedish army during the Thirty Years’ War and is today displayed in the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm.

Association with the Franciscans

After her death, Elizabeth was commonly associated with the Third Order of Saint Francis, the primarily lay branch of the Franciscan Order, which has helped propagate her cult. Whether she ever actually joined the order, only recently founded in 1221, the year when she married Louis at the age of fourteen, is not proven to everyone’s satisfaction.

It must be kept in mind though that the Third Order was such a new development in the Franciscan movement, that no one official ritual had been established at that point. Elizabeth clearly had a ceremony of consecration in which she adopted a Franciscan religious habit in her new way of life, as noted above.

From her support of the friars sent to Thuringia, she was made known to the founder, St Francis of Assisi, who sent her a personal message of blessing shortly before his death in 1226. Upon her canonization she was declared the patron saint of the Third Order of St Francis, an honor she shares with St Louis IX of France.

Source: Wikipedia

Leo the Great, Po & D

+Luke 16:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.” Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”

Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?” “One hundred measures of oil” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty.” To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty.”

‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

COMMUNION IN SPIRITUAL GOODS

949 In the primitive community of Jerusalem, the disciples “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers.”

Communion in the faith. The faith of the faithful is the faith of the Church, received from the apostles. Faith is a treasure of life which is enriched by being shared.

950 Communion of the sacraments. “The fruit of all the sacraments belongs to all the faithful. All the sacraments are sacred links uniting the faithful with one another and binding them to Jesus Christ, and above all Baptism, the gate by which we enter into the Church. The communion of saints must be understood as the communion of the sacraments. . . . The name ‘communion’ can be applied to all of them, for they unite us to God. . . . But this name is better suited to the Eucharist than to any other, because it is primarily the Eucharist that brings this communion about.”

951 Communion of charisms. Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit “distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank” for the building up of the Church. Now, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

952 “They had everything in common.” “Everything the true Christian has is to be regarded as a good possessed in common with everyone else. All Christians should be ready and eager to come to the help of the needy . . . and of their neighbors in want.” A Christian is a steward of the Lord’s goods.

953 Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.” “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” “Charity does not insist on its own way.” In this solidarity with all men, living or dead, which is founded on the communion of saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all. Every sin harms this communion.


Psalm 97

The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad.

Cloud and darkness surround the Lord; justice and right are the foundation of his throne.

Fire goes before him; everywhere it consumes the foes.

Lightning illumines the world; the earth sees and trembles.

The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim God’s justice; all peoples see his glory.

All who serve idols are put to shame, who glory in worthless things; all gods bow down before you.

Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice because of your judgments, O LORD.

You, LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods.

The LORD loves those who hate evil, protects the lives of the faithful, rescues them from the hand of the wicked.

Light dawns for the just; gladness, for the honest of heart.

Rejoice in the LORD, you just, and praise his holy name.

Source: The New American Bible


Pope Saint Leo I (c. 400 – 10 November 461), also known as Saint Leo the Great, was Pope from 29 September 440 to his death in 461. Pope Benedict XVI said that Leo’s papacy “…was undoubtedly one of the most important in the Church’s history.”

He was a Roman aristocrat, and was the first pope to have been called “the Great”. He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452 and persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy. He is also a Doctor of the Church, most remembered theologically for issuing the Tome of Leo, a document which was a major foundation to the debates of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. The Council of Chalcedon, the fourth ecumenical council, dealt primarily with Christology, and elucidated the orthodox definition of Christ’s being as the hypostatic union of two natures, divine and human, united in one person, “with neither confusion nor division”. It was followed by a major schism associated with Monophysitism, Miaphysitism and Dyophysitism.

Source: Wikipedia


 

Martin de Porres, Rel

+Luke 14:1-6

Now on a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. There in front of him was a man with dropsy, and Jesus addressed the lawyers and Pharisees. ‘Is it against the law’ he asked ‘to cure a man on the sabbath, or not?’ But they remained silent, so he took the man and cured him and sent him away. Then he said to them, ‘Which of you here, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a sabbath day without hesitation?’ And to this they could find no answer.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus and Israel

574 From the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, certain Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes agreed together to destroy him. Because of certain acts of his expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity, and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners — some ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession. He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes which the Law punished with death by stoning.

575 Many of Jesus’ deeds and words constituted a “sign of contradiction”, but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews”, than for the ordinary People of God. To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting; Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes. Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resurrection of the dead, certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer), the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbor.

576 In the eyes of many in Israel, Jesus seems to be acting against essential institutions of the Chosen People:

– submission to the whole of the Law in its written commandments and, for the Pharisees, in the interpretation of oral tradition;

– the centrality of the Temple at Jerusalem as the holy place where God’s presence dwells in a special way;

– faith in the one God whose glory no man can share.


Psalm 147:12-15,19-20

Hallelujah!  How good to celebrate our God in song; how sweet to give fitting praise.

The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem, gathers the dispersed of Israel,

Heals the brokenhearted, binds up their wounds,

Numbers all the stars, calls each of them by name.

Great is our Lord, vast in power, with wisdom beyond measure.

The LORD sustains the poor, but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; with the lyre celebrate our God,

Who covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, makes grass sprout on the mountains,

Who gives animals their food and ravens what they cry for.

God takes no delight in the strength of horses, no pleasure in the runner’s stride.

Rather the LORD takes pleasure in the devout, those who await his faithful care.

Glorify the LORD, Jerusalem; Zion, offer praise to your God,

Who has strengthened the bars of your gates, blessed your children within you,

Brought peace to your borders, and filled you with finest wheat.

The LORD sends a command to earth; his word runs swiftly!

Thus snow is spread like wool, frost is scattered like ash,

Hail is dispersed like crumbs; before such cold the waters freeze.

Again he sends his word and they melt; the wind is unleashed and the waters flow.

The LORD also proclaims his word to Jacob, decrees and laws to Israel.

God has not done this for other nations; of such laws they know nothing. Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible


Martin de Porres Velázquez, O.P. (December 9, 1579 – November 3, 1639), was a lay brother of the Dominican Order who was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony.

He was noted for work on behalf of the poor, establishing an orphanage and a children’s hospital. He maintained an austere lifestyle, which included fasting and abstaining from meat. Among the many miracles attributed to him were those of levitation, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and an ability to communicate with animals.

Early Life

Juan Martin de Porres Velázquez was born in the city of Lima, in the Viceroyalty of Peru, on December 9, 1579. He was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Don Juan de Porres, and Ana Velázquez, a freed slave from Panama, of African or possibly part Native American descent. He had a sister named Juana, born two years later in 1581. After the birth of his sister, the father abandoned the family. Ana Velázquez supported her children by taking in laundry. He grew up in poverty and, when his mother could not support him, Martin was confided to a primary school for two years, and then placed with a barber/surgeon to learn the medical arts. He spent hours of the night in prayer, a practice which increased as he grew older.

By law in Peru, descendants of Africans and Native Americans were barred from becoming full members of religious orders. The only route open to Martin was to ask the Dominicans of Holy Rosary Priory in Lima to accept him as a donado, a volunteer who performed menial tasks in the monastery in return for the privilege of wearing the habit and living with the religious community. At the age of 15 he asked for admission to the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received first as a servant boy, and as his duties grew he was promoted to almoner.

Martin continued to practice his old trades of barbering and healing and was said to have performed many miraculous cures. He also took on kitchen work, laundry, and cleaning. After eight years at Holy Rosary, the prior Juan de Lorenzana, decided to turn a blind eye to the law and permit Martin to take his vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic. Holy Rosary was home to 300 men, not all of whom accepted the decision of De Lorenzana: one of the novices called Martin a “mulatto dog”, while one of the priests mocked him for being illegitimate and descended from slaves.

When Martin was 24, he was allowed to profess religious vows as a Dominican lay brother in 1603. He is said to have several times refused this elevation in status, which may have come about due to his father’s intervention, and he never became a priest. It is said that when his convent was in debt, he implored them: “I am only a poor mulatto, sell me.” Martin was deeply attached to the Blessed Sacrament, and he was praying in front of it one night when the step of the altar he was kneeling on caught fire. Throughout all the confusion and chaos that followed, he remained where he was, unaware of what was happening around him.

When Martin was 34, after he had been given the religious habit of a lay brother, he was assigned to the infirmary, where he was placed in charge and would remain in service until his death at the age of 59. He was known for his care of the sick. His superiors saw in him the virtues necessary to exercise unfailing patience in this difficult role. It was not long before miracles were attributed to him. Martin also cared for the sick outside his convent, often bringing them healing with only a simple glass of water. He ministered without distinction to Spanish nobles and to slaves recently brought from Africa. One day an aged beggar, covered with ulcers and almost naked, stretched out his hand, and Martin took him to his own bed. One of his brethren reproved him. Martin replied: “Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness.”

When an epidemic struck Lima, there were in this single Convent of the Rosary 60 friars who were sick, many of them novices in a distant and locked section of the convent, separated from the professed. Martin is said to have passed through the locked doors to care for them, a phenomenon which was reported in the residence more than once. The professed, too, saw him suddenly beside them without the doors having been opened. Martin continued to transport the sick to the convent until the provincial superior, alarmed by the contagion threatening the friars, forbade him to continue to do so. His sister, who lived in the country, offered her house to lodge those whom the residence of the religious could not hold. One day he found on the street a poor Indian, bleeding to death from a dagger wound, and took him to his own room until he could transport him to his sister’s hospice. The prior, when he heard of this, reprimanded him for disobedience. He was extremely edified, however, by his reply: “Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity.” The prior gave him liberty thereafter to follow his inspirations in the exercise of mercy.

Martin did not eat meat. He begged for alms to procure necessities the convent could not provide. In normal times, Martin succeeded with his alms to feed 160 poor persons every day, and distributed a remarkable sum of money every week to the indigent. Side by side with his daily work in the kitchen, laundry and infirmary, Martin’s life is said to have reflected extraordinary gifts: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and a remarkable rapport with animals. He founded a residence for orphans and abandoned children in the city of Lima.

Death and commemoration

Martin was a friend of both St. Juan Macías, a fellow Dominican lay brother, and St. Rose of Lima, a lay Dominican. By the time he died, on November 3, 1639, he had won the affection and respect of many of his fellow Dominicans as well as a host of people outside the priory. Word of his miracles had made him known as a saint throughout the region. As his body was displayed to allow the people of the city to pay their respects, each person snipped a tiny piece of his habit to keep as a relic. It is said that three habits were taken from the body. His body was then interred in the grounds of the monastery.

After De Porres died, the miracles and graces received when he was invoked multiplied in such profusion that his body was exhumed after 25 years and said to be found intact, and exhaling a fine fragrance. Letters to Rome pleaded for his beatification; the decree affirming the heroism of his virtues was issued in 1763 by Pope Clement XIII.

Pope Gregory XVI beatified Martin de Porres on October 29, 1837, and nearly 125 years later, Pope John XXIII canonized him in Rome on May 6, 1962. He is the patron saint of people of mixed race, and of innkeepers, barbers, public health workers and more, with a feast day on November 3.

Source: Wikipedia


 

Friday of the Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘When you see a cloud looming up in the west you say at once that rain is coming, and so it does. And when the wind is from the south you say it will be hot, and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?

‘Why not judge for yourselves what is right? For example: when you go to court with your opponent, try to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the bailiff and the bailiff have you thrown into prison. I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“A God merciful and gracious”

210 After Israel’s sin, when the people had turned away from God to worship the golden calf, God hears Moses’ prayer of intercession and agrees to walk in the midst of an unfaithful people, thus demonstrating his love. When Moses asks to see his glory, God responds “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name ‘the LORD’ [YHWH].” Then the LORD passes before Moses and proclaims, “YHWH, YHWH, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”; Moses then confesses that the LORD is a forgiving God.

211 The divine name, “I Am” or “He Is”, expresses God’s faithfulness: despite the faithlessness of men’s sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps “steadfast love for thousands”. By going so far as to give up his own Son for us, God reveals that he is “rich in mercy”. By giving his life to free us from sin, Jesus reveals that he himself bears the divine name: “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will realize that “I AM”.”


Psalm 118

Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever.

Let the house of Israel say: God’s love endures forever.

Let the house of Aaron say, God’s love endures forever.

Let those who fear the LORD say, God’s love endures forever.

In danger I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.

The LORD is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against me?

The LORD is with me as my helper; I shall look in triumph on my foes.

Better to take refuge in the LORD than to put one’s trust in mortals.

Better to take refuge in the LORD than to put one’s trust in princes.

All the nations surrounded me; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

They surrounded me on every side; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

They surrounded me like bees; they blazed like fire among thorns; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

I was hard pressed and falling, but the LORD came to my help.

The LORD, my strength and might, came to me as savior.

The joyful shout of deliverance is heard in the tents of the victors: “The LORD’S right hand strikes with power;

the LORD’S right hand is raised; the LORD’S right hand strikes with power.”

I shall not die but live and declare the deeds of the LORD.

The LORD chastised me harshly, but did not hand me over to death.

Open the gates of victory; I will enter and thank the LORD.

This is the LORD’S own gate, where the victors enter.

I thank you for you answered me; you have been my savior.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

By the LOD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

LORD, grant salvation! LORD, grant good fortune!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the LORD’S house.

The LORD is God and has given us light. Join in procession with leafy branches up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, I give you thanks; my God, I offer you praise.

Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever.

Source: The New American Bible


Paul of the Cross, P

+Luke 12:1-7

The people had gathered in their thousands so that they were treading on one another. And Jesus began to speak, first of all to his disciples. ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees – that is, their hypocrisy. Everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. For this reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places will be proclaimed on the housetops.

‘To you my friends I say: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. I will tell you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Can you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? And yet not one is forgotten in God’s sight. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. There is no need to be afraid: you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

THE VISIBLE WORLD

337 God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine “work”, concluded by the “rest” of the seventh day. On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, permitting us to “recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God.”

338 Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun.

339 Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the “six days” it is said: “And God saw that it was good.” “By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws.” Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.

340 God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.

341 The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will.

342 The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the “six days”, from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: “You are of more value than many sparrows”, or again: “Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!”

343 Man is the summit of the Creator’s work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.

344 There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory: May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendor, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High. . .

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste. ..

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses. . .

Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility.

345 The sabbath – the end of the work of the six days. The sacred text says that “on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done”, that the “heavens and the earth were finished”, and that God “rested” on this day and sanctified and blessed it. These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction:

346 In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God’s covenant. For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it.

347 Creation was fashioned with a view to the sabbath and therefore for the worship and adoration of God. Worship is inscribed in the order of creation. As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over “the work of God”, that is, solemn worship. This indicates the right order of human concerns.

348 The sabbath is at the heart of Israel’s law. To keep the commandments is to correspond to the wisdom and the will of God as expressed in his work of creation.

349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ’s Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.


Psalm 31(32):1-2,5,11

For the leader. A psalm of David.

In you, LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice deliver me;

incline your ear to me; make haste to rescue me! Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to save me.

You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead and guide me.

Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge.

Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, faithful God.

You hate those who serve worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.

I will rejoice and be glad in your love, once you have seen my misery, observed my distress.

You will not abandon me into enemy hands, but will set my feet in a free and open space.

Be gracious to me, LORD, for I am in distress; with grief my eyes are wasted, my soul and body spent.

My life is worn out by sorrow, my years by sighing. My strength fails in affliction; my bones are consumed.

To all my foes I am a thing of scorn, to my neighbors, a dreaded sight, a horror to my friends. When they see me in the street, they quickly shy away.

I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead; I am like a shattered dish.

I hear the whispers of the crowd; terrors are all around me. They conspire against me; they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hands; rescue me from my enemies, from the hands of my pursuers.

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your kindness.

Do not let me be put to shame, for I have called to you, LORD. Put the wicked to shame; reduce them to silence in Sheol.

Strike dumb their lying lips, proud lips that attack the just in contempt and scorn.

How great is your goodness, Lord, stored up for those who fear you. You display it for those who trust you, in the sight of all the people.

You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from scheming enemies. You keep them in your abode, safe from plotting tongues.

Blessed be the LORD, who has shown me wondrous love, and been for me a city most secure.

Once I said in my anguish, “I am shut out from your sight.” Yet you heard my plea, when I cried out to you.

Love the LORD, all you faithful. The LORD protects the loyal, but repays the arrogant in full.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

Source: The New American Bible


Biography

Saint Paul of the Cross, originally named Paolo Francesco Danei, was born on 3 January 1694, in the town of Ovada, Piedmont, between Turin and Genoa in the Duchy of Savoy in northern Italy.

His parents were Mark and Anna Maria Massari Danei. His father ran a small dry-goods store, and moved his family and store from town to town near Genoa trying to make ends meet. Paul was the second of sixteen children, six of whom survived infancy; and learned at an early age the reality of death and the uncertainty of life. Paul received his early education from a priest who kept a school for boys, in Cremolino, Lombardy. He made great progress and at the age of fifteen he left school and returned to his home at Castellazzo. In his early years he taught catechism in churches near his home.

Paul experienced a conversion to a life of prayer at the age of 19. Influenced by his reading of the “Treatise on the Love of God” by Saint Francis de Sales and the direction he received from priests of the Capuchin Order it became his lifelong conviction that God is most easily found in the Passion of Christ.

In 1715, Paul left his work helping his father to join a crusade against the Turks who were threatening the Venetian Republic, but soon realized that the life of a soldier was not his calling. He returned to help in the family business. On his way home he stopped at Novello, where he helped an aging, childless couple until the end of 1716. They offered to make him their heir, but he declined. His uncle, Father Christopher Danei, tried to arrange a marriage, but Paul had no plans to marry. When his uncle died, he kept for himself only the priest’s Breviary.

When he was 26 years old, Paul had a series of prayer-experiences which made it clear to him that God was inviting him to form a community who would live an evangelical life and promote the love of God revealed in the Passion of Jesus. In a vision, he saw himself clothed in the habit he and his companions would wear: a long, black tunic on the front of which was a heart surmounted by a white cross, and in the heart was written “Passion of Jesus Christ”. On seeing it, he heard these words spoken to him: “This is to show how pure the heart must be that bears the holy name of Jesus graven upon it”. The first name Paul received for his community was “the Poor of Jesus”; later they came to be known as the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, or the Passionists.

With the encouragement of his bishop, who clothed him in the black habit of a hermit, Paul wrote the rule of his new community (of which he was, as yet, the only member) during a retreat of forty days at the end of 1720. The community was to live a penitential life, in solitude and poverty, teaching people in the easiest possible way how to meditate on the Passion of Jesus.

His first companion was his own brother, John Baptist. In the belief that it was necessary to reside in Rome in order to secure approval of the Rule, Paul and John Baptist accepted an invitation of Cardinal Corrandini to help establish a new hospital being founded by the Cardinal. The brothers devoted their energies to providing nursing care and ministered to the pastoral needs of both patients and staff.

After a short course in pastoral theology, the brothers were ordained to the priesthood by Pope Benedict XIII on 7 June 1727, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. After ordination they devoted themselves to preaching missions in parishes, particularly in remote country places where there were not a sufficient number of priests pastorally involved. Paul was known as one of the most popular preachers of his day, both for his words and for his generous acts of mercy. Their preaching apostolate and the retreats they gave in seminaries and religious houses brought their mission to the attention of others and gradually the community began to grow.

The first Retreat (the name Passionists traditionally gave to their monasteries) was opened in 1737 on Monte Argentario (Province of Grosseto); the community now had nine members. Paul called his monasteries “retreats” to underline the life of solitude and contemplation which he believed was necessary for someone who wished to preach the message of the Cross. In addition to the communal celebration of the divine office, members of his community were to devote at least three hours to contemplative prayer each day. The austerity of life practised by the first Passionists did not encourage large numbers, but Paul preferred a slow, at times painful, growth to something more spectacular.

More than two thousand of his letters, most of them letters of spiritual direction, have been preserved.

He died on 18 October 1775, at the Retreat of Saints John and Paul (SS. Giovanni e Paolo). By the time of his death, the congregation founded by Saint Paul of the Cross had one hundred and eighty fathers and brothers, living in twelve Retreats, mostly in the Papal States. There was also a monastery of contemplative sisters in Corneto (today known as Tarquinia), founded by Paul a few years before his death to promote the memory of the Passion of Jesus by their life of prayer and penance.

Saint Paul of the Cross was beatified on 1 October 1852, and canonized on 29 June 1867 by Blessed Pius IX. Two years later, his feast day was inserted in the Roman calendar, for celebration on 28 April as a Double. In 1962 it was reclassified as a Third-Class feast, and in 1969 it became an optional Memorial and was placed on 19 October, the day after the day of his death, 18 October, which is the feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist.

Source: Wikipedia


Friday of the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 11:15-26

When Jesus had cast out a devil, some of the people said, ‘It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.

‘He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.

‘When an unclean spirit goes out of a man it wanders through waterless country looking for a place to rest, and not finding one it says, “I will go back to the home I came from.” But on arrival, finding it swept and tidied, it then goes off and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and set up house there, so that the man ends up by being worse than he was before.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Fall

385 God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? “I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution”, said St. Augustine, and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawlessness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our religion”. The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace. We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.


Psalm 9A(9):2-3,6,16,8-9

For the leader; according to Muth Labben. A psalm of David.

I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will declare all your wondrous deeds.

I will delight and rejoice in you; I will sing hymns to your name, Most High.

For my enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you.

You upheld my right and my cause, seated on your throne, judging justly.

You rebuked the nations, you destroyed the wicked; their name you blotted out for all time

The enemies have been ruined forever; you destroyed their cities; their memory has perished.

The LORD rules forever, has set up a throne for judgment.

It is God who governs the world with justice, who judges the peoples with fairness.

Source: The New American Bible


Bruno, P; Bl. Marie Rose Durocher, V

+Luke 10:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. And still, it will not go as hard with Tyre and Sidon at the Judgement as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell.

‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Magisterium of the Church

85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”

87 Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me”, the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.


Psalm 78(79):1-5,8-9

A maskil of Asaph.  Attend, my people, to my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.

I will open my mouth in story, drawing lessons from of old.

We have heard them, we know them; our ancestors have recited them to us.

We do not keep them from our children; we recite them to the next generation, The praiseworthy and mighty deeds of the LORD, the wonders that he performed.

God set up a decree in Jacob, established a law in Israel: What he commanded our ancestors, they were to teach their children;

That the next generation might come to know, children yet to be born. In turn they were to recite them to their children,

that they too might put their trust in God, And not forget the works of God, keeping his commandments.

They were not to be like their ancestors, a rebellious and defiant generation, A generation whose heart was not constant, whose spirit was not faithful to God,

Like the ranks of Ephraimite archers, who retreated on the day of battle.

Source: The New American Bible


Bruno of Cologne (Cologne c. 1030 – Serra San Bruno 6 October 1101) was the founder of the Carthusian Order, he personally founded the order’s first two communities. He was a celebrated teacher at Reims, and a close advisor of his former pupil, Pope Urban II. His feast day is October 6.

Life

Bruno was born at Cologne about the year 1030. According to tradition, he belonged to the family of Hartenfaust, or Hardebüst, one of the principal families of the city. Little is known of his early years, except that he studied theology in the present-day French city of Reims before returning to his native land.

His education completed, Bruno returned to Cologne, where he was most likely ordained a priest around 1055, and provided with a canonry at St. Cunibert’s. In 1056 Bishop Gervais recalled him to Reims, where the following year he found himself head of the episcopal school, which at the time included the direction of the schools and the oversight of all the educational establishments of the diocese. For eighteen years, from 1057 to 1075, he maintained the prestige which the school of Reims attained under its former masters, Remi of Auxerre, and others.

Bruno led the school for nearly two decades, acquiring an excellent reputation as a philosopher and theologian. Among his students were Eudes of Châtillon, afterwards Pope Urban II, Rangier, Cardinal and Bishop of Reggio, Robert, Bishop of Langres, and a large number of prelates and abbots.

Chancellor of the Diocese of Reims

In 1075, Bruno was appointed chancellor of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Reims, which involved him in the daily administration of the diocese. Meanwhile, the pious Bishop Gervais de Château-du-Loir, a friend to Bruno, had been succeeded by Manasses de Gournai, a violent aristocrat with no real vocation for the Church. In 1077, at the urging of Bruno and the clergy at Reims, de Gournai was suspended at a council at Autun. He responded, in typical eleventh century fashion, by having his retainers pull down the houses of his accusers. He confiscated their goods, sold their benefices, and even appealed to the pope. Bruno discreetly avoided the cathedral city until in 1080 a definite sentence, confirmed by popular riot, compelled Manasses to withdraw and take refuge with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, the fierce opponent of Pope Gregory VII.

Refusal to become a Bishop

Saint Bruno refuses the archbishopric of Reggio di Calabria, by Vincenzo Carducci, Chartreuse of el Paular.

On the verge of being made bishop himself, Bruno instead followed a vow he had made to renounce secular concerns and withdrew, along with two of his friends, Raoul and Fulcius, also canons of Reims.

Bruno’s first thought on leaving Reims seems to have been to place himself and his companions under the direction of an eminent solitary, Robert of Molesme, who had recently (1075) settled at Sèche-Fontaine, near Molesme in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Langres, together with a band of other hermits, who were later on (in 1098) to form the Cistercians. But he soon found that this was not his vocation. After a short stay he went with six of his companions to Hugh of Châteauneuf, Bishop of Grenoble. The bishop, according to the pious legend, had recently had a vision of these men, under a chaplet of seven stars, and he installed them himself in 1084 in a mountainous and uninhabited spot in the lower Alps of the Dauphiné, in a place named Chartreuse, not far from Grenoble. With St. Bruno were: Landuin, Stephen of Bourg, Stephen of Die (canons of St. Rufus), Hugh the Chaplain and two laymen, Andrew and Guerin, who afterwards became the first lay brothers.

They built an oratory with small individual cells at a distance from each other where they lived isolated and in poverty, entirely occupied in prayer and study, for these men had a reputation for learning, and were frequently honored by the visits of St. Hugh who became like one of themselves.

At the time, Bruno’s pupil, Eudes of Châtillon, had become pope as Urban II (1088). Resolved to continue the work of reform commenced by Gregory VII, and being obliged to struggle against Antipope Clement III and Emperor Henry IV, he was in dire need of competent and devoted allies and called his former master to Rome in 1090.

It is difficult to assign the place which Bruno occupied in Rome, or his influence in contemporary events, because it remained entirely hidden and confidential. Lodged in the Lateran with the pope himself, privy to his most private councils, he worked as an advisor but wisely kept in the background, apart from the fiercely partisan rivalries in Rome and within the curia. Shortly after his arrival in Rome, the papal party was forced to evacuate to the south by the arrival of Henry IV with his own antipope in tow.

Bruno did not attend the Council of Clermont, where Urban preached the First Crusade, but seems to have been present at the Council of Benevento (March, 1091). His part in history is effaced.

During the voyage south, the former professor of Reims attracted attention in Reggio Calabria, which had just lost its Archbishop Arnulph in the year 1090. The pope and Roger Borsa, the Norman Duke of Apulia, strongly approved of the election and pressed Bruno to accept it. Bruno sidestepped the offer, which he guided to one of his former pupils nearby at an abbey near Salerno of the Order of Saint Benedict. Instead Bruno begged to return again to his solitary life. His intention was to rejoin his brethren in Dauphiné, as a letter addressed to them makes clear. But the will of Urban II kept him in Italy, near the papal court, to which he could be called at need.

The place for his new retreat, chosen in 1091 by Bruno and some followers who had joined him, was in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Squillace, in a small forested high valley, where the band constructed a little wooden chapel and cabins. His patron there was Roger I of Sicily, Count of Sicily and Calabria and uncle of the Duke of Apulia, who granted them the lands they occupied, and a close friendship developed. Bruno went to the Guiscard court at Mileto to visit the count in his sickness (1098 and 1101), and to baptize his son, Roger (1097), the future King of Sicily. But more often Roger went into retreat with his friends, where he erected a simple house for himself. Through his generosity, the monastery of St. Stephen was built in 1095, near the original hermitage dedicated to the Virgin.

At the turn of the new century, the friends of St. Bruno died one after the other: Urban II in 1099; Landuin, the prior of the Grande Chartreuse, his first companion, in 1100; Count Roger in 1101. Bruno followed on 6 October 1101 in Serra San Bruno.

Bruno’s legacy

After his death, the Carthusians of Calabria, following a frequent custom of the Middle Ages, dispatched a roll-bearer, a servant of the community laden with a long roll of parchment, hung round his neck, who travelled through Italy, France, Germany, and England, stopping to announce the death of Bruno, and in return, the churches, communities, or chapters inscribed upon his roll, in prose or verse, the expression of their regrets, with promises of prayers. Many of these rolls have been preserved, but few are so extensive or so full of praise as that about St. Bruno. A hundred and seventy-eight witnesses, of whom many had known the deceased, celebrated the extent of his knowledge and the fruitfulness of his instruction. Strangers to him were above all struck by his great knowledge and talents. But his disciples praised his three chief virtues — his great spirit of prayer, extreme mortification, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Both the churches built by him in the desert were dedicated to the Blessed Virgin: Our Lady of Casalibus in Dauphiné and Our Lady Della Torre in Calabria; faithful to his inspirations, the Carthusian Statutes proclaim the Mother of God the first and chief patron of all the houses of the order, whoever may be their particular patron. He is also the eponym for San Bruno Creek in California.

Inscription in the Roman Calendar

Bruno was buried in the little cemetery of the hermitage of Santa Maria. In 1513, his bones were discovered with the epitaph “Haec sunt ossa magistri Brunonis” (these are the bones of the master Bruno) over them. Since the Carthusian Order maintains a strict observance of humility, Saint Bruno was never formally canonized. He was not included in the Tridentine Calendar, but in the year 1623 Pope Gregory XV included him in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on 6 October.

Saint Bruno has long been regarded the patron saint of Calabria and one of the patron saints of Germany.

A writer as well as founder of his order, Saint Bruno composed commentaries on the Psalms and on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle. Two letters of his also remain, his profession of faith, and a short elegy on contempt for the world which shows that he cultivated poetry. St Bruno’s Commentaries reveal that he knew a little Hebrew and Greek; he was familiar with the Church Fathers, especially Augustine of Hippo and Ambrose. “His style,” said Dom Rivet, “is concise, clear, nervous and simple, and his Latin as good as could be expected of that century: it would be difficult to find a composition of this kind at once more solid and more luminous, more concise and more clear.”

In Catholic art, Saint Bruno can be recognized by a skull that he holds and contemplates, with a book and a cross. He may be crowned with a halo of seven stars; or with a roll bearing the device O Bonitas.


The Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher, S.N.J.M., (6 October 1811 – 6 October 1849) was a Canadian Roman Catholic religious sister, who founded the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. She was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1982.

She was born Eulalie Mélanie Durocher in the village of Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on 6 October 1811. She was the tenth of eleven children born to Olivier and Geneviève Durocher, a prosperous farming family. Three of her siblings died in infancy. Her brothers Flavien, Théophile, and Eusèbe entered the Roman Catholic priesthood, and her sister Séraphine joined the Congregation of Notre Dame.

Durocher was home-schooled by her paternal grandfather Olivier Durocher until the age of 10. Upon his death in 1821, she became a boarding pupil at a convent run by the Congregation of Notre Dame in Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu until 1823, where she took First Communion aged 12. After leaving the convent she returned home to be privately tutored by Jean-Marie-Ignace Archambault, a teacher at the Collège de Saint-Hyacinthe. During this time she owned a horse named Caesar and became a competent equestrian.

In 1827, aged 16, Durocher entered the boarding school of the Congregation of Notre Dame in Montreal in 1827, where she intended to enter the novitiate as her sister Séraphine had earlier done. However, her health proved too poor to allow her to complete her education there and after two years she returned home. A contemporary of Durocher’s from her time at boarding school later wrote: “[Durocher] was wonderful; she alone was unaware of her own worth, attributing all to God that was found favourable in her, and asserting that of herself she was only weakness and misery. She possessed charming modesty, was gentle and amiable; attentive always to the voice of her teachers, she was still more so to the voice of God, who spoke to her heart.”

In 1830, Durocher’s mother Geneviève died, and Durocher assumed her mother’s role as homemaker. In 1831, Durocher’s brother Theophile, who at that time was curate of Saint-Mathieu Parish in Belœil, persuaded his father and Durocher to move from the family farm to the presbytery of his parish. At the presbytery, Durocher worked as housekeeper and secretary to Theophile between 1831 and 1843. During the course of this work she was made aware of the severe shortage of schools and teachers in the surrounding countryside (in 1835 Quebec was home to only 15 schools) and discussed with her family and acquaintances the need for a religious community specifically dedicated to the education of children both rich and poor.

Foundress

In 1841, Louis-Moïse Brassard, parish priest of Longueuil, entered discussions with Charles-Joseph-Eugène de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles, France, for the establishment of a mission to Quebec by a French religious congregation known as the Sœurs des Saints-Noms de Jésus et de Marie. Durocher learned of the proposed mission through Brassard. Along with her friend Mélodie Dufresne, Durocher applied in advance to join the novitiate of the new congregation upon its arrival in Canada. However, the mission ultimately did not go ahead, and Mazenod instead advised Ignace Bourget, Bishop of Montreal, whom Mazenod had met during Bourget’s European visit of that year, to establish a similar congregation in Canada, based upon the two women who had been eager to be part of the French group.

On 2 December 1841, a mission of the Oblate Fathers arrived in Montreal, and in August 1842 opened a church at Longueuil. Among the Oblates was a Father Pierre-Adrien Telmon, who travelled to Belœil to conduct popular missions, where he met Durocher and became her spiritual director.On 6 October 1843, Durocher travelled to Longueuil to witness her brother Eusèbe profess his religious vows, and there she met Bishop Bourget. Together, Bourget and Telmon petitioned Durocher to take a leading role in the foundation of a new religious congregation dedicated to the Christian education of youth. Durocher agreed to this request, and on 28 October 1843, Durocher began her postulancy at Saint-Antoine Church in Longueuil under the direction of Father Jean-Marie François Allard, a member of the Oblates. Two companions entered training alongside her: Durocher’s friend Mélodie Dufresne, and Henriette Céré, a schoolteacher of Longueuil at whose school building Durocher and Dufresne roomed during their postulancy.

On 28 February 1844, in a ceremony conducted by Bishop Bourget, the three postulants began their novitiate, assumed the religious habit and received their religious names. Durocher took the name Sister Marie-Rose, Dufresne became Sister Marie-Agnes and Céré became known as Sister Marie-Madeleine. Bishop Bourget gave the newly founded community diocesan approval and named it the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, after the French community Durocher had hoped to join. The sisters adopted the rule and constitutions of their French namesakes, as well as a modified version of their habit. On 8 December 1844, Durocher, Dufresne and Céré professed religious vows in the church at Longueuil. Bourget named Durocher as mother superior, mistress of novices, and depositary of the new congregation.

The new congregation began teaching out of Henriette Céré’s schoohouse, but demand for their services was extraordinary and on 4 August 1844 they were forced to move to larger premises. The number of prospective pupils continued to rise over the following years, with the result that between February 1844 and October 1849 the sisters established four convents (in Longueuil, Belœil, Saint Lin and Saint Timothée) employing 30 teachers and enrolling (as of 6 October 1849) 448 pupils. The sisters developed a course of study that provided equally for English and French pupils. Originally the sisters had planned to teach only girls but their missionary requirements eventually forced them to teach boys in some provinces.

On 17 March 1845 the sisters were incorporated by an act of the Canadian Parliament. During 1846, Durocher clashed with Charles Chiniquy, an outspoken priest who would eventually leave the Roman Catholic Church and become a Protestant. Chiniquy wished to take control of teaching in the sisters’ schools, and when he was blocked in this aim by Durocher, he publicly disparaged the sisters.

Death and beatification

Durocher, troubled throughout her life by ill health, died of a “wasting illness” on 6 October 1849, aged 38. Her funeral was held the same day in the church of Longueuil, with Bishop Ignace Bourget presiding. Since 1 May 2004, Durocher’s remains have been interred in the Chapelle Marie-Rose in the right transept of the Co-cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua in Longueuil.

In a statement made in 1880, Bishop Ignace Bourget called for Durocher’s canonization, saying: “I invoke her aid as a saint for myself, and I hope that the Lord will glorify her before men by having the church award her the honours of the altar.” On 9 November 1927, Alphonse-Emmanuel Deschamps, Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal, appointed an ecclesiastical tribunal to enquire into the possible canonisation of Durocher. The tribunal was empowered by ecclesiastical mandate to collect anything written by Durocher, and called upon Roman Catholics of Montreal to produce any privately held documents in accordance with that mandate. The evidence gathered by the tribunal was collected in a positio, which was then taken to Rome for presentation to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

On 2 October 1972 the cause for her beatification was officially introduced by Pope Paul VI, bestowing upon Durocher the title of “Servant of God”. On 13 July 1979 a declaration was made with respect to Durocher’s heroic virtues, resulting in Durocher receiving the title “Venerable”. On 23 May 1982 she was beatified by decree of Pope John Paul II. The decree was made before a crowd in St Peter’s Square in Rome. Beatification is the third of four steps on the path to Roman Catholic sainthood, and bestows the title of “Blessed” upon Durocher. Durocher’s feast day is celebrated on 6 October.

Several alleged miracles have been posthumously connected with Durocher. In 1946, a Detroit man, Benjamin Modzell, was crushed against a wall by a truck and pronounced dead. He was reported to recover after prayers were made invoking Durocher. This incident was the primary miracle upon which Durocher’s beatification was based.

In 1973, sisters at their Spokane, Washington, convent claimed to have a stopped a fire at a chapel in Fort Wright College by invoking Durocher through prayer. The fire, which started in Spokane River gorge, was approaching the campus when the sisters tacked Durocher’s picture to trees and prayed to her for help. Flames were reportedly within 15 feet of the chapel, with smoke filling the interior, when the fire changed direction. Similarly, in 1979, Frank Carr, the owner of a lake resort in Tonasket, Washington, observed an uncontrolled wildfire change direction after he tossed a picture of Durocher into the flames. Said Carr, “All I know is that we threw in the picture and the wind changed. There’s no question the fire would have taken the orchard, some farm houses and the resort if it hadn’t turned.”

Durocher is commemorated in a stained glass window in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal, where she is depicted alongside Frances Xavier Cabrini and Andre Bessette. The College Durocher St Lambert, Quebec, is named after Durocher, as is the Eulalie Durocher High School in Montreal. Durocher Hall at Holy Names University Oakland, California, is one building named in her honor, as is Durocher Pavilion on the grounds of St. Cecilia Parish in San Francisco.

Source: Wikipedia