Saturday of the 5th week of Eastertide

John 15:18-21

The world hated me before it hated you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If the world hates you,

remember that it hated me before you.

If you belonged to the world,

the world would love you as its own;

but because you do not belong to the world,

because my choice withdrew you from the world,

therefore the world hates you.

Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too;

if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.

But it will be on my account that they will do all this,

because they do not know the one who sent me.’


Acts 16:1-10

‘Come across to Macedonia and help us’

From Cilicia Paul went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra. Here there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess who had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.

As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to respect them.

So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.

They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.

One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.


Psalm 99(100):1-3,5

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Serve the Lord with gladness.

Come before him, singing for joy.

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Know that he, the Lord, is God.

He made us, we belong to him,

we are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Indeed, how good is the Lord,

eternal his merciful love.

He is faithful from age to age.

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.

Wednesday of week 34 in Ordinary Time

Luke 21:12-19
Your endurance will win you your lives

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’


Daniel 5:1-6,13-14,16-17,23-28
The writing on the wall

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his noblemen; a thousand of them attended, and he drank wine in company with this thousand. As he sipped his wine, Belshazzar gave orders for the gold and silver vessels to be brought which his father Nebuchadnezzar had looted from the sanctuary in Jerusalem, so that the king, his noblemen, his wives and his singing women could drink out of them. The gold and silver vessels looted from the sanctuary of the Temple of God in Jerusalem were brought in, and the king, his noblemen, his wives and his singing women drank out of them. They drank their wine and praised their gods of gold and silver, of bronze and iron, of wood and stone. Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared, and began to write on the plaster of the palace wall, directly behind the lamp-stand; and the king could see the hand as it wrote. The king turned pale with alarm: his thigh-joints went slack and his knees began to knock.

Daniel was brought into the king’s presence; the king said to Daniel, ‘Are you the Daniel who was one of the Judaean exiles brought by my father the king from Judah? I am told that the spirit of God Most Holy lives in you, and that you are known for your perception, intelligence and marvellous wisdom. As I am told that you are able to give interpretations and to unravel difficult problems, if you can read the writing and tell me what it means, you shall be dressed in purple, and have a chain of gold put round your neck, and be third in rank in the kingdom.’

Then Daniel spoke up in the presence of the king. ‘Keep your gifts for yourself,’ he said ‘and give your rewards to others. I will read the writing to the king without them, and tell him what it means. You have defied the Lord of heaven, you have had the vessels from his Temple brought to you, and you, your noblemen, your wives and your singing women have drunk your wine out of them. You have praised gods of gold and silver, of bronze and iron, of wood and stone, which cannot either see, hear or understand; but you have given no glory to the God who holds your breath and all your fortunes in his hands. That is why he has sent the hand which, by itself, has written these words. The writing reads: Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin. The meaning of the words is this: Mene: God has measured your sovereignty and put an end to it; Tekel: you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting; Parsin: your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.’


Daniel 3:62-67
Sun and moon! bless the Lord.
Give glory and eternal praise to him!
Stars of heaven! bless the Lord.
Give glory and eternal praise to him!
Showers and dews! all bless the Lord.
Give glory and eternal praise to him!
Winds! all bless the Lord.
Give glory and eternal praise to him!
Fire and heat! bless the Lord.
Give glory and eternal praise to him!
Cold and heat! bless the Lord.
Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Source: Jerusalem Bible
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 21:5-19
The destruction of the Temple foretold

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’

‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’


Malachi 3:19-20
For you the sun of righteousness will shine out
The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of Hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.


Psalm 97(98):5-9
The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.
Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the King, the Lord.
The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.
Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
the world, and all its peoples.
Let the rivers clap their hands
and the hills ring out their joy
at the presence of the Lord.
The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.
For the Lord comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.
The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness


Source: Jerusalem Bible
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.

Saint Gregory VII, Pope Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi, Virgin Saint Bede the Venerable, Priest, Doctor

+John 15:18-21
The world hated me before it hated you

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If the world hates you,
remember that it hated me before you.
If you belonged to the world,
the world would love you as its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
because my choice withdrew you from the world,
therefore the world hates you.
Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.
If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too;
if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.
But it will be on my account that they will do all this,
because they do not know the one who sent me.’


Acts 16:1-10
‘Come across to Macedonia and help us’

From Cilicia Paul went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra. Here there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess who had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.
As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to respect them.
So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.
They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.
One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.


Psalm 99(100):1-3,5
Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing for joy.
Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Know that he, the Lord, is God.
He made us, we belong to him,
we are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Indeed, how good is the Lord,
eternal his merciful love.
He is faithful from age to age.
Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Source: Jerusalem Bible
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.


Pope Gregory VII (Latin: Gregorius VII; c. 1015 – 25 May 1085), born Hildebrand of Sovana (Italian: Ildebrando da Soana), was pope from 22 April 1073 to his death in 1085.
One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor that affirmed the primacy of papal authority and the new canon law governing the election of the pope by the College of Cardinals. He was also at the forefront of developments in the relationship between the emperor and the papacy during the years before he became pope. He was the first pope in several centuries to rigorously enforce the Western Church’s ancient policy of celibacy for the clergy and also attacked the practice of simony.

Gregory VII excommunicated Henry IV three times. Consequently, Henry IV would appoint Antipope Clement III to oppose him in the political power struggles between the Catholic Church and his empire. Hailed as one of the greatest of the Roman pontiffs after his reforms proved successful, Gregory VII was, during his own reign, despised by some for his expansive use of papal powers.

Biography
Early life
Gregory was born as Ildebrando di Soana in Sovana, in the county of Grosseto, now southern Tuscany, central Italy. Historian, Johann Georg Estor makes the claim that he was the son of a blacksmith.As a youth he was sent to study in Rome at the monastery of St. Mary on the Aventine, where, according to some unconfirmed sources, his uncle was abbot of a monastery on the Aventine Hill. Among his masters were the erudite Lawrence, archbishop of Amalfi, and Johannes Gratianus, the future Pope Gregory VI. When the latter was deposed by Holy Roman Emperor Henry III and exiled to Germany, Hildebrand followed him to Cologne.

According to some chroniclers, Hildebrand moved to Cluny after Gregory VI’s death, which occurred in 1048; his declaration to have become a monk at Cluny must not be taken literally. He then accompanied Abbot Bruno of Toul to Rome; there, Bruno was elected pope, choosing the name Leo IX, and named Hildebrand as deacon and papal administrator. Leo sent Hildebrand as his legate to Tours in France in the wake of the controversy created by Berengar of Tours. At Leo’s death, the new Pope, Victor II, confirmed him as legate, while Victor’s successor Stephen IX sent him and Anselm of Lucca to Germany to obtain recognition from the Empress Agnes de Poitou. Stephen died before being able to return to Rome, but Hildebrand was successful; he was then instrumental in overcoming the crisis caused by the Roman aristocracy’s election of an antipope, Benedict X, who, thanks also to Agnes’s support, was replaced by the Bishop of Florence, Nicholas II. With the help of 300 Norman knights sent by Richard of Aversa, Hildebrand personally led the conquest of the castle of Galeria Antica where Benedict had taken refuge. Between 1058 and 1059, he was made archdeacon of the Roman church, becoming the most important figure in the papal administration.
He was again the most powerful figure behind the election of Anselm of Lucca the Elder as Pope Alexander II in the papal election of October 1061. The new pope put forward the reform program devised by Hildebrand and his followers. In his years as papal advisor, Hildebrand had an important role in the reconciliation with the Norman kingdom of southern Italy, in the anti-German alliance with the Pataria movement in northern Italy and, above all, in the introduction of a law which gave the cardinals exclusive rights concerning the election of a new pope.

Pontificate
Election to the papacy

Pope Gregory VII was one of the few popes elected by acclamation. On the death of Alexander II on 21 April 1073, as the obsequies were being performed in the Lateran Basilica, there arose a loud outcry from the clergy and people: “Let Hildebrand be pope!”, “Blessed Peter has chosen Hildebrand the Archdeacon!” Hildebrand immediately fled, and hid himself for some time, thereby making it clear that he had refused the uncanonical election in the Liberian Basilica. He was finally found at the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli, to which a famous monastery was attached, and elected pope by the assembled cardinals, with the due consent of the Roman clergy, amid the repeated acclamations of the people.

It was debated at the time—and remains debated by historians—whether this extraordinary outburst in favour of Hildebrand by clergy and people was wholly spontaneous or could have been the result of some pre-concerted arrangements. According to Benizo, Bishop of Sutri, a supporter of Hildebrand, the outcry was begun by the actions of Cardinal Ugo Candidus, Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente, who rushed into a pulpit and began to declaim to the people. Certainly, the mode of his election was highly criticized by his opponents. Many of the charges brought may have been expressions of personal dislike, liable to suspicion from the very fact that they were not raised to attack his promotion until several years later. But it is clear from Gregory’s own account of the circumstances of his election, in his Epistle 1 and Epistle 2, that it was conducted in a very irregular fashion. First of all, it was contrary to the Constitution of Pope promulgated and approved in the Roman Synod of 607, which forbade a papal election to begin until the third day after a pope’s burial. Cardinal Ugo’s intervention was contrary to the Constitution of Nicholas II, which affirmed the exclusive right to name candidates to the Cardinal Bishops; finally, the requirement of Pope Nicholas II that the Holy Roman Emperor be consulted in the matter was ignored.However, what ultimately turned the tide in favor of validity of Gregory VII’s election was the second election at S. Pietro in Vincoli and the acceptance by the Roman people.
Gregory VII’s earliest pontifical letters clearly acknowledge this fact, and thus helped defuse any doubt about his election as immensely popular. On 22 May 1073, the Feast of Pentecost, he received ordination as a priest, and he was consecrated a bishop and enthroned as pope on 29 June (the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair).
In the decree of election, those who had chosen him as Bishop of Rome proclaimed Gregory VII “a devout man, a man mighty in human and divine knowledge, a distinguished lover of equity and justice, a man firm in adversity and temperate in prosperity, a man, according to the saying of the Apostle, of good behavior, blameless, modest, sober, chaste, given to hospitality, and one that ruleth well his own house; a man from his childhood generously brought up in the bosom of this Mother Church, and for the merit of his life already raised to the archidiaconal dignity”. “We choose then”, they said to the people, “our Archdeacon Hildebrand to be pope and successor to the Apostle, and to bear henceforward and forever the name of Gregory” (22 April 1073).
Gregory VII’s first attempts in foreign policy were towards a reconciliation with the Normans of Robert Guiscard; in the end the two parties did not meet. After a failed call for a crusade to the princes of northern Europe, and after obtaining the support of other Norman princes such as Landulf VI of Benevento and Richard I of Capua, Gregory VII was able to excommunicate Robert in 1074. In the same year Gregory VII summoned a council in the Lateran palace, which condemned simony and confirmed celibacy for the Church’s clergy. These decrees were further stressed, under menace of excommunication, the next year (24–28 February). In particular, Gregory decreed in this second council that only the Pope could appoint or depose bishops or move them from see to see, an act which was later to cause the Investiture Controversy.

Vestments
Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani says that the popular belief that St. Pius V (1566–72) was the first Pope to wear the white cassock is inaccurate. Instead, writes Bagliani, the first document that mentions the Pope’s white cassock dates from Gregory X in 1274. “The first pope to be solemnly invested with the red mantle immediately after his election was Gregory VII (1076),” the scholar added, noting that traditionally “from the moment of his election the Pope put on vestments of two colors: red (cope, mozzetta, shoes); and white (cassock, socks).”

Start of conflict with the Emperor
The main focus of the ecclesiastico-political projects of Gregory VII is to be found in his relationship with Germany. Since the death of Holy Roman Emperor Henry III, the strength of the German monarchy had been seriously weakened, and his son Henry IV had to contend with great internal difficulties. This state of affairs was of material assistance to Gregory VII. His advantage was further enhanced by the fact that in 1073 Henry IV was only twenty-three years of age.

In the two years following the election of Gregory VII, Henry was forced by the Saxon Rebellion to come to amicable terms with him at any cost. Consequently, in May 1074 he did penance at Nuremberg—in the presence of the papal legates—to atone for his continued friendship with the members of his council who had been banned by Gregory, took an oath of obedience, and promised his support in the work of reforming the Church. This attitude, however, which at first won him the confidence of the pope, was abandoned as soon as he defeated the Saxons at the First Battle of Langensalza on 9 June 1075 (also called the Battle of Homburg or Battle of Hohenburg). Henry then tried to reassert his rights as the sovereign of northern Italy without delay. He sent Count Eberhard to Lombardy to combat the Patarenes; nominated the cleric Tedaldo to the archbishopric of Milan, thus settling a prolonged and contentious question; and finally tried to establish relations with the Norman duke Robert Guiscard.
Gregory VII replied with a rough letter, dated 8 December 1075, in which, among other charges, he accused the German king of breaching his word and with his continued support of excommunicated councilors. At the same time, he sent a verbal message suggesting that the enormous crimes which would be laid to his account rendered him liable, not only to the ban of the Church, but to the deprivation of his crown. Gregory did this at a time when he himself was confronted by a reckless opponent in the person of Cencio I Frangipane, who on Christmas night surprised him in church and carried him off as a prisoner, though on the following day Gregory was released.

Pope and Emperor depose each other
The reprimands of the Pope, couched as they were in such an unprecedented form, infuriated Henry and his court, and their answer was the hastily convened national council in Worms, Germany (the synod of Worms), which met on 24 January 1076. In the higher ranks of the German clergy Gregory had many enemies, and a Roman cardinal, Hugo Candidus, once on intimate terms with him but now his opponent, had hurried to Germany for the occasion. All the accusations with regard to Gregory that Candidus could come up with were well received by the assembly, which committed itself to the resolution that Gregory had forfeited the papacy. In one document full of accusations, the bishops renounced their allegiance to Gregory. In another, Henry pronounced him deposed, and the Romans were required to choose a new pope.

The council sent two bishops to Italy, and they procured a similar act of deposition from the Lombard bishops at the synod of Piacenza. Roland of Parma informed the pope of these decisions, and he was fortunate enough to gain an opportunity for speech in the synod, which had just assembled in the Lateran Basilica, to deliver his message there announcing the dethronement. For the moment the members were frightened, but soon such a storm of indignation was aroused that it was only due to the moderation of Gregory himself that the envoy was not murdered.
On the following day, 22 February 1076, Pope Gregory VII pronounced a sentence of excommunication against Henry IV with all due solemnity, divested him of his royal dignity and absolved his subjects from the oaths they had sworn to him. This sentence purported to eject a ruler from the Church and to strip him of his crown. Whether it would produce this effect, or would be an idle threat, depended not so much on Gregory VII as on Henry’s subjects, and, above all, on the German princes. Contemporary evidence suggests that the excommunication of Henry made a profound impression both in Germany and Italy.

Thirty years before, Henry III had deposed three claimants to the papacy, and thereby rendered an acknowledged service to the Church. When Henry IV tried to copy this procedure he was less successful, as he lacked the support of the people. In Germany there was a rapid and general feeling in favor of Gregory, and the princes took the opportunity to carry out their anti-regal policy under the cloak of respect for the papal decision. When at Whitsun the king proposed to discuss the measures to be taken against Gregory VII in a council of his nobles, only a few made their appearance; the Saxons snatched at the golden opportunity for renewing their rebellion, and the anti-royalist party grew in strength from month to month.

Walk to Canossa
The situation now became extremely critical for Henry. As a result of the agitation, which was zealously fostered by the papal legate Bishop Altmann of Passau, the princes met in October at Trebur to elect a new German ruler. Henry, who was stationed at Oppenheim on the left bank of the Rhine, was only saved from the loss of his throne by the failure of the assembled princes to agree on the question of his successor.
Their dissension, however, merely induced them to postpone the verdict. Henry, they declared, must make reparation to Gregory VII and pledge himself to obedience; and they decided that, if, on the anniversary of his excommunication, he still lay under the ban, the throne should be considered vacant. At the same time they decided to invite Gregory VII to Augsburg to decide the conflict.

These arrangements showed Henry the course to be pursued. It was imperative under any circumstances and at any price to secure his absolution from Gregory before the period named, otherwise he could scarcely foil his opponents in their intention to pursue their attack against him and justify their measures by an appeal to his excommunication. At first he attempted to attain his ends by an embassy, but when Gregory rejected his overtures he took the celebrated step of going to Italy in person.
Gregory VII had already left Rome and had intimated to the German princes that he would expect their escort for his journey on 8 January 1077 to Mantua. But this escort had not appeared when he received the news of Henry’s arrival. Henry, who had travelled through Burgundy, had been greeted with enthusiasm by the Lombards, but resisted the temptation to employ force against Gregory. He chose the unexpected course of forcing Gregory to grant him absolution by doing penance before him at Canossa, where he had taken refuge. The Walk to Canossa soon became legendary.
The reconciliation was only effected after prolonged negotiations and definite pledges on the part of Henry, and it was with reluctance that Gregory VII at length gave way, considering the political implications. If Gregory VII granted absolution, the diet of princes in Augsburg in which he might reasonably hope to act as arbitrator would either become useless, or, if it met at all, would change completely in character. It was impossible, however, to deny the penitent re-entrance into the Church, and Gregory VII’s religious obligations overrode his political interests.

The removal of the ban did not imply a genuine reconciliation, and no basis was gained for a settlement of the main question that divided Henry and Gregory: that of investiture. A new conflict was inevitable from the very fact that Henry considered the sentence of deposition repealed along with that of excommunication. Gregory, on the other hand, was intent on reserving his freedom of action and gave no hint on the subject at Canossa.

Second excommunication of Henry IV
That the excommunication of Henry IV was simply a pretext for the opposition of the rebellious German nobles is transparent. Not only did they persist in their policy after his absolution, but they took the more decided step of setting up a rival ruler in the person of Duke Rudolf of Swabia at Forchheim in March 1077. At the election, the papal legates present observed the appearance of neutrality, and Gregory VII himself sought to maintain this attitude during the following years. His task was made easier in that the two parties were of fairly equal strength, each trying to gain the upper hand by getting the pope on their side. But the result of his non-committal policy was that he largely lost the confidence of both parties. Finally he decided for Rudolf of Swabia after his victory at the Battle of Flarchheim on 27 January 1080. Under pressure from the Saxons, and misinformed as to the significance of this battle, Gregory abandoned his waiting policy and again pronounced the excommunication and deposition of King Henry on 7 March 1080.

But the papal censure now proved a very different thing from the one four years before. It was widely felt to be an injustice, and people began to ask whether an excommunication pronounced on frivolous grounds was entitled to respect. The king, now more experienced, took up the struggle with great vigour. He refused to acknowledge the ban on the ground of its illegality. He then summoned a Council, which met at Brixen, and on 16 June, pronounced Gregory deposed. It nominated the archbishop Guibert (Wibert) of Ravenna as his successor. On 25 June 1080, Guibert was elected Pope by the thirty bishops who were present at the King’s command. On 15 October 1080, Pope Gregory advised the clergy and laity to elect a new archbishop in place of the “mad” and “tyrannical” schismatic Wibert. In 1081, Henry opened the conflict against Gregory in Italy.Gregory’s support had by that time weakened, and thirteen cardinals had deserted him. To make matters worse, Rudolf of Swabia died on 16 October of the same year. Henry was now in a stronger position and Gregory a weaker one. A new claimant, Hermann of Luxembourg, was put forward in August 1081, but his personality was not suitable for a leader of the Gregorian party in Germany, and the power of Henry IV was at its peak.

The pope’s chief military supporter, Matilda of Tuscany, blocked Henry’s armies from the western passages over the Apennines, so he had to approach Rome from Ravenna. Rome surrendered to the German king in 1084, and Gregory thereupon retired into the exile of the Castel Sant’Angelo. Gregory refused to entertain Henry’s overtures, although the latter promised to hand over Guibert as a prisoner, if the sovereign pontiff would only consent to crown him emperor. Gregory, however, insisted as a necessary preliminary that Henry should appear before a Council and do penance. The emperor, while pretending to submit to these terms, tried hard to prevent the meeting of the bishops. A small number assembled nonetheless, and, in accordance with their wishes, Gregory again excommunicated Henry.

Henry, upon receipt of this news, again entered Rome on 21 March to see that his supporter, Archbishop Guibert of Ravenna, was enthroned as Pope Clement III on 24 March 1084. Henry was crowned emperor by his creature, but Robert Guiscard, with whom in the meantime Gregory had formed an alliance, was already marching on the city.Henry was compelled to flee towards Civita Castellana.

Exile from Rome
The pope was liberated, but after the Roman people became incensed by the excesses of his Norman allies, he was compelled to withdraw to Monte Cassino, and later to the castle of Salerno by the sea, where he died on 25 May 1085. Three days before his death, he withdrew all the censures of excommunication that he had pronounced, except those against the two chief offenders – Henry and Guibert.

Papal policy to the rest of Europe
England
In 1076, Gregory appointed a bishop to the see of Dol, who was neither the candidate of William the Conqueror, who had recently been conducting military operations in north-eastern Brittany, nor the bishop elect of the chapter of the church of St. Samson of Dol, who was supported by the nobles in Dol opposing William.The candidate chosen was Gilduin, who was below the canonical minimum age for consecration as a bishop, and therefore Gregory pleaded that he could not sanction his appointment. Instead Gregory consecrated Abbot Yvo (Evêne) of S. Melanii, one of the procurators sent to Rome, and he also bestowed on him the pallium of a metropolitan archbishop, on the condition that he would submit to the judgment of the Holy See when the long-standing case of the right of Dol to be a metropolitan and use the pallium was finally decided.
King William felt himself so safe that he interfered autocratically with the management of the church, forbade the bishops to visit Rome, made appointments to bishoprics and abbeys, and showed little anxiety when the pope lectured him on the different principles which he had as to the relationship of spiritual and temporal powers, or when he prohibited him from commerce or commanded him to acknowledge himself a vassal of the apostolic chair. William was particularly annoyed at Gregory’s insistence on dividing ecclesiastical England into two provinces, in opposition to William’s need to emphasize the unity of his newly acquired kingdom. Gregory’s increasing insistence on church independence from secular authority in the matter of clerical appointments became a more and more contentious issue. He sought as well to compel the episcopacy to look to Rome for validation and direction, demanding the regular attendance of prelates in Rome.Gregory had no power to compel the English king to an alteration in his ecclesiastical policy, so he was compelled to ignore what he could not approve, and even considered it advisable to assure King William of his particular affection. On the whole, William’s policy was of great benefit to the Church.

Normans in the Kingdom of Sicily
The relationship of Gregory VII to other European states was strongly influenced by his German policy, since the Holy Roman Empire, by taking up most of his energies, often forced him to show to other rulers the very moderation which he withheld from the German king. The attitude of the Normans brought him a rude awakening. The great concessions made to them under Nicholas II were not only powerless to stem their advance into central Italy, but failed to secure even the expected protection for the papacy. When Gregory VII was hard pressed by Henry IV, Robert Guiscard left him to his fate, and only intervened when he himself was threatened with German arms. Then, on the capture of Rome, he abandoned the city to his troops, and the popular indignation evoked by his act brought about Gregory’s exile.

Claims of Papal sovereignty
In the case of several countries, Gregory VII tried to establish a claim of sovereignty on the part of the Papacy, and to secure the recognition of its self-asserted rights of possession. On the ground of “immemorial usage”, Corsica and Sardinia were assumed to belong to the Roman Church. Spain, Hungary and Croatia were also claimed as her property, and an attempt was made to induce the king of Denmark to hold his realm as a fief from the pope.
In his treatment of ecclesiastical policy and ecclesiastical reform, Gregory did not stand alone, but found powerful support: in England Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury stood closest to him; in France his champion was Bishop Hugh de Dié, who afterwards became Archbishop of Lyon.

France
Philip I of France, by his practice of simony and the violence of his proceedings against the Church, provoked a threat of summary measures. Excommunication, deposition and the interdict appeared to be imminent in 1074. Gregory, however, refrained from translating his threats into actions, although the attitude of the king showed no change, for he wished to avoid a dispersion of his strength in the conflict soon to break out in Germany.

Pope Gregory attempted to organize a crusade into Spain, led by Count Ebles II of Roucy.
Distant Christian countries
Gregory, in fact, established some sort of relations with every country in Christendom; though these relations did not invariably realize the ecclesiastico-political hopes connected with them. His correspondence extended to Poland, Kievan Rus’ and Bohemia. He unsuccessfully tried to bring Armenia into closer contact with Rome.

Byzantine Empire
Gregory was particularly concerned with the East. The schism between Rome and the Byzantine Empire was a severe blow to him, and he worked hard to restore the former amicable relationship. Gregory successfully tried to get in touch with the emperor Michael VII. When the news of the Muslim attacks on the Christians in the East filtered through to Rome, and the political embarrassments of the Byzantine emperor increased, he conceived the project of a great military expedition and exhorted the faithful to participate in recovering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – foreshadowing the First Crusade. In his efforts to recruit for the expedition, he emphasized the suffering of eastern Christians, arguing western Christians had a moral obligation to go to their aid.

Internal policy and reforms
His lifework was based on his conviction that the Church was founded by God and entrusted with the task of embracing all mankind in a single society in which divine will is the only law; that, in her capacity as a divine institution, she is supreme over all human structures, especially the secular state; and that the pope, in his role as head of the Church, is the vice-regent of God on earth, so that disobedience to him implies disobedience to God: or, in other words, a defection from Christianity. But any attempt to interpret this in terms of action would have bound the Church to annihilate not merely a single state, but all states.

Thus Gregory VII, as a politician wanting to achieve some result, was driven in practice to adopt a different standpoint. He acknowledged the existence of the state as a dispensation of Providence, described the coexistence of church and state as a divine ordinance, and emphasized the necessity of union between the sacerdotium and the imperium. But at no period would he have dreamed of putting the two powers on an equal footing; the superiority of church to state was to him a fact which admitted of no discussion and which he had never doubted.
He wished to see all important matters of dispute referred to Rome; appeals were to be addressed to himself; the centralization of ecclesiastical government in Rome naturally involved a curtailment of the powers of bishops. Since these refused to submit voluntarily and tried to assert their traditional independence, his papacy is full of struggles against the higher ranks of the clergy. Pope Gregory VII was critical in promoting and regulating the concept of modern university as his 1079 Papal Decree ordered the regulated establishment of cathedral schools that transformed themselves into the first European universities.

This battle for the foundation of papal supremacy is connected with his championship of compulsory celibacy among the clergy and his attack on simony. Gregory VII did not introduce the celibacy of the priesthood into the Church, but he took up the struggle with greater energy than his predecessors. In 1074, he published an encyclical, absolving the people from their obedience to bishops who allowed married priests. The next year he enjoined them to take action against married priests, and deprived these clerics of their revenues. Both the campaign against priestly marriage and that against simony provoked widespread resistance.

His writings treat mainly of the principles and practice of Church government. They may be found in Mansi’s collection under the title “Gregorii VII registri sive epistolarum libri”.

Doctrine of the Eucharist
Gregory VII was seen by Pope Paul VI as instrumental in affirming the tenet that Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament. Gregory’s demand that Berengarius perform a confession of this belief was quoted in Pope Paul VI’s historic 1965 encyclical Mysterium fidei:
I believe in my heart and openly profess that the bread and wine that are placed on the altar are, through the mystery of the sacred prayer and the words of the Redeemer, substantially changed into the true and proper and lifegiving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, and that after the consecration they are the true body of Christ.
This profession of faith began a “Eucharistic Renaissance” in the churches of Europe as of the 12th century.

Death
Pope Gregory VII died in exile in Salerno; the epitaph on Gregory VII’s sarcophagus in the city’s Cathedral says: “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore, I die in exile.”

Legacy
Gregory VII was beatified by Pope Gregory XIII in 1584 and canonized on 24 May 1728 by Pope Benedict XIII.


Bede (/biːd/ BEED; Old English: Bǣda, Bēda; 672/3 – 26 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable (Latin: Bēda Venerābilis), was an English Benedictine monk at the monastery of St. Peter and its companion monastery of St. Paul in the Kingdom of Northumbria of the Angles (contemporarily Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey in Tyne and Wear, England). Born on lands likely belonging to the Monkwearmouth monastery in present-day Sunderland, Bede was sent there at the age of seven and later joined Abbot Ceolfrith at the Jarrow monastery, both of whom survived a plague that struck in 686, an outbreak that killed a majority of the population there. While he spent most of his life in the monastery, Bede travelled to several abbeys and monasteries across the British Isles, even visiting the archbishop of York and King Ceolwulf of Northumbria. He is well known as an author, teacher (a student of one of his pupils was Alcuin), and scholar, and his most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, gained him the title “The Father of English History”. His ecumenical writings were extensive and included a number of Biblical commentaries and other theological works of exegetical erudition. Another important area of study for Bede was the academic discipline of computus, otherwise known to his contemporaries as the science of calculating calendar dates. One of the more important dates Bede tried to compute was Easter, an effort that was mired with controversy. He also helped establish the practice of dating forward from the birth of Christ (Anno Domini – in the year of our Lord), a practice which eventually became commonplace in medieval Europe. Bede was one of the greatest teachers and writers of the Early Middle Ages and is considered by many historians to be the single most important scholar of antiquity for the period between the death of Pope Gregory I in 604 and the coronation of Charlemagne in 800.
In 1899, Pope Leo XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church. He is the only native of Great Britain to achieve this designation; Anselm of Canterbury, also a Doctor of the Church, was originally from Italy. Bede was moreover a skilled linguist and translator, and his work made the Latin and Greek writings of the early Church Fathers much more accessible to his fellow Anglo-Saxons, which contributed significantly to English Christianity. Bede’s monastery had access to an impressive library which included works by Eusebius, Orosius, and many others.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 21:12-19

Your endurance will win you your lives

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’


+Apocalypse 15:1-4

The victors sang the hymn of Moses and of the Lamb

What I, John, saw in heaven was a great and wonderful sign: seven angels were bringing the seven plagues that are the last of all, because they exhaust the anger of God. I seemed to see a glass lake suffused with fire, and standing by the lake of glass, those who had fought against the beast and won, and against his statue and the number which is his name. They all had harps from God, and they were singing the hymn of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb:

‘How great and wonderful are all your works,

Lord God Almighty;

just and true are all your ways,

King of nations.

Who would not revere and praise your name, O Lord?

You alone are holy,

and all the pagans will come and adore you

for the many acts of justice you have shown.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.


Psalm 97(98):1-3,7-9

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

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

Fire goes before him; everywhere it consumes the foes.

Lightning illumines the world; the earth sees and trembles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The New American Bible

Elizabeth of Hungary, Rel

+Luke 18:1-8

The parable of the unjust judge

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. ‘There was a judge in a certain town’ he said ‘who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, “I want justice from you against my enemy!” For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”’

And the Lord said ‘You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’


+3 John 1:5-8

It is our duty to welcome missionaries and contribute our share to their work

My friend, you have done faithful work in looking after these brothers, even though they were complete strangers to you. They are a proof to the whole Church of your charity and it would be a very good thing if you could help them on their journey in a way that God would approve. It was entirely for the sake of the name that they set out, without depending on the pagans for anything; it is our duty to welcome men of this sort and contribute our share to their work for the truth.

The New American Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.


Psalm 111(112):1-6

Hallelujah.  I will praise the LORD with all my heart in the assembled congregation of the upright.

Great are the works of the LORD, to be treasured for all their delights.

Majestic and glorious is your work, your wise design endures forever.

You won renown for your wondrous deeds; gracious and merciful is the LORD.

You gave food to those who fear you, mindful of your covenant forever.

You showed powerful deeds to your people, giving them the lands of the nations.

The works of your hands are right and true, reliable all your decrees,

Established forever and ever, to be observed with loyalty and care.

You sent deliverance to your people, ratified your covenant forever; holy and awesome is your name.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it. Your praise endures forever.

Source: The New American Bible


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

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

Early Life and Marriage

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

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

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

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

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

Religious inclinations, influences

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

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

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

Widowhood

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lifetime miracles

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

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

Crucifix in the Bed

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

Death and Legacy

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

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

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

Association with the Franciscans

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

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

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

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

+John 15:18-21

The world hated me before it hated you

 

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If the world hates you,

remember that it hated me before you.

If you belonged to the world,

the world would love you as its own;

but because you do not belong to the world,

because my choice withdrew you from the world,

therefore the world hates you.

Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too;

if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.

But it will be on my account that they will do all this,

because they do not know the one who sent me.’

The New American Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.


Psalm 99

The LORD is king, the peoples tremble; God is enthroned on the cherubim, the earth quakes.

The LORD is great on Zion, exalted above all the peoples.

Let them praise your great and awesome name: Holy is God!

O mighty king, lover of justice, you alone have established fairness; you have created just rule in Jacob.

Exalt the LORD, our God; bow down before his footstool; holy is God!

Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel among those who called on God’s name; they called on the LORD, who answered them.

From the pillar of cloud God spoke to them; they kept the decrees, the law they received.

O LORD, our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God, though you punished their offenses.

Exalt the LORD, our God; bow down before his holy mountain; holy is the LORD, our God.

Source: The New American Bible

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

+Luke 21:12-19

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.


Daniel 3:62-67

Sun and moon! bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Stars of heaven! bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Showers and dews! all bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Winds! all bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Fire and heat! bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Cold and heat! bless the Lord.

Give glory and eternal praise to him!

Source: Jerusalem Bible


 

Bernardine of Siena, P

+Jn 15: 18-21

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.

If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.

Remember the word I spoke to you,  ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,  because they do not know the one who sent me.

The New American Bible

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.

Saint Bernardino of Siena

Bernardino of Siena, (also known as Bernardine; 8 September 1380 – 20 May 1444) was an Italian priest and Franciscan missionary. He was a systematizer of Scholastic economics. His popular preaching made him famous during his own lifetime, although it was frequently directed against sorcery, gambling, infanticide, witchcraft, sodomy (homosexuality) and usury (as commonly practiced by Jews). Bernardino was later canonised by the Catholic Church as a saint – where is also referred to as “the Apostle of Italy” for his efforts to revive the country’s Catholic faith during the 15th century.

Early Life

Bernardino was born in 1380 to the noble Albizeschi family in Massa Marittima (Tuscany), a Sienese town of which his father, Albertollo degli Albizeschi, was then governor. Left orphaned at six, he was raised by a pious aunt. In 1397, after a course of civil and canon law, he joined the Confraternity of Our Lady attached to the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala church. Three years later, when the plague visited Siena, he ministered to the plague-stricken, and, assisted by ten companions, took upon himself for four months entire charge of this hospital. He escaped the plague but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. In 1403 he joined the Observant branch of the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscan Order), with a strict observance of St. Francis’ Rule. Bernardino was ordained a priest in 1404 and was commissioned as a preacher the next year.About 1406 St. Vincent Ferrer, a Dominican friar and missionary, while preaching at Alessandria in the Piedmont region of Italy, allegedly foretold that his mantle should descend upon one who was then listening to him, and said that he would return to France and Spain, leaving to Bernardino the task of evangelizing the remaining peoples of Italy.

Source: Wikipedia