Friday, February 23, 2018

Psalm 51 (Chant)


Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to thy steadfast love;
according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done that which is evil in thy sight,
so that thou art justified in thy sentence
and blameless in thy judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Fill me with joy and gladness;
let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence,
and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of thy salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors thy ways,
and sinners will return to thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
thou God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.
O Lord, open thou my lips,
and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
For thou hast no delight in sacrifice;
were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on thy altar. 


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cardinal Dolan on the Death of Billy Graham

The following comes from the Catholic Herald:

Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan has paid tribute to preacher Billy Graham, who has died at the age of 99.
Graham was a Southern Baptist evangelical preacher, but his preaching was much-admired by Catholics.
“As anyone growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s can tell you, it was hard not to notice and be impressed by the Reverend Billy Graham,” Cardinal Dolan said.
“There was no question that the Dolans were a Catholic family, firm in our faith, but in our household there was always respect and admiration for Billy Graham and the work he was doing to bring people to God.
“Whether it was one of his famous Crusades, radio programs, television specials, or meeting and counseling the presidents, Billy Graham seemed to be everywhere, always with the same message: Jesus is your Savior, and wants you to be happy with Him forever.
“As an historian, my admiration for him only grew as I studied our nation’s religious past, and came to appreciate even more the tremendous role he played in the American evangelical movement.
“May the Lord that Billy Graham loved so passionately now grant him eternal rest.”
Pope John Paul II was especially warm towards Graham, reportedly exclaiming in one meeting: “Listen, Graham, was are brothers!” Graham, in turn, described Pope John Paul II as the “moral leader of the world”.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

An Eastern Chant of Psalm 50

Psalm 50

A Psalm of Asaph.

The Mighty One, God the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines forth.
Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
    before him is a devouring fire,
    around him a mighty tempest.
He calls to the heavens above
    and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me my faithful ones,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
The heavens declare his righteousness,
    for God himself is judge! Selah
“Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
    O Israel, I will testify against you.
    I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
    your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house
    or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
    the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
    and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
But to the wicked God says:
    “What right have you to recite my statutes
    or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
    and you cast my words behind you.
If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
    and you keep company with adulterers.
“You give your mouth free rein for evil,
    and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother's son.
These things you have done, and I have been silent;
    you thought that I was one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.
“Mark this, then, you who forget God,
    lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!”

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fr. Jozo: Your only enemy is the one who can separate you from the altar

The following comes from the Into God's Company 2 site:

Father Jozo and the Eucharist:
He that can separate You from the altar is your only enemy. There is no other.


Place your life upon this altar. You will witness how a priest will place a drop of water within a chalice full of wine. That drop of water intermingles with the wine and signifies you in the Holy Mass. You can become one, unite with and intermingle with Jesus. That is why the Holy Mass is called Communion ...union with God ...you and your God together ...that is the Holy Eucharist. All of us together and Jesus. That is the church, and that is where the one, holy Catholic apostolic church comes from.

He who can separate you from the altar is your only enemy. There is no other.

Every time we come into the church and celebrate the Holy Mass, that is our embrace, our hanging onto Our Lord and saying, "Lord where would we go, for you are the Word of Life."

Where did the martyrs gain so much strenght from? In the Church, where did the witnesses gain their strength from?

To date, in this year, 23 missionaries have been murdered around the world in four months. That is a lot. How can a man give his life for Jesus simply, with delight? It is the Holy Mass that does this within us, so that for you I'm able to give my very eyes, my arms and my life, my everything as Jesus gave His all; and the same way the Christian must give his all. Yes, once again, I must return to the Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist.

Why is it that churches and sects do not tolerate the Mass, do not respect Our Lady? Because they go hand-in-hand. Yes, they go together. Our Lady teaches to come to love Jesus, to fall in love with Him, and that is why she places us before the Holy Eucharist, and pleads with us to pray before this holy, blessed Sacrament, so from Jesus we may learn to become bread for others; so that I not have fear to say, "Take this, all of you, of me, and eat of it."I know a lot of Anglican and Protestant priests, ministers, that were in Medjugorje.

I know of a Presbyterian bishop that I have met from Washington. He had sent a multitude of his priests to Medjugorje as well. When I was in Washington a few years ago, I visited him because he visited me and came to Medjugorje. He had a problem, a cross, that was inflicted upon him. His son was shot in Vietnam and became paralyzed. When his son returned from the war, he said to his wife, "Let us make a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. I believe Our Lady will hear us." And Our Lady gave a miracle. The son was healed and converted the parents. The bishop desired that all of his priests come to know Our Lady. Eight of those priests to date have become Catholic priests, without any shouts, without publication, without media. Our Lady works in miraculous ways. She was always the sign, the sign of a better world, the sign of peace and unity in the Church, the sign of our salvation. May it also truly be the same in your city or town. Let us commence Holy Mass by preparing ourselves and involving this great grace.

This article was taken from the Medjugorje Newletter, published by Weible Columns.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Is there more to Lent than just giving up the stuff that you love?

The following comes from NOLA.com:

Open the Bible and you won’t find the word “Lent” anywhere. So where does Lent come from? Why does it last for 40 days — 40 long days? And what exactly are we supposed to be doing? Is it really just about giving up coffee, chocolate and Coke? Or is there more to it?


The answers can be found by exploring the biblical roots of the season. Every year on Ash Wednesday, we read Jesus’ teaching about prayer, fasting and almsgiving (Matthew 6:1-18). And every year, on the first Sunday of Lent, we read about Jesus’ 40 days in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-15; Luke 4:1-13).

First, the 40 days of Lent are modeled on Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert: “At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry” (Matthew 4:1). I bet he was! Here we see the deepest reason for the Lenten season: the 40 days of self-denial are done in imitation of Jesus. He prayed and fasted 40 days, so we follow his example with 40 days of self-denial. Now, we could just stop there. And many people do. But there is more to Lent than just “giving up” food and drink. For Jesus not only fasts, he also overcomes three powerful temptations:

The devil tries to get Jesus to transform stones into loaves of bread (Matthew 4:1-4). The temptation is for Jesus to break his fast and satisfy his hunger, which by this point must be ravenous.

The devil offers to give Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence” if Jesus will bow down and worship him (Matthew 4:8-10). Here the devil tries to tempt Jesus by offering him possession of the kingdoms of the world, which were handed over to the devil by Adam in the Fall (see Luke 4:6).

Finally, the devil tries to get Jesus to “prove” he is really the Son of God by throwing himself down from “the parapet of the Temple” in Jerusalem and letting the angels catch him. Here the devil tries to tempt Jesus to perform a miracle that everyone would be able to see.

Of course, Jesus rebuffs each temptation by declaring that a person lives by the word of God, not by bread alone; that God alone is to be worshipped, and that one should not put God to the test. But why these temptations? Why does the Gospel tell us that “when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from (Jesus) until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13)?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Story of Ash Wednesday

The following comes from The Catholic Exchange:


Q: A Protestant friend asked me why Catholics use ashes on Ash Wednesday. What are the origins of Ash Wednesday and the use of ashes?
The liturgical use of ashes originates in Old Testament times. Ashes symbolized mourning, mortality and penance. For instance, in the Book of Esther, Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes when he heard of the decree of King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes, 485-464BC) of Persia to kill all of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire (Est 4:1). Job (whose story was written between 7th and 5th centuries BC) repented in sackcloth and ashes (Jb 42:6).
Prophesying the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem, Daniel (c. 550BC) wrote, “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes” (Dn 9:3). In the 5th century BC, after Jonah’s preaching of conversion and repentance, the town of Nineveh proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, and the king covered himself with sackcloth and sat in the ashes (Jon 3:5-6). These Old Testament examples evidence both a recognized practice of using ashes and a common understanding of their symbolism.
Jesus Himself also made reference to ashes: Referring to towns that refused to repent of sin although they had witnessed the miracles and heard the good news, our Lord said, “If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, they would have reformed in sackcloth and ashes long ago” (Mt 11:21).
The early Church continued the usage of ashes for the same symbolic reasons. In his book, De Poenitentia, Tertullian (c. 160-220) prescribed that the penitent must “live without joy in the roughness of sackcloth and the squalor of ashes.” Eusebius (260-340), the famous early Church historian, recounted in his The History of the Churchhow an apostate named Natalis came to Pope Zephyrinus clothed in sackcloth and ashes begging forgiveness. Also during this time, for those who were required to do public penance, the priest sprinkled ashes on the head of the person leaving confession.
In the Middle Ages (at least by the time of the 8th century), those who were about to die were laid on the ground on top of sackcloth sprinkled with ashes. The priest would bless the dying person with holy water, saying, “Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.” After the sprinkling, the priest asked, “Art thou content with sackcloth and ashes in testimony of thy penance before the Lord in the day of judgment?” To which the dying person replied, “I am content.” In all of these examples, the symbolism of mourning, mortality and penance is clear.
Eventually, the use of ashes was adapted to mark the beginning of Lent, the 40-day preparation period (not including Sundays) for Easter. The ritual for the “Day of Ashes” is found in the earliest editions of the Gregorian Sacramentary which dates at least to the 8th century. About the year 1000, an Anglo-Saxon priest named Aelfric preached, “We read in the books both in the Old Law and in the New that the men who repented of their sins bestrewed themselves with ashes and clothed their bodies with sackcloth. Now let us do this little at the beginning of our Lent that we strew ashes upon our heads to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during the Lenten fast.” As an aside, Aelfric reinforced his point by then telling of a man who refused to go to Church on Ash Wednesday and receive ashes; the man was killed a few days later in a boar hunt. Since the Middle Ages at least, the Church has used ashes to mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, when we remember our mortality and mourn for our sins.
In our present Ash Wednesday liturgy, we use ashes made from burned palm branches distributed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. The priest blesses the ashes and imposes them on the foreheads of the faithful, making the sign of the cross and saying, “Remember, man you are dust and to dust you shall return,” or “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.”
As we begin this holy season of Lent in preparation for Easter, we must remember the significance of the ashes we have received: We mourn and do penance for our sins. We again convert our hearts to the Lord, who suffered, died and rose for our salvation. We renew the promises made at our baptism, when we died to an old life and rose to a new life with Christ. Finally, mindful that the kingdom of this world passes away, we strive to live the kingdom of God now and look forward to its fulfillment in heaven. In essence, we die to ourselves, and rise to a new life in Christ.
As we remember the significance of these ashes and strive to live it during this time of Lent, we must allow the Holy Spirit to move us to charity toward our neighbors. Our Holy Father in his Message for Lent, 2003, said, “It is my fervent hope that believers will find this Lent a favorable time for bearing witness to the Gospel of charity in every place, since the vocation to charity is the heart of all true evangelization.”
He also lamented that our “age, regrettably is particularly susceptible to the temptation toward selfishness which always lurks within the human heart…. An excessive desire for possessions prevents human beings from being open to their Creator and to their brothers and sisters.” This Lent, acts of self-giving love shown to those in need must be part of our penance, conversion and renewal, for such acts constitute the solidarity and justice essential for building up the kingdom of God in this world.

Ash Wednesday

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Modern Lourdes Miracle

The miracle of Lourdes continues as a new modern miracle is reported at Catholic News Agency. Hat tip to Spirit Daily for this one! The following comes from CNA:

A woman who suffered from a severe nerve disease now no longer uses her wheelchair and has even gone for a run, after she visited to Lourdes earlier in August. The woman credits the baths at Lourdes for the ‘gift’ of her improved health.

Antonia Raco, 50, had been in a wheelchair for four years because of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She made a trip to the shrine at Lourdes on August 5.

''Ever since I came back I have been walking, doing everything normally, and I've even run,'' Raco told ANSA.
Raco, who is from a village near the southern Italian city of Potenza, said she would rather talk about the change as “a gift, an act of mercy, rather than a miracle.”

She reported to ANSA that when she was in the healing bath at Lourdes, “I felt a voice encouraging me and a strong pain in my legs.”

On Tuesday, Raco will be examined by a specialist at the prestigious Molinette Hospital in Turin. The hospital’s specialist, Adriano Chiro, has been treating her since 2006, according to Italian news reports.

Lourdes, France has been the site of pilgrimage and devotion since the 1858 Marian visions of peasant girl St. Bernadette Soubirous at a grotto.

Following the guidance of the Virgin Mary, Bernadette scraped away soil besides the grotto until a spring of water began trickling out.

The spring produces 27,000 gallons of water every day. Many miracles have been attributed to the shrine’s waters and Our Lady of Lourdes

Monday, February 12, 2018

Padre Pio's devotion to Our Blessed Mother


The following comes from the Free Republic site:


One of the outstanding characteristics of Padre Pio’s(Francesco Forgione’s) spirituality was his deep devotion to Mary. His love for the Blessed Mother was one which was present from his earliest years and which lasted through his whole life. In the small town of Pietrelcina where he was born, devotion to the Madonna has been a characteristic of the people’s spirituality for many centuries. Our Lady Liberatrix (Our Lady of Liberty) was the special patroness of the area and was venerated in the main church. Every year there was a festival in her honor with a procession through the streets.

The Forgiones were an extremely devout family. When the church bells rang every morning the family gathered for morning prayers. They went to church every day and prayed the Rosary together as a family every evening. Prayer came before all other activities in the household. Maria Giuseppa, Padre Pio’s mother, also had a great devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.


Padre Pio was 14 years old when he visited the shrine in Pompeii dedicated to Our Lady. Our Lady of Pompeii was especially dear to his heart and often when he needed a special grace for himself or for someone else, he would ask his friends to pray to Our Lady of Pompeii for his intentions. He wrote, “I should like to ask you, if it is not inconvenient, to do me the kindness of making three consecutive novenas to the Virgin of Pompeii for a grace to be obtained for me from her Son, a grace which will mean a great deal for a certain soul.” On another occasion he wrote, “I thank you for the novenas you made for me to Our Lady of Pompeii and I would ask you if it is not inconvenient, to continue because I am in great need.”


In his letters to his spiritual directors, Padre Pio called the Blessed Mother, “beautiful Virgin Mary,” “most tender mother of priests,” “Mediatrix of all graces.” In Our Lady, he saw the advocate of sinners, the most beloved, the consoler. He frequently referred to Mary simply as “Mother.” Reciting the Angelus he rarely managed to restrain his emotions and when he spoke about her it was not unusual for him to shed tears.


For more of this story please go here.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes



Litany of Our Lady of Lourdes

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Mother of our Saviour, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, help of Christians, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, source of love, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the poor, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the handicapped, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of orphans, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of all children, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of all nations, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, mother of the Church, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, friend of the lonely, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, comforter of those who mourn, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, shelter of the homeless, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, guide of travelers, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, strength of the weak, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, refuge of sinners, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, comforter of the suffering, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, help of the dying, pray for us.
Queen of Heaven, pray for us.
Queen of peace, pray for us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us.

Let Us Pray: Grant us, your servants, we pray you, Lord God, to enjoy perpetual health of mind and body. By the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, may we be delivered from present sorrows, and enjoy everlasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, February 9, 2018

St. Kateri Tekakwitha


The following comes from the St. Kateri Shrine:


Kateri lived here in Caughnawaga (“By the Rapids”) from 1666, when she was ten years old, until 1677, when she fled to Kahnawake, a Christian village in Quebec, Canada. (The northern settlement’s name is the same as Caughnawaga, just spelled differently). This village, across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal was called “The Village of the Praying Indians.”

The original Caughnawaga, here in present day Fonda, NY, is the site of the village or “castle” where Kateri lived most of her life. It is the site of the only fully excavated Mohawk village of that era. Nearby, the holy spring, whose water was used to baptize her, still flows here. Many pilgrims claim cures after drawing its crystal clear water and praying through the intercession of Saint Kateri.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Archbishop Fulton Sheen: Victory over Vice

The following comes from Catholic Exchange:


Fulton Sheen’s Victory over Vice is a joy to read and a nightmare to review.Why? It is so quotable. The matter is made worse by the fact that it is a relatively short book. There is no padding, no excess, just thought provoking prose, judicious observation, and interesting anecdote.
Is there anyone reading this who has not heard of Fulton Sheen? The man was a priest and a bishop, but his legacy remains chiefly around his gift as a communicator. He gave sermons, wrote books, and proclaimed the Gospel in ways one would expect of a man of his calling, but there was something else besides. He was one of the first to see the potential of the media. For many, the chief form of media in the 1930s was radio so he started the Catholic Radio Hour. It was a great success. By the 1950s, it was television that was in the ascendant, so he started a show there that ended up being broadcast on networks across America. Using both media he was able to access people’s free time, enter their living rooms, present his ideas at the very centre of the family home. One can only imagine how excited and active he would be with the possibilities offered by the Digital Age.
That said Sheen would have been all too aware of the dark side to this our Digital Age. Certain vices have never before been more available due to the freely had and anonymously consumed offerings online. And, here I speak not solely of one vice: lust. How much does the internet fuel envy, with so much on display and so many displaying what they have and what others want? And what of time wasted on line wanting what we see but know we can’t have? If gluttony is over consumption, then how many wasted hours, days even, are spent on line? How many duties abandoned due to the sloth induced by the easy lure of the website that captivates our interest? Or, the anger produced by reading on line what we should have avoided? And, behind it all, there is the pride of knowledge – knowing a little but not enough to know how little, or how superficial it all is? To examine the Seven Deadly Sins in our lives perhaps we need look no further than the screen in front of us.
We know of these problems, they are all around us, therefore, I was curious to see what Victory over Vice, written in 1939, and recently republished by Sophia Institute Press, had to say – would its pages have any relevance?
Sheen’s outline is simple enough. There are seven deadly sins, and so there are seven chapters. Each chapter is a brief look at each sin – anger, lust etc. – and the means to counter it. As I said at the beginning this is a hard book to review. The author was more than able to speak for himself, so I shall step aside and give you a taste, albeit all too brief, of Sheen’s thought and style:

Anger: 

It is not hatred that is wrong; it is hating the wrong thing that is wrong. It is not anger that is wrong; it is being angry at the wrong thing that is wrong. Tell me your enemy, and I will tell you what you are. Tell me your hatred, and I will tell you your character.

Envy:

…There is a bit of jealousy, a bit of envy, behind every cutting remark and barbed whispering we hear about our neighbor. It is always good to remember that there are always more sticks under the tree that has the most apples. There should be some consolation for those who are so unjustly attacked to remember that it is a physical impossibility for any man to get ahead of us who stays behind to kick us.

Lust:

Lust is selfishness or perverted love. It looks not so much at the good of the other, as to the pleasure of self. It breaks the glass that holds the wine; it breaks the lute to snare the music…Deny the quality of ‘otherness’, it seeks to make the other person care for us, but not to make us care for the other person.

Pride:

Nothing is more difficult to conquer in all the world than intellectual pride. If battleships could be lined with it instead of armour, no shell could ever pierce it. This is easy to understand, for if a man thinks he knows it all, there is nothing left for him to know, not even what God might tell him.

Gluttony:

The development of character depends on which hunger and thirst we cultivate…Tell me your hungers and your thirsts, and I will tell you who you are.

Sloth:

We lose our souls not only by the evil we do, but also by the good we leave undone…Heaven is a city on a hill. Hence we cannot coast into it; we have to climb…In any case, it is better to burn out than rust out.

Covetousness:

Man becomes like unto that which he loves, and if he loves gold, he becomes like it – cold, hard and yellow.

Saint of the day: Paul Miki and Companions




The following comes from the catholic online site:

Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. He was born at Tounucumada, Japan, was educated at the Jesuit college of Anziquiama, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent preaching. He was crucified on Februay 5 with twenty-five other Catholics during the persecution of Christians under the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan in the name of the emperor. Among the Japanese layment who suffered the same fate were: Francis, a carpenter who was arrested while watching the executions and then crucified; Gabriel, the nineteen year old son of the Franciscan's porter; Leo Kinuya, a twenty-eight year old carpenter from Miyako; Diego Kisai (or Kizayemon), temporal coadjutor of the Jesuits; Joachim Sakakibara, cook for the Franciscans at Osaka; Peter Sukejiro, sent by a Jesuit priest to help the prisoners, who was then arrested; Cosmas Takeya from Owari, who had preached in Osaka; and Ventura from Miyako, who had been baptized by the Jesuits, gave up his Catholicism on the death of his father, became a bonze, and was brought back to the Church by the Franciscans. They were all canonized as the Martyrs of Japan in 1862. Their feast day is February 6th.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Saint of the day: Agatha

The following comes from the American Catholic site:

As in the case of Agnes, another virgin-martyr of the early Church, almost nothing is historically certain about this saint except that she was martyred in Sicily during the persecution of Emperor Decius in 251.

Legend has it that Agatha, like Agnes, was arrested as a Christian, tortured and sent to a house of prostitution to be mistreated. She was preserved from being violated, and was later put to death.

She is claimed as the patroness of both Palermo and Catania. The year after her death, the stilling of an eruption of Mt. Etna was attributed to her intercession. As a result, apparently, people continued to ask her prayers for protection against fire.

Comment:

The scientific modern mind winces at the thought of a volcano’s might being contained by God because of the prayers of a Sicilian girl. Still less welcome, probably, is the notion of that saint being the patroness of such varied professions as those of foundry workers, nurses, miners and Alpine guides. Yet, in our historical precision, have we lost an essential human quality of wonder and poetry, and even our belief that we come to God by helping each other, both in action and prayer?

Quote:

When Agatha was arrested, the legend says, she prayed: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am—you alone. I am your sheep; make me worthy to overcome the devil.” And in prison: “Lord, my creator, you have protected me since I was in the cradle. You have taken me from the love of the world and given me patience to suffer. Now receive my spirit.”

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Spiritual Life

“The ideal of spirituality is to be found in the first and last words of Our Lord’s public life. The first word of His public life was: ‘come’ (John 1:39; Mark 1:17; Matthew 4:18). The last word was ‘go’ (John 20:21; Mark 16:20; Matthew 28:19). The disciple first comes to absorb His Truth, to become inflamed with His Love; then and then only, he goes to accomplish his mission. Both words are summarized in the summary of the call of the disciples: He called the men He wanted; and they went and joined Him….these He would send out to proclaim the Gospel (Mark 3:14). Unfortunately today, we have too many ‘go-goes’ and not enough ‘come-comes.’ The proper balance is found again in the story of Martha and Mary which follows in the Gospel the Good Samaritan. In the latter, social service is praised. But in the story of Martha and Mary, it is suggested that we are not to become too absorbed in serving, that we have become too absorbed in serving that we have no time to sit at the food of Jesus and learn

His lessons.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Those Mysterious Priests)

Saint of the day: Blaise, Bishop and Martyr


Today is the Feast of St. Blaise the Bishop and Martry! Don't forget to get your throat blessed... I could really use that myself as I am struggling with a cold! The following is from the EWTN Library:

It is not known precisely when or where St. Blaise lived, but according to tradition he was a bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, in the early part of the fourth century, and suffered martyrdom under the Roman emperor Licinius, who had commanded the governor of the province, one Agricolaus, to prevent the spread of Christianity in his territory. After this edict had been promulgated, Blaise fled to the mountains and lived in a cave frequented by wild beasts. He used his skill to heal the animals that he found wounded or sick, and when the emperor's hunters, bent on collecting wild animals for the royal games, discovered him in this cave, they carried him off to Agricolaus as a special prize.

On the way, the story goes, they met a poor woman whose pig had been seized by a wolf. At the command of Blaise, the wolf restored the pig to its owner, alive and unhurt. During the course of this journey he also miraculously cured a child who was choking to death on a fishbone. For this reason St. Blaise is often invoked by persons suffering from throat trouble. When he had reached the capital and was in prison awaiting execution, the old woman whose pig he had saved came to see him, bringing two fine wax candles to dispel the gloom of his dark cell. When he was finally killed, he is supposed to have been tortured with an iron comb or rake, and afterwards beheaded. In the West there was no cult honoring St. Blaise prior to the eighth century.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Pope Francis Homily for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

The following comes from Salt and Light:

Pope Francis gives his Homily for Mass on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and 22nd World Day of Consecrated Life. Feb. 2. 2018. Full Text:
Forty days after Christmas, we celebrate the Lord who enters the Temple and comes to encounter his people. In the Christian East, this feast is called the “Feast of Encounter”: it is the encounter between God, who became a child to bring newness to our world, and an expectant humanity, represented by the elderly man and woman in the Temple.
In the Temple, there is also an encounter between two couples: the young Mary and Joseph, and the elderly Simeon and Anna. The old receive from the young, while the young draw upon the old. In the Temple, Mary and Joseph find the roots of their people. This is important, because God’s promise does not come to fulfilment merely in individuals, once for all, but within a community and throughout history. There too, Mary and Joseph find the roots of their faith, for faith is not something learned from a book, but the art of living with God, learned from the experience of those who have gone before us. The two young people, in meeting the two older people, thus find themselves. And the two older people, nearing the end of their days, receive Jesus, the meaning of their lives. This event fulfils the prophecy of Joel: “Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (2:28). In this encounter, the young see their mission and the elderly realize their dreams. All because, at the centre of the encounter, is Jesus.
Let us look to our own lives, dear consecrated brothers and sisters. Everything started in an encounter with the Lord. Our journey of consecration was born of an encounter and a call. We need to keep this in mind. And if we remember aright, we will realize that in that encounter we were not alone with Jesus; there was also the people of God, the Church, young and old, just as in today’s Gospel. It is striking too, that while the young Mary and Joseph faithfully observe the Law – the Gospel tells us this four times – and never speak, the elderly Simeon and Anna come running up and prophesy. It seems it should be the other way around. Generally, it is the young who speak enthusiastically about the future, while the elderly protect the past. In the Gospel, the very opposite occurs, because when we meet one another in the Lord, God’s surprises immediately follow.
For this to occur in the consecrated life, we have to remember that we can never renew our encounter with the Lord without others; we can never leave others behind, never pass over generations, but must accompany one another daily, keeping the Lord always at the centre. For if the young are called to open new doors, the elderly have the keys. An institute remains youthful by going back to its roots, by listening to its older members. There is no future without this encounter between the old and the young. There is no growth without roots and no flowering without new buds. There is never prophecy without memory, or memory without prophecy. And constant encounter.

Read the rest here.