Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz: Catholics Should Abstain from Yoga

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz: Catholics Should Abstain from Yoga

bishop fabian bruskewitzThe recently retired Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, sent a letter to our ministry in which he advised Catholics to steer clear of yoga because of its basis in Hinduism and to take up other methods of exercise that don’t place the faith in unnecessary danger.

Even though many people claim to use yoga as an exercise regime, Bishop Bruskewitz warns that yoga’s background is much more complicated than that because it has “the intention to strengthen and expand human consciousness and the rational and mind level of the person who engages in Yoga.”

He correctly points out that yoga originated in, and is an important part of, various forms of the Hindu religion which is, in the Catholic perspective, “a pagan religion based on heathen beliefs and false doctrine of revelation involving such things as transmigration of souls, and so forth.”

In his view, it’s impossible to separate the Hindu religious aspects of yoga from the practice itself. “Certainly, if one wants to engage in physical exercises to strengthen one’s body, such a practice would be morally neutral, and would not, in itself, involve anything detrimental to our Catholic faith. However, the practice of yoga most often, if it does not begin that way, eventually morphs into an acceptance of points of view, and even doctrinal and moral matters that are distant from Catholic truth, and from genuine and authentic Christian revelation.”

He also warns about the dangers of its association with the New Age movement. “It is also well known that many proponents of what is called ‘New Age Religion’ use yoga and yoga practices, and instruction in these practices, as doorways in which to enter into people’s consciousness and wean them away from the truths which the Catholic Church preserves in the Deposit of Faith . . .”

Bishop Bruskewitz concludes with some very practical advice. “In our times, there are innumerable ways and methods by which appropriate and proper exercise of the human body can be undertaken that present no real danger to our faith or to our Catholic beliefs and commitments. It would be most desirable for persons who are Catholic to abstain from the practice of yoga and use other methods to exercise . . . . We are never allowed to place our Catholic faith unnecessarily in any danger, and certainly the practice of yoga could be an occasion of serious sin . . .”

Read the source and comments: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=39923

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Constance Cumbey, J.D. gives this thought-provoking and powerful talk, part of the Saint Michael’s Media Spiritual Warfare Conference 2009. Since the beginning the Christian faith has been challenged by responses to the question of origins that differ from its own. Ancient religions and cultures produced many myths concerning origins. Some philosophers have said that everything is God, that the world is God, or that the development of the world is the development of God (Pantheism). Others have said that the world is a necessary emanation arising from God and returning to him. Still others have affirmed the existence of two eternal principles, Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, locked in permanent conflict (Dualism, Manichaeism). According to some of these conceptions, the world (at least the physical world) is evil, the product of a fall, and is thus to be rejected or left behind (Gnosticism). Some admit that the world was made by God, but as by a watchmaker who, once he has made a watch, abandons it to itself (Deism). Finally, others reject any transcendent origin for the world, but see it as merely the interplay of matter that has always existed (Materialism). All these attempts bear witness to the permanence and universality of the question of origins. This inquiry is distinctively human (CCC: 285).

New Age & Spiritualism

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As Christianity has been de-emphasized in modern times, a new paganism has arisen in the form of the New Age seeking to pit ‘spiritualism’ against authentic religion. Discover what lies behind this threat to authentic worship of God as Michael Voris explains the history of the new Age and its significance in the modern world.

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Francisco Gavrilides, S.T.B. gives this fascinating talk, part of the Saint Michael’s Media Spiritual Warfare Conference 2009

Beware of Satan’s trap of the pious, To read click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=7773

6 Tactics Satan uses to divide the faithful, To read click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=7510

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The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel made by God: “The devil and other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing” (CCC:391).

Pastor Alex Jones and Flock Convert to Catholicism

Pastor Alex Jones and Flock Convert to Catholicism

  • BY JUDY ROBERTS

When Pentecostal minister Alex Jones came into the Church this past Easter he was not alone. He brought much of his congregation in with him.

aajones.jpg
Alex Jones

When Pentecostal minister Alex Jones came into the Church this past Easter he was not alone. He brought much of his congregation in with him.

When Detroit-born Alex Jones became a Pentecostal minister in 1972, there was little question among those who knew him that he was answering God’s call to preach.

Now, many of his friends and family have dismissed the 59-year-old pastor as an apostate for embracing the Catholic faith, closing the nondenominational church he organized in 1982, and taking part of his congregation with him.

At this year’s April 14 Easter Vigil, Jones, his wife, Donna, and 62 other former members of Detroit’s Maranatha Church, was received into the Catholic Church at St. Suzanne’s Parish. For Jones, becoming a Catholic will mark the end of a journey that began with the planting of a seed by Catholic apologist and Register columnist Karl Keating. It also will mean the beginning of a new way of life.

Jones first heard Keating, the founder of Catholic Answers, at a debate on whether the origins of the Christian church were Protestant or Catholic. At the close, Keating asked, “If something took place, who would you want to believe, those who saw it or those who came thousands of years later and told what happened?”

“Good point,” Jones thought, and tucked it away. Five years later, while he was reading about the church fathers, Keating’s question resurfaced. Jones began a study of the Church’s beginnings, sharing his newfound knowledge with his congregation.

To illustrate what he was talking about, in the spring of 1998 he re-enacted an early worship service, never intending to alter his congregation’s worship style. “But once I discovered the foundational truths and saw that Christianity was not the same as I was preaching, some fine-tuning needed to take place.”

Soon, Maranatha Church’s Sunday service was looking more like a Catholic Mass with Pentecostal overtones. “We said all the prayers with all the rubrics of the Church, all the readings, the Eucharistic prayers. We did it all, and we did it with an African-American style.”

Not everyone liked the change, however, and the 200-member congregation began to dwindle. Meanwhile, Jones contacted Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary and was referred to Steve Ray of Milan, Mich., whose conversion story is told in Crossing the Tiber.

“I set up a lunch with him right away and we pretty much had lunch every month after that,” said Ray. He introduced Jones to Dennis Walters, the catechist at Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor, Mich. Walters began giving the Pentecostal pastor and his wife weekly instructions in March, 1999.

Crossroads

Eventually, Jones and his congregation arrived at a crossroads. On June 4, the remaining adult members of Maranatha Church voted 39-19 to begin the process of becoming Catholic. In September, they began studies at St. Suzanne’s.

Maranatha closed for good in December. The congregation voted to give Jones severance pay and sell the building, a former Greek Orthodox church, to the First Tabernacle Church of God in Christ.

Father Dennis Duggan, St. Suzanne’s 53-year-old pastor, said the former Maranatha members and their pastor along with about 10 other candidates comprise the 750-member parish’s largest-ever convert class.

Unity and diversity

Although not all parishioners at predominantly white St. Suzanne’s have received the group warmly, Father Duggan, who also is white, said he considers the newcomers a gift and an answer to prayer.

“What the Lord seems to have brought together in the two of us Alex and myself is two individuals who have a similar dream about diversity. Detroit is a particularly segregated kind of community, especially on Sunday morning, and here you’ve got two baptized believers who really believe we ought to be looking different.”

Father Duggan hopes eventually to bring Jones onto the parish staff. Already, he has encouraged Jones to join him in teaching at a Wednesday night Bible service. And, he is working on adapting the music at Masses so that it better reflects the parish’s new makeup.

The current European worship style at St. Suzanne’s has been the most difficult adjustment for the former Maranatha members, Jones said, because they had been accustomed to using contemporary music with the Catholic prayers and rituals. “The cultural adaptation is far more difficult than the theological adaptation,” he said.

Protestant Issues

Jones said the four biggest problems Protestants have with Catholicism are teachings about Mary, purgatory, papal authority, and praying to saints. He resolved three of the four long ago, but struggled the most with Mary, finally accepting the teaching on her just because the church taught it.

“It is so ingrained in Protestants that only God inhabits heaven and to pray to anyone else is idolatry. … The culture had so placed in my heart that only the Trinity received prayer that it was difficult.”

He is writing a paper on the appropriateness of venerating Mary for a class at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary, where he is taking prerequisite courses for a master’s degree in theology and pastoral studies. He also is writing a book for Ignatius Press and accepting speaking engagements through St. Joseph Communications, West Covina, Calif.

Jones, the father of three married sons and grandfather of six, is leaving the question of whether he becomes a priest up to the Church.

“If the Church discerns that vocation, I will accept it. If not, I will accept that, too. Whatever the Church calls me to do, I will do.”

Although he has given up his job, prestige, and the congregation he built to become Catholic, Jones said the hardest loss of all has been the family and friends who rejected him because of his decision.

“To see those that have worshiped with and prayed with me for over 40 years walk away and have no contact with them is sad.”

It was especially painful, he said, when his mother, who had helped him start Maranatha, left to go to Detroit’s Perfecting Church, where his cousin, gospel singer Marvin Winans, is the pastor.

Neither Winans nor the pastor of the church that bought Maranatha’s building would comment on Jones’ conversion. Jones also is troubled that those he left behind do not understand his decision.

“To them, I have apostasized into error. And that’s painful for me because we all want to be looked at as being right and correct, but now you have the stigma of being mentally unbalanced, changeable, being looked at as though you’ve just walked away from God.”

Jones said when his group was considering converting, prayer groups were formed to stop them. “People fasted and prayed that God would stop us from making this terrible mistake. When we did it, it was as though we had died.”

He said Catholics do not fully understand how many Protestants see their church. “There’s this thin veneer of amicability, and below that there is great hostility.”

But he remains convinced he is doing the right thing.

“How can you say no to truth? I knew that I would lose everything and that in those circles I would never be accepted again, but I had no choice,” he said.

“It would be mortal sin for me to know what I know and not act on it. If I returned to my former life, I would be dishonest, untrustworthy, a man who saw truth, knew truth, and turned away from it, and I could just not do that.”

Read the source and comments: http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/apologetics/pastor-and-flock-convert-to-catholicism.html

dividertop

Acknowledgement

Judy Roberts. “Pastor and Flock Convert to Catholicism.” National Catholic Register. (June 20, 2001).

This article is reprinted with permission from National Catholic Register. To subscribe to theNational Catholic Register call 1-800-421-3230.

 

 

HE WARNED US ABOUT ISLAM 750 YEARS AGO – AND HIS WARNING IS STILL RELEVANT TODAY

HE WARNED US ABOUT ISLAM 750 YEARS AGO – AND HIS WARNING IS STILL RELEVANT TODAY

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The 13th-century scholar Thomas Aquinas, regarded as one of the most eminent medieval philosophers and theologians, offered a biting critique of Islam based in large part on the questionable character and methods of its founder, Mohammed.

Thomas Aquinas is a well-known philosopher and theologian from medieval times. In reviewing his writings, it’s clear he had fierce criticism and concern about Islam. As events roll out in the Middle East with Radical Islam on the rise, it’s important to learn from history so as not to repeat it. According to Breitbart:

According to Aquinas, Islam appealed to ignorant, brutish, carnal men and spread not by the power of its arguments or divine grace but by the power of the sword.

Aquinas, a keen observer of the human condition, was familiar with the chief works of the Muslim philosophers of his day–including Avicenna, Algazel, and Averroes–and engaged them in his writings.

Since Islam was founded and spread in the seventh century, Aquinas—considered by Catholics as a saint and doctor of the Church—lived in a period closer to that of Mohammed than to our own day.

In one of his most significant works, the voluminous Summa contra gentiles, which Aquinas wrote between 1258 and 1264 AD, the scholar argued for the truth of Christianity against other belief systems, including Islam.

Aquinas contrasts the spread of Christianity with that of Islam, arguing that much of Christianity’s early success stemmed from widespread belief in the miracles of Jesus, whereas the spread of Islam was worked through the promise of sensual pleasures and the violence of the sword.

Mohammad, Aquinas wrote, “seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure.”

Such an offer, Aquinas contended, appealed to a certain type of person of limited virtue and wisdom.

“In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men,” he wrote. “As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.”

Because of the weakness of Islam’s contentions, Aquinas argued, “no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning.” Instead, those who believed in him “were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.”

Islam’s violent methods of propagation were especially unconvincing to Aquinas, since he found that the use of such force does not prove the truth of one’s claims, and are the means typically used by evil men.

“Mohammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms,” Aquinas wrote, “which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants.”

It’s interesting that Aquinas mentions the initial followers as ‘brutal and desert wanderers.’ Isn’t that what we’re seeing play out today with Syria and the Middle East? Brutal men carrying out heinous crimes in desert regions. And it’s moving into Europe as the recent Paris attacks demonstrate.

And now, through Obama’s open border policy, we’re seeing the early signs of radical Islam here in the US. Let’s hope that more honorable leaders learn from Thomas Aquinas and stop the invasion of radical Islam into the US.

What do you think of the writings of Thomas Aquinas? Leave a comment with your thoughts below.

Read the source and comments: http://liberty247.net/why-this-religious-legend-distrusts-islam/

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Readings & Reflections: Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time & St., Augustine of Canterbury, May 27,2016

Readings & Reflections: Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time & St., Augustine of Canterbury, May 27,2016

Augustine was a native of Rome, where he served as prior of the monastery of Saint Andrew. Saint Gregory the Great sent him with thirty companions from Rome to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom centered in Kent. The mission faltered at first, and Augustine returned to Rome. But Gregory, confident in Augustine’s leadership, consecrated him abbot of the fledging community and sent him back on the road to England. Reaching Kent, Augustine and his companions were successful in converting the king, Ethelbert. Thousands of his subjects followed him into the Church. Gregory appointed Augustine archbishop of Canterbury. He died around the year 604 A.D. and is considered the apostle of England.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

“Lord increase my faith and make me fruitful and effective in serving you. Help me to forgive others just as you have been merciful towards me”. Amen.

Reading 1

1 Pt 4:7-13

Beloved:
The end of all things is at hand.
Therefore be serious and sober-minded
so that you will be able to pray.
Above all, let your love for one another be intense,
because love covers a multitude of sins.
Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another
as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God;
whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies,
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when his glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 96:10, 11-12, 13

  1. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
    Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
    He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
    he governs the peoples with equity.
    R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
    Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
    let the sea and what fills it resound;
    let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
    Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
    R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
    Before the LORD, for he comes;
    for he comes to rule the earth.
    He shall rule the world with justice
    and the peoples with his constancy.
    R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia

See Jn 15:16

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    I chose you from the world,
    to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
Mark 11:11-26

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area.
He looked around at everything and, since it was already late,
went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. And he said to it in reply,

“May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it.

They came to Jerusalem, and on entering the temple area
he began to drive out those selling and buying there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers
and the seats of those who were selling doves.
He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area.
Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written:
My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples?
But you have made it a den of thieves.”

The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it
and were seeking a way to put him to death,
yet they feared him because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching. When evening came, they went out of the city.

Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”

Jesus said to them in reply,

“Have faith in God. Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.
When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Faith in God

It is impossible to have faith on someone without having knowledge of the person. Religion depends upon doctrine. Someone who comes to God must not only believe in a Him but he must also believe everything about Him. To have faith in God means accepting everything about Him.

This statement is a real struggle for many of us. Some people tell those who are in crisis that it is only when they have enough belief that a miracle will happen that God will perform it for them. So many hurting hearts have been crushed by a statement that their faith is too weak for God to answer their prayers. How can it be that by sheer force of our imagination that we can force God’s hand in one direction?  

Allow me to share a short story which I came across in my readings:

A little cat of mine who was very shy got loose one day when I was out of town. When I returned home, Raisin had been lost for several days, starving, unable to come back because of her skittishness around people. I remember begging the Lord to bring her home.

As I was praying for her, I started wondering if I was supposed to have perfect faith in the idea that I’d get my cat back in order for God to answer my prayer. Then it hit me that the faith that we are supposed to have is not in the outcome, but in God Himself. God wants us to be absolutely convinced of His love for us and in His power and desire to take care of us. So my prayer changed. I said, “Lord, I know that You are good and that You have heard my prayer, and I can trust your answer to my prayer, whether or not You bring Raisin back.” The emphasis shifted from the cat to the fact that God was good, and that I could always trust that.

It was a true surprise when Raisin was rescued a few days later in a seemingly miraculous way, when my neighbor found her curled up in the engine compartment of her car, dirty, gaunt, and with a paralyzed paw. I know that my prayers did not “earn” her return, and that it was out of sheer grace that God answered in this way. I’m almost embarrassed to share this story when others struggle with greater needs. But it did teach me that God didn’t really need me to fervently imagine a certain outcome before He would answer a prayer. He is good, powerful and loving, and whatever answer He gave, I could still be assured of this most important fact of all.

Romans 12:3 says that God has given every man a measure of faith. God says that there is faith and love in Christ Jesus (1 Tim 1:13-14, 2 Tim 1:12-14). Since we are in Christ Jesus, then we can walk in faith and walk in love.

Jesus exhorts His disciples to “have faith in God”.  As such we are to pray with expectant faith no matter how difficult the situation may be. The phrase “to remove mountains” was a common Jewish expression for removing obstacles and difficulties.  A wise teacher who could solve difficulties was tagged as a “mountain remover”.

If we pray with complete faith and trust in God, He will bless us and give us the grace to overcome difficulties and obstacles.  And if we want God to hear our prayers, we must forgive those who wrong us as God has forgiven us.  When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”

Direction

Recall some life setback that one has weathered well because of faith.

Prayer

“Heavenly Father increase my faith and make my fruitful and effective in serving you. Help me to forgive others just as you have been merciful towards me.” I pray all these in Jesus Mighty Name. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Faith in God

Jesus’ cursing of a fig tree is a prophetic action against the faithlessness of those who rejected his message. For faith to be fruitful and productive, it must be nourished with the word of God (2 Tim 3:16; Col 3:16) and be rooted in love (Gal 5:6). What does this mean for us today?

Here’s a case in point in New York Times (Sept 30, 2001). It starts off with the story of a young single woman, once happy to be single, living the full cultural and social life of the city, suddenly having a second thought. The article reports, “In the aftermath of Sept 11, she has re-examined the meaning of uncoupled. The young woman is quoted as saying, “The disaster made me realize for the first time in my life that I was alone… I’ve always loved being single, but during the crisis, I hated it.” She realized that in this time of terrible trauma, she desperately needed someone to care for her, someone to comfort her. The obvious message of the article is that, in times of tragedy, the human need to connect with someone is enormously powerful. That’s why people went to Church. Even those long absent came back because they felt a need for larger home, a need to connect with faith people. There was another lady who angrily left the church many years ago, after her husband left her for someone else. Over the years she got married again and flirted with one religion or another, and finally declaring herself independent. But the Sunday after Sept 11, she was back in her old church, with tears streaming down her cheeks. All she simply said, was, “I need to come home again.”

“Home again” is what faith is all about. It is where those stable, fundamental needs for care and comfort are met, where the cry, “increase my faith,” means, in reality, increase my belief that there is someone who will never tire in caring for me, never cease to comfort me, someone who is home to me.

By their presence at church, they were saying, in so many ways, “Increase my instinct that ultimately there is someone who deeply and sincerely cares for me and my friends; that there is someone who comforts me in my perplexity and sorrow just because I am me, someone who will make it all right. And that someone is God who I want to believe gives care and comfort unconditionally. That is why I came home to church.

Press care and comfort together and you get faith. Press faith and home together and you get church. That’s what the singles were seeking. That’s what all the people who flocked to church were seeking.

I hope that is the meaning you find here in this church: that those of you who come all the time will stay; that those of you who have returned will stay. This is your home. Feel at home. You can receive healing and forgiveness by the sacrament of confessions, and nourish your faith in the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist. Then Jesus Christ will come to judge us and bring us together in heaven, our eternal home with God and the saints.

Reflection 3 – Have faith in God

Why did Jesus curse a fig tree? Fig trees were a common and important source of food for the Jews. Bad figs or a decaying fig tree was linked with evil deeds and spiritual decay. The unfruitful fig tree symbolized the outcome of Israel’s unresponsiveness to the word of God. The prophets depicted the languishing fig tree as signifying the desolation and calamity of Israel due to her unfaithfulness to God (see Joel 1:7,12; Habakuk 3:17; and Jeremiah 8:13). The history of Israel is one long preparation for the coming of the Promised One. But the promise is unfulfilled in those who reject Jesus through unbelief. (See also Jesus’ parable of the barren fig tree in Luke 13:6-9). Jesus’ cursing of a fig tree is a prophetic action against the faithlessness of those who rejected his message. For faith to be fruitful and productive, it must be nourished with the word of God (2 Timothy 3:16; Colossians 3:16) and be rooted in love (Galatians 5:6).

Jesus’ cleansing of the temple was another prophetic action. In this incident we see Jesus’ startling and swift action in cleansing the temple of those who were using it to exploit the worshipers of God. The money changers took advantage of the poor and forced them to pay many times more than was right – in the house of the Lord no less! Their robbery of the poor was not only dishonoring to God but unjust toward their neighbor. In justification for his audacious action Jesus quotes from the prophets Isaiah (56:7) and Jeremiah (7:11). His act of judgment aims to purify the worship of God’s people and to discipline their erring ways.

After this incident Jesus exhorts his disciples to “have faith in God.” They are to pray with expectant faith  no matter how difficult the situation may be. The phrase “to remove mountains” was a common Jewish expression for removing difficulties. A wise teacher who could solve difficulties was called a “mountain remover.”  If we pray with faith God will give us the means to overcome difficulties and obstacles. If we want God to hear our prayers we must forgive those who wrong us as God has forgiven us. Do you pray with expectant faith?

“Lord Jesus, increase my faith and make my fruitful and effective in serving you. Help me to forgive others just as you have been merciful towards me” – Read the source: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/may27.htm

Reflection 4 – God-Centered Faith

Have faith in God. –Mark 11:22

During difficult times we often lament, “If only I had more faith!” Yet we demonstrate in everyday life that the most important issue is not the amount of our faith but the object of our faith. For instance, whenever we sit down in a chair, we trust that it will support us. Our faith is in the chair, not in how much faith we possess.

In Mark 11:12-24, Jesus taught His disciples the importance of having the right object of faith. It began when they overheard Jesus curse a fig tree (v.14). The next morning, Peter exclaimed, “Look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away” (v.21). Jesus replied, “Have faith in God” (v.22). Having declared God as the object of faith, Jesus assured them that they too could pray for and receive amazing results through God-centered faith. And so may we.

Often, however, we praise those who have great faith in God. Ian Thomas once preached: “When we congratulate people for having faith in our Creator, we’re really saying that God is so decrepit they’re to be congratulated for believing in Him.” He continued, “To become less conscious of faith, we must become more acquainted with the object of faith.”

Get to know God better. Then to trust Him will become as natural as trusting the chair you’re sitting on!  — Joanie Yoder

My faith has found a resting place–
Not in device nor creed:
I trust the Ever-living One–
His wounds for me shall plead. –Edmunds

Our faith may not be great but our God is (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 5 – Mountains Can Move!

Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.” —Mark 11:22

A familiar slogan about prayer is, “Prayer changes things.” But prayer doesn’t do this—God does. Some people think that prayer itself is the source of power, so they “try prayer,” hoping “it will work” for them. In Mark 11, Jesus disclosed one of the secrets behind all true prayer: “Have faith in God.” Not faith in faith, not faith in prayer, but “faith in God” (v.22).

Jesus told His disciples they could command a mountain to be cast into the sea, and if they believed it would happen, it would. Jesus then gave them His meaning behind that astonishing promise. He said, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will” (v.24). Jesus was speaking about answered prayer. We can ask and receive answers only if our asking is directed to God in faith and according to His will (1 John 5:14).

I’ve often wished that I could move mountains by faith. Having once lived in Switzerland, I’d like God to move the Alps into my backyard in England. But He has done something much more important: He has removed mountains of worry, fear, and resentment from my heart and cast them into oblivion through my faith in Him. He is still in the mountain-moving business! Have faith in God and pray!
Joanie Yoder

When the Spirit prompts the asking,
When the waiting heart believes,
Then we know of each petition—
Everyone who asks receives. —Anon.

Faith is the key to answered prayer (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 6 – The Faithfulness Of God

Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.” —Mark 11:22

Some of Jesus’ words to His disciples about having faith in God leave me wondering if I can ever exercise that level of trust and confidence in prayer. I can’t recall telling a mountain to relocate itself into the ocean and watching it happen.

Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China, said that Jesus’ words in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God,” could be translated, “Hold on to the faithfulness of God.”

  1. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, former pastor of London’s Westminster Chapel, appreciated Taylor’s insight and said: “Faith is holding on to the faithfulness of God and, as long as you do that, you cannot go wrong. Faith does not look at the difficulties. . . . Faith does not look at itself or at the person who is exercising it. Faith looks at God . . . . Faith is interested in God only, and it talks about God and it praises God and it extols the virtues of God. The measure of the strength of a man’s faith, always, is ultimately the measure of his knowledge of God. . . . He knows God so well that he can rest on the knowledge. And it is the prayers of such a man that are answered.”

“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations” (Ps. 119:89-90).  — David C. McCasland

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever—
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him. —Kelly

Life is not always fair, but God is always faithful (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 7 – St. Augustine of Canterbury (d. 605? A.D.)

In the year 596, some 40 monks set out from Rome to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England. Leading the group was Augustine, the prior of their monastery in Rome. Hardly had he and his men reached Gaul (France) when they heard stories of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons and of the treacherous waters of the English Channel. Augustine returned to Rome and to the pope who had sent them—St. Gregory the Great (September 3 )—only to be assured by him that their fears were groundless.

Augustine again set out. This time the group crossed the English Channel and landed in the territory of Kent, ruled by King Ethelbert, a pagan married to a Christian, Bertha. Ethelbert received them kindly, set up a residence for them in Canterbury and within the year, on Pentecost Sunday, 597, was himself baptized. After being consecrated a bishop in France, Augustine returned to Canterbury, where he founded his see. He constructed a church and monastery near where the present cathedral, begun in 1070, now stands. As the faith spread, additional sees were established at London and Rochester.

Work was sometimes slow and Augustine did not always meet with success. Attempts to reconcile the Anglo-Saxon Christians with the original Briton Christians (who had been driven into western England by Anglo-Saxon invaders) ended in dismal failure. Augustine failed to convince the Britons to give up certain Celtic customs at variance with Rome and to forget their bitterness, helping him evangelize their Anglo-Saxon conquerors

Laboring patiently, Augustine wisely heeded the missionary principles—quite enlightened for the times—suggested by Pope Gregory the Great: purify rather than destroy pagan temples and customs; let pagan rites and festivals be transformed into Christian feasts; retain local customs as far as possible. The limited success Augustine achieved in England before his death in 605, a short eight years after he arrived in England, would eventually bear fruit long after in the conversion of England. Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”

Comment:

Augustine of Canterbury comes across today as a very human saint, one who could suffer like many of us from a failure of nerve. For example, his first venture to England ended in a big U-turn back to Rome. He made mistakes and met failure in his peacemaking attempts with the Briton Christians. He often wrote to Rome for decisions on matters he could have decided on his own had he been more self-assured. He even received mild warnings against pride from Pope Gregory, who cautioned him to “fear lest, amidst the wonders that are done, the weak mind be puffed up by self-esteem.” Augustine’s perseverance amidst obstacles and only partial success teaches today’s apostles and pioneers to struggle on despite frustrations and be satisfied with gradual advances.

Quote:

In a letter to Augustine, Pope Gregory the Great wrote: “He who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, not leaps.”

Patron Saint of: England

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1396

SAINT OF THE DAY
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Canterbury  
Not to be confused with Augustine of Hippo.
Saint
Augustine
Archbishop of Canterbury
Illuminated manuscript with a forward-facing man in the middle of the large H. Man is carrying a crozier and his head is surrounded by a halo.

Portrait labelled “AUGUSTINUS” from the mid-8th century Saint Petersburg Bede, though perhaps intended as Gregory the Great.[a]
Appointed before 601
Term ended probably 26 May 604
Predecessor None
Successor Laurence of Canterbury
Other posts prior of Abbey of St Andrew’s
Orders
Consecration c. 597
Personal details
Born 6th century
Died probably 26 May 604
Canterbury, Kent, England
Buried St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury
Sainthood
Feast day
  • 26 May (Anglican Communion)
  • 26 May (Eastern Orthodox)
  • 26 May (Roman Catholic Church, Extraordinary Form calendar in Great Britain)
  • 27 May (Roman Catholic Church, Ordinary Form Calendar)
  • 28 May (Roman Catholic Extraordinary Form calendar outside Great Britain)
Venerated in
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Shrines

Augustine of Canterbury (first third of the 6th century – probably 26 May 604) was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. He is considered the “Apostle to the English” and a founder of the English Church.[3]

Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to Britain to Christianize King Æthelberht and his Kingdom of Kent fromAnglo-Saxon paganism. Kent was probably chosen because Æthelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris, who was expected to exert some influence over her husband. Before reaching Kent, the missionaries had considered turning back, but Gregory urged them on, and in 597, Augustine landed on theIsle of Thanet and proceeded to Æthelberht’s main town of Canterbury.

King Æthelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated as a bishop and converted many of the king’s subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native Celtic bishops to submit to Augustine’s authority failed. Roman bishops were established at London and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. Augustine also arranged the consecration of his successor,Laurence of Canterbury. The archbishop probably died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint.

Background to the mission[edit]

After the withdrawal of the Roman legions from their province of Britannia in 410, the inhabitants were left to defend themselves against the attacks of the Saxons. Before the Roman withdrawal, Britannia had been converted to Christianity and produced the ascetic Pelagius.[4][5] Britain sent three bishops to the Council of Arles in 314, and aGaulish bishop went to the island in 396 to help settle disciplinary matters.[6] Material remains testify to a growing presence of Christians, at least until around 360.[7] After the Roman legions departed, pagan tribes settled the southern parts of the island while western Britain, beyond the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, remained Christian. This native British Church developed in isolation from Rome under the influence of missionaries from Ireland[4][5] and was centred on monasteries instead of bishoprics. Other distinguishing characteristics were its calculation of the date of Easter and the style of the tonsure haircut that clerics wore.[5][8] Evidence for the survival of Christianity in the eastern part of Britain during this time includes the survival of the cult of Saint Alban and the occurrence in place names of eccles, derived from the Latin ecclesia, meaning “church”.[9] There is no evidence that these native Christians tried to convert the Anglo-Saxons.[10][11] The invasions destroyed most remnants of Roman civilisation in the areas held by the Saxons and related tribes, including the economic and religious structures .[12]

It was against this background that Pope Gregory I decided to send a mission, often called the Gregorian mission, to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity in 595.[13][14] The Kingdom of Kent was ruled by Æthelberht, who married a Christian princess named Bertha before 588,[15] and perhaps earlier than 560.[16] Bertha was the daughter of Charibert I, one of the Merovingian kings of the Franks. As one of the conditions of her marriage, she brought a bishop namedLiudhard with her to Kent.[17] Together in Canterbury, they restored a church that dated to Roman times[18]—possibly the current St Martin’s Church. Æthelberht was a pagan at this point but allowed his wife freedom of worship. One biographer of Bertha states that under his wife’s influence, Æthelberht asked Pope Gregory to send missionaries.[17]The historian Ian Wood feels that the initiative came from the Kentish court as well as the queen.[19] Other historians, however, believe that Gregory initiated the mission, although the exact reasons remain unclear. Bede, an 8th-century monk who wrote a history of the English church, recorded a famous story in which Gregory saw fair-haired Saxon slaves from Britain in the Roman slave market and was inspired to try to convert their people.[b][21] More practical matters, such as the acquisition of new provinces acknowledging the primacy of the papacy, and a desire to influence the emerging power of the Kentish kingdom under Æthelberht, were probably involved.[18] The mission may have been an outgrowth of the missionary efforts against theLombards who, as pagans and Arian Christians, were not on good relations with the Catholic church in Rome.[22]

Aside from Æthelberht’s granting of freedom of worship to his wife, the choice of Kent was probably dictated by a number of other factors. Kent was the dominant power in southeastern Britain. Since the eclipse of King Ceawlin of Wessex in 592, Æthelberht was the leading Anglo-Saxon ruler; Bede refers to Æthelberht as having imperium (overlordship) south of the River Humber. Trade between the Franks and Æthelberht’s kingdom was well established, and the language barrierbetween the two regions was apparently only a minor obstacle, as the interpreters for the mission came from the Franks. Lastly, Kent’s proximity to the Franks allowed support from a Christian area.[23] There is some evidence, including Gregory’s letters to Frankish kings in support of the mission, that some of the Franks felt that they had a claim to overlordship over some of the southern British kingdoms at this time. The presence of a Frankish bishop could also have lent credence to claims of overlordship, if Bertha’s Bishop Liudhard was felt to be acting as a representative of the Frankish church and not merely as a spiritual advisor to the queen. Frankish influence was not merely political; archaeological remains attest to a cultural influence as well.[24]

In 595, Gregory chose Augustine, who was the prior of the Abbey of St Andrew’s in Rome, to head the mission to Kent.[13] The pope selected monks to accompany Augustine and sought support from the Frankish royalty and clergy in a series of letters, of which some copies survive in Rome. He wrote to King Theuderic II ofBurgundy and to King Theudebert II of Austrasia, as well as their grandmother Brunhild, seeking aid for the mission. Gregory thanked King Chlothar II of Neustria for aiding Augustine. Besides hospitality, the Frankish bishops and kings provided interpreters and Frankish priests to accompany the mission.[25] By soliciting help from the Frankish kings and bishops, Gregory helped to assure a friendly reception for Augustine in Kent, as Æthelbert was unlikely to mistreat a mission which visibly had the support of his wife’s relatives and people.[26] Moreover, the Franks appreciated the chance to participate in mission that would extend their influence in Kent. Chlothar, in particular, needed a friendly realm across the Channel to help guard his kingdom’s flanks against his fellow Frankish kings.[27]

Sources make no mention of why Pope Gregory chose a monk to head the mission. Pope Gregory once wrote to Æthelberht complimenting Augustine’s knowledge of the Bible, so Augustine was evidently well educated. Other qualifications included administrative ability, for Gregory was the abbot of St Andrews as well as being pope, which left the day-to-day running of the abbey to Augustine, the prior.[28]

Arrival and first efforts[edit]

Map showing the kingdoms of Dyfed, Powys, and Gwynedd in the west central part of the island of Great Britain. Dumnonia is below those kingdoms. Mercia, Middle Anglia and East Anglia run across the middle of the island from west to east. Below those kingdoms are Wessex, Sussex and Kent, also from west to east. The northern kingdoms are Elmet, Deira, and Bernicia.

Map of the general outlines of some of the British kingdoms about 600

Augustine was accompanied by Laurence of Canterbury, his eventual successor to the archbishopric, and a group of about 40 companions, some of whom were monks.[15] Soon after leaving Rome, the missionaries halted, daunted by the nature of the task before them. They sent Augustine back to Rome to request papal permission to return. Gregory refused and sent Augustine back with letters encouraging the missionaries to persevere.[29] In 597, Augustine and his companions landed in Kent.[15] They achieved some initial success soon after their arrival:[22][28] Æthelberht permitted the missionaries to settle and preach in his capital of Canterbury where they used the church of St Martin’s for services.[30] Neither Bede nor Gregory mentions the date of Æthelberht’s conversion,[31] but it probably took place in 597.[30][c] In theearly medieval period, large-scale conversions required the ruler’s conversion first, and Augustine is recorded as making large numbers of converts within a year of his arrival in Kent.[30] Also, by 601, Gregory was writing to both Æthelberht and Bertha, calling the king his son and referring to his baptism.[d] A late medieval tradition, recorded by the 15th-century chronicler Thomas Elmham, gives the date of the king’s conversion as Whit Sunday, or 2 June 597; there is no reason to doubt this date, although there is no other evidence for it.[30] Against a date in 597 is a letter of Gregory’s to Patriarch Eulogius of Alexandria in June 598, which mentions the number of converts made by Augustine, but does not mention any baptism of the king. However, it is clear that by 601 the king had been converted.[32] His baptism likely took place at Canterbury.[33]

Augustine established his episcopal see at Canterbury.[22] It is not clear when and where Augustine was consecrated as a bishop. Bede, writing about a century later, states that Augustine was consecrated by the Frankish Archbishop Ætherius of Arles, Gaul (France) after the conversion of Æthelberht. Contemporary letters from Pope Gregory, however, refer to Augustine as a bishop before he arrived in England. A letter of Gregory’s from September 597 calls Augustine a bishop, and one dated ten months later says Augustine had been consecrated on Gregory’s command by bishops of the German lands.[34] The historian R. A. Markus discusses the various theories of when and where Augustine was consecrated, and suggests he was consecrated before arriving in England, but argues the evidence does not permit deciding exactly where this took place.[35]

Soon after his arrival, Augustine founded the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul, which later became St Augustine’s Abbey,[22] on land donated by the king.[36] This foundation has often been claimed as the first Benedictine abbey outside Italy, and that by founding it, Augustine introduced the Rule of St. Benedict into England, but there is no evidence the abbey followed the Benedictine Rule at the time of its foundation.[37] In a letter Gregory wrote to the patriarch of Alexandria in 598, he claimed that more than 10,000 Christians had been baptised; the number may be exaggerated but there is no reason to doubt that a mass conversion took place.[15][28] However, there were probably some Christians already in Kent before Augustine arrived, remnants of the Christians who lived in Britain in the later Roman Empire.[11] Little literary traces remain of them, however.[38] One other effect of the king’s conversion by Augustine’s mission was that the Frankish influence on the southern kingdoms of Britain was decreased.[39]

After these conversions, Augustine sent Laurence back to Rome with a report of his success, along with questions about the mission.[40] Bede records the letter and Gregory’s replies in chapter 27 of his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum; this section of the History is usually known as the Libellus responsionum.[41][42]Augustine asked for Gregory’s advice on a number of issues, including how to organise the church, the punishment for church robbers, guidance on who was allowed to marry whom, and the consecration of bishops. Other topics were relations between the churches of Britain and Gaul, childbirth and baptism, and when it was lawful for people to receive communion and for a priest to celebrate mass.[42]

Further missionaries were sent from Rome in 601. They brought a pallium for Augustine and a present of sacred vessels, vestments, relics, and books.[e] The pallium was the symbol of metropolitan status, and signified that Augustine was now an archbishop unambiguously associated with the Holy See. Along with the pallium, a letter from Gregory directed the new archbishop to ordain 12 suffragan bishops as soon as possible and to send a bishop to York. Gregory’s plan was that there would be two metropolitans, one at York and one at London, with 12 suffragan bishops under each archbishop. As part of this plan, Augustine was expected to transfer his archiepiscopal see to London from Canterbury. The move from Canterbury to London never happened; no contemporary sources give the reason,[47] but it was probably because London was not part of Æthelberht’s domains. Instead, London was part of the kingdom of Essex, ruled by Æthelberht’s nephew Saebert of Essex, who converted to Christianity in 604.[18][48] The historian S. Brechter has suggested that the metropolitan see was indeed moved to London, and that it was only with the abandonment of London as a see after the death of Æthelberht that Canterbury became the archiepiscopal see. This theory contradicts Bede’s version of events, however.[49]

Additional work[edit]

Stone statue of a crowned man holding a sceptre.

Æthelberht of Kent imagined in a statue from Canterbury Cathedral

In 604, Augustine founded two more bishoprics in Britain. Two men who had come to Britain with him in 601 were consecrated, Mellitus as Bishop of London and Justus as Bishop of Rochester.[18][50][51] Bede relates that Augustine, with the help of the king, “recovered” a church built by Roman Christians in Canterbury.[52][f] It is not clear if Bede meant that Augustine rebuilt the church or that Augustine merely reconsecrated a building that had been used for pagan worship. Archaeological evidence seems to support the latter interpretation; in 1973 the remains of an aisled building dating from theRomano-British period were uncovered just south of the present Canterbury Cathedral.[52] The historian Ian Wood argues that the existence of the Libellus points to more contact between Augustine and the native Christians because the topics covered in the work are not restricted to conversion from paganism, but also dealt with relations between differing styles of Christianity.[55]

Augustine failed to extend his authority to the Christians in Wales and Dumnonia to the west. Gregory had decreed that these Christians should submit to Augustine and that their bishops should obey him,[56] apparently believing that more of the Roman governmental and ecclesiastical organisation survived in Britain than was actually the case.[57] According to the narrative of Bede, the Britons in these regions viewed Augustine with uncertainty, and their suspicion was compounded by a diplomatic misjudgement on Augustine’s part.[58] In 603, Augustine and Æthelberht summoned the British bishops to a meeting south of the Severn. These guests retired early to confer with their people,[59] who, according to Bede, advised them to judge Augustine based upon the respect he displayed at their next meeting. When Augustine failed to rise from his seat on the entrance of the British bishops,[60] they refused to recognise him as their archbishop.[59][61] There were, however, deep differences between Augustine and the British church that perhaps played a more significant role in preventing an agreement. At issue were the tonsure, the observance of Easter, and practical and deep-rooted differences in approach to asceticism, missionary endeavours, and how the church itself was organised.[58] Some historians believe that Augustine had no real understanding of the history and traditions of the British church, damaging his relations with their bishops.[61] Also, there were political dimensions involved, as Augustine’s efforts were sponsored by the Kentish king, and at this period the Wessex and Mercian kingdoms were expanding to the west, into areas held by the Britons.[62]

Further success[edit]

Gregory also instructed Augustine on other matters. Temples were to be consecrated for Christian use,[63] and feasts, if possible, moved to days celebrating Christian martyrs. One religious site was revealed to be a shrine of a local St Sixtus, whose worshippers were unaware of details of the martyr’s life or death. They may have been native Christians, but Augustine did not treat them as such. When Gregory was informed, he told Augustine to stop the cult and use the shrine for the Roman St Sixtus.[64]

Gregory legislated on the behaviour of the laity and the clergy. He placed the new mission directly under papal authority and made it clear that English bishops would have no authority over Frankish counterparts nor vice versa. Other directives dealt with the training of native clergy and the missionaries’ conduct.[65]

The King’s School, Canterbury claims Augustine as its founder, which would make it the world’s oldest existing school, but the first documentary records of the school date from the 16th century.[66] Augustine did establish a school, and soon after his death Canterbury was able to send teachers out to support the East Anglianmission.[67] Augustine received liturgical books from the pope, but their exact contents are unknown. They may have been some of the new mass books that were being written at this time. The exact liturgy that Augustine introduced to England remains unknown, but it would have been a form of the Latin language liturgy in use at Rome.[68]

Death and legacy[edit]

Pile of stones marked with a tag reading "St. Augustine, Site of Grave, First Archbishop of Canterbury

Augustine’s gravesite at Canterbury

Before his death, Augustine consecrated Laurence of Canterbury as his successor to the archbishopric, probably to ensure an orderly transfer of office.[69] Although at the time of Augustine’s death, 26 May 604,[22] the mission barely extended beyond Kent, his undertaking introduced a more active missionary style into the British Isles. Despite the earlier presence of Christians in Ireland and Wales, no efforts had been made to try to convert the Saxon invaders. Augustine was sent to convert the descendants of those invaders, and eventually became the decisive influence in Christianity in the British Isles.[58][70] Much of his success came about because of Augustine’s close relationship with Æthelberht, which gave the archbishop time to establish himself.[71] Augustine’s example also influenced the great missionary efforts of the Anglo-Saxon Church.[72][73]

Augustine’s body was originally buried in the portico of what is now St Augustine’s, Canterbury,[36] but it was later exhumed and placed in a tomb within the abbey church, which became a place of pilgrimage and veneration. After the Norman Conquest the cult of St Augustine was actively promoted.[22] After the Conquest, his shrine in St Augustine’s Abbey held a central position in one of the axial chapels, flanked by the shrines of his successors Laurence and Mellitus.[74] King Henry I of England granted St. Augustine’s Abbey a six-day fair around the date on which Augustine’s relics were translated to his new shrine, from 8 September through 13 September.[75]

A life of Augustine was written by Goscelin around 1090, but this life portrays Augustine in a different light than Bede’s account. Goscelin’s account has little new historical content, mainly being filled with miracles and imagined speeches.[76] Building on this account, later medieval writers continued to add new miracles and stories to Augustine’s life, often quite fanciful.[77] These authors included William of Malmesbury, who claimed that Augustine founded Cerne Abbey,[78] the author (generally believed to be John Brompton) of a late medieval chronicle containing invented letters from Augustine,[79] and a number of medieval writers who included Augustine in their romances.[80] Another problem with investigating Augustine’s saintly cult is the confusion resulting because most medieval liturgical documents mentioning Augustine do not distinguish between Augustine of Canterbury and Augustine of Hippo, a fourth-century saint. Medieval Scandinavian liturgies feature Augustine of Canterbury quite often, however.[81] During the English Reformation, Augustine’s shrine was destroyed and his relics were lost.

Augustine’s shrine was re-established in March 2012 at the church of St. Augustine in Ramsgate, Kent, very close to the mission’s landing site.[82][83] St Augustine’s Cross, a Celtic cross erected in 1884, marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where Augustine is said to have landed.[84]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Jump up^ The name is in the halo, in a later hand. The figure is identified as a saint, rather than Christ, by his clerical tonsure.[1] The view that it represents Gregory is set out by Douglas Michaels in a recent article.[2]
  2. Jump up^ Supposedly Gregory inquired about who the slaves were. He was told they were Angles from the island of Great Britain. Gregory replied that they were not Angles, but Angels.[20]
  3. Jump up^ However, Bede’s chronology may be a bit off, as he gives the king’s death as occurring in February 616, and says the king died 21 years after his conversion, which would date the conversion to 595. This would be before Augustine’s mission, and directly contradicts Bede’s statement that the king’s conversion was due to Augustine’s mission.[16]However, as Gregory in his letter of 601 to the king and queen strongly implies that the queen was unable to effect the conversion of her husband, the problem of the dating is likely a chronological error on Bede’s part.[32]
  4. Jump up^ The letter, as translated in Brooks’ Early History of the Church of Canterbury, p. 8, says “preserve the grace he had received”. Grace in this context meant the grace of baptism.
  5. Jump up^ What happened to these items in later years is unknown. Thomas Elmham, a 15th-century chronicler at Canterbury, gave a number of theories of how most of these objects were lost, including being hidden and never recovered during the Danish attacks in the 9th and 10th centuries, hidden and lost after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, or used for the ransom of King Richard I of England in the 1190s.[43] The surviving St Augustine Gospels, (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge manuscript (MS) 286) which is a 6th-century Italian-illuminated Gospel Book, may be one of the works sent to Augustine. Traditionally, it has been associated with the Gregorian mission.[44] Another possible survivor is a copy of the Rule of St Benedict, now MS Oxford Bodleian Hatton 48.[45] Yet another possible survival is a Gospel, in an Italian hand, and closely related to the Augustine Gospels, now MS Oxford Bodelian Auctarium D.2.14, which shows evidence of being held in Anglo-Saxon hands during the right time frame. Lastly, a fragment of a work by Gregory the Great, now held by the British Library as part of MS Cotton Titus C may have arrived with the missionaries.[46]
  6. Jump up^ The actual Latin is from Chapter 33, Book 1 of Bede, and an online version is here. The sentence in question is “AT Augustinus, ubi in regia ciuitate sedem episcopalem, ut praediximus, accepit, recuperauit in ea, regio fultus adminiculo, ecclesiam, quam inibi antiquo Romanorum fidelium opere factam fuisse didicerat, et eam in nomine sancti Saluatoris Dei et Domini nostri Iesu Christi sacrauit, atque ibidem sibi habitationem statuit et cunctis successoribus suis.”[53] The Latin word recuperauit could be translated either “repaired” or “recovered”. Sherley-Price translates the sentence as “Having been granted his episcopal see in the royal capital, as already recorded, Augustine proceeded with the king’s help to repair a church he was informed had been built long ago by Roman Christians.”[54]

Citations[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Schapiro “Decoration of the Leningrad Manuscript of Bede” Selected Papers: Volume 3 pp. 199; 212–214
  2. Jump up^ Dales “Apostle of the English” L’eredità spirituale di Gregorio Magno tra Occidente e Oriente p. 299
  3. Jump up^ Delaney Dictionary of Saints pp. 67–68
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b Hindley Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons pp. 3–9
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c Mayr-Harting Coming of Christianity pp. 78–93
  6. Jump up^ Frend “Roman Britain” Cross Goes North pp. 80–81
  7. Jump up^ Frend “Roman Britain” Cross Goes North pp. 82–86
  8. Jump up^ Yorke Conversion of Britain pp. 115–118 discusses the issue of the “Celtic Church” and what exactly it was.
  9. Jump up^ Yorke Conversion of Britain p. 121
  10. Jump up^ Stenton Anglo-Saxon England p. 102
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b Mayr-Harting Coming of Christianity pp. 32–33
  12. Jump up^ Kirby Earliest English Kings p. 23
  13. ^ Jump up to:a b Stenton Anglo-Saxon England pp. 104–105
  14. Jump up^ Jones “Gregorian Mission” Speculum
  15. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Stenton Anglo-Saxon England pp. 105–106
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b Kirby Earliest English Kings pp. 24–25
  17. ^ Jump up to:a b Nelson “Bertha” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  18. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Hindley Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons pp. 33–36
  19. Jump up^ Wood “Mission of Augustine of Canterbury” Speculum pp. 9–10
  20. Jump up^ Bede History of the English Church and People pp. 99–100
  21. Jump up^ Mayr-Harting Coming of Christianity pp. 57–59
  22. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Mayr-Harting “Augustine” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  23. Jump up^ Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury pp. 6–7
  24. Jump up^ Kirby Earliest English Kings p. 27
  25. Jump up^ Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury pp. 4–5
  26. Jump up^ Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury p. 6
  27. Jump up^ Wood “Mission of Augustine of Canterbury” Speculum p. 9
  28. ^ Jump up to:a b c Fletcher Barbarian Conversion pp. 116–117
  29. Jump up^ Blair Introduction to Anglo-Saxon England pp. 116–117
  30. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury pp. 8–9
  31. Jump up^ Wood “Mission of Augustine of Canterbury” Speculum p. 11
  32. ^ Jump up to:a b Kirby Earliest English Kings p. 28
  33. Jump up^ Higham Convert Kings p. 56
  34. Jump up^ Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury p. 5
  35. Jump up^ Markus “Chronology of the Gregorian Mission” Journal of Ecclesiastical Historypp. 24–29
  36. ^ Jump up to:a b Blair Church in Anglo-Saxon Society pp. 61–62
  37. Jump up^ Lawrence Medieval Monasticism p. 55
  38. Jump up^ Frend “Roman Britain” Cross Goes North p. 79
  39. Jump up^ Kirby Earliest English Kings p. 29
  40. Jump up^ Stenton Anglo-Saxon England p. 106
  41. Jump up^ Lapidge “Laurentius” Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England
  42. ^ Jump up to:a b Bede History of the English Church and People pp. 71–83
  43. Jump up^ Dodwell Anglo-Saxon Art p. 10
  44. Jump up^ Dodwell Anglo-Saxon Art pp. 96 and 276 footnote 66
  45. Jump up^ Colgrave “Introduction” Earliest Life of Gregory the Great pp. 27–28
  46. Jump up^ Lapidge Anglo-Saxon Library pp. 24–25
  47. Jump up^ Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury pp. 9–11
  48. Jump up^ Fletcher Barbarian Conversion p. 453
  49. Jump up^ Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury pp. 11–14
  50. Jump up^ Hayward “St Justus” Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England pp. 267–268
  51. Jump up^ Lapidge “St Mellitus” Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England pp. 305–306
  52. ^ Jump up to:a b Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury p. 50
  53. Jump up^ “Historiam Ecclesiasticam Gentis Anglorum: Liber Primus”. The Latin Library. Ad Fontes Academy. Archived from the original on 17 March 2008. Retrieved1 April 2008.
  54. Jump up^ Bede History of the English Church and People p. 91
  55. Jump up^ Wood “Augustine and Aidan” L’Église et la Mission p. 170
  56. Jump up^ Mayr-Harting Coming of Christianity pp. 70–72
  57. Jump up^ Yorke Conversion of Britain p. 118
  58. ^ Jump up to:a b c Stenton Anglo-Saxon England pp. 110–111
  59. ^ Jump up to:a b Hindley Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons pp. 8–9
  60. Jump up^ Bede History of the English Church and People pp. 100–103
  61. ^ Jump up to:a b Mayr-Harting Coming of Christianity pp. 72–73
  62. Jump up^ Yorke Conversion of Britain p. 119
  63. Jump up^ Thomson Western Church p. 8
  64. Jump up^ Blair Church in Anglo-Saxon Society p. 24
  65. Jump up^ Stenton Anglo-Saxon England pp. 107–108
  66. Jump up^ “597 and all that: A Brief History of the King’s School, Canterbury”. The King’s School, Canterbury. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  67. Jump up^ Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury pp. 94–95
  68. Jump up^ Mayr-Harting Coming of Christianity pp. 173–174
  69. Jump up^ Hindley Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons p. 43
  70. Jump up^ Collins Early Medieval Europe p. 185
  71. Jump up^ Mayr-Harting Coming of Christianity p. 249
  72. Jump up^ Mayr-Harting Coming of Christianity pp. 265–266
  73. Jump up^ Wood “Mission of Augustine of Canterbury” Speculum p. 8
  74. Jump up^ Nilson Cathedral Shrines p. 67
  75. Jump up^ Nilson Cathedral Shrines p. 93
  76. Jump up^ Gameson and Gameson “From Augustine to Parker” Anglo-Saxons pp. 17–20
  77. Jump up^ Gameson and Gameson “From Augustine to Parker” Anglo-Saxons p. 19
  78. Jump up^ Gameson and Gameson “From Augustine to Parker” Anglo-Saxons p. 20
  79. Jump up^ Gameson and Gameson “From Augustine to Parker” Anglo-Saxons p. 24
  80. Jump up^ Gameson and Gameson “From Augustine to Parker” Anglo-Saxons pp. 22–31
  81. Jump up^ Blair “Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Saints” Local Saints and Local Churches p. 513
  82. Jump up^ “Pugin’s Church becomes Official Shrine of St Augustine”. Catholic Church in England and Wales. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  83. Jump up^ “Church officially deemed a shrine”. Isle of Thanet Gazette. Retrieved 12 April2012.
  84. Jump up^ English Heritage (2007). “St Augustine’s Cross”. Pastscape. National Monuments Records. Retrieved 15 January 2011.

References[edit]

Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Philip Neri, May 26,2016

Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Philip Neri, May 26,2016

Philip has been called the “Second Apostle of Rome,” after the great Saint Paul. Born in Florence, he lived for a time in his youth near Monte Cassino and drank deeply of the Benedictine life of prayer. He was ordained a priest at the age of thirty-five. By degrees, he took Rome by storm. He healed thousands in the confessional. He comforted and directed countless others. He gathered his followers for the Oratory – meetings that combined prayer and music, ending with almsgiving or pilgrimage to Rome’s basilicas. He founded a Congregation of priests to support the work of the Oratory. Philip died in 1595 A.D. and was immediately proclaimed a saint by the Romans.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

“Lord, may I never fail to recognize my need for your grace. Help me to take advantage of the opportunities you give me to seek your presence daily and to listen attentively to your word.”

Reading 1
1 Pt 2:2-5, 9-12

Beloved:
Like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk
so that through it you may grow into salvation,
for you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises
of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Once you were no people
but now you are God’s people;
you had not received mercy
but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and sojourners
to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul.
Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles,
so that if they speak of you as evildoers,
they may observe your good works
and glorify God on the day of visitation.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
100:2, 3, 4, 5

R. (2c) Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him;
bless his name.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.

Gospel
Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”.Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Vision is one gift from God

Vision is one gift from God which I have always treasured. It has given me the chance to appreciate the beauty of our Lord’ s creation. Vision has opened the way for me to see my world, my life, what makes it work and what makes it fail.

As in the past, my prayer has always been for our Lord to sustain and strengthen my gift of vision. As I have aged through the years, it is quite sad to note that ‘though God’s wisdom has somehow touched my heart and mind, my physical vision on the other hand has not been perfect.

In the same light, because my life has not been exactly the model to follow as sin has periodically taken control of my circumstances, my spiritual vision likewise has become hazy and I could not see through beyond my present world.

Quite a number of times, what I see is only me, myself and no one else. When my life starts to crumble because of sin, I feel helpless as I stagger through darkness and I could not face my life and the future that awaits me. Each day has not only been an exercise in survival but one of futility.

Today I feel our Lord approached me with His Word as He asks: “What do you want me to do for you?” My response to Him is my usual, and exactly the same as that of the blind man, “Lord, I want to see.” Amidst my sin and my shortcomings, I beg our Lord to give me a glimpse of His true will for me, my life, my work and my ministry. I continue to ask Him not only to shed light into my darkened life but give me as well the courage to make painful and difficult decisions, to carry them out, sustain them and do them all for Him.

As I beg our Lord that I may see beyond the pain and hurt of what is to be His servant, to serve and not to be served, I ask that He leads me along the right path. I pray that as He brings His light into my faint vision and that He may give me the strength to stand for what is right in His eyes and what will be good for me and His people and to let the pain that flows from my heart to my eyes, to my words and actions to be less and less hurting.

As I hope and soak myself in His Word and allow His peace to permeate my heart I wish that the very words that I can utter back to our Lord is not what I want but what He wants for me. I continue to pray that He will bless me with His grace to say… “Lord, your will and not mine” or better still that I may respond with the very question He has earlier asked me today, “What do you want me to do for you?” so that this gracious response will be a way to set me free, empower and impel me to serve God and others more than what I am doing today.

As we respond to God’s plan, let us believe as Bartimaeus believed! Jesus will heal us of all our defects and will make us whole!

Direction 

Pray that our vision of love and service may be a way to perfect our Christian servanthood.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, when night time falls on me for a prolonged period, give me the courage to ask for help and lead me always to your light and your bright shining morning where your mercies are always new. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Blind may see

The blind beggar in today’s Gospel represents us before baptism. We were poor like him we could not see spiritually, deprived as we were of the gift of faith. Through baptism we received a share in God’s riches and through faith we enjoyed the gift of sight.

Here in the story of Bartimaeus, the healing is an instant success. His sight is completely restored and, after throwing off his possessions, he follows Jesus on the way to Jerusalem. It is an obvious truth that no one can walk a way without sight but especially true of Jesus’ way: whoever does not see Jesus cannot follow him, and whoever does not follow him cannot see him.

Here the essential elements of true discipleship become obvious: Bartimaeus throws off his mantle meaning, he leaves all security behind. The mantle was the only possession the poor people normally had and the beggar’s mantle entitled him to receive alms. This reminds us of the call of the first disciples who abandoned everything and followed Jesus (Mk 1:18,20). After Bartimaeus has committed himself totally to the Lord he goes after him on the road to Jerusalem. Now it becomes clear that being a disciple means to go after the Master – to deny oneself, and to take up one’s cross.

As known in the Gospel, Jesus’ disciples failed miserably in their first attempt to be disciples of the master and to follow him on the way to Jerusalem. They all deserted him and ran away. How about Bartimaeus? Did he follow Jesus up to the road that led to Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified? Did he stand faithfully at the foot of the cross with Mary, the other women, and the beloved disciples? The Gospel of Mark does not tell us. Perhaps he wanted us to see ourselves in the person of that man who had been blind and to answer the questions by the way we live. How can we follow Jesus up to Calvary?

In every Mass we follow Christ, in a sense, up the hill of Calvary because in the Mass we stand at the foot of the cross, sharing in the one sacrifice of Christ. The Mass is an invitation for us to offer ourselves with Christ, our great High Priest, to the heavenly Father, to pledge that we will persevere in our Catholic faith, and that we will be loyal and faithful to Christ and his Church until death.

Today we can ask, “Where shall we go or to whom shall we turn?” How could we ever abandon Christ who has given us the gift of faith, who has made us children of God by our baptism, and who promises us everlasting life? When we get to heaven we will enjoy the Beatific Vision of God. Faith will be transform into sight, and we will say, “Now I see the meaning of all that Jesus has done for us.”

Reflection 3 – Blessed assurance

Fanny Crosby, composer of thousands of songs, was truly “more than a conqueror.” When she was only 6 weeks old, faulty treatment of an eye infection resulted in lifelong blindness. By age 8, having fought and won over discouragement, she wrote this poem: “Oh, what a happy soul am I! Although I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world contented I shall be. How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t? To weep and sigh because I’m blind, I cannot – and I won’t.”

Instead of weeping and sighing, Fanny Crosby dedicated her blindness to God. Out of her rich Christian experience she composed numerous gospel hymns. In her testimonial song “Blessed Assurance,” she seemed to forget that she wash blind. Phrases like “Visions of rapture now burst on my sight” or “Watching and waiting, looking above” expressed what she called “a foretaste of glory divine.”

Do you long to know and apply her secret? Consider this: While many of us seek Christ for what we can get, Fanny Crossby sought Christ for what she could become through Him – more than a conqueror (Rom 8:37). Even through times of extreme distress, God’s grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9), and He is lovingly working to make us more like His Son. How can we see Jesus in our life?

The blind beggar in today’s Gospel (Mk 10:46-52) represents us before baptism. We were poor like him; we could not see spiritually, deprived as we were of the gift of faith. Through baptism we received a share in God’s riches and through faith we enjoyed the gift of sight. The story of Bartimaeus’ healing is an instant success. His sight is completely restored and, after throwing off his possessions, he follows Jesus on the way to Jerusalem. It is an obvious truth that no one can walk a way without sight but especially true of Jesus’ way: whoever does not see Jesus cannot follow him, and whoever does not follow him cannot see him.

We need to ask ourselves: Is our Christian life about getting or becoming to follow Jesus? Seek Christ not for what you can get but for what you can become.

Reflection 4 – Beset for and by weakness

There is a profound difference between a priest and a cleric. The priest of Jesus Christ is a man able to “sympathize with weakness” (Heb 5:2). The cleric, on the other hand, is a man insistent on his own comforts and career advancement. The priest is “taken from men” so as to bring God to those from whom he is called and he can never forget from where he comes: the stumbling human race in search of wholeness and perfection. He must therefore strive to imitate the God-Man in all he is and does. Essentially, the priest is one who offers sacrifice: both the daily sacrifice of the altar but also the sacrifice of the human condition fragmented and found in every broken soul.

Even before we were known to the world by the name “Christians” (cf. Acts 11:26), Christianity was known as “The Way” (Acts 9:2), and if this is so, the priest must strive to lead others by insisting on a true, personal path of holiness himself. He must not only pray for the strength, he must be consciously weak enough to know viscerally that he is in dire need of a Savior. He will be a man comfortable with ambiguity and not one who needs to see the wheat and chaff separated in his time and on his terms. If the priest insists on the Heart of Christ himself, he will eventually find himself displaying openness to those on the alienating edges of society with nothing but their crying out. Such cries can of course be vocal but more often they are made manifest in the raw situations of one’s life: in the homeless, the abused, the refugee, the unborn.

Jesus first hears Bartimaeus as he is seated “on the edge” of the road, alone apart from his cry, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” Whereas the proper and pristine of society and of our own hearts want to squelch such obvious cries of need, that in us which realizes only the Christ can heal us cries out all the more. The crowd’s response here is thoroughly “worldly” – cold and heartless, worried more about image than about the reality of another’s need. Risking the awkwardness of it all, the blind man throws off his cloak and in his own trusting darkness stumbles into Jesus’ expectant arms. He states his desire of wishing to see and in his trust is heard and healed.

With this passage today we could exhort our congregations to more prayer, to be intentional in carving out more time for silence and receptivity before God. The first could be to show how Bartimaeus’ prayer here is the basis of the Jesus Prayer: that constant and simultaneous repetition of both the Lord’s majesty and our own neediness. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The repeated cry is not to multiply words like the pagans (cf. Mt 6:7), but is to still the mind and thus open the soul to receive the Lord Jesus Christ precisely into our own brokenness. This could be an excellent opportunity to introduce this “Jesus Prayer” and its place in the history of spirituality, in the Hesyschast movement, which stressed the assimilation of prayer into our daily pattern, even into our breathing. One could also stress the importance of starting what it is we want in prayer. In the Jesuit tradition of prayer, for example, the exercitant is always encouraged to be explicit about what he or she desires from a particular period of prayer – the id quod volo –and to offer that as the preliminary grace to be sought. “Master, I want to see.” In prayer and in the “exchange” between Creator and creature, the human person recognizes the fullness of dignity. Finally, the point could be made how prayer demands discipleship. The blind man is not only healed, he leaves his former way of life to follow Jesus Christ more insistently, more ardently. To be freed from personal blindness is thus translated into abandoning one’s old habits and various enslavements to public opinion. The blind man has become a new creature, evidenced not only by new insight but new works as well. (Source: Rev. David Vincent Meconi, SJ, “Homilies on the Liturgies of Sundays and Feasts,” Homiletic & Pastoral Review. Vol. CIX, No. 11/12. San Francisco: August/September 2009, pp. 46-48; Suggested reading: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1539-47; 2665-69).

Reflection 5 – The Faith That Saves Us

There is nothing more displeasing to God than our being inflated with self-esteem. When a man knows how to break down his own will and to deny his soul what it desires, he has got a good degree in virtue.

When man falls into any bodily infirmity, he must lie and think, and say, “God has sent me this sickness, because he wishes something of me; I must therefore make up my mind to change my life and become better.”

When a man has a tribulation sent him from God, and is impatient, we may say to him, “You are not worthy that God should visit you; you do not deserve so great a good.”

Poverty and tribulations are given us by God as trials of our fidelity and virtue, as well as to enrich us with more real and lasting riches in heaven….

Let us throw ourselves into the arms of God and be sure that if he wishes anything of us, he will make us good for all he desires us to do for him.

Nothing helps a man more than prayer.

Idleness is a pestilence to a Christian man; we ought always therefore to be doing something, especially when we are alone in our rooms, lest the devil should come in and catch us idle.

We ought always to be afraid, and never put any confidence in ourselves, for the devil assaults us on a sudden, and darkens our understanding; and he who does not live in fear is overcome in a moment, because he has not the help of the Lord (Source: St. Philip Neri, +1595 A.D., Magnificat, Vol. 18, No. 3, May 2016, pp. 390-391).

Reflection 6 – St. Philip Neri (1515-1595 A.D.)

Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise.

At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate.

As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome.

At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.

Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services.

The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.)

Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.

Comment:

Many people wrongly feel that such an attractive and jocular personality as Philip’s cannot be combined with an intense spirituality. Philip’s life melts our rigid, narrow views of piety. His approach to sanctity was truly catholic, all-embracing and accompanied by a good laugh. Philip always wanted his followers to become not less but more human through their striving for holiness.

Quote:

Philip Neri prayed, “Let me get through today, and I shall not fear tomorrow.”

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1395

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Neri

St. Philip Neri, Cong.Orat.
FNeri.gif

Apostle of Rome
Priest and founder
Born 21 July 1515
Florence, Republic of Florence
Died 25 May 1595 (aged 79)
Rome, Papal States
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 11 May 1615 by Pope Paul V
Canonized 12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV
Feast 26 May
Patronage Rome, Mandaluyong, US Special Forces, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, laughter, humour, joy

Philip Romolo Neri, (Italian: Filippo Romolo Neri; 21 July 1515 – 25 May 1595), known as the Apostle of Rome, was an Italian priest noted for founding a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory (often abbreviated “Cong. Orat.”).

He was the son of Francesco di Neri, a lawyer, and his wife Lucrezia da Mosciano, whose family were nobility in the service of the Italian state. He was carefully brought up, and received his early teaching from the friars at San Marco, the famous Dominican monastery in Florence. He was accustomed in later life to ascribe most of his progress to the teaching of two of them, Zenobio de’ Medici and Servanzio Mini. At the age of 18, Philip was sent to his uncle, Romolo, a wealthy merchant at San Germano, a Neapolitan town near the base of Monte Cassino, to assist him in his business, and with the hope that he might inherit his uncle’s fortune.[1] He gained Romolo’s confidence and affection, but soon after coming to San Germano Philip had a religious conversion: he no longer cared for things of the world, and chose to relocate to Rome in 1533.

Founding of the Oratory[edit]

Missions work[edit]

After arriving in Rome, Neri became a tutor in the house of a Florentine aristocrat named Galeotto Caccia. After two years he began to pursue his own studies (for a period of three years) under the guidance of the Augustinians.[1] Following this, he began those labours amongst the sick and poor which, in later life, gained him the title of “Apostle of Rome”. He also ministered to the prostitutes of the city. In 1538 he entered into the home mission work for which he became famous; traveling throughout the city, seeking opportunities of entering into conversation with people, and of leading them to consider the topics he set before them. For seventeen years Philip lived as a layman in Rome, probably without thinking of becoming a priest. Around 1544, he made the acquaintance of Ignatius of Loyola. Many of Neri’s disciples found their vocations in the infant Society of Jesus.[2]

Philip Neri

Confraternity of the Holy Trinity[edit]

In 1548, together with his confessor, Persiano Rossa, Neri founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity of Pilgrims and Convalescents (Italian: Santissima Trinita de’ Pellegrini e de’ Convalescenti),[3] whose primary object was to minister to the needs of the thousands of poor pilgrims who flocked to Rome, especially in jubilee years, and also to relieve the patients discharged from hospitals but who were still too weak for labour. Members met for prayer at the church of San Salvatore in Campo where the devotion of the Forty Hours of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was first introduced into Rome. [4]

Congregation of the Oratory[edit]

In 1551 Neri received all the minor orders, and was ordained deacon, and finally priest (on 23 May). He thought of going to India as amissionary, but was dissuaded by his friends who saw that there was abundant work to be done in Rome. Accordingly, he settled down, with some companions, at the Hospital of San Girolamo della Carità, and while there tentatively began, in 1556, the institute with which his name is more especially connected, that of the Oratory. The scheme at first was no more than a series of evening meetings in a hall (the Oratory), at which there were prayers, hymns, and readings from Scripture, the church fathers, and the Martyrology, followed by a lecture, or by discussion of some religious question proposed for consideration. The musical selections (settings of scenes from sacred history) were called oratorios. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services.[5] The scheme was developed, and the members of the society undertook various kinds of mission work throughout Rome, notably the preaching of sermons in different churches every evening, a completely new idea at that time. He also spent much of his time hearing confessions, and effected many conversions in this way.[3] Neri sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.[5]

In 1564 the Florentines requested that Neri leave San Girolamo to oversee their newly built church in Rome, San Giovanni dei Fiorentini.[2] He was at first reluctant, but by consent of Pope Pius IV he accepted, while remaining in charge of San Girolamo, where the exercises of the Oratory were kept up. At this time the new society included among its members Caesar Baronius, the ecclesiastical historian, Francesco Maria Tarugi, afterwards Archbishop of Avignon, and Ottavio Paravicini, all three of whom were subsequently cardinals, and also Gallonius (Antonio Gallonio), author of a well-known work on the Sufferings of the Martyrs,Ancina, Bordoni, and other men of ability and distinction. In 1574, the Florentines built a large oratory or mission-room for the society, next to San Giovanni, in order to save them the fatigue of the daily journey to and from San Girolamo, and to provide a more convenient place of assembly, and the headquarters were transferred there.

As the community grew, and its mission work extended, the need for a church entirely its own made itself felt, and the offer of the small parish church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, conveniently situated in the middle of Rome, was made and accepted. The building, however, not large enough for their purpose, was pulled down, and a splendid church erected on the site. It was immediately after taking possession of their new quarters that Neri formally organized, under permission of a papal bulldated 15 July 1575, a community of secular priests, called the Congregation of the Oratory. The new church was consecrated early in 1577, and the clergy of the new society at once resigned the charge of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini; Neri himself did not leave San Girolamo until 1583, and then only by virtue of an injunction of the pope that he, as the superior, should reside at the chief house of his congregation. He was at first elected for a term of three years (as is usual in modern societies), but in 1587 was nominated superior for life. He was, however, entirely free from personal ambition, and had no desire to be superior general over a number of dependent houses, so he desired that all congregations formed on his model outside Rome should be autonomous, governing themselves, and without endeavouring for Neri to retain control over any new colonies they might themselves send out—a regulation afterwards formally confirmed by a brief of Gregory XV in 1622.

St. Philip Neri and the Virgin Mary, by Tiepolo

Political activity[edit]

Although Neri refrained from becoming involved in political matters, he broke this rule in 1593 when he persuaded PopeClement VIII to withdraw the excommunication and anathema laid on Henry IV of France,[1] and the refusal to receive his ambassador, even though the king had formally renounced Calvinism. Neri saw that the pope’s attitude was more than likely to drive Henry to a relapse, and probably to rekindle the civil war in France, and directed Cardinal Caesar Baronius, a member of the Oratory who was then the pope’s confessor, to refuse the pope absolution, and to resign his office of confessor, unless the pope would withdraw the anathema. Clement yielded at once, though the whole college of cardinals had supported his policy; and Henry, who did not learn the facts until several years afterwards, testified lively gratitude for the timely and politic intervention. Neri continued in the government of the Oratory until his death. He was succeeded by Baronius.

Character[edit]

Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and an uninterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise.[6] He possessed a playful humour, combined with a shrewd wit. He considered a cheerful temper to be more Christian than a melancholy one, and carried this spirit into his whole life: “A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.”

This was the secret of Neri’s popularity and of his place in the folklore of the Roman poor. Many miracles were attributed to him. When his body was autopsied it was found that two of his ribs had been broken, an event attributed to the expansion of his heart while fervently praying in the catacombs about the year 1545.[2] Benedict XIV, who reorganised the rules for Canonisation, decided that Philip’s enlarged heart was caused by an aneurism. Ponnelle and Bordet, in their 1932 biography St. Philip Neri and the Roman Society of His Times (1515-1595), conclude that it was partly natural and partly supernatural. What is certain is that Philip himself and his penitents associated it with divine love.[4]

“Practical commonplaceness,” says Frederick William Faber in his panegyric of Neri, “was the special mark which distinguishes his form of ascetic piety from the types accredited before his day. He looked like other men … he was emphatically a modern gentleman, of scrupulous courtesy, sportive gaiety, acquainted with what was going on in the world, taking a real interest in it, giving and getting information, very neatly dressed, with a shrewd common sense always alive about him, in a modern room with modern furniture, plain, it is true, but with no marks of poverty about it—In a word, with all the ease, the gracefulness, the polish of a modern gentleman of good birth, considerable accomplishments, and a very various information.”

Accordingly, Neri was ready to meet the needs of his day to an extent and in a manner which even the versatile Jesuits, who much desired to enlist him in their company, did not rival; and, though an Italian priest and head of a new religious order, his genius was entirely unmonastic and unmedieval, frequent and popular preaching, unconventional prayer, and unsystematized, albeit fervent, private devotion.

Neri prayed, “Let me get through today, and I shall not fear tomorrow.”[6]

When summoned to hear confessions or to see someone who had called, Neri came down instantly with the words “We must leave Christ for Christ”. Philip was a mystic of the highest order, a man of ecstasies and visions, whose greatest happiness was to be alone with God. Yet at the call of charity he gave up the delight of prayer and, instead, sought God by helping his neighbour. His whole life is that of the contemplative in action.[4]

Neri had no difficulties in respect of the teaching of his church, being in truth an ardent Ultramontane in doctrine, as was all but inevitable in his time and circumstances, and his great merit was the instinctive tact which showed him that the system of monasticism could never be the leaven of secular life, but that something more homely, simple, and everyday in character was needed for the new time.

Death and veneration[edit]

Philip Neri’s effigy at his tomb.

Neri died around the end of the day on 25 May 1595, the Feast of Corpus Christi that year, after having spent the day hearing confessions and receiving visitors.[7] About midnight he began hemorrhaging, and Baronius read the commendatory prayers over him. Baronius asked that he would bless his spiritual sons before dying, and though he could no longer speak, he blessed them with the sign of the cross and died.

Neri was beatified by Paul V in 1615, and canonized by Gregory XV in 1622.[4] His memorial is celebrated on 26 May. His body is in the Chiesa Nuova (“New Church”) in Rome.

Neri is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself.[5]

Oratory[edit]

Philip Neri, as painted byGuercino in 1656.

The congregation Neri founded is of the least conventional nature, rather resembling a residential clerical club than a monastery of the older type, and its rules (never written by Neri, but approved by Pope Paul V in 1612) [8] would have appeared incredibly lax. In fact its religious character would seem almost doubtful to men such as Bruno, Stephen Harding, Francis of Assisi or Saint Dominic. It admits only priests aged at least 36, or seminarians who have completed their studies and are ready for ordination, supported by lay brothers. The members live in community, and each pays his own expenses, having the usufruct of his private means—a startling innovation on the monastic vow of poverty. They have indeed a common table, but it is kept up precisely as a regimental mess, by monthly payments from each member. Nothing is provided by the society except the bare lodging, and the fees of a visiting physician. Everything else—clothing, books, furniture, medicines—must be defrayed at the private charges of each member. There are no vows, and every member of the society is at liberty to withdraw when he pleases, and to take his property with him. The government, strikingly unlike the Jesuit autocracy, is of a republican form; and the superior, though first in honour, has to take his turn in discharging all the duties which come to each priest of the society in the order of his seniority, including that of waiting at table, which is not entrusted in the Oratory to lay brothers, according to the practice in most other communities. Four deputies assist the superior in the government, and all public acts are decided by a majority of votes of the whole congregation, in which the superior has no casting voice. To be chosen superior, 15 years of membership are requisite as a qualification, and the office is tenable, as all the others, for but 3 years at a time. No one can vote until he has been three years in the society; the deliberative voice is not obtained before the eleventh year.

Statue of Philip Neri inCongregados Church, Braga,Portugal.

There are thus three classes of members: novices, triennials and decennials. Each house can call its superior to account, can depose, and can restore him, without appeal to any external authority, although the bishop of the diocese in which any house of the Oratory is established is its ordinary and immediate superior, though without power to interfere with the rule. Their churches are non-parochial, and they can perform such rites as baptisms, marriages, etc., only by permission of the parish priest, who is entitled to receive all fees due in respect of these ministrations.

The Oratory chiefly spread in Italy and in France, where in 1760 there were 58 houses all under the government of a superior-general. Nicolas Malebranche, Louis Thomassin, Jules Mascaron and Jean Baptiste Massillon were members of the famous branch established in Paris in 1611 by Bérulle (later cardinal), which had a great success and a distinguished history. It fell in the crash of the French Revolution, but was revived by Père Pététot, curé of St Roch, in 1852, as the “Oratory of Jesus and the Immaculate Mary”; the Church of the Oratory near the Louvre belongs to the Reformed Church.

Neri encouraged the singing of the lauda spirituale (laude) in his oratory services. The prominent composers Tomás Luis de Victoria and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina probably participated in this music.[9] His unique and varied aesthetic experience has been highlighted in a study by the Italian historian Francesco Danieli.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

Johnny Dorelli played Philip Neri in a 1983 Italian movie State buoni se potete

Gigi Proietti played Philip Neri in a 2010 Italian made for television movie Preferisco il Paradiso.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Saint Philip Neri”, Lives of the Saints, John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c Ritchie, Charles Sebastian. “St. Philip Romolo Neri.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 20 Dec. 2012
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Walsh, p.157.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Addington, Raleigh (of the London Oratory), Saint Philip Neri
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c Foley, O.F.M, Leonard. “St. Philip Neri”, Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b “St. Philip Neri”. Saint of the Day. American Catholic. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  7. Jump up^ Walsh, p.157-158.
  8. Jump up^ Bowden, Henry Sebastian. “The Oratory of Saint Philip Neri.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 13 Feb. 2015
  9. Jump up^ Howard E. Smither. “Filippo Neri”. In Macy, Laura. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  10. Jump up^ F. Danieli, San Filippo Neri. La nascita dell’Oratorio e lo sviluppo dell’arte cristiana al tempo della riforma. (San Paolo: Cinisello Balsamo, 2009).

Sources[edit]

  • Butler’s Lives of the Saints, M. Walsh, ed. (HarperSanFrancisco: New York, 1991)

Biographies[edit]

Death penalty won’t solve crime: Branson – Visiting tycoon cites experience in Europe

Death penalty won’t solve crime: Branson – Visiting tycoon cites experience in Europe


English business magnate and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson gives a speech at the ANC’s Leadership Forum at Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City, Wednesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

By Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News, May 25,2016

MANILA – The death penalty will not solve crime and neither will treating drugs dependents as criminals solve the drug scourge, billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson said on Wednesday.

Branson, who is in Manila for ANC’s leadership forum, is an active human rights campaigner and most recently joined the board of global watchdog group Amnesty International.

“The death penalty is not a deterrent. Europe has become a more civilized continent since the abolishment of the death penalty,” Branson said.

Locking criminals up for life instead of executing them would prove cheaper, given the lengthier legal process before an execution is carried out, he said.

Branson said he would rather that a drug dependent get help than get arrested by police.

“The war on drugs has been a complete failure,” he said, adding that countries which are “repressive” against drug dependents were losing their fight against drugs.

The country’s new President, Rodrigo Duterte, won the May 9 elections with a promise to fight crime and corruption.

Duterte wants Congress to restore capital punishment, especially for heinous crimes. He has also singled out drug abuse as the root of the country’s crime problem.

READ: Duterte wants death penalty restored

Former President Gloria Arroyo signed a law repealing capital punishment in 2006, just before she flew to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI and as she grappled with waning public support due to an election fraud scandal.

Read the source and comments: http://news.abs-cbn.com/halalan2016/nation/05/25/16/death-penalty-wont-solve-crime-branson

Related articles/ Videos click below:

Is death penalty Biblical? Priest explains why not http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/23/is-death-penalty-biblical-priest-explains-why-not/

Law dean raises 7 arguments vs death penalty http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/23/law-dean-raises-7-arguments-vs-death-penalty/

Pope Francis Calls for Abolition of Death Penalty http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/21/pope-francis-calls-for-abolition-of-death-penalty/

If death penalty returns, bishop says he’ll volunteer to die http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/20/if-death-penalty-returns-bishop-says-hell-volunteer-to-die/

In a letter (March 20,2015) to the International Commission against the Death Penalty, the Pope Francis says that today the death penalty is “inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed. It is an offence against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person.” He adds that it “does not render justice to the victims, but rather fosters vengeance.”

Shocking words of presumptive Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to Archbishop Oscar Cruz

duterte to cruz

Shocking words of presumptive Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to Archbishop Oscar Cruz

In the news report from ABS-CBN News Wednesday presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte was quoted saying these harsh words directed to retired archbishop Oscar Cruz: “Bobolahin mo pa mga Pilipino! Hoy, Oscar! Oca, wag mong bolahin ang mga Pilipino. Nakakahiya ka! Wala ako nakita na Montero na ginamit ng bishop na ginawang ambulansya. ‘Wag nga tayo magbolahan, Cruz! Wag mo ako bolahin, Cruz. Dalawa tayong bolero sa mundong ito… Do not f*** with me, Cruz! Iparinig mo sa kanya ‘yan!” This was Duterte’s response when asked to comment on the statement of Archbishop Cruz that the vehicles several bishops received during the time of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) were used for charity works and were later on returned by the recipient-bishops to the Sweepstakes office.

Presumptive President Duterte further disclosed that he is no longer a member of the Roman Catholic Church but of the “Iglesia ni Duterte”. He said: “Di na ako miyembro ng Katoliko. May bago ako.” Then he invited people to transfer and join his Church: “Lipat na lang kayo dito sa Iglesia ni Duterte.”

To watch the video, here is the link: Duterte: Join the ‘Iglesia ni Duterte’

To recall, a few days ago, the presumptive President lambasted the bishops of the Catholic Church and more particularly those who have asked and have received cars as gifts from PCSO. He said: “Panahon ni Arroyo naghingian kayo… That is graft and corruption, hindi niyo alam ‘yan, plus separation of church and state… ‘Yung ibang tao dito sa Pilipinas walang makain, walang medisina, and you were enjoying the money of the … people of the Philippines by riding on that… Hindi ba kayo nahiya nyan? Pu**** I** kayo.”Watch the video here: Duterte calls Catholic Church ‘most hypocritical institution’

Sources: ABS-CBN News ; ABS-CBN News

Read the source and comments: http://pinasheadlines.com/2016/05/25/shocking-words-of-presumptive-pres-rodrigo-duterte-to-archbishop-oscar-cruz/

(Screengrab photo from Youtube)

Related Articles/ Videos click below:

Is the Catholic Church the most hypocritical institution? A reply to Mayor Duterte http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/22/is-the-catholic-church-the-most-hypocritical-institution-a-reply-to-mayor-duterte/

Can you believe in God but not in religion? A reply to Mayor Duterte http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/22/can-you-believe-in-god-but-not-in-religion-a-reply-to-mayor-duterte/

CATHOLIC PHILIPPINES ELECTS SELF-PROFESSED DICTATOR: Rodrigo Duterte may replace congress with revolutionary government http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/10/catholic-philippines-elects-self-professed-dictator-rodrigo-duterte-may-replace-congress-with-revolutionary-government/

Is death penalty Biblical? Priest explains why not http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/23/is-death-penalty-biblical-priest-explains-why-not/

Law dean raises 7 arguments vs death penalty http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/23/law-dean-raises-7-arguments-vs-death-penalty/

Pope Francis Calls for Abolition of Death Penalty http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/21/pope-francis-calls-for-abolition-of-death-penalty/

If death penalty returns, bishop says he’ll volunteer to die http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/20/if-death-penalty-returns-bishop-says-hell-volunteer-to-die/

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Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin: “Never Vote for Any Candidate of Any Party Who Supports Abortion” http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/25/catholic-bishop-thomas-tobin-never-vote-for-any-candidate-of-any-party-who-supports-abortion/

‘SACRILEGE COMMUNION’ – “If they continue to support candidates who espouse violence as a means to resolve conflicts” http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/07/sacrilege-communion-if-they-continue-to-support-candidates-who-espouse-violence-as-a-means-to-resolve-conflicts/

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal back call to examine conscience… if they agree with the candidate’s platform of violence http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/12/cebu-archbishop-jose-palma-and-emeritus-ricardo-cardinal-vidal-back-call-to-examine-conscience-if-they-agree-with-the-candidates-platform-of-violence/

Press Statement of Archbishop Socrates Villegas contrary to the misleading if not deceptive post of GMA News Online http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/19/press-statement-of-archbishop-socrates-villegas-contrary-to-the-misleading-if-not-deceptive-post-of-gma-news-online/

Mayor Duterte? by Archbishop Socrates Villegas http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/15/mayor-duterte-by-archbishop-socrates-villegas/

Prospects under a Duterte Presidency: Scenario Analysis

http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/05/prospects-under-a-duterte-presidency-scenario-analysis/

Archbishop Antonio Ledesma in Mindanao slams Duterte over killings http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/05/archbishop-antonio-ledesma-in-mindanao-slams-duterte-over-killings/

Catholics and women against Duterte http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/05/catholics-and-women-against-duterte/

Archdiocese of Cotabato: Circular Letter on the 2016 Elections – Cardinal Orlando Quevedo http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/07/archdiocese-of-cotabato-circular-letter-on-the-2016-elections-cardinal-orlando-quevedo/

Cardinal Orlando Quevedo warns voters about promises of ‘change’ http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/03/cardinal-orlando-quevedo-warns-voters-about-promises-of-change/

Archbishop Socrates Villegas: Discerning for whom to vote in the National and Local Elections – Lord guide us with your grace http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/13/archbishop-socrates-villegas-discerning-for-whom-to-vote-in-the-national-and-local-elections-lord-guide-us-with-your-grace/

Archbishop Socrates Villegas urges voters to use 10 commandments in choosing their candidates http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/07/archbishop-socrates-villegas-urges-voters-to-use-10-commandments-in-choosing-their-candidates/

Archbishop Socrates Villegas to voters: Don’t be swayed by surveys http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/06/archbishop-socrates-villegas-to-voters-dont-be-swayed-by-surveys/

Bishop Arturo M. Bastes: A Testimony during Martial Law (1973-1986) of the Marcos Regime of the Philippines http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/15/bishop-arturo-m-bastes-a-testimony-during-martial-law-1973-1986-of-the-marcos-regime-of-the-philippines/

Irish Bishops Provide Pastoral Reflection in Lead-up to Elections: Ten questions based on Catholic Social Teaching for Catholics to ask candidates http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/04/29/irish-bishops-provide-pastoral-reflection-in-lead-up-to-elections-ten-questions-based-on-catholic-social-teaching-for-catholics-to-ask-candidates/

An Assessment of the New USCCB Document Faithful Citizenship: FCFC (#34) lists “intrinsically evil acts,” and says that Catholics cannot vote for a political candidate “who favors a policy promoting” them http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/01/06/an-assessment-of-the-new-usccb-document-faithful-citizenship-fcfc-34-lists-intrinsically-evil-acts-and-says-that-catholics-cannot-vote-for-a-political-candidate-who-fav/

THE DOWNLOAD—YOUR VOTE COUNTS – But it’s your own soul that’ll do the counting http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/09/20527/

THE VORTEX: A TIE IS A LOSS – Maybe Catholics should concentrate more on the Faith than on politics http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/03/15/the-vortex-a-tie-is-a-loss-maybe-catholics-should-concentrate-more-on-the-faith-than-on-politics/

Catholic Bishops: Voting for Candidate who supports abortion is formal cooperation with evil

Should Pope Francis get involved in politics? Of course he should   http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/19/should-pope-francis-get-involved-in-politics-of-course-he-should/

Is Health Care a Pro Life Issue? http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/14/is-health-care-a-pro-life-issue/

BISHOP ROBERT MCELROY GOES SOFT ON INTRINSIC EVIL: San Diego bishop says intrinsic evils don’t automatically prioritize issues for voters http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/12/bishop-robert-mcelroy-goes-soft-on-intrinsic-evil-san-diego-bishop-says-intrinsic-evils-dont-automatically-prioritize-issues-for-voters/

Archbishop Oscar Cruz on the forthcoming elections: Principle of participation

Is Socialism Making a Comeback? – Despite Bernie Sanders’s best efforts, socialism is still as bad an idea as it ever was http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/10/is-socialism-making-a-comeback-despite-bernie-sanderss-best-efforts-socialism-is-still-as-bad-an-idea-as-it-ever-was/

CBCP President Archbishop Soc Villegas grieved over Duterte’s cursing of Pope

“When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people. When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame.” http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/12/02/cbcp-president-archbishop-soc-villegas-grieved-over-dutertes-cursing-of-pope-etc/
– Archbishop 

A Perspective on the “hypocrite” that is the Philippine Catholic Church

A Perspective on the “hypocrite” that is the Philippine Catholic Church

BY FRANZ SANTOS· TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2016

Around 3-4 years ago, I was having a conversation with a Church historian and he was casually saying some interesting things about the Philippine Catholic Church that not a lot of people know about. I was so amazed with the facts so i told him that they (members of the religious) should tell this more to people to balance the hate the Church gets from its critics (admittedly warranted at times). But he just kept silent and did not react so we continued our history-related talk (and chismis).
I think the Church is like that. It concedes and introspects when criticized for the right reasons (sex abuses, materialism of some members of the clergy, improper involvement in politics,etc.), but does not aggressively publicize all the good that it has been doing here since the 16th century. So it is often misunderstood and critics highlight the negative things:
– thanks to the Propagandists of the 19th century, isolated cases of friar abuses were popularized (and often exaggerated)
– thanks to the Republic Act No. 1425 of 1956, known as the Rizal Law, Rizal’s works (especially the Noli and Fili) were required to be discussed in all educational institutions. this is good from a nationalist point of view. Unfortunately for the Church (and for historians), many people conveniently forget the literary nature of the books and actually consider it as source material for 19th century Philippine history.
– thanks to the wrongdoings of some members of the Philippine Catholic Church, especially when it comes to politics (RH debate, Pajero Bishops, defending PGMA, etc.) critics generalize the wrongdoings of a few and attribute the sins to the entire institution
So yeah, the Church makes mistakes, is sinful (like all of us), and it will be the first to admit that reality. But that’s not the whole of it. To say that the Church is insensitive, useless and hypocritical, one has to consider not just the mistakes. For that we need history and social studies:
1) From the beginning, it was the Philippine Church who fought for the rights and safety of the natives against the abuses of Conquistadores and Encomenderos (search: The Manila Synod of 1582)
2) The Church was responsible for the material and intellectual development of the Philippines during the Spanish occupation (especially since the government had limited reach and funds!)
– missionaries planned and facilitated the construction of towns, roads, bridges, churches, etc. and developed key industries especially in the agricultural sector
– the religious educated the youth (by 1896, they were educating almost 200,000 Filipinos in 2,500 schools)
– the early friars were responsible not only for learning the languages in the island, but also for discovering their nuances to the advantage of the natives (e.g. “Customs of the Tagalogs” by Fray Juan de Plasencia)
3) The Church took care of the poor, weak and marginalized all throughout the Philippine’s history (founded, ran and funded orphanages, hospitals, asylums, taking care of lepers and many others)
4) contrary to popular belief, while the 1896 revolution was anti-Friar, it was not anti-Church and the Philippine Church provided guidance and support for the Filipinos (check Schumacher’s “The Revolutionary Clergy”)
But we really don’t need to read all these. We can just look at society today. As i often say, in the absence of a strong central government, the Church is always the 1st to help out.
1) Who joins farmers in their fight for justice so that they will be heard by the government? (e.g. Sumilao and Casiguran)
2) Who do the poor, marginalized and oppressed run to when they are persecuted or turned away? (offering sanctuary to enemies of Martial Law, feeding programs for the poor and other forms of social work). Go to your parish this Sunday and check out all their pastoral work.
3) Who continues to educate the youth? (from parochial schools to universities)
4) Who do the indigenous people run to when they are terrorized by both the AFP and NPA?
I could go on and on. But maybe we also just need to look at our own experiences. For all her sins (and more particularly, that of her clergy), i’m particularly thankful for the members of the Church. They helped me appreciate life and what i have. They helped me become more generous because of their examples and their works. They challenged me to be more loving.
So for me, let us call out the Church when necessary. After all, she welcomes dialogue. She won’t tell us to “shut up”. But let’s also give credit where credit is due, and look at the bigger picture for perspective.
As i often say, if the Church wants to protest, she can just have a picket and stop all Church-related operations for a couple of days. Let’s see what will happen to the country. But she is not like that, and she never will be. And that’s why, whether we admit it or not, the Church as an institution is and will always be relevant in our country, even after 2,000 years.

Read the source and comments: https://www.facebook.com/notes/franz-santos/a-perspective-on-the-hypocrite-that-is-the-philippine-catholic-church/10153697505132613

(This post is dedicated to all my friends, former teachers and colleagues who are generously and courageously living out the religious vocation. Ad majorem dei gloriam!)

3 Lies You Might Believe About the Catholic Church … and how to correct them

3 Lies You Might Believe About the Catholic Church … and how to correct them

The enemies of the Church often do not hate the Church: they only hate what they erroneously believe to be the Church. – Ven. Fulton Sheen

I am convinced that there is something truly diabolical about the rage that Mother Teresa engenders in her critics. Recently I wrote an article defending Mother Teresa against the lies that have been spread about her and, inevitably, the comment section quickly filled with nasty and vicious attacks against Mother Teresa. I stopped looking at it after a few regrettable visits.

There are strikingly few criticisms of Mother Teresa that are not rife with vitriol and unadulterated wrath. There are more objective and emotionless articles among those criticizing the Church’s handling of the sex abuse crisis, (something much more deserving of rage), than of those that criticize Mother Teresa. It’s downright disturbing.

The Church has plenty in its history that is deserving of criticism but it is often the tired anti-historical lies that are raised by “scholars” and ordinary people alike. After this experience, I thought to myself, what other things do people believe simply because our mainstream, increasingly anti-Christian culture (with deep roots in anti-Catholic bigotry) insists they are true?

Here are some lies about the Catholic Church that you, or someone you know, might believe:

1. Was Pope Pius XII “Hitler’s Pope”? After World War II, tributes to Pope Pius XII flowed into the Vatican, including from several Jewish organizations. He was almost universally admired for his efforts to help Jews during the war. But the tide of popular sentiment began to change in the 1960s because of a play called The Deputy, which was written by a German Protestant playwright and seen all over the world. In the play, Pope Pius XII is portrayed as a greedy villain who was completely indifferent to the plight of the Jews. In 1999, a bestselling book, Hitler’s Pope,accused Pope Pius XII of being an anti-Semite who was in cahoots with Hitler. Both The Deputy and Hitler’s Pope influenced the common mindset considerably. Whether Pius XII should have or could have done more is open to debate, but the high level of critique that he has received is commonly understood, by those who bother to do the research, to be clearly fallacious and unfair. (More information: Jewish source, Catholic source)

2. Were the Crusades Christian Terrorism?President Barack Obama opened this can of worms (or reopened it for the umpteenth time) when he likened ISIS atrocities to the Crusades, basically insinuating that the current carnage is a defensive response to a pattern of aggression that Christians began. Historians pointed out that the comparison was inaccurate, primarily because the Crusades were defensive. Also, it is only relatively recently that Muslims, including Al Qaeda and ISIS, have recast the Crusades with Muslims as the victims. History is complex and the Crusades are no exception. There were atrocities on both sides. But when people jump on the simplistic, black-and-white “Let’s vilify the crusaders” wagon and cast Muslims as the continuing victims of Christian aggression, they are jumping on the wagon with some pretty unsavory people who are using this myth to justify horrific violence. Not to mention it is simply not accurate. (More information: 4 Myths, Why Obama Was Wrong, Against Crusade Apologias, The Case Against the Case Against the Crusades)

3. Is the Catholic Church Anti-Science? Ask most people what they think of when they think of the Catholic Church and science and you’ll most likely hear, “Galileo!” The Catholic Church can’t quite get past that controversy despite the fact that science owes so much to the Church and Catholic scientists. Plus, the Galileo controversy is (surprise surprise) a little more complicated than most people think. Anyway folks, the Catholic Church is not anti-science. Big bang theory? A priest came up with that. Pioneer of genetics Gregor Mendel? Augustinian friar. The list goes on an on. In short, this one is pretty much entirely false but it is a lie that continues to perdure and is quickly gaining traction, as Katie Couric’s recent gaffe demonstrates. (The Myth of Catholic Irrationality, A War Between Science and Religion?) 

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of the lies and misinformation out there about the Catholic Church. But as someone who used to roll my eyes when my theologian father would defend the Crusades, I know firsthand how the prevailing culture can color our views of the Church. And it is up to us to get the facts. Chances are, the facts will bring nuance to our views and help us defend the Church from simplistic attacks.

If you are interested in learning more on these topics, Dr. Rodney Stark, a Baptist historian, recently wrote a book called Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History. In it, he corrects some of the lies about the Catholic Church that have made their way into standard history by way of people he calls “distinguished bigots.” In a culture that is increasingly anti-Christian, the rest of our Christian brothers and sisters would do well to follow in Dr. Stark’s footsteps. Because, like it or not, in secular culture a Christian is a Christian, without room for much distinction.

Finally, by defending the Church I am not advocating defending the indefensible. There is no need to whitewash Church history. There are skeletons in our closet and that is a fact. No institution run by humans for centuries can escape an abundance of scandal and sin. But in a culture that increasingly attacks our faith, Catholics do not have to lie down every time someone attacks the Church with stereotypical and simplistic arguments. There is no passage in the Bible that tells Christians we have to be doormats. We don’t have to get worked up defending the truth, but we can point out when others have it wrong, if only to correct the lies that are spreading, and spreading quickly.

What are some lies about the Church that you have encountered, and how have you responded?

Read the source and comments: http://aleteia.org/2016/05/24/3-lies-you-might-believe-about-the-catholic-church/

Bishop Antoine Chbeir Cries Out as ISIS Devastates Syrian Towns

Bishop Antoine Chbeir Cries Out as ISIS Devastates Syrian Towns

“We care for people not because of their particular religion but because they are human beings”

Syria, Tartous, 26 January 2016 Bishop Antoine Chbeir in the garden and in front of the Cathedral

ACN Photo

A Syrian prelate has described desperate efforts to tend to the injured and the dying following multiple ISIS attacks on Tartous and Jableh, which have left more than 200 dead and nearly 650 injured.

Bishop Antoine Chbeir told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that the May 23 attacks in his diocese were the first of their kind in an area where displaced Syrians had gathered by the hundreds of thousands. The coastal region has remained under Syrian government control and was considered to be one of the country’s last remaining safe havens for Muslims and Christians alike.

The prelate warned that the attacks on the two coastal cities may prompt a surge in people fleeing Syria: “If there are no safe areas in Syria, still more people will leave the country—probably for good. Many of them will go by sea.”

According to local news reports, the apparent aim of ISIS was to strike the Assad regime in its core stronghold, which is backed by the nearby Russian fleet.

The Maronite bishop of Latakia described the desperate efforts of clergy and laity to come to the aid of victims, adding that now priests have begun burying the dead. Bishop Chbeir said: “We are trying to help the people and are taking care of the wounded. It is a very dramatic situation and when the disaster struck we wondered if we could cope.

“Right now, our priests and people are on the scene. They are visiting the people – many of them have broken legs and deep wounds, not to mention the psychological effects.”

Bishop Chbeir continued: “First of all, we need physical and material help, just to help those affected to have something to eat and to help them take care of those who are suffering the most.” He added: “We care for people not because of their particular religion but because they are human beings. In this month of May, we are praying to Our Lady to help us.”

Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN) www.acnmalta.org (Malta)

Pope on Syria Attack: ‘May God Convert Hearts of Those Sowing Death, Destruction’

At General Audience, Prays for Victims of Recent Terrorism

Pope Francis hearing every Wednesday

PHOTO.VA – OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Pope Francis is praying God convert the hearts of those who sow death and destruction.

At the conclusion of his weekly General Audience, the Pope recalled the victims of terrorist attacks that took place in Syria on Monday, and exhorted “everyone to pray to the merciful Father, to pray to the Madonna, that [God] might give eternal rest to the victims, and consolation to their families.”

The Holy Father also prayed that God “might convert the hearts of those who sow death and destruction.” Francis then invited those gathered to say the Hail Mary.

According to state media, in the cities of Jableh and Tartous on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, bombs killed nearly 150 people and wounded at least 200 in the government-controlled territory that hosts Russian military bases. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks in the cities, which, up to now, remained relatively untouched during this civil war now in its sixth year. Yesterday, in Syria, funerals for the victims began.

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Proclaiming The Gospel in Lebanon: The Mohammad Yamout story http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/05/14/proclaiming-the-gospel-in-lebanon-the-mohammad-yamout-story/

Mario Joseph Testimony , a Muslim Imam Convert to Catholic Church  

Please click this link to watch the video on Mario Joseph Testimony, a Muslim Imam Convert to Catholic Church

Daniel Ali: Muslim Convert to Catholic Christianity

Muslim Woman Gives Jesus One Week To Prove Himself Before Ending Her Life http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2015/12/18/19410/

From Darkness to Light
As a Muslim imam, Mario Joseph was well-versed in the Koran and in the teachings of the Islamic religion. In fact, it was precisely the Koran that brought him to an encounter with Jesus Christ and with the truth of the Catholic faith. But his conversion did not come without difficulties; as a consequence, he has undergone grave persecution. How has he attained his intense love toward the Church, the Cross and Heaven? He himself tells us in this week’s impacting episode of Changing Tracks.