Janurius, B & M

+Luke 7:31-35

‘We played the pipes, and you wouldn’t dance’

Jesus said to the people:

‘What description can I find for the men of this generation? What are they like? They are like children shouting to one another while they sit in the market-place:

‘“We played the pipes for you,

and you wouldn’t dance;

we sang dirges,

and you wouldn’t cry.”

‘For John the Baptist comes, not eating bread, not drinking wine, and you say, “He is possessed.” The Son of Man comes, eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet Wisdom has been proved right by all her children.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Faith

2087 Our moral life has its source in faith in God who reveals his love to us. St. Paul speaks of the “obedience of faith” as our first obligation. He shows that “ignorance of God” is the principle and explanation of all moral deviations. Our duty toward God is to believe in him and to bear witness to him.

2088 The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith:

Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.

2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”


Psalm 32(33):2-5,12,22

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

Give thanks to the Lord upon the harp,

with a ten-stringed lute sing him songs.

O sing him a song that is new,

play loudly, with all your skill.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

For the word of the Lord is faithful

and all his works to be trusted.

The Lord loves justice and right

and fills the earth with his love.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

They are happy, whose God is the Lord,

the people he has chosen as his own.

May your love be upon us, O Lord,

as we place all our hope in you.

Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.

Source: Jerusalem Bible


Januarius (Latin: Ianuarius; Italian: Gennaro), also known as Januarius I of Benevento, was Bishop of Benevento and is a martyr and saint of the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. While no contemporary sources on his life are preserved, later sources and legends claim that he died during the Great Persecution which ended with Diocletian’s retirement in 305.

Januarius is the patron saint of Naples, where the faithful gather three times a year in Naples Cathedral to witness the liquefaction of what is claimed to be a sample of his blood kept in a sealed glass ampoule.

Life

Little is known of the life of Januarius, and what follows is mostly derived from later Christian sources, such as the Acta Bononensia (BHL 4132, not earlier than 6th century) and the Acta Vaticana (BHL 4115, 9th century), and from later-developing folk tradition.

Legend

According to various hagiographies, Januarius was born in Benevento to a rich patrician family that traced its descent to the Caudini tribe of the Samnites. At a young age of 15, he became local priest of his parish in Benevento, which at the time was relatively pagan. When Januarius was 20, he became Bishop of Naples and befriended Juliana of Nicomedia and Saint Sossius whom he met during his priestly studies. During the ​1 1⁄2-year-long persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian, he hid his fellow Christians and prevented them from being caught. Unfortunately, while visiting Sossius in jail, he too was arrested. He and his colleagues were condemned to be thrown to wild bears in the Flavian Amphitheater at Pozzuoli, but the sentence was changed due to fear of public disturbances, and they were instead beheaded at the Solfatara crater near Pozzuoli.Other legends state either that the wild beasts refused to eat them, or that he was thrown into a furnace but came out unscathed.

History

The earliest extant mention of him is contained in a 432 letter by Uranius, bishop of Nola, on the death of his mentor Saint Paulinus of Nola, where it is stated that the ghosts of Januarius and Saint Martin appeared to Paulinus three days before the latter’s death in 431. About Januarius, the account says only that he was “bishop as well as martyr, an illustrious member of the Neapolitan church”. The Acta Bononensia says that “At Pozzuoli in Campania [is honored the memory] of the holy martyrs Januarius, Bishop of Beneventum, Festus his deacon, and Desiderius lector, together with Sossius deacon of the church of Misenum, Proculus, deacon of Pozzuoli, Eutyches, and Acutius, who after chains and imprisonment were beheaded under the emperor Diocletian”.

Legacy

Celebrations

The Feast of St Januarius or San Gennaro is celebrated on 19 September in the calendar of the Catholic Church. In the Eastern Church, it is celebrated on 21 April. The city of Naples has more than fifty official patron saints, although its principal patron is Saint Januarius.

In the United States, the “Feast of San Gennaro” is also a highlight of the year for New York’s Little Italy, with the saint’s polychrome statue carried through the middle of a street fair stretching for blocks.

Relics

According to an early hagiography, Januarius’s relics were transferred by order of Saint Severus, Bishop of Naples, to the Neapolitan catacombs “outside the walls” (extra moenia). In the early ninth century the body was moved to Beneventum by Sico, prince of Benevento, with the head remaining in Naples. Subsequently, during the turmoil at the time of Frederick Barbarossa, his body was moved again, this time to the Territorial Abbey of Montevergine where it was rediscovered in 1480.

At the instigation of Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, his body was finally transferred in 1497 to Naples, where he is the city’s patron saint. Carafa commissioned a richly decorated crypt, the Succorpo, beneath the cathedral to house the reunited body and head properly. The Succorpo was finished in 1506 and is considered one of the prominent monuments of the High Renaissance in the city.

Blood

Saint Januarius is famous for the alleged miracle of the annual liquefaction of his blood, which, according to legend, was saved by a woman called Eusebia just after the saint’s death. A chronicle of Naples written in 1382 describes the cult of Saint Januarius in detail, but mentions neither the relic nor the miracle.The first certain date is 1389, when it was found to have melted. Then, over the following two and a half centuries official reports began to appear declaring that the blood spontaneously melted, at first once a year, then twice, and finally three times a year. While the report of the very first incidence of liquefaction did not make any explicit reference to the skull of the saint, soon afterwards assertions began to appear that this relic was activating the melting process, as if the blood, recognizing a part of the body to which it belonged, “were impatient while waiting for its resurrection”. This explanation was definitively abandoned only in the eighteenth century.

Thousands of people assemble to witness this event in Naples Cathedral three times a year: on September 19 (Saint Januarius’s Day, commemorating his martyrdom), on December 16 (celebrating his patronage of Naples and its archdiocese), and on the Saturday before the first Sunday of May (commemorating the reunification of his relics).

The blood is also said to spontaneously liquefy at certain other times, such as papal visits. It liquefied in the presence of Pope Pius IX in 1848, but not that of John Paul II in 1979 or Benedict XVI in 2007. On March 21, 2015, Pope Francis venerated the dried blood during a visit to Naples Cathedral, saying the Lord’s Prayer over it and kissing it. Archbishop Sepe then declared that “The blood has half liquefied, which shows that Saint Januarius loves our pope and Naples.” Francis replied, “The bishop just announced that the blood half liquefied. We can see the saint only half loves us. We must all spread the Word, so that he loves us more!”

Ritual of liquefaction

The blood is stored in two hermetically sealed small ampoules, held since the 17th century in a silver reliquary between two round glass plates about 12 cm wide. The smaller ampoule (of cylindrical shape) contains only a few reddish spots on its walls, the bulk having allegedly been removed and taken to Spain by Charles III. The larger ampoule, with capacity of about 60 ml and almond-shaped, is about 60% filled with a dark reddish substance. Separate reliquaries hold bone fragments believed to belong to Saint Januarius.

For most of the time, the ampoules are kept in a bank vault, whose keys are held by a commission of local notables, including the Mayor of Naples; while the bones are kept in a crypt under the main altar of Naples Cathedral. On feast days, all these relics are taken in procession from the cathedral to the Monastery of Santa Chiara, where the archbishop holds the reliquary up and tilts it to show that the contents are solid, and places it on the high altar next to the saint’s other relics. After intense prayers by the faithful, including the so-called “relatives of Saint Januarius” (parenti di San Gennaro), the content of the larger vial typically liquefies. The archbishop then holds up the vial and tilts it again to demonstrate that liquefaction has taken place. The announcement of the liquefaction is greeted with a 21-gun salute at the 13th-century Castel Nuovo. The ampoules remain exposed on the altar for eight days, while the priests move or turn them periodically to show that the contents remain liquid.Sir Francis Ronalds gives a detailed description of the May 1819 ritual in his travel journal.

The liquefaction sometimes takes place almost immediately, but can take hours or even days. Records kept at the Duomo tell that on rare occasions the contents fail to liquefy, are found already liquefied when the ampoules are taken from the safe, or liquefy outside the usual dates.

Scientific studies

While the Catholic Church has always supported the celebrations, it has never formulated an official statement on the phenomenon and maintains a neutral stance about scientific investigations. It does not permit the vials to be opened, for fear that doing so may cause irreparable damage. This makes close analysis impossible. Nevertheless, a spectroscopic analysis performed in 1902 by Gennaro Sperindeo claimed that the spectrum was consistent with hemoglobin. A later analysis, with similar conclusions, was carried out by a team in 1989. However, the reliability of these observations has been questioned. While clotted blood can be liquefied by mechanical stirring, the resulting suspension cannot solidify again.

Measurements made in 1900 and 1904 claimed that the ampoules’ weight increased by up to 28 grams during liquefaction. However, later measurements with a precision balance, performed over five years, failed to detect any variation.

Various suggestions for the content’s composition have been advanced, such as a material that is photosensitive, hygroscopic, or has a low melting point. However, these explanations run into technical difficulties, such as the variability of the phenomenon and its lack of correlation to ambient temperature.

A recent hypothesis by Garlaschelli & al. is that the vial contains a thixotropic gel, In such a substance viscosity increases if left unstirred and decreases if stirred or moved. Researchers have proposed specifically a suspension of hydrated iron oxide, FeO(OH), which reproduces the color and behavior of the ‘blood’ in the ampoule. The suspension can be prepared from simple chemicals that would have been easily available locally since antiquity.

In 2010, Giuseppe Geraci, a professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Naples’s Frederick II University, conducted an experiment on a vial containing old blood—a relic dating back to the 18th century from the Eremo di Camaldoli near Arezzo in Tuscany—having the same characteristics of the blood of St. Januarius. Prof. Geraci showed that the Camaldoli relic also contains blood that can change its solid-liquid phase by shaking. He further reproduced the phenomenon with his own blood stored in the same conditions as the Camaldoli relic. He stated that, “There is no univocal scientific fact that explains why these changes take place. It is not enough to attribute to the movement the ability to dissolve the blood, the liquid contained in the Treasure case changes state for reasons still to be identified.” He ultimately argued that “there’s blood, no miracle”.

Similar rites

Although Naples became known as “City of Blood” (urbs sanguinum), legends of blood liquefaction are not a unique phenomenon. Other examples include vials of the blood of Saint Patricia, of St John the Baptist in the monastery of San Gregorio Armeno, and of Saint Pantaleon in Ravello. In all, the church has recognized claims of miraculous liquefying blood for seven or about twenty saints from Campania and virtually nowhere else. The blood cults of the other saints have been discontinued since the 16th century, which Randi takes as evidence that local artisans or alchemists had a secret recipe for manufacturing this type of relic. A team of three Italian chemistsmanaged to create a liquid that reproduces all the characteristics and behavior of the liquid in the vial, using only local materials and techniques that were known to medieval workers. Jordan Lancaster leaves open the possibility that the practice was a Christian survival of a pagan ritual intended to protect the locals from unexpected eruptions from Vesuvius.

Museum of the Treasure of St. Januarius

The Treasure of St Januarius is composed of magnificent works and donations collected in seven centuries of Popes, Kings, Emperors, famous and ordinary people. According to studies done by a pool of experts who have analyzed all the pieces of the collection, the Treasure of St Januarius would be even richer than the crown of England’s Queen Elizabeth II and the Czars of Russia. The Treasure is a unique collection of art masterpieces, kept untouched thanks to the Deputation of the Chapel of St Januarius, an ancient secular institution founded in 1527 by a vote of the city of Naples, still existing. Today, the Treasure is exhibited in the Museum of the Treasure of St Januarius, whose entrance is located on the right side of the Dome of Naples, under the arcades. By visiting the Museum, you can access the Chapel of St. Gennaro even during the closing hours of the Cathedral.

Source: Wikipedia

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The Most Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

+Luke 6:20-26

Happy are you who are poor, who are hungry, who weep

Fixing his eyes on his disciples Jesus said:

‘How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God.

Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.

Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.

Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.

‘But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.

Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.

Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.

‘Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.’

The New American Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Beatitudes

1716 The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven.

1717 The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ’s disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.


Psalm 44

For the leader. A maskil of the Korahites.

O God, we have heard with our own ears; our ancestors have told us The deeds you did in their days, with your own hand in days of old:

You rooted out nations to plant them, crushed peoples to make room for them.

Not with their own swords did they conquer the land, nor did their own arms bring victory; It was your right hand, your own arm, the light of your face for you favored them.

You are my king and my God, who bestows victories on Jacob.

Through you we batter our foes; through your name, trample our adversaries.

Not in my bow do I trust, nor does my sword bring me victory.

You have brought us victory over our enemies, shamed those who hate us.

In God we have boasted all the day long; your name we will praise forever. Selah

But now you have rejected and disgraced us; you do not march out with our armies.

You make us retreat before the foe; those who hate us plunder us at will.

You hand us over like sheep to be slaughtered, scatter us among the nations.

You sell your people for nothing; you make no profit from their sale.

You make us the reproach of our neighbors, the mockery and scorn of those around us.

You make us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us.

All day long my disgrace is before me; shame has covered my face

At the sound of those who taunt and revile, at the sight of the spiteful enemy.

All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, nor been disloyal to your covenant.

Our hearts have not turned back, nor have our steps strayed from your path.

Yet you have left us crushed, desolate in a place of jackals; you have covered us with darkness.

If we had forgotten the name of our God, stretched out our hands to another god,

Would not God have discovered this, God who knows the secrets of the heart?

For you we are slain all the day long, considered only as sheep to be slaughtered.

Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Rise up! Do not reject us forever!

Why do you hide your face; why forget our pain and misery?

We are bowed down to the ground; our bodies are pressed to the earth.

Rise up, help us! Redeem us as your love demands.

Source: The New American Bible

Wednesday of the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 4:38-44

He would not allow them to speak because they knew he was the Christ

Leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever and they asked him to do something for her. Leaning over her he rebuked the fever and it left her. And she immediately got up and began to wait on them.

At sunset all those who had friends suffering from diseases of one kind or another brought them to him, and laying his hands on each he cured them. Devils too came out of many people, howling, ‘You are the Son of God.’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.

When daylight came he left the house and made his way to a lonely place. The crowds went to look for him, and when they had caught up with him they wanted to prevent him leaving them, but he answered, ‘I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do.’ And he continued his preaching in the synagogues of Judaea.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Only Son Of God

441 In the Old Testament, “son of God” is a title given to the angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their kings. It signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of particular intimacy between God and his creature. When the promised Messiah-King is called “son of God”, it does not necessarily imply that he was more than human, according to the literal meaning of these texts. Those who called Jesus “son of God”, as the Messiah of Israel, perhaps meant nothing more than this.

442 Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, for Jesus responds solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Similarly Paul will write, regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, “When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles. . .” “And in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.'” From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ’s divine sonship will be the center of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church’s foundation.

443 Peter could recognize the transcendent character of the Messiah’s divine sonship because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood. To his accusers’ question before the Sanhedrin, “Are you the Son of God, then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am.” Well before this, Jesus referred to himself as “the Son” who knows the Father, as distinct from the “servants” God had earlier sent to his people; he is superior even to the angels. He distinguished his sonship from that of his disciples by never saying “our Father”, except to command them: “You, then, pray like this: ‘Our Father'”, and he emphasized this distinction, saying “my Father and your Father”.

444 The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his “beloved Son”. Jesus calls himself the “only Son of God”, and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence. He asks for faith in “the name of the only Son of God”. In the centurion’s exclamation before the crucified Christ, “Truly this man was the Son of God”, that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title “Son of God” its full meaning.

445 After his Resurrection, Jesus’ divine sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity. He was “designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”. The apostles can confess: “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”


Psalm 32(33):12-15,20-21

Of David. A maskil. 1 Happy the sinner whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven.

Happy those to whom the LORD imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no deceit.

As long as I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all the day.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength withered as in dry summer heat. Selah

Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin. Selah

Thus should all your faithful pray in time of distress. Though flood waters threaten, they will never reach them.

You are my shelter; from distress you keep me; with safety you ring me round. Selah

I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel and watch over you.

Do not be senseless like horses or mules; with bit and bridle their temper is curbed, else they will not come to you.

Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just; exult, all you upright of heart.

Source: The New American Bible


Mother Teresa, known in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Albanian: [aˈɲɛzə ˈɡɔndʒɛ bɔjaˈdʒiu]; 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. She was born in Skopje (now the capital of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Macedonia for eighteen years she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.

In 1950 Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation which had over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s- and family-counselling programmes; orphanages, and schools. Members, who take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, also profess a fourth vow: to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”.

Teresa received a number of honours, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. She was canonised (recognised by the church as a saint) on 4 September 2016, and the anniversary of her death (5 September) is her feast day.

A controversial figure during her life and after her death, Teresa was admired by many for her charitable work. She was praised and criticised for her opposition to abortion, and criticised for poor conditions in her houses for the dying. Her authorised biography was written by Navin Chawla and published in 1992, and she has been the subject of films and other books. On September 6, 2017, Teresa was named co-patron of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta, alongside St. Francis Xavier.

Early life

Teresa was born Anjezë Gonxhe (or Gonxha) Bojaxhiu (Albanian: [aˈɲɛzə ˈɡɔndʒɛ bɔjaˈdʒiu]; Anjezë is a cognate of “Agnes”; Gonxhe means “rosebud” or “little flower” in Albanian) on 26 August 1910 into a Kosovar Albanian family in Skopje (now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia), Ottoman Empire. She was baptized in Skopje, the day after her birth. She later considered 27 August, the day she was baptised, her “true birthday”.

She was the youngest child of Nikollë and Dranafile Bojaxhiu (Bernai). Her father, who was involved in Albanian-community politics in Macedonia, died in 1919 when she was eight years old. He may have been from Prizren, Kosovo, and her mother may have been from a village near Gjakova.

According to a biography by Joan Graff Clucas, during her early years Teresa was fascinated by stories of the lives of missionaries and their service in Bengal; by age 12, she was convinced that she should commit herself to religious life. Her resolve strengthened on 15 August 1928 as she prayed at the shrine of the Black Madonna of Vitina-Letnice, where she often went on pilgrimages.

Teresa left home in 1928 at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto at Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland, to learn English with the view of becoming a missionary; English was the language of instruction of the Sisters of Loreto in India. She never saw her mother or her sister again. Her family lived in Skopje until 1934, when they moved to Tirana.

She arrived in India in 1929 and began her novitiate in Darjeeling, in the lower Himalayas, where she learnt Bengali and taught at St. Teresa’s School near her convent. Teresa took her first religious vows on 24 May 1931. She chose to be named after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries; because a nun in the convent had already chosen that name, Agnes opted for its Spanish spelling (Teresa).

Teresa took her solemn vows on 14 May 1937 while she was a teacher at the Loreto convent school in Entally, eastern Calcutta. She served there for nearly twenty years, and was appointed its headmistress in 1944. Although Teresa enjoyed teaching at the school, she was increasingly disturbed by the poverty surrounding her in Calcutta. The Bengal famine of 1943 brought misery and death to the city, and the August 1946 Direct Action Day began a period of Muslim-Hindu violence.

Missionaries of Charity

On 10 September 1946, Teresa experienced what she later described as “the call within the call” when she travelled by train to the Loreto convent in Darjeeling from Calcutta for her annual retreat. “I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.” Joseph Langford later wrote, “Though no one knew it at the time, Sister Teresa had just become Mother Teresa”.

She began missionary work with the poor in 1948, replacing her traditional Loreto habit with a simple, white cotton sari with a blue border. Teresa adopted Indian citizenship, spent several months in Patna to receive basic medical training at Holy Family Hospital and ventured into the slums.She founded a school in Motijhil, Kolkata, before she began tending to the poor and hungry.At the beginning of 1949 Teresa was joined in her effort by a group of young women, and she laid the foundation for a new religious community helping the “poorest among the poor”.

Her efforts quickly caught the attention of Indian officials, including the prime minister. Teresa wrote in her diary that her first year was fraught with difficulty. With no income, she begged for food and supplies and experienced doubt, lonelinessand the temptation to return to the comfort of convent life during these early months:

Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross. Today, I learned a good lesson. The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them. While looking for a home I walked and walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking for a home, food and health. Then, the comfort of Loreto [her former congregation] came to tempt me. “You have only to say the word and all that will be yours again”, the Tempter kept on saying … Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard. I did not let a single tear come.

On 7 October 1950, Teresa received Vatican permission for the diocesan congregation which would become the Missionaries of Charity. In her words, it would care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone”. By 1997 the 13-member Calcutta congregation had grown to more than 4,000 sisters who managed orphanages, AIDS hospices and charity centres worldwide, caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine.

In 1952, Teresa opened her first hospice with help from Calcutta officials. She converted an abandoned Hindu temple into the Kalighat Home for the Dying, free for the poor, and renamed it Kalighat, the Home of the Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday). Those brought to the home received medical attention and the opportunity to die with dignity in accordance with their faith: Muslims were read the Quran, Hindus received water from the Ganges, and Catholics received extreme unction. “A beautiful death”, Teresa said, “is for people who lived like animals to die like angels—loved and wanted.”

She opened a hospice for those with leprosy, calling it Shanti Nagar (City of Peace). The Missionaries of Charity established leprosy-outreach clinics throughout Calcutta, providing medication, dressings and food.The Missionaries of Charity took in an increasing number of homeless children; in 1955 Teresa opened Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, the Children’s Home of the Immaculate Heart, as a haven for orphans and homeless youth.

The congregation began to attract recruits and donations, and by the 1960s it had opened hospices, orphanages and leper houses throughout India. Teresa then expanded the congregation abroad, opening a house in Venezuela in 1965 with five sisters. Houses followed in Italy (Rome), Tanzania and Austria in 1968, and during the 1970s the congregation opened houses and foundations in the United States and dozens of countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

The Missionaries of Charity Brothers was founded in 1963, and a contemplative branch of the Sisters followed in 1976. Lay Catholics and non-Catholics were enrolled in the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa, the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, and the Lay Missionaries of Charity. Responding to requests by many priests, in 1981 Mother Teresa founded the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests and (with priest Joseph Langford) the Missionaries of Charity Fathers in 1984 to combine the vocational aims of the Missionaries of Charity with the resources of the priesthood. By 2007 the Missionaries of Charity numbered about 450 brothers and 5,000 sisters worldwide, operating 600 missions, schools and shelters in 120 countries.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Beheading of John the Baptist, M

+Mark 6:17-29

The beheading of John the Baptist

Herod sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.’ As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.

An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.’ And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ The girl hurried straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.’ The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Judgment Of Conscience

1777 Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.

1778 Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law:

Conscience is a law of the mind; yet [Christians] would not grant that it is nothing more; I mean that it was not a dictate, nor conveyed the notion of responsibility, of duty, of a threat and a promise. . . . [Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by his representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ.

1779 It is important for every person to be sufficiently present to himself in order to hear and follow the voice of his conscience. This requirement of interiority is all the more necessary as life often distracts us from any reflection, self-examination or introspection:

Return to your conscience, question it. . . . Turn inward, brethren, and in everything you do, see God as your witness.

1780 The dignity of the human person implies and requires uprightness of moral conscience. Conscience includes the perception of the principles of morality (synderesis); their application in the given circumstances by practical discernment of reasons and goods; and finally judgment about concrete acts yet to be performed or already performed. The truth about the moral good, stated in the law of reason, is recognized practically and concretely by the prudent judgment of conscience. We call that man prudent who chooses in conformity with this judgment.

1781 Conscience enables one to assume responsibility for the acts performed. If man commits evil, the just judgment of conscience can remain within him as the witness to the universal truth of the good, at the same time as the evil of his particular choice. The verdict of the judgment of conscience remains a pledge of hope and mercy. In attesting to the fault committed, it calls to mind the forgiveness that must be asked, the good that must still be practiced, and the virtue that must be constantly cultivated with the grace of God:

We shall . . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”


Psalm 127

A song of ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build. Unless the LORD guard the city, in vain does the guard keep watch.

It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night, To eat bread earned by hard toil –  all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.

Children too are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one’s youth.

Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate.

Source: The New American Bible

Queenship of Mary

+Matthew 20:1-16

Why be envious because I am generous?

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and said to them, “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.” So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” “Because no one has hired us” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too.” In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.” So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it, but grumbled at the landowner. “The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

ABBA – “FATHER!”

2779 Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord’s Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn “from this world.” Humility makes us recognize that “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,” that is, “to little children.” The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God. God our Father transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own ideas in this area “upon him” would be to fabricate idols to adore or pull down. To pray to the Father is to enter into his mystery as he is and as the Son has revealed him to us.

The expression God the Father had never been revealed to anyone. When Moses himself asked God who he was, he heard another name. The Father’s name has been revealed to us in the Son, for the name “Son” implies the new name “Father.”

2780 We can invoke God as “Father” because he is revealed to us by his Son become man and because his Spirit makes him known to us. The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God.

2781 When we pray to the Father, we are in communion with him and with his Son, Jesus Christ.Then we know and recognize him with an ever new sense of wonder. The first phrase of the Our Father is a blessing of adoration before it is a supplication. For it is the glory of God that we should recognize him as “Father,” the true God. We give him thanks for having revealed his name to us, for the gift of believing in it, and for the indwelling of his Presence in us.

2782 We can adore the Father because he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son: by Baptism, he incorporates us into the Body of his Christ; through the anointing of his Spirit who flows from the head to the members, he makes us other “Christs.”

God, indeed, who has predestined us to adoption as his sons, has conformed us to the glorious Body of Christ. So then you who have become sharers in Christ are appropriately called “Christs.”

The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, “Father!” because he has now begun to be a son.

2783 Thus the Lord’s Prayer reveals us to ourselves at the same time that it reveals the Father to us.

O man, you did not dare to raise your face to heaven, you lowered your eyes to the earth, and suddenly you have received the grace of Christ all your sins have been forgiven. From being a wicked servant you have become a good son. . . . Then raise your eyes to the Father who has begotten you through Baptism, to the Father who has redeemed you through his Son, and say: “Our Father. . . . ” But do not claim any privilege. He is the Father in a special way only of Christ, but he is the common Father of us all, because while he has begotten only Christ, he has created us. Then also say by his grace, “Our Father,” so that you may merit being his son.

2784 The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion and new life. Praying to our Father should develop in us two fundamental dispositions:

First, the desire to become like him: though created in his image, we are restored to his likeness by grace; and we must respond to this grace.

We must remember . . . and know that when we call God “our Father” we ought to behave as sons of God.

You cannot call the God of all kindness your Father if you preserve a cruel and inhuman heart; for in this case you no longer have in you the marks of the heavenly Father’s kindness.

We must contemplate the beauty of the Father without ceasing and adorn our own souls accordingly.

2785 Second, a humble and trusting heart that enables us “to turn and become like children”: for it is to “little children” that the Father is revealed.

[The prayer is accomplished] by the contemplation of God alone, and by the warmth of love, through which the soul, molded and directed to love him, speaks very familiarly to God as to its own Father with special devotion.

Our Father: at this name love is aroused in us . . . and the confidence of obtaining what we are about to ask. . . . What would he not give to his children who ask, since he has already granted them the gift of being his children?


Psalm 22

For the leader; according to “The deer of the dawn.” A psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?

My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel.

In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.

To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

But I am a worm, hardly human, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.

All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me:

“You relied on the LORD – let him deliver you; if he loves you, let him rescue you.”

Yet you drew me forth from the womb, made me safe at my mother’s breast.

Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since birth you are my God.

Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.

Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar.

Like water my life drains away; all my bones grow soft. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.

As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death.

Many dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. So wasted are my hands and feet

that I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat;

they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.

Deliver me from the sword, my forlorn life from the teeth of the dog.

Save me from the lion’s mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.

Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you:

“You who fear the LORD, give praise! All descendants of Jacob, give honor; show reverence, all descendants of Israel!

For God has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.

I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.

The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!”

All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before you.

For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.

All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.

And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.

The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.

Source: The New American Bible


Queen of Heaven is a title given to Mary, mother of Jesus, by Christians mainly of the Roman Catholic Church, and also, to some extent, in Anglicanism[1][2][3][4] and Eastern Orthodoxy. The title is a consequence of the First Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, in which Mary was proclaimed “Theotokos”, a title rendered in Latin as Mater Dei, in English “Mother of God”.

The Catholic teaching on this subject is expressed in the papal encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, issued by Pope Pius XII.[5] It states that Mary is called Queen of Heaven because her son, Jesus Christ, is the king of Israel and heavenly king of the universe; indeed, the Davidic tradition of Israel recognized the mother of the king as the Queen Mother of Israel.

The title, Queen of Heaven, has long been a Catholic tradition, included in prayers and devotional literature, and seen in Western art in the subject of the Coronation of the Virgin, from the High Middle Ages, long before it was given a formal definition status by the Church.

Source: Wikipedia

Assumption

Luke 1:39-56

The Almighty has done great things for me

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

And Mary said:

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

and my spirit exults in God my saviour;

because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.

Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,

for the Almighty has done great things for me.

Holy is his name,

and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.

He has shown the power of his arm,

he has routed the proud of heart.

He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.

He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy

– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –

of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

In communion with the holy Mother of God

2673 In prayer the Holy Spirit unites us to the person of the only Son, in his glorified humanity, through which and in which our filial prayer unites us in the Church with the Mother of Jesus.

2674 Mary gave her consent in faith at the Annunciation and maintained it without hesitation at the foot of the Cross. Ever since, her motherhood has extended to the brothers and sisters of her Son “who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties.” Jesus, the only mediator, is the way of our prayer; Mary, his mother and ours, is wholly transparent to him: she “shows the way” (hodigitria), and is herself “the Sign” of the way, according to the traditional iconography of East and West.

2675 Beginning with Mary’s unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the holy Mother of God, centering it on the person of Christ manifested in his mysteries. In countless hymns and antiphons expressing this prayer, two movements usually alternate with one another: the first “magnifies” the Lord for the “great things” he did for his lowly servant and through her for all human beings the second entrusts the supplications and praises of the children of God to the Mother of Jesus, because she now knows the humanity which, in her, the Son of God espoused.

2676 This twofold movement of prayer to Mary has found a privileged expression in the Ave Maria:

Hail Mary [or Rejoice, Mary]: the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer. It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her.

Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: These two phrases of the angel’s greeting shed light on one another. Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace. “Rejoice . . . O Daughter of Jerusalem . . . the Lord your God is in your midst.” Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is “the dwelling of God . . . with men.” Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world.

Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. After the angel’s greeting, we make Elizabeth’s greeting our own. “Filled with the Holy Spirit,” Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary “blessed.” “Blessed is she who believed. . . . “34 Mary is “blessed among women” because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord’s word. Abraham. because of his faith, became a blessing for all the nations of the earth.35 Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God’s own blessing: Jesus, the “fruit of thy womb.”

2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: “Let it be to me according to your word.” By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: “Thy will be done.”

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the “Mother of Mercy,” the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender “the hour of our death” wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son’s death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing38 to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.

2678 Medieval piety in the West developed the prayer of the rosary as a popular substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours. In the East, the litany called the Akathistos and the Paraclesis remained closer to the choral office in the Byzantine churches, while the Armenian, Coptic, and Syriac traditions preferred popular hymns and songs to the Mother of God. But in the Ave Maria, the theotokia, the hymns of St. Ephrem or St. Gregory of Narek, the tradition of prayer is basically the same.

2679 Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.


Psalm 44

For the leader. A maskil of the Korahites.

O God, we have heard with our own ears; our ancestors have told us The deeds you did in their days, with your own hand in days of old:

You rooted out nations to plant them, crushed peoples to make room for them.

Not with their own swords did they conquer the land, nor did their own arms bring victory; It was your right hand, your own arm, the light of your face for you favored them.

You are my king and my God, who bestows victories on Jacob.

Through you we batter our foes; through your name, trample our adversaries.

Not in my bow do I trust, nor does my sword bring me victory.

You have brought us victory over our enemies, shamed those who hate us.

In God we have boasted all the day long; your name we will praise forever. Selah

But now you have rejected and disgraced us; you do not march out with our armies.

You make us retreat before the foe; those who hate us plunder us at will.

You hand us over like sheep to be slaughtered, scatter us among the nations.

You sell your people for nothing; you make no profit from their sale.

You make us the reproach of our neighbors, the mockery and scorn of those around us.

You make us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us.

All day long my disgrace is before me; shame has covered my face

At the sound of those who taunt and revile, at the sight of the spiteful enemy.

All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, nor been disloyal to your covenant.

Our hearts have not turned back, nor have our steps strayed from your path.

Yet you have left us crushed, desolate in a place of jackals; you have covered us with darkness.

If we had forgotten the name of our God, stretched out our hands to another god,

Would not God have discovered this, God who knows the secrets of the heart?

For you we are slain all the day long, considered only as sheep to be slaughtered.

Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Rise up! Do not reject us forever!

Why do you hide your face; why forget our pain and misery?

We are bowed down to the ground; our bodies are pressed to the earth.

Rise up, help us! Redeem us as your love demands.

Source: The New American Bible


The Assumption of Mary into Heaven (often shortened to the Assumption) is, according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy, as well as parts of Anglicanism, the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.

The Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory”. This doctrine was dogmatically defined by Pope Pius XII on 1 November 1950, in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus by exercising papal infallibility. While the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church believe in the Dormition of the Theotokos (“the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God”), whether Mary had a physical death has not been dogmatically defined. In Munificentissimus Deus (item 39) Pope Pius XII pointed to the Book of Genesis (3:15) as scriptural support for the dogma in terms of Mary’s victory over sin and death through her intimate association with “the new Adam” (Christ) as also reflected in 1 Corinthians 15:54: “then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory”.

The New Testament contains no explicit narrative about the death or Dormition, nor of the Assumption of Mary, but several scriptural passages have been theologically interpreted to describe the ultimate fate in this and the afterworld of the Mother of Jesus.

In the churches that observe it, the Assumption is a major feast day, commonly celebrated on 15 August. In many countries, the feast is also marked as a Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church.

Source: Wikipedia

Dominic, P

+Matthew 15:21-28

The Canaanite woman debates with Jesus and saves her son

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Marriage under the pedagogy of the Law

1609 In his mercy God has not forsaken sinful man. The punishments consequent upon sin, “pain in childbearing” and toil “in the sweat of your brow,” also embody remedies that limit the damaging effects of sin. After the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one’s own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving.

1610 Moral conscience concerning the unity and indissolubility of marriage developed under the pedagogy of the old law. In the Old Testament the polygamy of patriarchs and kings is not yet explicitly rejected. Nevertheless, the law given to Moses aims at protecting the wife from arbitrary domination by the husband, even though according to the Lord’s words it still carries traces of man’s “hardness of heart” which was the reason Moses permitted men to divorce their wives.

1611 Seeing God’s covenant with Israel in the image of exclusive and faithful married love, the prophets prepared the Chosen People’s conscience for a deepened understanding of the unity and indissolubility of marriage. The books of Ruth and Tobit bear moving witness to an elevated sense of marriage and to the fidelity and tenderness of spouses. Tradition has always seen in the Song of Solomon a unique expression of human love, insofar as it is a reflection of God’s love – a love “strong as death” that “many waters cannot quench.”


Jeremiah 31:10-12,13

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, proclaim it on distant coasts, and say: He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together, he guards them as a shepherd his flock.

The LORD shall ransom Jacob, he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.

Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion, they shall come streaming to the LORD’S blessings: The grain, the wine, and the oil, the sheep and the oxen; They themselves shall be like watered gardens, never again shall they languish.

Then the virgins shall make merry and dance, and young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.


Saint Dominic (Spanish: Santo Domingo), also known as Dominic of Osma and Dominic of Caleruega, often called Dominic de Guzmán and Domingo Félix de Guzmán (8 August 1170 – 6 August 1221), was a Castilian priest and founder of the Dominican Order. Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers.

Life

Dominic was born in Caleruega, halfway between Osma and Aranda de Duero in Old Castile, Spain. He was named after Saint Dominic of Silos. The Benedictine abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos lies a few miles north of Caleruega.

Birth and parentage

In the earliest narrative source, by Jordan of Saxony, Dominic’s parents are named Felix Guzman and Juanna of Aza. The story is told that before his birth his barren mother made a pilgrimage to the Abbey at Silos, and dreamed that a dog leapt from her womb carrying a torch in its mouth, and “seemed to set the earth on fire”. This story drew resonance from the fact that his order became known, after his name, as the Dominican order, Dominicanus in Latin which a play on words interpreted as Domini canis: “Dog of the Lord.” Jordan adds that Dominic was brought up by his parents and a maternal uncle who was an archbishop. The failure to name his parents is not unusual, since Jordan wrote a history of the Order’s early years, rather than a biography of Dominic. A later source, still of the 13th century, also gives their names as Juana and Felix. Nearly a century after Dominic’s birth, a local author asserted that Dominic’s father was “vir venerabilis et dives in populo suo” (“an honoured and wealthy man in his village”). The travel narrative of Pero Tafur, written circa 1439 (about a pilgrimage to Dominic’s tomb in Italy), states that Dominic’s father belonged to the family de Guzmán, and that his mother belonged to the Aça or Aza family. Dominic’s mother, Jane of Aza, was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1828.

Education and Early Career

Dominic was educated in the schools of Palencia (they became a university soon afterwards) where he devoted six years to the arts and four to theology. In 1191, when Spain was desolated by famine, young Dominic gave away his money and sold his clothes, furniture and even precious manuscripts to feed the hungry. Dominic reportedly told his astonished fellow students, “Would you have me study off these dead skins, when men are dying of hunger?” In 1194, around age twenty-five, Dominic joined the Canons Regular in the canonry in the Cathedral of Osma, following the rule of Saint Augustine.

In 1203 or 1204 he accompanied Diego de Acebo, the Bishop of Osma, on a diplomatic mission for Alfonso VIII, King of Castile, to secure a bride in Denmark for crown prince Ferdinand. The envoys traveled to Denmark via Aragon and the south of France. The marriage negotiations ended successfully, but the princess died before leaving for Castile.

In the south of France, Dominic and Diego de Acebo began a program to convert the Cathars, a Christian religious sect with gnostic and dualistic beliefs, which the Roman Catholic Church deemed heretical; as part of this, Catholic-Cathar public debates were held at Verfeil, Servian, Pamiers, Montréal and elsewhere. Dominic concluded that only preachers who displayed real sanctity, humility and asceticism could win over convinced Cathar believers; the institutional Church as a general rule did not possess these spiritual warrants. However, even Dominic managed only a few converts among the Cathars.

Foundation of the Dominicans

In 1215, Dominic established himself, with six followers, in a house given by Peter Seila, a rich resident of Toulouse. Dominic saw the need for a new type of organization to address the spiritual needs of the growing cities of the era, one that would combine dedication and systematic education, with more organizational flexibility than either monastic orders or the secular clergy. He subjected himself and his companions to the monastic rules of prayer and penance; and meanwhile bishop Foulques gave them written authority to preach throughout the territory of Toulouse.

In the same year, the year of the Fourth Lateran Council, Dominic and Foulques went to Rome to secure the approval of the Pope, Innocent III. Dominic returned to Rome a year later, and was finally granted written authority in December 1216 and January 1217 by the new pope, Honorius III for an order to be named “The Order of Preachers” (“Ordo Praedicatorum”, or “O.P.,” popularly known as the Dominican Order).

Later Life

Blessed Cecilia Caesarini, who was received by Saint Dominic into his new order, in her old age described him as “…thin and of middle height. His face was handsome and somewhat fair. He had reddish hair and beard and beautiful eyes. …His hands were long and fine and his voice pleasingly resonant. He never got bald, though he wore the full tonsure, which was mingled with a few grey hairs.”

Although he traveled extensively to maintain contact with his growing brotherhood of friars, Dominic made his headquarters at Rome. In 1219, Pope Honorius III invited Saint Dominic and his companions to take up residence at the ancient Roman basilica of Santa Sabina, which they did by early 1220. Before that time the friars had only a temporary residence in Rome at the convent of San Sisto Vecchio, which Honorius III had given to Dominic circa 1218, intending it to become a convent for a reformation of nuns at Rome under Dominic’s guidance. The official foundation of the Dominican convent at Santa Sabina with its studium conventuale, the first Dominican studium in Rome, occurred with the legal transfer of property from Pope Honorius III to the Order of Preachers on 5 June 1222, though the brethren had taken up residence there already in 1220. The studium at Santa Sabina was the forerunner of the studium generale at Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The latter would be transformed in the 16th century into the College of Saint Thomas (Latin: Collegium Divi Thomæ), and then in the 20th century into the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum sited at the convent of Saints Dominic and Sixtus.

In the winter of 1216–1217, at the house of Ugolino de’ Conti, he first met William of Montferrat, Dominican friar, afterwards a close friend.

According to Guiraud, Dominic abstained from meat, “observed stated fasts and periods of silence”, “selected the worst accommodations and the meanest clothes”, and “never allowed himself the luxury of a bed”. “When travelling, he beguiled the journey with spiritual instruction and prayers”. Guiraud also states that “as soon as Dominic passed the limits of towns and villages, he took off his shoes, and, however sharp the stones or thorns, he trudged on his way barefooted”, and that “rain and other discomforts elicited from his lips nothing but praises to God”.

Dominic arrived in Bologna on 21 December 1218. A convent was established at the Mascarella church by the Blessed Reginald of Orleans. Soon afterwards they had to move to the church of San Nicolò of the Vineyards. Dominic settled in this church and held here the first two General Chapters of the order.

Dominic died at the age of fifty-one, according to Guiraud “exhausted with the austerities and labours of his career”. He had reached the convent of St Nicholas at Bologna, Italy, “weary and sick with a fever”. Guiraud Guiraud states that Dominic “made the monks lay him on some sacking stretched upon the ground” and that “the brief time that remained to him was spent in exhorting his followers to have charity, to guard their humility, and to make their treasure out of poverty”. He died at noon on 6 August 1221. His body was moved to a simple sarcophagus in 1233. Under the authority of Pope Gregory IX, Dominic was canonized in 1234. In 1267 Dominic’s remains were moved to the shrine, made by Nicola Pisano and his workshop.

Inquisition

What part Dominic personally had in the proceedings of the Medieval Inquisition has been disputed for centuries. The historical sources from Dominic’s own time period reveal nothing about his involvement in the Inquisition.

As one recent historian states, “Was Dominic the first of the inquisitors? The answer is categorically: By no means! Simple chronology suffices to resolve the problem: Dominic died in 1221, and the office of the Inquisition was not established until 1231 in Lombardy and 1234 in Languedoc.”  In fact, several early Dominicans did become inquisitors. But later on, the difference between Dominic and some of his early followers would be obscured. For example, in the 15th century, the Spanish Inquisition commissioned the artist Pedro Berruguete to depict Dominic presiding at an auto da fé. Thus, the Spanish inquisitors promoted a historical legend for the sake of auto-justification.

Reacting against the Spanish tribunals, 16th- and 17th-century Protestant polemicists gladly developed and perpetuated the legend of Dominic the Inquisitor. This image gave German Protestant critics of the Catholic Church an argument against the Dominican Order whose preaching had proven to be a formidable opponent in the lands of the Reformation. As Edward Peters notes, “In Protestant historiography of the sixteenth century a kind of anti-cult of St. Dominic grew up.”

Thus we see how Dominic the Inquisitor, the invention of Catholic and Protestant polemicists, became one of the most famous figures in the Black Legend

Rosary

The spread of the Rosary, a Marian devotion, is attributed to the preaching of Dominic. The Rosary has for centuries been at the heart of the Dominican Order. Pope Pius XI stated, “The Rosary of Mary is the principle and foundation on which the very Order of Saint Dominic rests for making perfect the life of its members and obtaining the salvation of others.” For centuries, Dominicans have been instrumental in spreading the rosary and emphasizing the Catholic belief in the power of the rosary.

The feast of Saint Dominic is celebrated with great pomp and devotion in Malta, in the old city of Birgu and the capital city Valletta. The Dominican order has very strong links with Malta and Pope St. Pius V, a Dominican friar himself, aided the Knights of St. John to build the city of Valletta.

Source: Wikipedia

Alphonsus Liguori, B & D

+Matthew 13:44-46

He sells everything he owns and buys the field

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.

544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”; he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To them – the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.

545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father’s boundless mercy for them and the vast “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”. The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life “for the forgiveness of sins”.

546 Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough, deeds are required. The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? What use has he made of the talents he has received? Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”. For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic.


Psalm 58(59):2-5,10-11,17-18

O God, you have been a refuge in the day of my distress.

Rescue me, God, from my foes;

protect me from those who attack me.

O rescue me from those who do evil

and save me from blood-thirsty men.

O God, you have been a refuge in the day of my distress.

See, they lie in wait for my life;

powerful men band together against me.

For no offence, no sin of mine, Lord,

for no guilt of mine they rush to take their stand.

O God, you have been a refuge in the day of my distress.

O my Strength, it is you to whom I turn,

for you, O God, are my stronghold,

the God who shows me love.

O God, you have been a refuge in the day of my distress.

As for me, I will sing of your strength

and each morning acclaim your love

for you have been my stronghold,

a refuge in the day of my distress.

O God, you have been a refuge in the day of my distress.

O my Strength, it is you to whom I turn,

for you, O God, are my stronghold,

the God who shows me love.

O God, you have been a refuge in the day of my distress.

Source: Jerusalem Bible


Saint Alphonsus Liguori CSsR (1696–1787), sometimes called Alphonsus Maria Liguori, was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, composer, musician, artist, poet, lawyer, scholastic philosopher, and theologian.

He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists). In 1762 he was appointed Bishop of Sant’Agata dei Goti. A prolific writer, he published nine editions of his Moral Theology in his lifetime, in addition to other devotional and ascetic works and letters. Among his best known works are The Glories of Mary and The Way of the Cross, the latter still used in parishes during Lenten devotions.

He was canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1871. One of the most widely read Catholic authors, he is the patron saint of confessors.

Early years

He was born in Marianella, near Naples, then part of the Kingdom of Naples, on 27 September 1696. He was the eldest of eight children of Giuseppe and Anna Cavalieri Liguori. Two days after he was born, he was baptized at the Church of Our Lady the Virgin as Alphonsus Mary Anthony John Cosmas Damian Michael Gaspard de’ Liguori. The family was of noble and ancient lineage, but the branch to which the Saint belonged had become somewhat impoverished. Alphonsus’s father, Don Joseph de’ Liguori, was a naval officer and Captain of the Royal Galleys. His mother was of Spanish descent.

Education

Liguori learned to ride and fence but was never a good shot because of poor eyesight. Myopia and chronic asthma precluded a military career so his father had him educated for the legal profession. He was taught by tutors before entering the University of Naples, where he graduated with doctorates in civil and canon law at 16. He remarked later that he was so small at the time that he was almost buried in his doctor’s gown and that all the spectators laughed. When he was 18, like many other nobles, he joined the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy with whom he assisted in the care of the sick at the hospital for “incurables”.

He became a successful lawyer. He was thinking of leaving the profession and wrote to someone, “My friend, our profession is too full of difficulties and dangers; we lead an unhappy life and run risk of dying an unhappy death”. At 27, after having lost an important case, the first he had lost in eight years of practicing law, he made a firm resolution to leave the profession of law. Moreover, he heard an interior voice saying: “Leave the world, and give yourself to me.”

Career change

In 1723, he decided to offer himself as a novice to the Oratory of St. Philip Neri with the intention of becoming a priest. His father opposed the plan, but after two months (and with his Oratorian confessor’s permission), he and his father compromised: he would study for the priesthood but not as an Oratorian and live at home. He was ordained on 21 December 1726, at 30. He lived his first years as a priest with the homeless and the marginalized youth of Naples. He became very popular because of his plain and simple preaching. He said: “I have never preached a sermon which the poorest old woman in the congregation could not understand”. He founded the Evening Chapels, which were managed by the young people themselves. The chapels were centers of prayer and piety, preaching, community, social activities and education. At the time of his death, there were 72, with over 10,000 active participants. His sermons were very effective at converting those who had been alienated from their faith.

Liguori suffered from scruples much of his adult life and felt guilty about the most minor issues relating to sin.Moreover, the saint viewed scruples as a blessing at times and wrote: “Scruples are useful in the beginning of conversion…. they cleanse the soul, and at the same time make it careful”.

In 1729, Alphonsus left his family home and took up residence in the Chinese Institute in Naples. It was there that he began his missionary experience in the interior regions of the Kingdom of Naples, where he found people who were much poorer and more abandoned than any of the street children in Naples. In 1731, while he was ministering to earthquake victims in the town of Foggia, Alphonsus claimed to have had a vision of the Virgin Mother in the appearance of a young girl of 13 or 14, wearing a white veil.

Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

On 9 November 1732, he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, when Sister Maria Celeste Crostarosa told him that it had been revealed to her that he was the one that God had chosen to found the congregation. He founded the congregation with the charism of preaching popular missions in the city and the countryside. Its goal was to teach and preach in the slums of cities and other poor places. They also fought Jansenism, a heresy that supported a very strict morality: “the penitents should be treated as souls to be saved rather than as criminals to be punished”. He is said never to have refused absolution to a penitent.

A gifted musician and composer, he wrote many popular hymns and taught them to the people in parish missions. In 1732, while he was staying at the Convent of the Consolation, one of his order’s houses in the small city of Deliceto in the province of Foggia in Southeastern Italy, Liguori wrote the Italian carol “Tu scendi dalle stelle” (“From Starry Skies Descending”) in the musical style of a pastorale. The version with Italian lyrics was based on his original song written in Neapolitan, which began Quanno nascette Ninno (When the child was born). As it was traditionally associated with the zampogna, or large-format Italian bagpipe, it became known as Canzone d’i zampognari the (“Carol of the Bagpipers”).

Bishop

Alphonsus was consecrated Bishop of Sant’Agata dei Goti in 1762. He tried to refuse the appointment by using his age and infirmities as arguments against his consecration. He wrote sermons, books, and articles to encourage devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He first addressed ecclesiastical abuses in the diocese, reformed the seminary and spiritually rehabilitated the clergy and faithful. He suspended those priests who celebrated Mass in less than 15 minutes and sold his carriage and episcopal ring to give the money to the poor. In the last years of his life, he suffered a painful sickness and a bitter persecution from his fellow priests, who dismissed him from the Congregation that he had founded.

Death

In 1775, he was allowed to retire from his office and went to live in the Redemptorist community in Pagani, Italy, where he died on 1 August 1787.

Veneration and legacy

He was beatified on 15 September 1816 by Pope Pius VII and canonized on 26 May 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI.

In 1949, the Redemptorists founded the Alphonsian Academy for the advanced study of Catholic moral theology. He was named the patron of confessors and moral theologians by Pope Pius XII on 26 April 1950, who subsequently wrote of him in the encyclical Haurietis aquas.

Works

Overview

Alphonsus was a prolific and popular author. He was proficient in the arts, his parents having had him trained by various masters, and he was a musician, painter, poet and author at the same time. Alphonsus wrote 111 works on spirituality and theology. The 21,500 editions and the translations into 72 languages that his works have undergone attest to the fact that he is one of the most widely-read Catholic authors.

His best known musical work is his Christmas hymn Quanno Nascetti Ninno, later translated into Italian by Pope Pius IX as Tu scendi dalle stelle (“From Starry Skies Thou Comest”).

Moral theology

Alphonsus’ greatest contribution to the Church was in the area of moral theology. His masterpiece was The Moral Theology (1748), which was approved by the Pope himself and was born of Alphonsus’ pastoral experience, his ability to respond to the practical questions posed by the faithful and his contact with their everyday problems. He opposed sterile legalism and strict rigorism. According to him, those were paths closed to the Gospel because “such rigor has never been taught nor practiced by the Church”. His system of moral theology is noted for its prudence, avoiding both laxism and excessive rigor. He is credited with the position of Aequiprobabilism, which avoided Jansenist rigorism as well as laxism and simple probabilism. Since its publication it has remained in Latin, often in 10 volumes or in the combined 4-volume version of Gaudé. It saw only recently its first publication in translation, in an English translation made by Ryan Grant and published in 2017 by Mediatrix Press. The English translation of the work is projected to be around 5 volumes.

Mariology

His Mariology, though mainly pastoral in nature, rediscovered, integrated and defended that of St Augustine of Hippo, St Ambrose of Milan and other fathers; it represented an intellectual defence of Mariology in the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, against the rationalism to which his often flaming Marian enthusiasm contrasted.

The Glories of Mary

Marian Devotion

Prayers to the Divine Mother

Spiritual Songs

The True Spouse of Jesus Christ

Other works

Great Means of Salvation and of Perfection

The Way of Salvation and of Perfection

The Way of the Cross,

The History of Heresies,

Preparation for Death,

The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ

The Holy Eucharist

Victories of the Martyrs

Source: Wikipedia

Camillus de Lellis, P

+Matthew 11:25-27

You have hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to little children

Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Abba – “Father!”

2779 Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord’s Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn “from this world.” Humility makes us recognize that “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,” that is, “to little children.” The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God. God our Father transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own ideas in this area “upon him” would be to fabricate idols to adore or pull down. To pray to the Father is to enter into his mystery as he is and as the Son has revealed him to us.

The expression God the Father had never been revealed to anyone. When Moses himself asked God who he was, he heard another name. The Father’s name has been revealed to us in the Son, for the name “Son” implies the new name “Father.”

2780 We can invoke God as “Father” because he is revealed to us by his Son become man and because his Spirit makes him known to us. The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see: and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God.

2781 When we pray to the Father, we are in communion with him and with his Son, Jesus Christ.Then we know and recognize him with an ever new sense of wonder. The first phrase of the Our Father is a blessing of adoration before it is a supplication. For it is the glory of God that we should recognize him as “Father,” the true God. We give him thanks for having revealed his name to us, for the gift of believing in it, and for the indwelling of his Presence in us.

2782 We can adore the Father because he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son: by Baptism, he incorporates us into the Body of his Christ; through the anointing of his Spirit who flows from the head to the members, he makes us other “Christs.”

God, indeed, who has predestined us to adoption as his sons, has conformed us to the glorious Body of Christ. So then you who have become sharers in Christ are appropriately called “Christs.”

The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, “Father!” because he has now begun to be a son.

2783 Thus the Lord’s Prayer reveals us to ourselves at the same time that it reveals the Father to us.

O man, you did not dare to raise your face to heaven, you lowered your eyes to the earth, and suddenly you have received the grace of Christ all your sins have been forgiven. From being a wicked servant you have become a good son. . . . Then raise your eyes to the Father who has begotten you through Baptism, to the Father who has redeemed you through his Son, and say: “Our Father. . . . ” But do not claim any privilege. He is the Father in a special way only of Christ, but he is the common Father of us all, because while he has begotten only Christ, he has created us. Then also say by his grace, “Our Father,” so that you may merit being his son.

2784 The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion and new life. Praying to our Father should develop in us two fundamental dispositions:

First, the desire to become like him: though created in his image, we are restored to his likeness by grace; and we must respond to this grace.

We must remember . . . and know that when we call God “our Father” we ought to behave as sons of God.

You cannot call the God of all kindness your Father if you preserve a cruel and inhuman heart; for in this case you no longer have in you the marks of the heavenly Father’s kindness.

We must contemplate the beauty of the Father without ceasing and adorn our own souls accordingly.

2785 Second, a humble and trusting heart that enables us “to turn and become like children”:41 for it is to “little children” that the Father is revealed.

[The prayer is accomplished] by the contemplation of God alone, and by the warmth of love, through which the soul, molded and directed to love him, speaks very familiarly to God as to its own Father with special devotion.

Our Father: at this name love is aroused in us . . . and the confidence of obtaining what we are about to ask. . . . What would he not give to his children who ask, since he has already granted them the gift of being his children?


Psalm 93

The LORD is king, robed with majesty; the LORD is robed, girded with might. The world will surely stand in place, never to be moved.

Your throne stands firm from of old; you are from everlasting, LORD.

The flood has raised up, LORD; the flood has raised up its roar; the flood has raised its pounding waves.

More powerful than the roar of many waters, more powerful than the breakers of the sea, powerful in the heavens is the LORD.

Your decrees are firmly established; holiness belongs to your house, LORD, for all the length of days.

Source: The New American Bible


Saint Camillus de Lellis, M.I., (25 May 1550 – 14 July 1614) was a Roman Catholic priest from Italy who founded a religious order dedicated to the care of the sick.

Early life

Camillus de Lellis was born on May 25, 1550, at Bucchianico (now in Abruzzo, then part of the Kingdom of Naples). His mother, Camilla Compelli de Laureto, was nearly fifty when she gave birth to him. His father was an officer in both the Neapolitan and French royal armies and was seldom home. De Lellis had his father’s temper and, due to her age and retiring nature, his mother felt unable to control him as he grew up. She died in 1562. As a consequence he grew up neglected by the family members who took him in after her death. Tall for his age, at 16 De Lellis joined his father in the Venetian army and fought in a war against the Turks.

After a number of years of military service, his regiment was disbanded in 1575. Having gambled away all his possessions, De Lellis took work as a laborer at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia; he was constantly plagued, however, by a leg wound he received while in the army, which would not heal. Despite his aggressive nature and excessive gambling, the guardian of the friary saw a better side to his nature, and continually tried to bring that out in him. Eventually the friar’s exhortations penetrated his heart and he had a religious conversion in 1575. He then entered the novitiate of the Capuchin friars. His leg wound, however, had continued to plague him and was declared incurable by the physicians, thus he was denied admission to that Order.

He then moved to Rome where he entered the San Giacomo Hospital (possibly founded by the Hospitaller Knights of St. James), which cared for incurable cases. He himself became a caregiver at the hospital, and later its Superintendent. In the meantime, he continued to follow a strict ascetic life, performing many penances, such as constant wearing of a hairshirt. He took as his spiritual director and confessor, the popular local priest, Philip Neri, who was himself to found a religious congregation and be declared a saint.

De Lellis began to observe the poor attention the sick received from the staff of the hospital. He was led to invite a group of pious men to express their faith through the care of the patients at the hospital. Eventually he felt called to establish a religious community for this purpose, and that he should seek Holy Orders for this task. Neri, his confessor, gave him approval for this endeavor, and a wealthy donor provided him with the income necessary to undertake his seminary studies.

He was ordained on Pentecost of 1584 by Lord Thomas Goldwell, Bishop of St Asaph, Wales, and the last surviving Catholic bishop of Great Britain. Camillus then retired from his service at the hospital, and he and his companions moved to the Hospital of the Holy Ghost, where they assumed responsibility for the care of the patients there.

Founder

Thus De Lellis established the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm (abbreviated as M.I.), better known as the Camillians. His experience in wars led him to establish a group of health care workers who would assist soldiers on the battlefield. The large, red cross on their cassock remains a symbol of the Congregation today. Camillians today continue to identify themselves with this emblem on their habits, a symbol universally recognized today as the sign of charity and service. This was the original Red Cross, hundreds of years before the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was formed.

During the Battle of Canizza in 1601, while Camillians were helping with the wounded, the tent in which they were tending to the sick and in which they had all of their equipment and supplies was completely destroyed and burned to the ground. Everything in the tent was destroyed except the red cross of a religious habit belonging to one of the Camillians who was ministering to the wounded on the battlefield. This event was taken by the Camillans to manifest divine approval of the Red Cross of St. Camillus.

Members of the Order also devoted themselves to victims of Bubonic plague. It was due to the efforts of the brothers and supernatural healings by de Lellis that the people of Rome credited de Lellis with ridding the city of a great plague and the subsequent famine. For a time, he became known as the “Saint of Rome”.

De Lellis’ concern for the proper treatment of the sick extended to the end of their lives. He had come to be aware of the many cases of people being buried alive, due to haste, and ordered that the Brothers of his Order wait fifteen minutes past the moment when the patient seemed to have drawn his last breath, in order to avoid this.

Expansion

In 1586 Pope Sixtus V gave the group formal recognition as a congregation, and assigned them the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Rome, which they still maintain. In 1588 they expanded to Naples and in 1594 St. Camillus led his Religious to Milan where they attended to the sick of the Ca’ Granda, the main hospital of the city.

Pope Gregory XV raised the Congregation to the status of an Order, equivalent with the mendicant orders, in 1591. At that time they established a fourth religious vow unique to their Order: “to serve the sick, even with danger to one’s own life.”

Throughout his life De Lellis’ ailments caused him suffering, but he allowed no one to wait on him and would crawl to visit the sick when unable to stand and walk. It is said that Camillus possessed the gifts of healing and prophecy. He resigned as Superior General of the Order in 1607, but continued to serve as Vicar General of the Order. By that time, communities of the Order had spread all throughout Italy, even as far as Hungary. He assisted in a General Chapter of the Order in 1613, after which he accompanied the new Superior General on an inspection tour of all the hospitals of the Order in Italy. In the course of that tour, he fell ill. He died in Rome in 1614, and was entombed at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene.

Veneration

Camillus was beatified by Pope Benedict XIV in the year 1742, and canonized by him four years later in 1746.

Popularly, Camillus is the patron saint of the sick, hospitals, nurses and physicians. His assistance is also invoked against gambling.

His mortal remains are located in the altar in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Rome, along with several of his relics. Also on display is the Cross which allegedly spoke to Camillus, and asked him, “Why are you afraid? Do you not realize that this is not your work but mine?” which has become the motto associated with St. Camillus, as well as healthcare workers who were inspired by him.

The Congregation of the Servants of the Sick of St Camillus, the Daughters of St. Camillus, the Secular Institutes of Missionaries of the Sick Christ Our Hope, of the Kamillianische Schwestern (Camillan Sisters) and of the Lay Camillian Family, were born later of the charism and spirituality of St. Camillus.

St. Camillus’ feast day was originally inserted in the General Roman Calendar in 1762 for celebration on 18 July, since 14 July, the day of his death, was at that time taken by the feast of Saint Bonaventure. It was then given the rank of Double; later, it was changed in 1960 to that of “Third-Class Feast”, and in the liturgical changes of 1969 to that of an optional “Memorial”, when it was also moved to the anniversary of his death, 14 July. In the U.S.A. it is currently an optional Memorial celebrated on 18 July, because on 14 July there is the obligatory Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

Benedict, Ab

+Matthew 10:1-7

‘Go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel’

Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows:

‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.

544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”; he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To them – the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.

545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father’s boundless mercy for them and the vast “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”. The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life “for the forgiveness of sins”.

546 Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough, deeds are required. The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? What use has he made of the talents he has received? Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”. For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic.


Psalm 104

Bless the LORD, my soul! LORD, my God, you are great indeed! You are clothed with majesty and glory,

robed in light as with a cloak. You spread out the heavens like a tent;

you raised your palace upon the waters. You make the clouds your chariot; you travel on the wings of the wind.

You make the winds your messengers; flaming fire, your ministers.

You fixed the earth on its foundation, never to be moved.

The ocean covered it like a garment; above the mountains stood the waters.

At your roar they took flight; at the sound of your thunder they fled.

They rushed up the mountains, down the valleys to the place you had fixed for them.

You set a limit they cannot pass; never again will they cover the earth.

You made springs flow into channels that wind among the mountains.

They give drink to every beast of the field; here wild asses quench their thirst.

Beside them the birds of heaven nest; among the branches they sing.

You water the mountains from your palace; by your labor the earth abounds.

You raise grass for the cattle and plants for our beasts of burden. You bring bread from the earth,

and wine to gladden our hearts, Oil to make our faces gleam, food to build our strength.

The trees of the LORD drink their fill, the cedars of Lebanon, which you planted.

There the birds build their nests; junipers are the home of the stork.

The high mountains are for wild goats; the rocky cliffs, a refuge for badgers.

You made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun that knows the hour of its setting.

You bring darkness and night falls, then all the beasts of the forest roam abroad.

Young lions roar for prey; they seek their food from God.

When the sun rises, they steal away and rest in their dens.

People go forth to their work, to their labor till evening falls.

How varied are your works, LORD! In wisdom you have wrought them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

Look at the sea, great and wide! It teems with countless beings, living things both large and small.

Here ships ply their course; here Leviathan, your creature, plays.

All of these look to you to give them food in due time.

When you give to them, they gather; when you open your hand, they are well filled.

When you hide your face, they are lost. When you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust from which they came.

When you send forth your breath, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD be glad in these works!

If God glares at the earth, it trembles; if God touches the mountains, they smoke!

I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live.

May my theme be pleasing to God; I will rejoice in the LORD.

May sinners vanish from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the LORD, my soul! Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible


Benedict of Nursia (Latin: Benedictus de Nursia; Italian: Benedetto da Norcia; Vulgar Latin: *Benedecto; Gothic: 𐌱𐌴𐌽𐌴𐌳𐌹𐌺𐍄, Benedikt; c. 2 March 480 – 543 or 547 AD) is a Christian saint, who is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion and Old Catholic Churches. He is a patron saint of Europe.

Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Lazio, Italy (about 40 miles (64 km) to the east of Rome), before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. The Order of Saint Benedict is of later origin and, moreover, not an “order” as commonly understood but merely a confederation of autonomous congregations.

Benedict’s main achievement is his “Rule of Saint Benedict”, containing precepts for his monks. It is heavily influenced by the writings of John Cassian, and shows strong affinity with the Rule of the Master. But it also has a unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness (ἐπιείκεια, epieikeia), and this persuaded most religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, his Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason, Benedict is often called the founder of western monasticism.

Rule of St. Benedict

Seventy-three short chapters comprise the Rule. Its wisdom is of two kinds: spiritual (how to live a Christocentric life on earth) and administrative (how to run a monastery efficiently). More than half the chapters describe how to be obedient and humble, and what to do when a member of the community is not. About one-fourth regulate the work of God (the Opus Dei). One-tenth outline how, and by whom, the monastery should be managed.

Following the golden rule of Ora et Labora – pray and work, the monks each day devoted eight hours to prayer, eight hours to sleep, and eight hours to manual work, sacred reading, or works of charity.

Early life

He was the son of a Roman noble of Nursia, the modern Norcia, in Umbria. A tradition which Bede accepts makes him a twin with his sister Scholastica. If 480 is accepted as the year of his birth, the year of his abandonment of his studies and leaving home would be about 500. Saint Gregory’s narrative makes it impossible to suppose him younger than 20 at the time. He was old enough to be in the midst of his literary studies, to understand the real meaning and worth of the dissolute and licentious lives of his companions, and to have been deeply affected by the love of a woman. He was at the beginning of life, and he had at his disposal the means to a career as a Roman noble; clearly he was not a child.

Benedict was sent to Rome to study, but was dissatisfied by the life he found there. He does not seem to have left Rome for the purpose of becoming a hermit, but only to find some place away from the life of the great city. He took his old nurse with him as a servant and they settled down to live in Enfide. Enfide, which the tradition of Subiaco identifies with the modern Affile, is in the Simbruini mountains, about forty miles from Rome and two from Subiaco.

A short distance from Enfide is the entrance to a narrow, gloomy valley, penetrating the mountains and leading directly to Subiaco. The path continues to ascend, and the side of the ravine, on which it runs, becomes steeper, until a cave is reached above which the mountain now rises almost perpendicularly; while on the right, it strikes in a rapid descent down to where, in Saint Benedict’s day, 500 feet (150 m) below, lay the blue waters of the lake. The cave has a large triangular-shaped opening and is about ten feet deep. On his way from Enfide, Benedict met a monk, Romanus of Subiaco, whose monastery was on the mountain above the cliff overhanging the cave. Romanus had discussed with Benedict the purpose which had brought him to Subiaco, and had given him the monk’s habit. By his advice Benedict became a hermit and for three years, unknown to men, lived in this cave above the lake.

Later life

Gregory tells us little of these years. He now speaks of Benedict no longer as a youth , but as a man  of God. Romanus, Gregory tells us, served the saint in every way he could. The monk apparently visited him frequently, and on fixed days brought him food.

During these three years of solitude, broken only by occasional communications with the outer world and by the visits of Romanus, Benedict matured both in mind and character, in knowledge of himself and of his fellow-man, and at the same time he became not merely known to, but secured the respect of, those about him; so much so that on the death of the abbot of a monastery in the neighbourhood (identified by some with Vicovaro), the community came to him and begged him to become its abbot. Benedict was acquainted with the life and discipline of the monastery, and knew that “their manners were diverse from his and therefore that they would never agree together: yet, at length, overcome with their entreaty, he gave his consent” (ibid., 3). The experiment failed; the monks tried to poison him. The legend goes that they first tried to poison his drink. He prayed a blessing over the cup and the cup shattered. Thus he left the group and went back to his cave at Subiaco. There lived in the neighborhood a priest called Florentius who, moved by envy, tried to ruin him. He tried to poison him with poisoned bread. When he prayed a blessing over the bread, a raven swept in and took the loaf away. From this time his miracles seem to have become frequent, and many people, attracted by his sanctity and character, came to Subiaco to be under his guidance. Having failed by sending him poisonous bread, Florentius tried to seduce his monks with some prostitutes. To avoid further temptations, in 530 Benedict left Subiaco. He founded 12 monasteries in the vicinity of Subiaco, and, eventually, in 530 he founded the great Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino, which lies on a hilltop between Rome and Naples.

During the invasion of Italy, Totila, King of the Goths, ordered a general to wear his kingly robes and to see whether Benedict would discover the truth. Immediately the Saint detected the impersonation, and Totila came to pay him due respect.

Source: Wikipedia