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Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of Seventh Week of Ordinary Time & Peter Damian, February 21,2017

Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of Seventh Week of Ordinary Time & Peter Damian, February 21,2017

Ecclesiastical abuses and political intrigues characterized the 11th– century milieu of Peter Damian. Having embraced a life of prayer and penance at the hermitage of Fonte Avellana in northern Italy, Peter nevertheless took public stands against simony, the practice of buying and selling ecclesiastical offices, and clerical marriage. In 1057 A.D. he was named cardinal and bishop of Ostia, Italy. Peter urged the secular clergy to embrace monastic poverty. His many writings include letters written to influential Medieval personages, recommending detachment from worldly goods. He died in 1072 A.D., and was named a Doctor of the Church in 1828 A.D.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

“Lord, by your cross you have redeemed the world and revealed your glory and triumph over sin and death. May I never fail to see your glory and victory in the cross. Help me to conform my life to your will and to follow in your way of holiness.”

Reading I
Sirach 2:1-11

My son, when you come to serve the LORD,
stand in justice and fear,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
incline your ear and receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will you be wise in all your ways.
Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold and silver are tested,
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and God will help you;
trust in him, and he will direct your way;
keep his fear and grow old therein.
You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the LORD, love him,
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40
R. (see 5) Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.

The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
They are not put to shame in an evil time;
in days of famine they have plenty.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.

Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
For the LORD loves what is right,
and forsakes not his faithful ones.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.

The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.

Gospel

Mk 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Anyone wishes to be the first

Today Jesus reveals to us that whoever receives a child in His Name, receives Him and the One Who sent Him. “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” Jesus wants us to receive every man in love and never to judge anyone. We have to believe and act that we are all equal in the eyes of God and that we are no better than our neighbor. We should be able to welcome everyone into God’s fold especially those who have been separated from Him. We should care and love them in the Name of our Lord always trying to draw them closer to God. We are tasked to bring them back into the company of God’s people in love and mercy, not condescendingly judge and condemn them. “It is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” To further emphasize the need to love one another, Jesus said in today’s gospel: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all” implying the need for all to give more and more of self and to deny and empty one self.

Let me share a confession of Whittaker Chambers (a former Communist) in his book “Witness” about one of his heroes as a young man.

His hero was Felix Djerjinsky, a Pole who was ascetic, highly sensitive, intelligent. As a young man, Djerjinsky was a political prisoner in the Paviak Prison in Warsaw where he insisted on being given the task of cleaning the latrines of other prisoners as he had the belief and conviction that the most developed member of any community must take upon himself the lowliest tasks as an example to those who are less developed.

To be a true leader, one should be able to do the lowliest of jobs to set an example for the others to follow. Djerjinsky’s idea of leadership bring us to what Jesus has to say about leadership within the Church: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

Jesus is the Head of the Body and as such He had to do the work the Father had for Him. He had to joyfully oblige to the Father’s will, pay for the ransom and die on the Cross! As His followers and workers, let us ask ourselves: How willing are we to serve rather than be served by others?

One of the obstacles to truly serving God’s people and be the last and servant of all is our PRIDE. Combined with covetousness and envy, we impede our service for the Lord. Instead of being fruitful for the Lord, we are lost in the mire of self and fail to see the beauty of one’s work for the Lord. We may become critical of the other person, to the eventual detriment of God’s flock. Our motive and attitude in serving God and His flock becomes so fleshy, so attached to the world such that our works become acts of selfishness, rivalry, dissension, factions and even outbursts of fury and hatred. “The works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

Regrettably, our yearning to be a selfless leader like Jesus, becomes a failed ministry, so dominant and controlling, whose focus would be power, authority and influence. We become God’s foe and an instrument of the evil one. “Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4

Let us always be reminded that: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Let us then “submit ourselves to God, resist the devil…draw near to God, cleanse our hands, purify our hearts and humble ourselves before the Lord and he will exalt us!” James 4:7-11

Direction

Bring God’s Word to everyone. We have to receive in love our brothers and sisters no matter how unlovable and lowly they may be. Serve others anonymously without hoping for any credits.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, give me the grace to draw people into your fold. Help me serve you and your people humbly and without any consideration for credit and honor. In Jesus, I pray and hope. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Who is the greatest in God’s kingdom?

Whose glory do you seek? There can be no share in God’s glory without the cross. When Jesus prophesied his own betrayal and crucifixion, it did not make any sense to his disciples because it did not fit their understanding of what the Messiah came to do. And they were afraid to ask further questions! Like a person who might receive a bad verdict from the doctor and then refuse to ask further questions, they, too, didn’t want to know any more. How often do we reject what we do not wish to see? We have heard the good news of God’s word and we know the consequences of accepting it or rejecting it. But do we give it our full allegiance and mold our lives according to it? Ask the Lord to fill you with his Holy Spirit and to inspire within you a reverence for his word and a readiness to obey it.

Do you compare yourself with others?
How ashamed the disciples must have been when Jesus overheard them arguing about who among them was the greatest! But aren’t we like the disciples? We compare ourselves with others and desire their praise. The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in us. Who doesn’t cherish the ambition to be “somebody” whom others admire rather than a “nobody”? Even the psalms speak about the glory God has destined for us. You have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5).

Jesus made a dramatic gesture by embracing a child to show his disciples who really is the greatest in the kingdom of God. What can a little child possibly teach us about greatness? Children in the ancient world had no rights, position, or privileges of their own. They were socially at the “bottom of the rung” and at the service of their parents, much like the household staff and domestic servants.

Who is the greatest in God’s kingdom?
What is the significance of Jesus’ gesture? Jesus elevated a little child in the presence of his disciples by placing the child in a privileged position of honor. It is customary, even today, to seat the guest of honor at the right side of the host. Who is the greatest in God’s kingdom? The one who is humble and lowly of heart – who instead of asserting their rights willingly empty themselves of pride and self-seeking glory by taking the lowly position of a servant or child.

Jesus, himself, is our model. He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Paul the Apostle states that Jesus emptied himself and took the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7). Jesus lowered himself (he whose place is at the right hand of God the Father) and took on our lowly nature that he might raise us up and clothe us in his divine nature.

God wants to fill us with his own glory
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble
 (James 4:6). If we want to be filled with God’s life and power, then we need to empty ourselves of everything which stands in the way – pride, self-seeking glory, vanity, etc. God wants empty vessels so he can fill them with his own glory, power, and love (2 Corinthians 4:7). Are you ready to humble yourself and to serve as Jesus did?

“Lord Jesus, by your cross you have redeemed the world and revealed your glory and triumph over sin and death. May I never fail to see your glory and victory in the cross.  Help me to conform my life to your will and to follow in your way of holiness.” – Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb21.htm

Reflection 3 – Is your love for God tried and true?

Have you experienced trials that challenge your trust in God? Of course you have! It’s very normal. As today’s first reading says, when we serve the Lord, we should prepare for trials. Why? Because we’re making a difference in the world — in people’s lives — and not everyone wants to accept this change. Therefore, our efforts cause persecution, rejection, and other opportunities for us to practice what we profess.

This point was driven home to me one day when I tried to minister to a woman in church who was shutting herself off from the community. It’s not so much her rejection of my outreach that challenged me, but my reaction to her judgmentalism. I became angry at her, and then God put me in the path of someone else who was angry. This challenged me to recognize my own unforgiveness.

The trials of this world expose us. Are we judgmental about those who are judgmental? Are we unforgiving toward those who are unforgiving? Are we unloving to those who don’t love us? Are we unkind to those who are unkind?

Having our sins exposed by the sins of others can be the most important trials of our lives! These are what stretch us, but only if we accept the challenge to grow. These are what purify us, like gold tested in fire, so that we are strengthened in holiness. These are what help us become faithful to the Lord whom we claim to love.

Are we truly sincere of heart and steadfast in our love for God? Times of adversity reveal the answer. It’s okay to feel sorrowful during hardships, but do we trust God enough to wait on him with patience? Do we cling to him instead of trying to solve problems with short-cuts and retaliation? Do we place whatever befalls us into the context of our love relationship with God, who assures us (see Romans 8:28) that he is going to turn everything into a blessing for us?

A deep relationship with God enables us to trust in his mercy and compassion, even while we cry on his shoulder and moan to him in the pain of our sufferings.

In a deep relationship with God, we’re not discouraged by what we see during the trial, because we remain certain that God is doing something wonderful that we cannot yet see.

In a deep relationship with God, understanding comes not in our minds but in our hearts, where love, not brain-power, helps us realize the help that he is giving.

Our love for God is deepened most when purified and strengthened by testing. – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-02-21

Reflection 4 – Candidates For Humility

He who is least among you all will be great. –Luke 9:48

“What do you think of the candidates?” That’s what a reporter for a news magazine asked a young woman at Dartmouth University after a debate among presidential hopefuls. She didn’t say a word about their positions on the issues or their skill at debate. She simply remarked, “None of them seems to have any humility.”

Benjamin Franklin, the early American statesman, made a list of character qualities that he wanted to develop in his own life. When he mastered one virtue, he went on to the next. He did pretty well, he said, until he got to humility. Every time he thought he was making significant progress, he would be so pleased with himself that he became proud.

Humility is an elusive virtue. Even Jesus’ disciples struggled with it. When Jesus learned that they had been arguing about who was the greatest, He responded, “If anyone desires to be first, he should be last of all and servant of all” (Mk. 9:35). Then He took a little child in His arms and indicated that we need to humbly serve others as if we were serving Christ.

If a news reporter were to talk to our friends, neighbors, or fellow church members and ask them to describe us, would they use the word humble?  — David C. Egner

True greatness does not lie with those
Who strive for worldly fame;
It lies instead with those who choose
To serve in Jesus’ name. –DJD

Humility can be sought but never celebrated (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 5 – St. Peter Damian (1007-1072 A.D.)

Maybe because he was orphaned and had been treated shabbily by one of his brothers, Peter Damian was very good to the poor. It was the ordinary thing for him to have a poor person or two with him at table and he liked to minister personally to their needs.

Peter escaped poverty and the neglect of his own brother when his other brother, who was archpriest of Ravenna, took him under his wing. His brother sent him to good schools and Peter became a professor.

Already in those days Peter was very strict with himself. He wore a hair shirt under his clothes, fasted rigorously and spent many hours in prayer. Soon, he decided to leave his teaching and give himself completely to prayer with the Benedictines of the reform of St. Romuald (June 19) at Fonte Avellana. They lived two monks to a hermitage. Peter was so eager to pray and slept so little that he soon suffered from severe insomnia. He found he had to use some prudence in taking care of himself. When he was not praying, he studied the Bible.

The abbot commanded that when he died Peter should succeed him. Abbot Peter founded five other hermitages. He encouraged his brothers in a life of prayer and solitude and wanted nothing more for himself. The Holy See periodically called on him, however, to be a peacemaker or troubleshooter, between two abbeys in dispute or a cleric or government official in some disagreement with Rome.

Finally, Pope Stephen IX made Peter the cardinal-bishop of Ostia. He worked hard to wipe out simony (the buying of church offices), and encouraged his priests to observe celibacy and urged even the diocesan clergy to live together and maintain scheduled prayer and religious observance. He wished to restore primitive discipline among religious and priests, warning against needless travel, violations of poverty and too comfortable living. He even wrote to the bishop of Besancon, complaining that the canons there sat down when they were singing the psalms in the Divine Office.

He wrote many letters. Some 170 are extant. We also have 53 of his sermons and seven lives, or biographies, that he wrote. He preferred examples and stories rather than theory in his writings. The liturgical offices he wrote are evidence of his talent as a stylist in Latin.

He asked often to be allowed to retire as cardinal-bishop of Ostia, and finally Alexander II consented. Peter was happy to become once again just a monk, but he was still called to serve as a papal legate. When returning from such an assignment in Ravenna, he was overcome by a fever. With the monks gathered around him saying the Divine Office, he died on February 22, 1072.

In 1828 he was declared a Doctor of the Church.

Comment:

Peter was a reformer and if he were alive today would no doubt encourage the renewal started by Vatican II. He would also applaud the greater emphasis on prayer that is shown by the growing number of priests, religious and laypersons who gather regularly for prayer, as well as the special houses of prayer recently established by many religious communities.

Quote:

“…Let us faithfully transmit to posterity the example of virtue which we have received from our forefathers” (St. Peter Damian).

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1298

SAINT OF THE DAY
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Damian
SAINT PETER DAMIAN
Peter Damian bust.JPG

Bust of Peter Damian. Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence.
BISHOP, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
BORN c. 1007
Ravenna
DIED 22 February 1072 or 1073[1]
Faenza
VENERATED IN Roman Catholic Church
FEAST 21 February
earlier 23 February (General Roman Calendar, 1823-1969)
ATTRIBUTES represented as a cardinal bearing a knotted rope in his hand; also as apilgrim holding a papal Bull;Cardinal’s hat, Benedictine monk’s habit
PATRONAGE traceurs, freerunners

Saint Peter Damian (Latin: Petrus Damianus; Italian: Pietro or Pier Damiani; c. 1007 – 21 or 22 February 1072 or 1073)[1] was a reformingBenedictine monk and cardinal in the circle of Pope Leo IX. Dante placed him in one of the highest circles of Paradiso as a great predecessor of Saint Francis of Assisi and he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828. His feast day is February 21.

Early life[edit]

Peter was born in Ravenna, Italy, around 1007, the youngest of a large noble, but poor family. Orphaned early, he was at first adopted by an elder brother, who ill-treated and under-fed him while employing him as a swineherd. After some years, another brother, Damianus, who was archpriest at Ravenna, had pity on him and took him away to be educated. Adding his brother’s name to his own, Peter made such rapid progress in his studies of theology andcanon law, first at Ravenna, then at Faenza, and finally at the University of Parma, that when about twenty-five years old he was already a famous teacher at Parma and Ravenna.[2]

Religious life[edit]

Saint Peter Damian (far right), depicted with Saints Augustine, Anne, and Elizabeth

About 1035, however, he gave up his secular calling and, avoiding the compromised luxury of Cluniac monasteries, entered the isolated hermitage of Fonte Avellana, near Gubbio. Both as novice and as monk, his fervor was remarkable but led him to such extremes of self-mortification in penance that his health was affected, and he developed severe insomnia. On his recovery, he was appointed to lecture to his fellow monks. Then, at the request of Guy of Pomposa (Guido d’Arezzo) and other heads of neighboring monasteries, for two or three years he lectured to their brethren also, and (about 1042) wrote the life of St. Romuald for the monks of Pietrapertosa. Soon after his return to Fonte Avellana he was appointed economus(manager or housekeeper) of the house by the prior, who designated him as his successor. In 1043 he became prior of Fonte Avellana, and remained so until his death in February 1072.[2]

Subject-hermitages were founded at San Severino, Gamogna, Acerreta, Murciana, San Salvatore, Sitria and Ocri. A zealot for monastic and clerical reform, he introduced a more-severe discipline, including the practice of flagellation (“thedisciplina“), into the house, which, under his rule, quickly attained celebrity, and became a model for other foundations, even the great abbey of Monte Cassino. There was much opposition outside his own circle to such extreme forms of penitence, but Peter’s persistent advocacy ensured its acceptance, to such an extent that he was obliged later to moderate the imprudent zeal of some of his own hermits. [3]

Another innovation was that of the daily siesta, to make up for the fatigue of the night office. During his tenure of the priorate a cloister was built, silver chalices and a silver processional cross were purchased, and many books were added to the library.[3]

Reformer[edit]

Although living in the seclusion of the cloister, Peter Damian closely watched the fortunes of the Church, and like his friend Hildebrand, the future Pope Gregory VII, he strove for reforms in a deplorable time. When Benedict IX resigned the pontificate into the hands of the archpriest John Gratian (Gregory VI) in 1045, Peter hailed the change with joy and wrote to the new pope, urging him to deal with the scandals of the church in Italy, singling out the wicked bishops of Pesaro, of Città di Castello and of Fano.[3]

Extending the area of his activities, he entered into communication with the Emperor Henry III. He was present in Rome when Clement II crowned Henry III and his consort Agnes, and he also attended a synod held at the Lateran in the first days of 1047, in which decrees were passed against simony.
After this he returned to his hermitage. About 1050, during the pontificate of Pope Leo IX, Peter wrote a scathing treatise on the vices of the clergy, including sexual abuse of minors and actions by church superiors to hide the crimes. Liber Gomorrhianus was openly addressed to the pope. Meanwhile the question arose as to the validity of the ordinations of simoniacal clerics. Peter Damiani wrote (about 1053) a treatise, the Liber Gratissimus, in favor of their validity, a work which, though much combatted at the time, was potent in deciding the question in their favor before the end of the 12th century.

Philosophy[edit]

Peter often condemned philosophy. He claimed that the first grammarian was the Devil, who taught Adam to decline deus in the plural. He argued that monks should not have to study philosophy, because Jesus did not choose philosophers as disciples, and so philosophy is not necessary for salvation. But the idea (later attributed to Thomas Aquinas) that philosophy should serve theology as a servant serves her mistress originated with him.[4] However, this apparent animosity may reflect his view that logic is only concerned with the validity of argument, rather than the nature of reality. Similar views are found in Al-Ghazali and Wittgenstein.

Damian’s tract De divina omnipotentia is frequently misunderstood. Damian’s purpose is to defend the “doctrine of omnipotence”, which he defines as the ability of God to do anything that is good, i.e., God cannot lie. Toivo J. Holopainen identifies De divina omnipotentia as “an interesting document related to the early developments of medieval discussion concerning modalities and divine omnipotence.”[2]Peter also recognized that God can act outside time, as Gregory of Riminilater argued.[5]

Papal envoy and Cardinal[edit]

During his illness the pope died, and Frédéric, abbot of Monte Cassino, was elected pope as Stephen IX. In the autumn of 1057, Stephen IX determined to make Damian a cardinal. For a long time Damian resisted the offer, for he was more at ease as an itinerant hermit-preacher than a reformer from within the Curia, but was finally forced to accept, and was consecrated Cardinal Bishop of Ostia on November 30, 1057.[6] In addition he was appointed administrator of the Diocese of Gubbio. The new cardinal was impressed with the great responsibilities of his office and wrote a stirring letter to his brother-cardinals, exhorting them to shine by their example before all. Four months later Pope Stephen died at Florence, and the Church was once more distracted by schism. Peter was vigorous in his opposition to the antipope Benedict X, but force was on the side of the intruder and Damian retired temporarily to Fonte Avallana.

Milan[edit]

About the end of the year 1059 Peter was sent as legate to Milan by Pope Nicholas II. So bad was the state of things at Milan, that benefices (a reward received in exchange for services rendered and as a retainer for future services) were openly bought and sold, and the clergy publicly married the women with whom they lived. The resistance of the clergy of Milan to the reform of Ariald the Deacon and Anselm, Bishop of Lucca rendered a contest so bitter that an appeal was made to theHoly See. Nicholas II sent Damian and the Bishop of Lucca as his legates. The party of the irregular clerics took alarm and raised the cry that Rome had no authority over Milan. Peter boldly confronted the rioters in the cathedral, he proved to them the authority of the Holy See with such effect that all parties submitted to his decision.

He exacted first a solemn oath from the archbishop and all his clergy that for the future no preferment should be paid for; then, imposing a penance on all who had been guilty, he reinstated in their benefices all who undertook to live in celibacy. This prudent decision was attacked by some of the rigorists at Rome, but was not reversed. Unfortunately, on the death of Nicholas II, the same disputes broke out; nor were they finally settled till after the martyrdom of St. Ariald in 1066. Meanwhile Peter was pleading in vain to be released from the cares of his office. Neither Nicholas II nor Hildebrand would consent to spare him.

Later career[edit]

He rendered valuable assistance to Pope Alexander II in his struggle with the antipope, Honorius II. In July 1061 the pope died and once more a schism ensued. Peter Damian used all his powers to persuade the antipope Cadalous to withdraw, but to no purpose. Finally Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne and acting regent in Germany, summoned a council at Augsburg at which a long argument by Peter Damian was read and greatly contributed to the decision in favor of Alexander II.

In 1063 the pope held a synod at Rome, at which Peter Damian was appointed legate to settle the dispute between the Abbey of Cluny and the Bishop of Mâcon. He proceeded to France, summoned a council at Chalon-sur-Saône, proved the justice of the contentions of Cluny, settled other questions at issue in the Church of France, and returned in the autumn to Fonte Avellana. While he was in France the antipope Cadalous had again become active in his attempts to gain Rome, and Peter Damian brought upon himself a sharp reproof from Alexander and Hildebrand for twice imprudently appealing to the royal power to judge the case anew. In 1067 the cardinal was sent to Florence to settle the dispute between the bishop and the monks of Vallombrosa, who accused the former of simony. His efforts, however, were not successful, largely because he misjudged the case and threw the weight of his authority on the side of the bishop. The matter was not settled until the following year by the pope in person.

Having served the papacy as legate to France and to Florence, he was allowed to resign his bishopric in 1067. After a period of retirement at Fonte Avellana, he proceeded in 1069 as papal legate to Germany, and persuaded the emperor Henry IV to give up his intention of divorcing his wife Bertha. This task he accomplished at a council in Frankfurt before returning to Fonte-Avellana.

Early in 1072 or 1073[1] he was sent to Ravenna to reconcile its inhabitants to the Holy See, they having been excommunicated for supporting their archbishop in his adhesion to the schism of Cadalous. On his return thence he was seized with fever near Faenza. He lay ill for a week at the monastery of Santa Maria degl’Angeli, now Santa Maria Vecchia. On the night preceding the feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Antioch, he ordered the office of the feast to be recited and at the end of the Lauds he died. He was at once buried in the monastery church, lest others should claim his relics.

During his concluding years he was not altogether in accord with the political ideas of Hildebrand. He died the year before Hildebrand became pope, as Gregory VII. “It removed from the scene the one man who could have restrained Gregory”, Norman F. Cantor remarked (Civilization of the Middle Ages, p 251).

Veneration[edit]

Peter Damian is a saint and was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XII in 1828 with a feast day celebrated on February 23.[6]His body has been moved six times. Since 1898, Peter Damian has rested in a chapel dedicated to the saint in the cathedral of Faenza. No formal canonization ever took place, but his cult has existed since his death at Faenza, at Fonte-Avellana, at Monte Cassino, and at Cluny. In 1970 his feast was moved to 21 February.

The saint is represented in art as a cardinal bearing a knotted rope (the disciplina) in his hand; also sometimes he is depicted as a pilgrim holding a papal Bull, to signify his many legations.

Works[edit]

Vita Beati Romualdi

Peter Damian’s voluminous writings, including treatises (67 survive), letters, sermons, prayers, hymns and liturgical texts (though, in a departure from many early medieval monks, no biblical commentaries)[7] reflect the spiritual conditions of Italy: the groundswell of intense personal piety that would overflow in the First Crusade at the end of the century, and his Latinabounds in denunciatory epithets.

His works include:

  • His most famous work is De Divina Omnipotentia, a long letter in which he discusses God’s power.
  • In the short treatise Dominus vobiscum (The Book of “The Lord be with You”) (PL 145:231-252), he questions whether a hermit praying in solitude should use the plural; Damian concludes that the hermit should use the plural, since he is linked to the whole church by faith and fellowship.
  • His Life of Romauld and his treatise The Eremitical Order demonstrate his continuing commitment to solitude and severe asceticism as the ultimate form of Christian life.
  • He was especially devoted to the Virgin Mary, and wrote an Officium Beatae Virginis

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time & Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto, February 20,2017

Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time & Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto, February 20,2017

A man face with an impossible problem – a possessed son whom even Christ’s disciples cannot liberate – refuses to give up. Instead, he goes to Jesus. “Everything is possible to the one who has faith.” There is a wisdom in the world greater than all the world’s agonies… and that Wisdom has become flesh. And God has lavished this wisdom upon his friends. Prayer is what unleashes it.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Dear Jesus, Help me with my unbelief! Enable me to humble myself to let me turn all of my apprehensions, all my fears, all my disappointments over to you. I beg you to give me the wisdom and the courage that I need so that I may have complete trust in You. Teach me to feel your presence deeply in my life so I can stop clinging to my intellect, my lack of courage and my fear. Let me release anything that holds me back from your love and make me embrace the life You have offered me. Lord, I know that if I only place my trust in You, I can do greater things for the Father’s greater glory. In your Mighty Name, I pray. Amen.

Reading 1
Sir 1:1-10

All wisdom comes from the LORD
and with him it remains forever, and is before all time
The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain,
the days of eternity: who can number these?
Heaven’s height, earth’s breadth,
the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
Before all things else wisdom was created;
and prudent understanding, from eternity.
The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom
and her ways are everlasting.
To whom has wisdom’s root been revealed?
Who knows her subtleties?
To whom has the discipline of wisdom been revealed?
And who has understood the multiplicity of her ways ?
There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring,
seated upon his throne:
There is but one, Most High
all-powerful creator-king and truly awe-inspiring one,
seated upon his throne and he is the God of dominion.
It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit,
has seen her and taken note of her.
He has poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty;
he has lavished her upon his friends.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 93:1ab, 1cd-2, 5
R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Gospel
Mk 9:14-29

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’
Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Everything is possible to one who has faith

But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”

Our gospel for today focuses on a man’s need to have complete FAITH in Jesus. Our belief and conviction should be that Jesus could do anything and that He has the power to make things happen. Jesus cannot be shaken neither can He be intimidated.  However, most often our faith is often weakened by our human mind. Doubt and hesitancy somehow bring us down.

One may assume that Jesus was not quite happy with His first disciples especially about their lack of faith.  Yet despite this, one can see how patient Jesus was with them. This brings to light the kind of patience Jesus has with all of us especially with our sluggish faith. As a way of reminder Jesus is making us aware that we cannot take for granted the authority and the anointing He has given us to pursue our renewed life and the work that He wants us to pursue for Him. We must do everything in prayer and in total reliance upon our God. Our lives should be guided by “God’s wisdom as there is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring Lord Who is seated upon His throne, has poured forth wisdom upon all His works and has lavished her upon his friends, upon every living thing according to his bounty.” Sirach 1:6-8

Jesus comes to us today and reveals that to strengthen our faith we should not look into the power and strength by which He does things. Instead we should be able to confidently proclaim the truth that we cannot do anything without Jesus. We should be able to affirm that, “I can’t but Jesus can.” We should always be guided by the truth that “Everything is possible to one who has faith” and we just need to place our TRUST in Jesus!

Today I place my total faith in our Lord and trust that His grace and blessings will lift me up from my concerns and burdens… that in His own perfect time, He will calm the storms of my life and bring me His peace and make me fruitful in my works not only for myself and those close to my heart but for others and all those whom He may bring into my life!

A man of faith is able to show “his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom that is from above which is first of all pure, peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity and cultivated in peace.”

Having a life of Faith can only bring us to a life of Prayer, which ultimately brings us His blessings and enables us to live according to the Spirit and do His work among His people! His disciples asked him in private, “why could we not drive the spirit out?” He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

Faith and prayer mutually build each other up deep within everyone’ s being.

Direction
Our lives and our work for the Lord should be founded on faith and prayer, duly guided by the wisdom we derive from the Holy Scriptures.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, perfect my faith and give me the grace to pursue my life and my ministry with total reliance on You.  In prayer, I seek your anointing. Empower me as your vessel of love and healing. In Jesus I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – All things are possible to him who believes

What kind of faith does the Lord Jesus expect of us, especially when we meet challenges and difficulties? Inevitably there will be times when each of us cause disappointment to others. In this gospel incident the disciples of Jesus brought disappointment to a pleading father because they failed to heal his epileptic son. Jesus’ response seemed stern; but it was really tempered with love and compassion. We see at once both Jesus’ dismay with the disciples’ lack of faith and his concern to meet the need of this troubled boy and his anguished father. Jesus recognized the weakness of the father’s faith and at the same time challenged him to pray boldly with expectant faith: “All things are possible to him who believes!”

Prayer and faith go together
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), in his commentary on this passage, reminds us that prayer and faith go together: “Where faith fails, prayer perishes. For who prays for that in which he does not believe? ..So then in order that we may pray, let us believe, and let us pray that this same faith by which we pray may not falter.” The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit that we may have the confidence and boldness we need to ask our heavenly Father for his help and grace. Do you trust in God’s love and care for you and pray with expectant faith that he will give you what you need?

When Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, the boy at first seemed to get worse rather than better as he went into a fit of convulsion. Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD), a renowned preacher and bishop of Ravena, reflects on this incident:

“Though it was the boy who fell on the ground, it was the devil in him who was in anguish. The possessed boy was merely convulsed, while the usurping spirit was being convicted by the awesome judge. The captive was detained, but the captor was punished. Through the wrenching of the human body, the punishment of the devil was made manifest.”

God promises each one of us freedom from oppression, especially from the oppression of sin and the evil one who tries to rob us of faith, hope, and peace with God. The Lord Jesus invites us, as he did this boy’s father, to pray with expectant faith. Do you trust in God’s unfailing love and mercy?

Faith and trust in God’s unfailing love and mercy
The mighty works and signs which Jesus did demonstrate that the kingdom of God is present in him. These signs attest that the Father has sent him as the promised Messiah. They invite belief in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world. The coming of God’s kingdom means defeat of Satan’s kingdom. Jesus’ exorcisms anticipate his great victory over “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). While Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and may cause grave injuries of a spiritual nature, and indirectly even of a physical nature, his power is nonetheless limited and permitted by divine providence (Romans 8:28). Jesus offers freedom from bondage to sin and Satan. There is no affliction he cannot deliver us from. Do you make full use of the protection and help he offers to those who seek him with faith and trust in his mercy?

“Lord Jesus, help my unbelief! Increase my faith and trust in your saving power. Give me confidence and perseverance, especially in prayer. And help me to bring your healing love and truth to those I meet”. – Read the source:   http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb20.htm

Reflection 3 – The power of a prayerful life

In today’s Gospel reading, the disciples have failed in ministry, and the father of the possessed boy is wondering if Jesus can grant his request. Both situations are good examples of why our own faith wavers.

Like the disciples, we see failures as reason to doubt our ability to do the works of God. Like the father, we wonder if God really has enough power or enough compassion or even enough time to notice us and answer our prayers.

In the father’s response to Jesus, why did he say “if”? How often do we pray with an “if” attitude? Can Jesus help us whenever we ask him to? Of course he can – if what we seek is within God’s will. Ahh, but there’s another “if”! So let’s turn the “if” onto ourselves. IF we know God, we know his will (it’s clearly explained in the scriptures and Church teachings) and we only want what he wants. Right?

Do we doubt Christ’s compassion? Do we think he’s not kind and caring enough to answer our prayers? Of course he is: God is Love, and no matter how undeserving we are, he is good to us. It’s impossible for him to be uncaring. Even his discipline is good for us, although we might not think so at the time. Therefore, whenever we pray, we should say to him: “Thank you for being so good to me. I do believe; help me to overcome any unbelief that’s still within me.”

Whenever the “IF” word shows up in our prayers, we should ask ourselves why. Are we focused on the evidence of potential disaster or on the goodness of God? If our eyes are not on Jesus and all the good that he’s already done for us, our prayers will be answered in unexpected ways and we won’t realize what he’s done. We’ll miss his solutions to our problems! Or at least we’ll be miserable waiting for it to happen.

Understand what Jesus meant by: “This kind of spirit you can only drive out by prayer.” Surely the disciples had prayed as they tried to cast out the demon. Even a simple “Get out!” with the authority given to us by Jesus is a genuine prayer. What did the disciples do wrong?

Our prayers are merely noise if we’re disbelieving that God truly cares. To prevent wavering between belief and unbelief, our prayers must be more than words. Our prayers need to be a way of life.

We cannot spend a few minutes a day talking to God and then expect to feel his presence when a crisis hits. We have to remain consciously aware, moment by moment, of his constant love, his constant nearness, his constant guidance.

True prayer is a life lived connected to Jesus, imitating Jesus, and being the presence of Jesus for others. In a lifestyle of prayer, our hearts are constantly turning to God, even while our thoughts are busy with the tasks of the day.

To develop this lifestyle, pray each day: “Jesus, I do believe that you care about me; help me to keep my eyes on you.” (Source: Terry Modica, Good News Ministries  http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-02-20).

Reflection 4 – Jealousy versus prayer

The hermit St. Anthony while he lived deep in the Libyan Desert was tempted by Satan. So Satan decked himself out as a monk, with cowl and all. He approached Anthony with deep bow and with his arms across his heart like standard archangel, he whispered into Anthony’s ear, “Rejoice my brother, I bring good news. Your brother, whom you have left behind in the big bad city, a simple monk like you, has just been named Patriarch of Alexandria.”

On hearing that, immediately a dark frown crept over the usually sunny face of the hermit. For a split second, envy and jealousy almost curled his lips. And it was then that the master tempter gave this parting advice to his astounded charges, “Jealousy can lead the holiest people into temptation. It is your trump card.”

The Apostle James pointed out, “Where there are jealousy and strife, there also are all kinds of vile behavior. Wisdom from above is first of all innocent. It is also peaceable, lenient, docile, rich in sympathy and the kindly deeds that are its fruits, impartial and sincere. The harvest of justice is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace” (James 3:16-18). How do we drive out jealousy and envy?

Let us see what Jesus did. Jesus cured the possessed boy and the disciples asked him, “Why is it that we could not expel it?” He told them, “This kind you can drive out only by prayer” (Mk 9:28-29).

Prayer is a vital necessity against the temptation of jealousy and envy as used by Satan.. St. John Chrysostom said, “Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy… For, it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin.” And St. Alfonsus Liguori said, “Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.” Origin said, “He who prays without ceasing unites prayer to good works and good works to prayer”.

Jesus assured us, “The Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. This, then, is what I command you: love one another” (Jn 15:16-17).

Reflection 5 – Everything is possible in faith

Jesus said, “Everything is possible to one who has faith.” And the father of the boy replied, “I do believe. Help my unbelief.” He believes in Jesus, but he knew his faith is not enough. So he prayed: “Help my unbelief.” That was enough for Jesus to do another miracle of casting out the evil spirit from the boy.

It is not necessary that we have great faith. Jesus said that if we have a faith the size of a mustard seed, we can command a mountain to move. But that has to be accompanied by a great deal of prayer. It is only by asking God to help us that our faith will be much stronger. This is what happened to the father of the boy.

In contrast, let us look at the disciples. They were trying to cast out the evil spirit from the boy, but they could not. Why? Jesus told them, “This kind could only come out through prayer.” In other words, they were not praying. They were trying to cast out the devil through their own power, without asking for God’s help.

It is only through prayer that our faith can grow stronger, and then everything becomes possible. I always like this quotation: “When man works, it is just man who works. But when man prays, God works.” Another quotation says: “The most powerful man on earth is the one who bends his knees and prays.”

Reflection 6 – Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto (1910-1920; 1908-1919 A.D.)

Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.

At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary “to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary’s final apparition on October 13, 1917.

Less than two years later, Francisco died of influenza in his family home. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1952. Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1951. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000. Sister Lucia died five years later. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.

Comment:

The Church is always very cautious about endorsing alleged apparitions, but it has seen benefits from people changing their lives because of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. Prayer for sinners, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and praying the rosary—all these reinforce the Good News Jesus came to preach.

Quote:

In his homily at their beatification, Pope John Paul II recalled that shortly before Francisco died, Jacinta said to him, “Give my greetings to Our Lord and to Our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of sinners.”

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1297

SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacinta_and_Francisco_Marto
JACINTA AND FRANCISCO MARTO
ChildrensofFatima.jpg

Lúcia dos Santos (left) with fellow visionaries Jacinta and Francisco Marto.
BLESSED
BORN 12 June 1908 (Francisco)
11 March 1910 (Jacinta)
Fátima, Kingdom of Portugal
DIED 4 April 1919 (aged 10)
20 February 1920 (aged 9)
Portugal
VENERATED IN Roman Catholic Church
BEATIFIED May 13, 2000, Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fátima, Portugal, by Pope John Paul II
MAJOR SHRINE Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fátima, Portugal
FEAST February 20
PATRONAGE Bodily ills, captives, people ridiculed for their piety,prisoners, sick people, against sickness

Francisco Marto (June 11, 1908 – April 4, 1919), his sister Jacinta Marto (March 11, 1910 – February 20, 1920), also known as Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto, and their cousin Lúcia Santos (1907–2005) were children from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal, who said they witnessed three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. Mary was given the title Our Lady of Fátima as a result, and Fátima became a major centre of world Christian pilgrimage.

Life[edit]

The Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto in the apparitions of Pontevedra.

The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto, Francisco and Jacinta were typical of Portuguese village children of that time. They were illiterate but had a rich oral tradition.

According to Lúcia’s memoirs, Francisco had a placid disposition, was somewhat musically inclined, and liked to be by himself to think. Jacinta was affectionate if a bit spoiled. She had a sweet singing voice and a gift for dancing. Following their experiences, their fundamental personalities remained the same. Francisco preferred to pray alone, saying that this would “console Jesus for the sins of the world”. Jacinta said she was deeply affected by a terrifying vision of Hell shown to the children at the third apparition, and deeply convinced of the need to save sinners through penance and sacrifice as the Virgin had told the children to do. All three children, but particularly Francisco and Jacinta, practiced stringent self-mortifications to this end.[1]

Apparitions[edit]

The brother and sister, who tended to their families’ sheep with their cousin Lucia in the fields of Fatima, Portugal, are said to have witnessed several apparitions of an angel in 1916. Lucia later recorded the words of several prayers she said they learned from this angel.

Lucia wrote in her memoirs that she and her cousins saw the first apparition of Mary on May 13, 1917. At the time of the apparition, Francisco was 9 years old, and Jacinta was 7.[2]

During the first apparition, Mary is said to have asked the three children to say the Rosary and to make sacrifices, offering them for the conversion of sinners.[3] She also asked them to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months.[4]

Illness and death[edit]

Francisco Marto

The siblings were victims of the great 1918 influenza epidemic that swept through Europe that year. In October 1918, Mary supposedly appeared to them and said she would take them to heaven soon.[3]Both lingered for many months, insisting on walking to church to make Eucharistic devotions and prostrating themselves to pray for hours, kneeling with their heads on the ground as they said the angel had instructed them to do.[2]

Francisco declined hospital treatment on April 3, 1919, and died at home the next day. Jacinta was moved from one hospital to another in an attempt to save her life, which she insisted was futile. She developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed. Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be anesthetized and suffered terrible pain, which she said would help to convert many sinners. On February 19, 1920, Jacinta asked the hospital chaplain who heard her confession to bring her Holy Communion and give her the Anointing of the Sick because she was going to die “the next night”. He told her that her condition was not that serious and that he would return the next day. The next day Jacinta was dead; she had died, as she had often said she would, alone.[5]

In 1920, shortly before her death at age nine, Jacinta Marto reportedly discussed the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary with a then 12-year-old Lúcia Santos and said:

When you are to say this, don’t go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God entrusted it to her.[6]

Jacinta and Francisco are both buried at the Our Lady of Fátima Basilica.[7]

Beatification[edit]

From left to right, Jacinta Marto,Lúcia dos Santos and Francisco Marto, holding their rosaries in 1917.

The cause for the siblings’ canonization began in 1946.[2] Exhumed in 1935 and again in 1951, Jacinta’s face was foundincorrupt;[8][9]Francisco’s had decomposed.

In 1937 Pope Pius XI decided that causes for minors should not be accepted as they could not fully understand heroic virtue or practice it repeatedly, both of which are essential for canonization. For the next four decades, no sainthood processes for children were pursued. In 1979 the bishop of Leiria-Fatima asked all the world’s bishops to write to the Pope, petitioning him to make an exception for Francisco, who had died at age 10, and Jacinta, who had died at age 9. More than 300 bishops sent letters to the Pope, writing that “the children were known, admired and attracted people to the way of sanctity. Favors were received through their intercession.” The bishops also said that the children’s canonization was a pastoral necessity for the children and teenagers of the day.[10]

In 1979 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints convened a general assembly. Cardinals, bishops, theologians and other experts debated whether it was possible for children to display heroic virtue. Eventually, they decided that, like the very few children who have a genius for music or mathematics, “in some supernatural way, some children could be spiritual prodigies.” They were declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1989.[10]

On May 13, 2000, they were declared “blessed” in a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Jacinta is the youngest non-martyred child ever to be beatified.[3]

In her biography of Jacinta, Lúcia said that Jacinta had told her of having had many personal visions outside of the Marian visitations; one involved a pope who prayed alone in a room while people outside shouted ugly things and threw rocks through the window. At another time, Jacinta said she saw a pope who had gathered a huge number of people together to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

When Pope John Paul II arrived in Fatima for the first time, in 1982, he said that he had come “because, on this exact date last year in St. Peter’s Square, in Rome, there was an attempt on the life of your Pope, which mysteriously coincided with the anniversary of the first vision at Fatima, that of 13 May 1917. The coincidence of these dates was so great that it seemed to be a special invitation for me to come here.”[10]

Sister Lúcia, when questioned about the Third Secret, said that the three of them had been very sad about the suffering of the Pope, and that Jacinta kept saying:Coitadinho do Santo Padre, tenho muita pena dos pecadores! (“Poor Holy Father, I feel a lot of pity for the sinners!”)

Depiction of the three children receiving the vision on azulejo InIronbound, a Portuguese neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey.

Another miracle was found to have been attributed to their intercession and the process that investigated the presumed miracle was validated on 8 February 2013. Reports indicate the canonization could occur on the centenary of the apparitions in 2017.[11]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Santos, Lucia. Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, Memoir 2, p. 94, online, accessed 2011-06-21.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto”, FaithND, University of Notre Dame
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto”, Catholic News Agency, February 20, 2014
  4. Jump up^ Foley O.F.M., Leonard. “Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto”, Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media
  5. Jump up^ A detailed account of the lives, illnesses and deaths of both children is given in de Marchi, John, The True Story of Fatima, 1950 edition, entire text on line, found 2007-10-19.
  6. Jump up^ Madigan, Leo. The children of Fatima: Blessed Francisco & Blessed Jacinta Marto 2003 OSV Press ISBN 1-931709-57-2 page 248
  7. Jump up^ Madigan, Leo. 2003, The Children of Fatima, OSV Press ISBN 978-1-931709-57-6 page 271
  8. Jump up^ “On September 12, 1935, the mortal remains of Jacinta, who died in 1920, were exhumed. Her face was found to be incorrupt.” Solimeo, Luiz. Fatima: A Message More Urgent Than Ever. (2008) pg. 97. “Today, the remnants of both Francisco and Jacinta rest at the Basilica of Fátima.” pg. 99.
  9. Jump up^ Jacinta’s exhumation photo at Catholic Counter-Reformation, and Jacinta’s reburial photo at escuelacima.com. Pages found 2010-05-13. Archived October 29, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Jump up to:a b c

Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s Video: Sunday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time A & St. Conrad of Piacenza, February 19,2017

Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s Video: Sunday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time A & St. Conrad of Piacenza, February 19,2017

The Lord says to Moses, “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” And Jesus says to his disciples, “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We may at first be cowed by this daunting command. But that is a sign that we are judging by “the thoughts of the wise” – thoughts that “are vain.” In order to become perfect as the Father, we must first “become a fool, so as to become wise.” Only such foolishness makes us realize that we do not have what it takes to be perfect as the Father. That perfection is possible only if it is given to us. Holiness consists in such humble receptivity before God’s grace. We ask with absolute confidence because we “belong to Christ.”

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Dear Jesus, in today’s gospel we received your exhortation that we are to be as perfect as God is perfect. Lord, give us the grace to be what You have desired us to be. Enable us to turn the slapped cheek to receive one more, to go the extra mile of service, to offer no resistance to an evil person, to love our neighbor and to pray for those who persecute us. Lord these are quite demanding and most often, impossible for us to do. Lord we need you to live in our hearts so that our lives may be the embodiment of goodness and the perfection, only God has. In your Name, we pray and hope. Amen.

Reading 1

Lv 19:1-2, 17-18 – You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13

  1. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
    Bless the LORD, O my soul;
    and all my being, bless his holy name.
    Bless the LORD, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits.
    R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
    He pardons all your iniquities,
    heals all your ills.
    He redeems your life from destruction,
    crowns you with kindness and compassion.
    R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
    Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
    slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
    Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
    nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
    R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
    As far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he put our transgressions from us.
    As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
    R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Reading 2

1 Cor 3:16-23 – All things belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Let no one deceive himself.
If any one among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:
God catches the wise in their own ruses,
and again:
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are vain.

So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

The word of the Lord.

Gospel

Mt 5:38-48 – Love your enemies.

Bishop Robert Barron’s Homily: Be holy, be perfect, be a temple click below:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
 You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Holy as God

Dr. Scott Hahn’s reflection click below:

We are called to the holiness of God. That is the extraordinary claim made in both the First Reading and Gospel this Sunday.

Yet how is it possible that we can be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect?

Jesus explains that we must be imitators of God as his beloved children (Eph. 5:1–2).

As God does, we must love without limit—with a love that does not distinguish between friend and foe, overcoming evil with good (see Rom. 12:21).

Jesus himself, in his Passion and death, gave us the perfect example of the love that we are called to.

He offered no resistance to the evil—even though he could have commanded twelve legions of angels to fight alongside him. He offered his face to be struck and spit upon. He allowed his garments to be stripped from him. He marched as his enemies compelled him to the Place of the Skull. On the cross he prayed for those who persecuted him (see Matt. 26:53–546727:2832Luke 23:34).

In all this he showed himself to be the perfect Son of God. By his grace, and through our imitation of him, he promises that we too can become children of our heavenly Father.

God does not deal with us as we deserve, as we sing in this week’s Psalm. He loves us with a Father’s love. He saves us from ruin. He forgives our transgressions.

He loved us even when we had made ourselves his enemies through our sinfulness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (see Rom. 5:8).

We have been bought with the price of the blood of God’s only Son (see 1 Cor. 6:20). We belong to Christ now, as St. Paul says in this week’s Epistle. By our baptism, we have been made temples of his Holy Spirit.

And we have been saved to share in his holiness and perfection. So let us glorify him by our lives lived in his service, loving as he loves. – Read the source: https://stpaulcenter.com/reflections/holy-as-god-scott-hahn-reflects-on-the-seventh-sunday-in-ordinary-time

Reflection 2 – Love one’s enemy is quite difficult

The order of Jesus to love one’s enemy is quite difficult. As a follower of Christ it is in this area of my life where I really struggle. Most often, I end up with thoughts of getting even and somehow retaliation becomes the focus of my heart. When this happens, I know I failed God and I have become a slave of my own emotion. My self-centeredness flows in to my affairs and my relationships and therefore trouble sets in.

However, if I allow God’s Word to prevail on me and I decide to let go- forgive and forget-I begin to have peace in my heart. God’s love and His mercy become foremost in my heart and I begin to remember that I am also a sinner. I begin to realize that just as God was compassionate, forgiving and loving to me as a sinner, then I should do exactly the same thing. If Jesus came upon this world to love and save sinners, then I should be able to imitate Him and love those who have sinned against me. 1Timothy 1:15-16 says: “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”

The Holy Scripture does not encourage anyone from embracing those who are committed to do harm to us and our families. It has also made a lot of references on those who will not be forgiven. Yet in today’s gospel reading Jesus is telling us to forgive one another in love. Then what are we to make of the Lord’s call to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us?

When Jesus taught us to love our enemies, He meant that we should hope for what is best for them, their conversion. We should pray for the salvation of their souls. We are required to be good to them and sincerely pray that they will renounce their evil deeds and commit themselves to righteousness.

Unpleasant as it may be, we are required as Christians to forgive our enemies and be one with them in the Name of our Lord!

Today’s gospel brings into our hearts the right action we should take when someone oppresses us, persecutes us or even unfairly takes what is ours. Counterattack – get him before he gets us is not answer. Jesus’ response to this is for us to try to do good to them with the hope that we are able to convert them. With the hope that they will change their minds and disposition, we should do what is necessary to possibly get them to realize what they have done, reprove them but do not incur sin because of them. Leviticus 19 states: “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

Our task is to convert our enemy and hope in the Lord that they will relent. If they don’t, then we should leave everything into the hands of our God. We have to start with a sincere attempt to convert our adversary. It won’t always work. But sometimes it will. It would be a shame to miss that “sometime.” When we give our enemy a chance and try to draw him to our Lord, we become truly children of the heavenly Father. As such He will make the sun rise on us and cause rain to fall on us as well for indeed “blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!”

In God’s time I trust that God will enable me to be the loving person, the reconciler and the forgiver that He wants me to be.

Direction

Let us ask God for the grace to love those who hate and persecute us by imploring God’s mercy on them through prayer and intercession.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, give me the grace to be obedient and faithful to your precept of love. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 3 – Dare to be Different!

A priest was teaching on the topic of love. He asked the question to his listeners: “Who among you here do not have enemies?” An old man raised his hand. The priest was delighted. “Look at him! Such a perfect example of love! Tell us. What did you do?” The old man said, “Nothing. I have no more enemies because they are now all dead.”

Who likes enemies, anyway? Many would want them dead and gone! If not, at least we want to get even. That is the reason behind the law of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” mentioned by Jesus in the Gospel this Sunday. This is an ancient law written by a man named Hammurabi 4,300 years ago (cf. William Barclay). But far from encouraging revenge, it seeks to limit it. Before this law, the custom was to wipe out the entire tribe in retaliation for an offense of one tribe member. Hammurabi says that the only one to be punished is the culprit, sparing the rest of the tribe. And his punishment is commensurate to the offense done. The victim, in turn, cannot put the law into his hands and exact revenge. A judge has to decide on the case.

This law sounds rational and just. But for Christ, this is not enough. The law of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” will eventually make this world full of blind and toothless people! Revenge and violence are not Christian options. Christianity is rooted in the virtue of love. In fact, if we compress the entire Bible, we will come up with only one word – love. The word love appears in Scripture 500 times. And St. Vincent de Paul, Apostle of Charity, was right is saying, “I have only one sermon, but I twist it a thousand times.” That sermon is about love.

Jesus always insists on this commandment – love God and neighbor – for three reasons. In the first place, it is because God is love. For one who loves, he becomes God-like. He challenged us: “Be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.” Secondly, it is because Jesus knew how important it is for our life in this world. According to tradition, when the Apostle St. John was already old, he repeatedly says the same thing to his followers: “My dear children, love one another.” When asked why he repeats the same message over and over again, he explained: “Because it is the command of the Lord, and if it is done, it is enough.” Finally, the Lord insisted upon it because he knew it is never easy for us to love as he did. We need to be constantly reminded of it.

This Sunday, the Lord goes further in his teaching about love of neighbor. He commanded us to love even our enemies – the persons who make our life difficult. Surely, people in this world will consider this a crazy idea. Our enemies deserve to be hated; they ought not to be loved. But Jesus insisted: “Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors, and offer no resistance to one who is evil.” He has the right to say this because he himself did it as he clearly showed us by his sufferings and death on the cross.

The Lord told us to love our enemies, and not to imitate or become like them. There is the saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” This cannot be applied to a Christian. The only way to beat the enemy is not by applying the “an eye for an eye” policy, but by loving them as proven true by the example of Jesus. A saying goes: “Love your enemies. It will drive them nuts!”

Most often we judge according to the standards of this world. If somebody hits us, we have to hit back. Otherwise, we will be perceived as weak and coward. That is what the world is telling us. But fighting against our enemies does not stop them from being enemies, just like fighting fire with fire. There is undeniable wisdom and truth in the use of love to stop our enemies, just as firefighters use water to stop the fire.

God dares us to be different from the world by conforming to His standards. As Christians, we do not belong to this world. The reason why many Christians have become irrelevant and insignificant in today’s society is because they simply follow and imitate the world. It is easy to spot a Muslim or Buddhist on the street by the way they dress and pray in public. But we can hardly say this for Christians. The challenge is set before us: we ought to be different – as light in darkness and salt on food – in order to become effective agents of renewal and transformation. And the supreme distinguishing factor is love – “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples: your love for one another.”

This point is clearly illustrated in the example of thermometer and thermostat. When you bring a thermometer into the room, it simply records the temperature of the room. It changes itself to conform to the environment. The opposite is what happens with the thermostat. When you set the thermostat of the air conditioning unit or heater in the room, in a short while the room changes to the level of temperature the thermostat is set. It does not follow the environment, but changes it. [Adapted from “Hot Illustrations“,Youth Specialties, Inc, 2001.]

As Christians, we are not supposed to be just a thermometer. Instead, we must be the thermostat of the world – the leaven of society, the light of the world and the salt of the earth. By living and witnessing to the teachings of Christ, we ought to inspire and motivate the hearts of people and become effective agents of change and renewal, in order to hasten the coming of God’s kingdom in this world.

This commandment challenges us to go out of our way, to be different, and to go beyond the superficial and mediocre. If we love only those who love us, what merit is there in that? We have to learn to love as God loves us. Only then can we be known as true followers of Christ (Source: Fr. Mike Lagrimas, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Palmera Springs 3, Susano Road, Camarin, Novaliches, Caloocan City 1422).

Reflection 4 – Do not return evil for evil

If someone insults you or tries to take advantage of you, how do you respond? Do you repay in kind? Jesus approached the question of just retribution with a surprising revelation of God’s intention for how we should treat others, especially those who mistreat us. When Jesus spoke about God’s law, he did something no one had done before. He gave a new standard based not just on the requirements of justice – giving each their due – but based on the law of grace, love, and freedom.

Law of grace and love
Jesus knew the moral law and its intention better than any jurist or legal expert could imagine. He quoted from the oldest recorded law in the world: If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Exodus 21:23-25). Such a law today seems cruel, but it was meant to limit vengeance as a first step towards mercy. This law was not normally taken literally but served as a guide for a judge in a law court for assessing punishment and penalty (see Deuteronomy 19:18).

The Old Testament is full of references to the command that we must be merciful: You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the  LORD (Leviticus 19:18). If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink (Proverbs 25:21). Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done” (Proverbs 24:29). Let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults (Lamentations 3:30).

Jesus does something quite remarkable and unheard of. He transforms the law of mercy with grace, forbearance, and loving-kindness. Jesus also makes clear that there is no room for retaliation. We must not only avoid returning evil for evil, but we must seek the good of those who wish us ill. Do you accept insults, as Jesus did, with no resentment or malice? When you are compelled by others to do more than you think you deserve, do you insist on your rights, or do you respond with grace and cheerfulness?

Grace of the Holy Spirit
What makes a disciple of Jesus Christ different from everyone else? What makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace – treating others, not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated – with loving-kindness and mercy. Only the cross of  Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment and gives us the courage to return evil with good. Such love and grace has power to heal and to save from destruction. The Lord Jesus suffered insult, abuse, injustice, and death on a cross for our sake. Scripture tells us that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin and guilt (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7, I John 1:7, Revelation 1:5). Since God has been merciful towards us through the offering of his Son, Jesus Christ, we in turn are called to be merciful towards our neighbor, even those who cause us grief and harm.

How can we possibly love those who cause us harm or ill-will? With God all things are possible. He gives power and grace to those who believe and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. His love conquers all, even our hurts, fears, prejudices and griefs. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment and gives us the courage to return evil with good. Such love and grace has power to heal and to save from destruction.  Do you know the power and freedom of Christ’s redeeming love and mercy?

Perfect – made whole
Was Jesus exaggerating when he said we must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)? Jesus’ command seems to parallel two passages from the Old Testament Scriptures. The first is where God instructed Abraham to “be perfect/blameless” before God (Genesis 17:1). The original meaning of “perfect” in Hebrew and the Aramaic dialect which Jesus spoke is”“completeness”” or”“wholeness” – “not lacking in what is essential.”

The second passage that seems to parallel Jesus’ expression – “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”-  is the command that God gave to Moses and the people of Israel to “be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44,45; 19:2). God created each one of us in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26,27). That is why he calls us to grow in maturity and wholeness so we can truly be like him – a people who loves as he loves and who chooses to do what is good and to reject what is evil (Ephesians 4:13-16).

Freedom and power to love as God loves
God knows our sinfulness and weaknesses better than we do – and he assures us of his love, mercy, and help. That is why he freely gives us his power, strength, and gifts so that we may not lack anything we need to do his will and to live as his sons and daughters (2 Peter 1:3). Do you want to grow in your love for God and for your neighbor? Ask the Holy Spirit to purify and transform you in the image of the Father that you may know and live in the joy and freedom of the Gospel.

“Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom and pardon. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, nor make me bitter towards anyone.” Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb19.htm

Reflection 5 – Be perfect

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Mt 5:38-48), Our Lord Jesus calls us and says, “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48) and it is impossible that we be perfect without union with God. To be in union with God is to do the will of the Father on earth as in heaven (Mt 6:10). However, our family today as an institution is under attacked not to do the will of the Father by living in cohabitation, divorce, contraceptive mentality, abortion and adultery. In most cases, the problem of communication among couples is the root cause. Hence, the saints have these advices: “In order to avoid discord, never contradict anyone except in case of sin or some danger to a neighbor; and when necessary to contradict others, do it with tact and not with temper” (St. Louis IX); “Take pains to refrain from sharp words. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sins and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul” (St. Francis of Paola); “Argument is a fishing line baited with veracity (defense of truth, self-justification, self-defense) by which we are seduced into swallowing the hook of sin. In this manner, hooked by tongue and throat, the poor soul is accustomed to be ravished by evil spirits” (St. Simeon).

From the Scripture, Our Lord Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, “…as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Mt 6:12) seventy-seven times (Mt 18:22). This teaching is similar to the other Jesus’ teaching: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48); “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36); “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (Jn 13:34). Our Catechism pointed it out that “it is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from inside the depths of the heart, in the holiness and mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make ‘ours’ the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves ‘forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave’ us” (CCC:2842). We know that this teaching of Jesus is difficult but His example to die for our sins moved us on to reconciliation and forgiveness. Our society is still struggling with the practice of reconciliation and forgiveness and far from the vision of the “Our Father.” What must I do to do the will of the Father and defend against the attacks of the institution of families? Bishop Fulton Sheen on Marriage and incompatibility, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2112

Reflection 6 – How can we possibly love those who cause us harm or ill-will or the disadvantaged?

We know that God is good to the unjust as well as the just. Our love for others, even those who are ungrateful and selfish towards us, must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. Here’s a story of a very famous German-Jewish philosopher named Moses Mendelssohn. Moses Mendelssohn was a brilliant and compassionate but was small, hunchbacked man. He fell in love with a beautiful and charming young woman named Gretchen, the daughter of a prosperous banker. Several months after he had met Gretchen, Mendelssohn visited her father. He asked him, very cautiously, how his daughter might feel about the possibility of marrying him, for he had come to love her very much. “Please, tell me the truth,” Mendelssohn insisted. The father hesitated and then replied: “The truth is that the girl is frightened by you because…” Mendelssohn finished his sentence for him, “because I am a hunchback?” “Yes,” said the father, “because you are a hunchback.” Mendelssohn paused. Then after some silence he asked permission to see the daughter on the pretext that he wanted to say farewell to her. The father agreed. Mendelssohn went upstairs and found Gretchen in a room where she was busy with needlework. She avoided looking at him during the conversation, which Mendelssohn eventually directed to the subject of marriage.

In the course of the conversation, the young woman asked him if he really believed in the old saying that “marriages are made in heaven,” “Of course,” he replied. “And while we’re on that subject, I might as well tell you that something unusual happened to me. As you know when boys are born the angels in heaven call out for all to hear, ‘This little boy is destined to have this special girl for a wife. It is decreed from all eternity and no one may change it.’ “So when I was born, the angels made the usual announcement about me and the name of my future wife was announced. But then the angels paused and added. ‘But alas, Mendelssohn’s wife will have a terrible hump on her back!’ Then I shouted out loud before the court of heaven. I cried, ‘Oh, Lord, no. No. A girl who is hunchback will very easily become bitter and hard, and the object of awful jokes and hurts. No, Lord, a girl should be beautiful. Oh, Lord, please… please give the hump to me and let her be well-formed.’ And you know what, Gretchen? God heard my prayer and I was glad. I am that boy and you are that girl.” Gretchen was deeply moved. She saw Mendelssohn in a whole new way, and so she became his faithful and loving wife.

As Gretchen was converted from a physical to spiritual point of view of life, we as Christian are called to have the same mind and the same attitudes as God himself. God is generous and forgiving to sinners. Jesus gives the command that we must love one another, even our enemies. Jesus said, “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). In order to reach this perfection, we should use the strength dealt out to us by Christ’s gift, so that… doing the will of the Father in everything, we may wholeheartedly devote ourselves to the glory of God and to the service of our neighbors.

The way of perfection passes by way of the cross like the cross carried by Mendelssohn as being born a hunchback. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails mortification that gradually leads to living in peace and joy.

Reflection 7 – Ending Escalation

I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. —Matthew 5:39

The pastor of an inner-city church told his congregation: “Some people believe in ‘an eye for an eye.’ But in this neighborhood, it’s two eyes for an eye. You can never even the score; you can only raise the stakes.” The people nodded in solemn understanding of the reality they faced each day.

We’ve seen it happen on a school playground or in our own homes—a child bumps into another during a game. The one who was bumped pushes back, and the shoving quickly grows into a fight. It’s the process of retaliation and escalation in which each act of revenge exceeds the one that provoked it.

In Matthew 5, Jesus tackled a number of key relational issues by raising the standard to the one that pleases God: “You have heard that it was said . . . . But I tell you . . .” (vv.38-39). His words about turning the other cheek, going the second mile, and giving to those who ask may sound as radical and unrealistic to us as they did to those who first heard them (vv.38-42). Are we willing to ponder and pray about His teaching? Are we ready to apply it when we are wronged at home, at work, or at school?

The cycle of escalation can be broken when a courageous, faith-filled person refuses to strike back.  — David C. McCasland

Lord, help me not retaliate
When someone wants to pick a fight;
Instead, give me the strength and faith
To show Your love and do what’s right.  —Sper

To return good for good is natural; to return good for evil is supernatural (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 8 – ‘Not Enough Mercy’

Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you. –Matthew 5:44

A nationally known radio commentator once went on a tirade against Christians. He ridiculed their views of the end times, particularly the return of Christ for His church. He said that “the evaporation of 4 million people who believe this nonsense would leave this world a better place.”

It wasn’t long before the network apologized to any listeners who were offended. But the commentator himself refused to say he was sorry. He received hate mail, venomous condemnations, and even death threats from professing believers. This convinced him more than ever that the world would be better off without people filled with this kind of hatred.

It’s unfortunate and sad to see Christians become so enraged. As Joseph Stowell, President of Moody Bible Institute, said, “There’s too much mean and not enough mercy.” When followers of Jesus spend more time condemning their enemies than praying for them or showing love to them, they lose their spiritual credibility.

Jesus expects us to stand out from the world by letting our “light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works and glorify [our] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). One way we live that out is by obeying His command to love our enemies (v.44).

It’s easy to love one who loves in return,
There’s no test of character—nothing to learn;
The real lesson comes when we follow Christ’s call
To love those who’d rather see us take a fall.

The warmth of love can melt the heart of an enemy (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 9 – Living the Call to Perfection
Have you ever met a perfectionist? It’s a silly question; I’m sure you have. Perhaps, you meet a perfectionist every time you look in the mirror. When the perfectionist is somebody else, what do you think of them? What are their characteristics? Well, speaking from my own experience, perfectionists are often self-absorbed, nit-pickers, often critical of others, and hard to be around. They are often nervous and restless. Being perfect isn’t easy. There’s always a complaint, something out of place, something forgotten that gnaws away—uncertainty, even fear of failure. Perfectionists often seem to know how everybody else should be living their lives and often, strangely unaware of how they might live their own. Perfectionists are often pains in the neck.

And yet all of us desire to be perfect in some way, whether as a student, or an athlete, or as a professional, or as a spouse, or parent. Indeed, this desire is part of the natural law written on our hearts, implanted there by God himself, who is All Perfect, and who has made us in his image and likeness. Could it be that the perfectionist we so dislike in others—and perhaps in ourselves—is really just a poor child of God, seeking Him who is all perfection without really knowing Who it is that we seek?

Today’s readings remind us that our deepest calling is to a life of holiness, a form of perfection gained in obedience to the law and love of God who is Holiness. In our reading from Leviticus, the Lord tells Moses: “to speak to the Israelites and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”
This holiness is then defined in the following way:
“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. . .Take no revenge and cherish no grudge. . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

On a natural level, these commands for holiness are not easily accomplished. The perfectionist, as we normally understand him, isn’t capable of doing this on his own. Indeed, only in humility and obedience to the Lord as a beggar of his grace, can we achieve this kind of holiness or perfection.

The psalmist reminds us of other attributes of God that reveal his perfection, namely His kindness, mercy, and compassion for us poor perfectionists, who are totally frustrated by our inability to attain perfection by our own means. Notice that the psalmist begins with words that echo the Lord’s Prayer: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.” This is a declaration of humility. The psalmist knows that his life, and every blessing in it, is a gift from the Lord. He knows that God’s healing power and mercy is undeserved, that his compassion surpasses our criminal capacity, restoring in us the awareness that we are his children. Without humility, there is no progress toward perfection.

St. Paul reminds us of a simple but great truth about the source of our desire for perfection:

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

This is true of all of us, but how many of us actually believe it? If we did, it would cast a whole new light on our natural desire for perfection, and on the natural despair that results in recognition of our weaknesses, sinful tendencies, and personal failures. The perfectionist is a person who suffers from an inferiority complex. She lives in a straight-jacket that gets tighter the harder she tries to free herself. He lives in deepening frustration, because he cannot achieve the perfection he desires. What the perfectionist needs is a dose of divine humility.

Jesus is the source of this humility. Though divine, he humbled himself and took on our flesh, and in his Gospel, revealed to us the secret, and the deepest desires of our hearts. In his Sermon on the Mount, which we have heard proclaimed over the past four weeks, he gives us all the keys we need to unlock the secret yearnings of our spirits. So as the gospel acclamation bids us, let us keep his word:

Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him.

Twice more today, as in last week’s gospel, Jesus speaks with divine authority to his Apostles. Today, similar to the teaching in Leviticus, he addresses the human emotions of hatred and revenge. The Mosaic law called for a strictly proportional retaliation against wrongdoing, but Jesus commands what seems impossible in his famous expression of “turning the other cheek” in response to violence—a command for non-violence and non-retaliation. And whereas Moses taught love of neighbor, but hatred of enemies, Jesus commands again what seems impossible: that we should love our enemies and pray for our persecutors.

We might cry out in exasperation, “How in God’s name can we do this!” Precisely, it is in God’s name we can and must do this! Jesus even doubles down saying as we just heard at the end of the gospel: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Let’s think about this. The psalmist has already reminded us that God does not retaliate against us for our crimes that deserve his justice. He loves us even when we hate him. This is his perfection at work, and Jesus reminds us that as God’s children we must learn from him, and be like him.

Again, Jesus, as he does throughout the Sermon on the Mount, is calling us to an interior perfection. When he tells us to “turn the other cheek” he is telling us not to nurture an interior spirit of retaliation and revenge. He’s not asking a father to watch his wife and children being beaten or murdered, without attempting to protect them. But the father’s response must be motivated by love for his family, not hatred of the attacker. Similarly, when Jesus bids us to love our enemies, he is not asking us to like them, or to like what they do. Indeed, elsewhere he calls us to hate sin with a perfect hatred, but to love sinners with a perfect love. To love someone means that we must will their best good. Love is understood here, not as a feeling but as a decision to extend our good will to another. Even in opposing terrorists, for instance, we must pray that their souls might be awakened to the evil they do, and to repent of it. They may be resisted with a tough love, but also a tender love, rooted in compassion for their tortured and disordered souls. God only knows what abuses they have endured to shape their character, and warp their understanding. God help them.

But most of the time our persecutors are much closer to home. We may even live with them. They are often members of our family. Jesus commands us to pray for them, not when we get around to feeling like it, but even when we don’t feel like it. To pray consistently for someone who insults us is not easy, but it is necessary. By obeying Jesus in this command of loving and praying for our enemies, our souls gradually are restored from malice to charity, from anger to compassion, from confusion to understanding. In short, we become more perfect, more like God, himself, who forgives our sins, and like Jesus, who laid down his life in redemption of them.

In this Sacrifice of the Mass, in which we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death, let us allow his Body and Blood to nourish our souls so that we might forgive others, even as we have been forgiven, and so that our love of neighbor might be perfected by the love of our God, who has redeemed us. – Read the source: http://www.hprweb.com/2017/01/homilies-for-february-2017/   

Reflection 10 – Turning the Other Cheek

When Jesus answered the Apostles’ plea by giving them the Lord’s Prayer, he did not emphasize that we should love one another, but rather that we should forgive one another. I sometimes feel that many of us suffer from hidden anger, painful memories of slights, and worse, persecutions, that we can will to forgive. It seems to be a cultural trend today that there is always somebody to blame. If we are completely at a loss, there is always genetics and our parents! It may well be true that each of us is wounded, but dwelling on the wounds and the scars and the hurt and the mutilations takes us straight back to self and away from God. What has happened to you, and whose fault it is, is not really your affair. It is for you to ask God for the grace of a blanket forgiveness, forgiving without even knowing in what way you were damaged. If we cannot drop the desire to be justified, we are shutting ourselves off from God.

Remember always this is not a matter of how you feel. Emotionally, you may be scarred for ever by some betrayal; you may be unable to forget it. With all your heart, though, you cling to God and pray to forgive it. Let me repeat: it is the will to forgive that matters. After all, God alone knows how deliberate, or “evil,” this betrayal was: have we not quite innocently in our own time damaged other people? The whole roiling mass of our pains and suspicions are antipathetic to the surrender to God that we desire in prayer. We choose him, we choose to forgive as our Father in heaven forgives, and we trust him to transform us into men and women who truly love. About the feelings of hurt or betrayal we can do nothing. Or, rather, we can offer them actively and consciously to God. The more we pray, the more we become aware of our own need for forgiveness. Yet God, freely offering his forgiveness, is all too aware that we cannot accept its blessing if we still harbor rancor against others in our hearts. In a sense, one of the reasons why we offer ourselves in prayer is to be forgiven, brought nearer the holiness of God and enabled by his grace to draw others into forgiveness.

Source: Sr. Wendy Beckett, South African-born British art expert, a consecrated virgin and contemplative hermit who lives under the protection of a Carmelite monastery in Norfolk, England. Magnificat, June 2012 Vol. 14, No. 4, p. 273.

Reflection 11 – How to open the door of love with mercy

Mercy is the key to understanding this Sunday’s Gospel reading. Think of love as the front door to people’s hearts. When they close it, mercy is the love that sneaks in through the back door.

In ancient times, if someone gouged another person in the eye, the victim could gather his clan and punish him by wiping out his aggressor’s clan. So God gave his people a law that brought them closer to love: If someone hurts your eye, you may do nothing more than the same to him. It was still unloving, but at least it was fair.

When Jesus came onto the scene, he raised the standards: If someone hurts you, don’t play fair; give that person love.

When people sin against us, they don’t understand that they’re closing their hearts to God and his love. But if we give them love, we give them God through a back door.

This does not mean we are to remain in harm’s way. But if we continue to give them love — even if only from afar — we bring God and his healing into the situation.

If someone steals from you or demands something from you unjustly, you can’t stop his greed but you can stop him from sinning against you: Let it go, give it to him. And as an act of generous love, give him more! I know it doesn’t feel right, but this is what Jesus says is right. Divinely right.

If someone asks you to do a chore for her because she’s lazy, prevent it from becoming a sin of cruelty; gladly do what she asks and volunteer to do more.

This plan of Jesus demonstrates, through us, that God’s love is superior to everything else. It proves that love conquers evil.

This is what it means to be perfect. Perfection in the Bible means the fullness of love — complete, unlimited, merciful love.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
Think of a time when God showed you mercy even though you didn’t deserve his love. What did it feel like when he gave you his love anyway? How did it change you? Who is currently sinning against you? What good deeds can you do simply and easily even before he or she asks for forgiveness?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Describe a time when you did a good deed to someone who caused you difficulties. What kind of impact did your efforts make? If you’re not aware of good results yet, how did it help you experience God’s love? How can stopping an abuse be done as an act of love? – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-02-18

Reflection 12 – On loving our enemies

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 5:38-48) – one of those pages that expresses best the Christian “revolution” – Jesus shows the way of true justice through the law of love, which surmounts that of retaliation, namely, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This ancient rule imposed inflicting on transgressors punishments equivalent to the damages caused: death to one who killed, amputation to one who wounded someone, and so on. Jesus does not ask His disciples to suffer evil, rather, He asks them to react, but not with another evil, but with goodness. Only thus is the chain of evil broken: an evil leads to another evil, another evil leads to another evil …  This chain of evil is broken, and things truly change. Evil in fact is a “void,” a void of goodness, and it cannot be filled with another void, but only with “fullness,” namely, with goodness. Reprisals never lead to the resolution of conflicts. “You did it to me, I’ll do it to you”: this never resolves a conflict, nor is it Christian.

For Jesus the rejection of violence can also imply giving up a legitimate right; and He gives some examples: to give the other cheek, to give one’s cloak or one’s money, to accept other sacrifices (cf. vv. 39-42). However, this renunciation does not mean that the demands of justice are ignored or contradicted; on the contrary, Christian love, which manifests itself in a special way in mercy, represents a higher realization of justice. What Jesus wants to teach us is the clear distinction we must make between justice and retaliation – to distinguish between justice and retaliation. Retaliation is never just; we are permitted to ask for justice; it is our duty to practice justice. Instead, we are prohibited from vindicating ourselves and from fomenting retaliation in some way, in as much as <it is an> expression of hatred and of violence.

Jesus does not wish to propose a new civil rule, but rather the commandment to love our neighbor, which also includes love of enemies: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (v. 44). And this is not easy. This word is not understood as approval of the evil done by an enemy, but as an invitation in a higher, a magnanimous perspective, similar to that of the heavenly Father, who – Jesus says — “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (v. 45). In fact, an enemy is also a human person, created as such in the image of God, even if at present this image is obfuscated by unworthy conduct.

When we speak of “enemies” we must not think, perhaps, of those persons who are different and distant from us; we speak also of ourselves, who can enter in conflict with our neighbor, at times with our relatives. How many enmities there are in families, how many! Enemies are those also who speak badly of us, who calumniate us and do us wrongs. And it is not easy to digest this. We are called to respond to all of them with goodness, which also has its strategies, inspired by love.

May the Virgin Mary help us to follow Jesus in this demanding way, which truly exalts human dignity and makes us live as children of our Father who is in Heaven. May she help us to practice patience, dialogue, forgiveness, and thus be craftsmen of communion, craftsmen of fraternity in our daily life, especially in our family. – Pope Francis, read the source: https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-address-on-loving-our-enemies/

Reflection 13 – St. Conrad of Piacenza (1290-1350 A.D.) 

Born of a noble family in northern Italy, Conrad as a young man married Euphrosyne, daughter of a nobleman.

One day while hunting he ordered attendants to set fire to some brush in order to flush out the game. The fire spread to nearby fields and to a large forest. Conrad fled. An innocent peasant was imprisoned, tortured to confess and condemned to death. Conrad confessed his guilt, saved the man’s life and paid for the damaged property.

Soon after this event, Conrad and his wife agreed to separate: she to a Poor Clare monastery and he to a group of hermits following the Third Order Rule. His reputation for holiness, however, spread quickly. Since his many visitors destroyed his solitude, Conrad went to a more remote spot in Sicily where he lived 36 years as a hermit, praying for himself and for the rest of the world.

Prayer and penance were his answer to the temptations that beset him. Conrad died kneeling before a crucifix. He was canonized in 1625.

Comment:

Francis of Assisi was drawn both to contemplation and to a life of preaching; periods of intense prayer nourished his preaching. Some of his early followers, however, felt called to a life of greater contemplation, and he accepted that. Though Conrad of Piacenza is not the norm in the Church, he and other contemplatives remind us of the greatness of God and of the joys of heaven.

Quote:

Pope Paul VI’s 1969 Instruction on the Contemplative Life includes this passage: “To withdraw into the desert is for Christians tantamount to associating themselves more intimately with Christ’s passion, and it enables them, in a very special way, to share in the paschal mystery and in the passage of Our Lord from this world to the heavenly homeland” (#1).

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1296

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_of_Piacenza
ST. CONRAD OF PIACENZA, T.O.S.F.
ConradPiacenza.jpg
FRANCISCAN TERTIARY, PILGRIM AND HERMIT
BORN 1290
Commune of Calendasco,
Holy Roman Empire
DIED 19 February 1351
Noto, Kingdom of Sicily
VENERATED IN Roman Catholic Church
(Third Order of St. Francis andSicily)
BEATIFIED 1515, Rome, Papal States, byPope Leo X
CANONIZED 2 June 1625, Piacenza, Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, Holy Roman Empire, by Pope Urban VIII
MAJOR SHRINE Cathedral of St. Nicholas,
Noto, Province of Syracuse, Italy
FEAST 19 February
PATRONAGE cure of hernias, Calendasco andNoto

Conrad of Piacenza, T.O.S.F. (Italian: Corrado, 1290 [or 1284[1]] (Italian) – 19 February 1351), was an Italian penitentand hermit of the Third Order of St. Francis, who is venerated as a saint.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

The Church of Calendasco with the castle where St. Conrad was born in the background (left)

He was born Corrado Confalonieri, a member of one of the noblest families of Piacenza, in the town of Calendasco, a fiefdom of his family. The date of his birth is uncertain. He married an aristocratic young woman named Ephrosyne when he was quite young. Though pious, he led the normal way of life for a man of his station.

One day, as he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting within his family’s domain, he ordered his attendants to set fire to some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly to the surrounding fields and forest. A peasant who happened to be found near where the fire began was accused of starting the blaze and was imprisoned, tortured to confess, and condemned to death. As the man was being led to execution, a remorseful Conrad publicly admitted his guilt to the Signoria of the city. As punishment and reparation for the damages he had caused, the city seized all his assets, only sparing his life due to his noble status.

Franciscan penitent[edit]

Thus reduced to poverty, and seeking penance for his act of cowardice, Conrad and his wife saw the hand of God in this event. As a result, in 1315 they agreed to separate and Conrad retired to a hermitage near the town of Calendasco, joining a community of hermits, who were Franciscan tertiaries, while his wife became anun of the Order of Poor Clares at their monastery in the city.[1]

Conrad soon developed a reputation for holiness, and the flow of visitors left him unable to keep the solitude he sought. He then embarked on the life of a pilgrim, going to Rome, and from there to the Holy Land and Malta and, about 1340, to Palermo in Sicily, where he was directed to an isolated site in the Val di Noto. After many years of an itinerant life, he settled there in a grotto now named for him and for the rest of his life spent a most austere and penitential life of solitude, working numerous miracles, and gifted with prophecy.

In 1343 Conrad felt called by God to serve the local people more directly and in 1343 went to the city of Netum, where he cared for the sick at the Hospital of St. Martin there for the next two years. He lived in a hermitage attached to the Church of the Crucified Christ occupied by the Blessed William Buccheri, a former equerryto King Frederick III of Sicily, who had also taken up a life of solitude and prayer. Conrad would regularly return to his grotto for silent prayer. His fame was such that in 1348 the Bishop of Syracuse, Giacomo Guidone de Franchis, went to his hermitage to beg his prayers for the relief of a famine afflicting the island.

Conrad died while in prayer, kneeling before a crucifix, on 19 February 1351, the day he had predicted. At his request, his body was buried at the Church of St. Nicholas, the principal one of the city. After the city was leveled in an earthquake in the 1690s, it was transferred to the new church of the same name built in the relocated city, now called Noto, which now serves as the cathedral of the region.

Veneration[edit]

Miracles[edit]

Conrad is especially invoked for the cure of hernia. This comes from miracles attributed to him. The legend relates that he was visited at his hermitage by a former friend and companion in arms, Antonio da Stessa, from Daverio. His friend was suffering from the pain of a hernia he had developed. Seeing the pain his old comrade was suffering, Conrad was moved to pity and prayed for him. Stessa was immediately cured of the hernia.

The same outcome was accomplished for a local tailor, who suffered severely from several hernias.

The miracle for which Conrad is best known is the “Miracle of the Bread”. This developed during the aforementioned famine which afflicted Sicily as a result of a severe outbreak of the bubonic plague on the island during 1348-49. During that catastrophe, anyone who approached the hermit for help was given a loaf of bread, still warm, which, it was said, he had received from the angels.[1]

Canonization[edit]

Shortly after Conrad’s death, his demonstrably holy life and the large number of miracles attributed to him led the leadership of the city to request that the Bishop of Syracuse, to which diocese Noto belonged, begin the process for his canonization. When the waiting period required by Church law expired in 1485, this process was opened by Bishop Dalmazio Gabriele, O.P., who had himself witnessed the Miracle of the Bread. As part of the process, Conrad’s body was exhumed for examination, and was found to be incorrupt, and placed in a silver urn for the veneration of the public.[1]

Pope Leo X beatified Conrad on 12 July 1515 and permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast day. On 30 October 1544, Pope Paul III extended permission to the whole island. On 2 June 1625, he was canonized by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, who was the Duke of Parma and Piacenza in a solemn ceremony at the cathedral of Piacenza, where it was declared an obligatory feast. On 12 September of that same year, permission was granted to the Franciscan Order by Pope Urban VIII for a distinct text for the Divine Office and Mass to be used for his feast; today it is celebrated solely by the Third Order of St. Francis to which he belonged. In Vietnam there is a popular devotion to Conrad.

On his feast day, the Parish Church of San Corrado in Noto commemorates him by the distribution of blessed bread.[1]

References[edit]

Readings & Reflections: Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & Blessed John of Fiesole, February 18,2017

Readings & Reflections: Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & Blessed John of Fiesole, February 18,2017

Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a high mountain for them to experience his Transfiguration. Until now, the radiance of Christ’s glory had been invisible. But as they witness the miracle, they come to realize that “what is visible came into being through the invisible.” Christ is transfigured in order to strengthen the disciples’ faith for the future, for “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus, Your first disciples did not understand the transfiguration and had no clue what You meant about rising from the dead.  And yet they continued to follow You. They recognized how valuable it is to have a relationship with You as they had faith and trust.  Lord bless us with your grace especially those who are ambivalent with their faith, those who struggle with faith and trust and are overcome by their intellect. Lord we pray that You will remove that struggle and allow them to reap the rewards of an authentic relationship with You. In your Name, we pray. Amen.

Reading 1                                          
Heb 11:1-7

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.
By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.
By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain’s.
Through this, he was attested to be righteous,
God bearing witness to his gifts,
and through this, though dead, he still speaks.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death,
and he was found no more because God had taken him.
Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him,
for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who seek him.
By faith Noah, warned about what was not yet seen,
with reverence built an ark for the salvation of his household.
Through this, he condemned the world
and inherited the righteousness that comes through faith.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11
R. (see 1) I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Gospel
Mk 9:2-13

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, the disciples no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant. Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things, yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – The transfiguration brings fullness

The story of the transfiguration brings into my heart glimpses of the fullness and greatness of God. However, there are a lot of times when I feel low and spiritually dry and could hardly feel God’s glory. My brokenness and sinfulness somehow make me spiritually blind and insensitive to all that He has done for me. I feel so detached from our Lord, quite far from Him, that I find it quite difficult to see the great things I have in Him.

These are the times when my circumstances in life are bathed with darkness that to get myself out of such state, I have to good in deep prayer and let the Spirit to take full control and allow me to re-live the good times and the high moments I have with our Lord, the times when I felt His loving embrace, His compassion and understanding, the time when He renewed my life and literally picked me up from the gutter and brought me a new life with our Lord.

God is good all the time. He turned me from a deserter into a believer and an obedient follower. He gave me the grace to go back and start life anew and live up to the expectations of being baptized in His Name. He made sure that I was able set aside my conventional ideas about Him and empowered me to slowly detach myself from my self-centeredness so that I could live more and more for Him, through Him and in Him.

This new life I received from our God meant following in Christ’s steps and taking up my Cross to bring His kingdom of love, healing and compassion to the world. It meant giving up the comfort of my very private life as I worked in His vineyard. It meant living by a certain standard of discipleship and giving more and more of myself to others. God is slowly transforming me into what I should be and not into what I want myself to be.

Today, as I ask our Heavenly Father, “why do it?” He responds to me and says: “This is My Son, my Beloved. Listen to Him.”

As I try to listen and be one with our Lord Jesus, there are times when trials and opposition from all sides come into my life that giving up my servanthood for the Lord occupies my heart and mind. These past weeks have not been far different from this, as my life has once more been marred by heartaches and depressing circumstances, which I know can only be removed by God’s loving assurance.  The only thing that mattered and kept me spiritually alive was my faith that God loves me despite the kind of person that I am.

God is always on my side that is why I trust that our Lord will heal me. God made me and loves me the way I am. Whenever love of others and even love of self cannot seem to work, it is only God’s love that prevails. It is only God’s love that has kept me whole!

Today as I give my praises to our Lord I feel truly blessed for purifying my speech and taming my tongue. For once I was like an ember from a fireplace ready to burn down a house, now with the power of the Spirit, our Lord has enabled my tongue to give life to others and refresh them with His word. Slowly God is purifying my tongue and taming my speech as slowly God has purified and changed my heart. “Truly, the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Matthew 12:34 With God’s power, He has made me avoid unwholesome words but only those that edify according to the needs of the moment that they may give grace to those who hear.

As Jesus’ transfiguration inspire us with His glory, let us continue to go be more prayerful so that once more God’s glory may be seen in our lives as transformation occurs from deep within us.

Let our prayer be: Set a guard, LORD, before my mouth, a gatekeeper at my lips. Do not let my heart incline to evil, or yield to any sin. I will never feast upon the fine food of evildoers. Psalm 141:3-4

Direction

Let us give our life to our Lord totally and without reserve. He will bless us and transform us into His likeness.

Prayer

O LORD, I am your servant. With your loving grace, You have changed me and have loosed my bonds and have set me free. To You will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving and I will call upon your Name forever! Amen.

Reflection 2 – This is My Son, the Beloved – Listen to Him!

Are you prepared to see God’s glory? God is eager to share his glory with us! We get a glimpse of this when the disciples see Jesus transfigured on the mountain. Jesus’ face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white (Mark 9:2,3).
When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (see Exodus 34:29). Paul says that the Israelites could not look at Moses’ face because of its brightness (2 Corinthians 3:7). In the Gospel account Jesus appeared in glory with Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, and with Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, in the presence of three of his beloved apostles – Peter, James, and John.

What is the significance of this mysterious appearance? Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem – his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah. God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. The Father glorified his son because he obeyed. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God’s presence would fill the temple again (see Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8).

The Lord wants to share his glory with each of us
The Lord Jesus not only wants us to see his glory – he wants to share this glory with us. And Jesus shows us the way to the Father’s glory: follow me – obey my words – take the path I have chosen for you and you will receive the blessings of my Father’s kingdom – your name will be written in heaven.

Jesus succeeded in his mission because he went to Calvary so that Paradise would be restored to us once again. He embraced the cross to obtain the crown of glory that awaits each one of us, if we will follow in his footsteps.

Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD), an early church bible scholar and writer, shows us how the transfiguration can change our lives:

“When he is transfigured, his face also shines as the sun that he may be manifested to the children of light who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, and are no longer the children of darkness or night but have become the sons of day, and walk honestly as in the day. Being manifest, he will shine unto them not simply as the sun, but as demonstrated to be the sun of righteousness.”

Stay awake spiritually – Don’t miss God’s glory and action 
Luke’s Gospel account tells us that while Jesus was transfigured, Peter, James, and John were asleep (Luke 9:32)! Upon awakening they discovered Jesus in glory along with Moses and Elijah. How much do we miss of God’s glory and action because we are asleep spiritually?  There are many things which can keep our minds asleep to the things of God: Mental lethargy and the “unexamined life” can keep us from thinking things through and facing our doubts and questions. The life of ease can also hinder us from considering the challenging or disturbing demands of Christ.  Prejudice can make us blind to something new the Lord may have for us. Even sorrow can be a block until we can see past it to the glory of God.

Are you spiritually awake? Peter, James, and John were privileged witnesses of the glory of Christ. We, too, as disciples of Christ are called to be witnesses of his glory. We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Lord wants to reveal his glory to us, his beloved disciples. Do you seek his presence with faith and reverence?

“Lord Jesus, keep me always alert and awake to you, to your word, your action, and your daily presence in my life. Let me see your glory.” Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb18.htm

Reflection 3 – Blessed John of Fiesole (c. 1400-1455 A.D.)

The patron of Christian artists was born around 1400 in a village overlooking Florence. He took up painting as a young boy and studied under the watchful eye of a local painting master. He joined the Dominicans at about age 20, taking the name Fra Giovanni. He eventually came to be known as Fra Angelico, perhaps a tribute to his own angelic qualities or maybe the devotional tone of his works.

He continued to study painting and perfect his own techniques, which included broad-brush strokes, vivid colors and generous, lifelike figures. Michelangelo once said of Fra Angelico: “One has to believe that this good monk has visited paradise and been allowed to choose his models there.” Whatever his subject matter, Fra Angelico sought to generate feelings of religious devotion in response to his paintings. Among his most famous works are the Annunciation and Descent from the Cross as well as frescoes in the monastery of San Marco in Florence.

He also served in leadership positions within the Dominican Order. At one point Pope Eugenius approached him about serving as archbishop of Florence. Fra Angelico declined, preferring a simpler life. He died in 1455.

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1890

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fra_Angelico
FRA ANGELICO
Fra Angelico portrait.jpg

Detail from Deeds of the Antichrist by Luca Signorelli (c. 1501) in Orvieto Cathedral, Italy[1]
BORN Guido di Pietro
c. 1395
Rupecanina, Mugello, Republic of Florence
DIED February 18, 1455 (age about 59)
Rome, Papal States
NATIONALITY Florentine
KNOWN FOR Painting, Fresco
NOTABLE WORK Annunciation of Cortona
Fiesole Altarpiece
San Marco Altarpiece
Deposition of Christ
Niccoline Chapel
MOVEMENT Early Renaissance
PATRON(S) Cosimo de’ Medici
Pope Eugene IV
Pope Nicholas V
BLESSED JOHN OF FIESOLE, O.P.
VENERATED IN Roman Catholic Church
(Dominican Order)
BEATIFIED October 3, 1982, Vatican City, by Pope John Paul II
FEAST 18 February

Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro; c. 1395[2] – February 18, 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painterdescribed by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having “a rare and perfect talent”.[3]

He was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John of Fiesole) and Fra Giovanni Angelico(Angelic Brother John). In modern Italian he is called il Beato Angelico (Blessed Angelic One);[4] the common English name Fra Angelico means the “Angelic friar”.

In 1982 Pope John Paul II proclaimed his beatification,[5] in recognition of the holiness of his life, thereby making the title of “Blessed” official. Fiesole is sometimes misinterpreted as being part of his formal name, but it was merely the name of the town where he took his vows as a Dominican friar, and was used by contemporaries to separate him from other Fra Giovannis. He is listed in the Roman Martyrology[6] as Beatus Ioannes Faesulanus, cognomento Angelicus—”Blessed Giovanni of Fiesole, known as ‘the Angelic’ “.

Vasari wrote of Fra Angelico that “it is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety.”[3]

Biography[edit]

Early life, 1395–1436[edit]

The Virgin of the Annunciation

Fra Angelico was born Guido di Pietro at Rupecanina[7] in the Tuscan area of Mugello near Fiesole towards the end of the 14th century. Nothing is known of his parents. He was baptized Guido or Guidolino. The earliest recorded document concerning Fra Angelico dates from October 17, 1417 when he joined a religious confraternity at the Carmine Church, still under the name of Guido di Pietro. This record also reveals that he was already a painter, a fact that is subsequently confirmed by two records of payment to Guido di Pietro in January and February 1418 for work done in the church of Santo Stefano del Ponte.[8] The first record of Angelico as a friar dates from 1423, when he is first referred to as Fra Giovanni, following the custom of those entering a religious order of taking a new name.[9] He was a member of the Dominican community at Fiesole. Fra, a contraction offrater (from the Latin), is a conventional title for a friar.

According to Vasari, Fra Angelico initially received training as an illuminator, possibly working with his older brotherBenedetto who was also a Dominican and an illuminator. San Marco in Florence holds several manuscripts that are thought to be entirely or partly by his hand.[3] The painter Lorenzo Monaco may have contributed to his art training, and the influence of the Sienese school is discernible in his work. He had several important charges in the convents he lived in, but this did not limit his art, which very soon became famous. According toVasari, the first paintings of this artist were an altarpiece and a painted screen for the Carthusian Monastery of Florence; none such exist there now.[3]

From 1408 to 1418 Fra Angelico was at the Dominican friary of Cortona where he painted frescoes, now destroyed, in the Dominican Church and may have been assistant to or follower of Gherardo Starnina.[10] Between 1418 and 1436 he was at the convent of Fiesole where he also executed a number of frescoes for the church, and the Altarpiece, deteriorated but restored. A predella of the Altarpiece remains intact in the National Gallery, London which is a superb example of Fra Angelico’s ability. It shows Christ in Glory, surrounded by more than 250 figures, including beatified Dominicans.

San Marco, Florence, 1436–1445[edit]

In 1436 Fra Angelico was one of a number of the friars from Fiesole who moved to the newly built Friary of San Marco in Florence. This was an important move which put him in the centre of artistic activity of the region and brought about the patronage of one of the wealthiest and most powerful members of the city’s governing authority, or “Signoria” (namelyCosimo de’ Medici), who had a large cell (later occupied by Savonarola) reserved for himself at the friary in order that he might retreat from the world. It was, according to Vasari, at Cosimo’s urging that Fra Angelico set about the task of decorating the monastery, including the magnificent Chapter House fresco, the often-reproduced Annunciation at the top of the stairs to the cells, the Maesta with Saints and the many smaller devotional frescoes depicting aspects of the Life of Christ that adorn the walls of each cell.[3]

In 1439 he completed one of his most famous works, the San Marco Altarpiece at Florence. The result was unusual for its time. Images of the enthroned Madonna and Child surrounded by saints were common, but they usually depicted a setting that was clearly heavenlike, in which saints and angels hovered about as divine presences rather than people. But in this instance, the saints stand squarely within the space, grouped in a natural way as if they were able to converse about the shared experience of witnessing the Virgin in glory. Paintings such as this, known as Sacred Conversations, were to become the major commissions of Giovanni Bellini, Perugino and Raphael.[11]

The Vatican, 1445–1455[edit]

The Crucified Christ

In 1445 Pope Eugenius IV summoned him to Rome to paint the frescoes of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament at St Peter’s, later demolished by Pope Paul III. Vasari claims that at this time Fra Angelico was offered by Pope Nicholas V the Archbishopric of Florence, and that he refused it, recommending another friar for the position. While the story seems possible and even likely, if Vasari’s date is correct, then the pope must have been Eugenius and not Nicholas. In 1447 Fra Angelico was in Orvieto with his pupil, Benozzo Gozzoli, executing works for the Cathedral. Among his other pupils were Zanobi Strozzi.[12]

From 1447 to 1449 he was back at the Vatican, designing the frescoes for the Niccoline Chapel for Nicholas V. The scenes from the lives of the two martyred deacons of the Early Christian Church, St. Stephen and St. Lawrence may have been executed wholly or in part by assistants. The small chapel, with its brightly frescoed walls and gold leaf decorations gives the impression of a jewel box. From 1449 until 1452, Fra Angelico was back at his old convent of Fiesole, where he was the Prior.[3][13]

Death and beatification[edit]

The Adoration of the Magi is a tondo of theAdoration of the Magi. It is credited to Fra Angelico and Filippo Lippi and dates to c. 1440/1460.

In 1455 Fra Angelico died while staying at a Dominican convent in Rome, perhaps in order to work on Pope Nicholas’ chapel. He was buried in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.[3][13][14]

When singing my praise, don’t liken my talents to those of Apelles.
Say, rather, that, in the name of Christ, I gave all I had to the poor.

The deeds that count on Earth are not the ones that count in Heaven.

I, Giovanni, am the flower of Tuscany.

— Translation of epitaph[3]

For the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, the English writer and critic William Michael Rossetti wrote of the friar:

From various accounts of Fra Angelico’s life, it is possible to gain some sense of why he was deserving of canonization. He led the devout and ascetic life of a Dominican friar, and never rose above that rank; he followed the dictates of the order in caring for the poor; he was always good-humored. All of his many paintings were of divine subjects, and it seems that he never altered or retouched them, perhaps from a religious conviction that, because his paintings were divinely inspired, they should retain their original form. He was wont to say that he who illustrates the acts of Christ should be with Christ. It is averred that he never handled a brush without fervent prayer and he wept when he painted a Crucifixion. The Last Judgment and the Annunciation were two of the subjects he most frequently treated.[13]

Pope John Paul II beatified Fra Angelico on October 3, 1982, and in 1984 declared him patron of Catholic artists.[5]

Angelico was reported to say “He who does Christ’s work must stay with Christ always”. This motto earned him the epithet “Blessed Angelico”, because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Evaluation[edit]

San Marco, Florence,The Day of Judgement, upper panel of an altarpiece. It shows the precision, detail and colour required in a commissioned work

Background[edit]

Fra Angelico was working at a time when the style of painting was in a state of change. This process of change had begun a hundred years previous with the works of Giotto and several of his contemporaries, notably Giusto de’ Menabuoi, both of whom had created their major works inPadua, although Giotto was trained in Florence by the great Gothic artist, Cimabue, and painted a fresco cycle of St Francis in the Bardi Chapel in the Basilica di Santa Croce. Giotto had many enthusiastic followers, who imitated his style in fresco, some of them, notably the Lorenzetti, achieving great success.[11]

Patronage[edit]

The patrons of these artists were most often monastic establishments or wealthy families endowing a church. Because the paintings often had devotional purpose, the clients tended to be conservative. Frequently, it would seem, the wealthier the client, the more conservative the painting. There was a very good reason for this. The paintings that were commissioned made a statement about the patron. Thus the more gold leaf it displayed, the more it spoke to the patron’s glory. The other valuable commodities in the paint-box were lapis lazuli and vermilion. Paint made from these colours did not lend itself to a tonal treatment. The azure blue made of powdered lapis lazuli went on flat, the depth and brilliance of colour being, like the gold leaf, a sign of the patron’s ability to provide well. For these reasons, altarpieces are often much more conservatively painted than frescoes, which were often of almost life-sized figures and relied upon a stage-set quality rather than lavish display in order to achieve effect.[15]

Contemporaries[edit]

Fra Angelico was the contemporary of Gentile da Fabriano. Gentile’s altarpiece of the Adoration of the Magi, 1423, in the Uffizi is regarded as one of the greatest works of the style known as International Gothic. At the time it was painted, another young artist, known as Masaccio, was working on the frescoes for the Brancacci Chapel at the church of the Carmine. Masaccio had fully grasped the implications of the art of Giotto. Few painters in Florence saw his sturdy, lifelike and emotional figures and were not affected by them. His work partner was an older painter, Masolino, of the same generation as Fra Angelico. Masaccio died at 27, leaving the work unfinished.[11]

Altarpieces[edit]

The works of Fra Angelico reveal elements that are both conservatively Gothic and progressively Renaissance. In the altarpiece of the Coronation of the Virgin, painted for the Florentine church of Santa Maria Novella, are all the elements that a very expensive altarpiece of the 14th century was expected to provide; a precisely tooled gold background, lots of azure, lots of vermilion and an obvious display of arsenic green. The workmanship of the gilded haloes and gold-edged robes is exquisite and all very Gothic. What make this a Renaissance painting, as against Gentile da Fabriano’s masterpiece, is the solidity, the three-dimensionality and naturalism of the figures and the realistic way in which their garments hang or drape around them. Even though it is clouds these figures stand upon, and not the earth, they do so with weight.[11]

The Transfiguration shows the directness, simplicity and restrained palette typical of these frescoes. Located in a monk’s cell at the Convent San’ Marco, its apparent purpose is to encourage private devotion.

Frescoes[edit]

The series of frescoes that Fra Angelico painted for the Dominican friars at San Marcos realise the advancements made by Masaccio and carry them further. Away from the constraints of wealthy clients and the limitations of panel painting, Fra Angelico was able to express his deep reverence for his God and his knowledge and love of humanity. The meditational frescoes in the cells of the convent have a quieting quality about them. They are humble works in simple colours. There is more mauvish-pink than there is red while the brilliant and expensive blue is almost totally lacking. In its place is dull green and the black and white of Dominican robes. There is nothing lavish, nothing to distract from the spiritual experiences of the humble people who are depicted within the frescoes. Each one has the effect of bringing an incident of the life of Christ into the presence of the viewer. They are like windows into a parallel world. These frescoes remain a powerful witness to the piety of the man who created them.[11] Vasari relates that Cosimo de’ Medici seeing these works, inspired Fra Angelico to create a large Crucifixion scene with many saints for the Chapter House. As with the other frescoes, the wealthy patronage did not influence the Friar’s artistic expression with displays of wealth.[3]

Masaccio ventured into perspective with his creation of a realistically painted niche at Santa Maria Novella. Subsequently, Fra Angelico demonstrated an understanding of linear perspective particularly in his Annunciation paintings set inside the sort of arcades that Michelozzo and Brunelleschi created at San’ Marco’s and the square in front of it.[11]

Lives of the Saints[edit]

Saint Lawrence distributing alms(1447), in the Vatican, incorporates the expensive pigments, gold leaf and elaborate design typical of Vatican commissions.

When Fra Angelico and his assistants went to the Vatican to decorate the chapel of Pope Nicholas, then the artist was again confronted with the need to please the very wealthiest of clients. In consequence, walking into the small chapel is like stepping into a jewel box. The walls are decked with the brilliance of colour and gold that one sees in the most lavish creations of the Gothic painter Simone Martini at the Lower Church of St Francis of Assisi, a hundred years earlier. Yet Fra Angelico has succeeded in creating designs which continue to reveal his own preoccupation with humanity, with humility and with piety. The figures, in their lavish gilded robes, have the sweetness and gentleness for which his works are famous. According to Vasari:

In their bearing and expression, the saints painted by Fra Angelico come nearer to the truth than the figures done by any other artist.[3]

It is probable that much of the actual painting was done by his assistants to his design. Both Benozzo Gozzoli and Gentile da Fabriano were highly accomplished painters. Benozzo took his art further towards the fully developed Renaissance style with his expressive and lifelike portraits in his masterpiece of the Journey of the Magi, painted in the Medici‘s private chapel at their palazzo.[16]

Blessing Redeemer (1423)

Artistic legacy[edit]

Through Fra Angelico’s pupil Benozzo Gozzoli’s careful portraiture and technical expertise in the art of fresco we see a link toDomenico Ghirlandaio, who in turn painted extensive schemes for the wealthy patrons of Florence, and through Ghirlandaio to his pupil Michelangelo and the High Renaissance.

Apart from the lineal connection, superficially there may seem little to link the humble priest with his sweetly pretty Madonnasand timeless Crucifixions to the dynamic expressions of Michelangelo’s larger-than-life creations. But both these artists received their most important commissions from the wealthiest and most powerful of all patrons, the Vatican.

When Michelangelo took up the Sistine Chapel commission, he was working within a space that had already been extensively decorated by other artists. Around the walls the Life of Christ and Life of Moses were depicted by a range of artists including his teacher Ghirlandaio, Raphael‘s teacher Perugino and Botticelli. They were works of large scale and exactly the sort of lavish treatment to be expected in a Vatican commission, vying with each other in complexity of design, number of figures, elaboration of detail and skilful use of gold leaf. Above these works stood a row of painted Popes in brilliant brocades and gold tiaras. None of these splendours have any place in the work which Michelangelo created. Michelangelo, when asked by Pope Julius II to ornament the robes of the Apostles in the usual way, responded that they were very poor men.[11]

Within the cells of San’Marco, Fra Angelico had demonstrated that painterly skill and the artist’s personal interpretation were sufficient to create memorable works of art, without the expensive trappings of blue and gold. In the use of the unadorned fresco technique, the clear bright pastel colours, the careful arrangement of a few significant figures and the skilful use of expression, motion and gesture, Michelangelo showed himself to be the artistic descendant of Fra Angelico. Frederick Hartt describes Fra Angelico as “prophetic of the mysticism” of painters such as Rembrandt, El Greco and Zurbarán.[11]

Works[edit]

Virgin and Child with Saints, detail, Fiesole (1428–1430)

Early works, 1408–1436[edit]

Cortona

Fiesole

Florence, Santa Trinita

Florence, Santa Maria degli Angeli

Florence, Santa Maria Novella

  • Altarpiece – Coronation of the Virgin, Uffizi.

San Marco, Florence, 1436–1445[edit]

  • Altarpiece for chancel – Virgin with Saints Cosmas and Damian, attended by Saints Dominic, Peter, Francis, Mark, John Evangelist and Stephen. Cosmas and Damian were patrons of the Medici; the altarpiece was commissioned in 1438 by Cosimo de’ Medici. It was removed and disassembled during the renovation of the convent church in the seventeenth century. Two of the nine predella panels remain at the convent; seven are in Washington, Munich, Dublin and Paris. Unexpectedly, in 2006 the last two missing panels, Dominican saints from the side panels, turned up in the estate of a modest collector in Oxfordshire, who had bought them in California in the 1960s.[17]

The Deposition from the Cross, Museo San Marco

The Madonna enthroned withSaints Cosmas and Damian, Saint Mark and Saint John, Saint Lawrenceand three Dominicans, Saint Dominic, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Peter Martyr; San Marco, Florence

  • Altarpiece ? – Madonna and Child with twelve Angels (life sized); Uffizi.
  • Altarpiece – The Annunciation
  • San Marco Altarpiece
  • Two versions of the Crucifixion with St Dominic; in the Cloister
  • Very large Crucifixion with Virgin and 20 saints; in the Chapter House
  • The Annunciation; at the top of the Dormitory stairs. This is probably the most reproduced of all Fra Angelico’s paintings.
  • Virgin enthroned with Four Saints; in the Dormitory passage

In The Annunciation, the interior reproduces that of the cell in which it is located.

Each cell is decorated with a fresco which matches in size and shape the single round-headed window beside it. The frescoes are apparently for contemplative purpose. They are have a pale, serene, unearthly beauty. Many of Fra Angelico’s finest and most reproduced works are among them. There are, particularly in the inner row of cells, some of less inspiring quality and of more repetitive subject, perhaps completed by assistants.[11] Many pictures include Dominican saints as witnesses, allowing the friar using the cell to place himself in the scene.

Late works, 1445–1455[edit]

Orvieto Cathedral

Three segments of the ceiling in the Cappella Nuova, with the assistance of Benozzo Gozzoli.

  • Christ in Glory
  • The Virgin Mary
  • The Apostles

Niccoline Chapel

The Chapel of Pope Nicholas V, at the Vatican, was probably painted with much assistance from Benozzo Gozzoli and Gentile da Fabriano. The entire surface of wall and ceiling is sumptuously painted. There is much gold leaf for borders and decoration, and a great use of brilliant blue made from lapis lazuli.

Discovery of lost works[edit]

Worldwide press coverage reported in November 2006 that two missing masterpieces by Fra Angelico had turned up, having hung in the spare room of the late Jean Preston, in her “modest terrace house” in Oxford, England. Her father had bought them for £100 each in 1965 then bequeathed them to her when he died in 1974. Preston had been consulted by their then owner in her capacity as an expert medievalist. She recognised them as being high quality Florentine renaissance, but it never occurred to anyone, even all the dealers she approached on behalf of the owner, that they could possibly be by Fra Angelico. They were finally identified in 2005 by Michael Liversidge of Bristol University. There was almost no demand at all for medieval art during the 1960s and no dealers showed any interest, so Preston’s father bought them almost as an afterthought along with some manuscripts. Coincidentally the manuscripts turned out to be high quality Victorian forgeries by The Spanish Forger. The paintings are two of eight side panels of a large altarpiece painted in 1439 for Fra Angelico’s monastery at San Marco, but split up by Napoleon‘s army 200 years ago. While the centre section is still at the monastery, the other six small panels are in German and US museums. These two panels were presumed lost forever. The Italian Government had hoped to purchase them but they were outbid at auction on 20 April 2007 by a private collector for £1.7M. Both panels are now restored and exhibited in the San Marco Museum in Florence.[18][19]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Considered to be a posthumous portrait of Fra Angelico.
  2. Jump up^ Metropolitan Museum of Art
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists. Penguin Classics, 1965.
  4. Jump up^ Andrea del Sarto, Raphael and Michelangelo were all called “Beato” by their contemporaries because their skills were seen as a special gift from God
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b Bunson, Matthew; Bunson, Margaret (1999). John Paul II’s Book of Saints. Our Sunday Visitor. p. 156. ISBN 0-87973-934-7.
  6. Jump up^ Roman Martyrology—a work which includes all Saints and Blesseds recognised by the Roman Catholic Church
  7. Jump up^ “Commune di Vicchio (Firenze), La terra natale di Giotto e del Beato Angelico”. zoomedia. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  8. Jump up^ Werner Cohn, Il Beato Angelico e Battista di Biagio Sanguigni. Revista d’Arte, V, (1955): 207–221.
  9. Jump up^ Stefano Orlandi, Beato Angelico; Monographia Storica della Vita e delle Opere con Un’Appendice di Nuovi Documenti Inediti. Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1964.
  10. Jump up^ “Gherardo Starnina”. Artists. Getty Center. Retrieved 2007-09-28.Getty Education[]
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i Frederick Hartt, A History of Italian Renaissance Art, (1970) Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0-500-23136-2
  12. Jump up^ “Strozzi, Zanobi”. The National Gallery, London. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  13. ^ Jump up to:a b c Rossetti, William Michael. “Angelico, Fra”. 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name “WMR” defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  14. Jump up^ The tomb has been given greater visibility since the beatification.
  15. Jump up^ Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy,(1974) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-881329-5
  16. Jump up^ Paolo Morachiello, Fra Angelico: The San Marco Frescoes. Thames and Hudson, 1990. ISBN 0-500-23729-8
  17. Jump up^ “San Marco Altarpiece”. Web Gallery of Art. Retrieved 2014-05-29.
  18. Jump up^ Morris, Steven (14 November 2006). “A £1m art find behind the spare room door”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  19. Jump up^ Morris, Steven (20 April 2007). “Lost altar masterpieces found in spare bedroom fetch £1.7m”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-09-28.

References[edit]

Readings & Reflections: Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order, February 17,2017

Readings & Reflections: Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order, February 17,2017

The seven men who are honored on this date entered the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin in Florence from 1225 to 1227 A.D. On the feast of the Assumption, they shared a vision of Mary that led them to seek solitude together in a house outside the city. A second vision of Mary holding black robes, and an angel with a scroll emblazoned with the words “Servants of Mary,” gave them their habit and title. The Rule of Saint Augustine was adopted, and ecclesiastical approval was given in 1304. The Servites, as they came to be called, are especially devoted to the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are one of the five original mendicant orders.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus, remind always that being your disciple is not primarily about following rules and norms and being religiously observant. Lord, open our hearts to the truth that to be your follower, we need to be firm with our faith and our convictions. Remind us always that doing your work will not be a bed of roses but will always be accompanied by difficulties and suffering. Enable us to accept that oppression, heartaches and suffering can be caused not only by evil tyrants  but such can come from neighbors, co-workers in church, employers, government officials and  even family. We pray this in Your Name. Amen.

Reading 1
Gn 11:1-9

The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.
While the people were migrating in the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.” They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower that they had built.
Then the LORD said: “If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down and there confuse their language, so that one will not understand what another says.” Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city.
That is why it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world. It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 33:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Gospel
Mk 8:34–9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Whoever would save his life will lose it
‘”If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross and follow in my steps. Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”‘

Whenever I meditate and reflect on today’s gospel I often feel that Jesus is pointing right at me. It brings me back to reality and the truth that keeps on surfacing in my life. In my weakness and brokenness I would normally set it aside and try to hide from the truth which hurts. I often ask the Lord what happened to his other soothing exhortations.

Certainly when Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and I will give You rest!” I felt some comfort and compassion. But when I hear Him say, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels” my sinful nature tries to hide the truth from me and I do not want to face the fact they are meant for me. We all know the answer to God’s question, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” but simply is hard to live and abide by it.

What does it really mean to “deny yourself”?  Denying one self is to decisively reject the worldly desires and motivations that spring up from our human and sinful nature.  It implies choosing Jesus and following Him completely without reservation.  Denying one self means being firm in our convictions for God and taking daily steps of obedience to God’s precepts and statutes. It means finding our way into Jesus and allowing Him to transform us to the new person that He wants us to be, the very reason why He died for us on the Cross. It simply means dying to one’s self and pride and allowing His will to prevail.

Denying one self means carrying the cross at hand, forgetting the slanderous accusations of people who find difficulty in seeing God in our work. It is accepting in all humility that the gifts and talents of one’s neighbor are far more superior than ours. To deny one self is to allow one’s heart to be united to the very bosom of His Church, not only during good and joyful days but especially when persecution and trials become dominant. It is to carry one’s cross and to be Christ to all every step of the way even amidst discrimination, jealousy, unfair judgments and treatment.

Lord, I know that You have given me a Cross which I have purposely denied and rejected amidst my weak human nature. Lord you know how much I failed in carrying your cross as I decided to take into my own hands and address the slander some people may have unknowingly inflicted on me as your worker. Lord forgive me for you Word says, ‘Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”’ Romans 12:19

Let me surrender to you my will and as I walk with You, hand in hand.  Guide me and make me strong so that I may be the disciple You have longed me to be. Lord, give me the strength to deny myself and carry your Cross, amidst the attack of the evil one!

Direction                                                                                                                   
We need to deny ourselves of anything that will separate us from God and His people.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, give me the vision to see the cross that You want me to carry. Let me deny myself of anything that will separate me from You.  In your goodness and love, forgive me as I forgive those who have tried to remove You from my heart.  In Jesus I pray, Amen.

Reflection 2 – Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it

What is the most important investment you can make with your life? Jesus poses some probing questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile. In every decision of life we are making ourselves a certain kind of person. The kind of person we are, our character, determines to a large extent the kind of future we will face and live. It is possible that some can gain all the things they set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important things of all. Of what value are material things if they don’t help you gain what truly lasts in eternity. Neither money nor possessions can buy heaven, mend a broken heart, or cheer a lonely person.

God gives without measure – we give all we have in return
Jesus asks the question: What will a person give in exchange for his life? Everything we have is an out-right gift from God. We owe him everything, including our very lives. It’s possible to give God our money, but not ourselves, or to give him lip-service, but not our hearts. A true disciple gladly gives up all that he or she has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish.

The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done. To know the Lord Jesus Christ is to know the power of his saving death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith to know Jesus personally, power to live the gospel faithfully, and courage to witness to others the joy and truth of the gospel. Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus Christ, I want to follow you as your disciple. I gladly offer all that I have to you. Take and use my life as a pleasing sacrifice of praise to your glory.” – Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb17.htm

Reflection 3 – Follow Me

Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. —Mark 8:34

During World War II, B-17 bombers made long flights from the US mainland to the Pacific island of Saipan. When they landed there, the planes were met by a jeep bearing the sign: “Follow Me!” That little vehicle guided the giant planes to their assigned places in the parking area.

One pilot, who by his own admission was not a religious man, made an insightful comment: “That little jeep with its quaint sign always reminds me of Jesus. He was [a lowly] peasant, but the giant men and women of our time would be lost without His direction.”

Centuries after our Savior walked the streets and hills of Israel, the world with all its advances still needs His example and instruction. When His ways aren’t followed, numerous problems and evils arise in our world—including immorality, crime, and greed.

How do we follow Jesus’ ways? First of all, we turn from our sin and entrust our lives to Him as our Savior and Lord. Then, we seek His will in His Word each day and put it into practice by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. We learn to deny our selfish desires and give ourselves completely to following Jesus (Mark 8:34-35).

If you want to get in line with the purposes of God, respond to Jesus’ invitation: “Follow Me!”  — Vernon C. Grounds

THINKING IT OVER

To find your way through life, follow Jesus (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 4 – The game of life

There was a man who often talked about “the game of life,” and I can understand why he did. It’s part of human nature to approach life as one big game made up of a lot of little games. Competing can be fun, exciting and stimulating.

But life is a whole lot more than a game – especially for a follower of Jesus Christ. When a believer needs to own the biggest house, drive the largest SUV car, get the promotion first, and win every argument, something’s terribly wrong from God’s point of view. It’s not right to run over people’s feelings, bend or break the rules, and gloat over victories in order to win.

To approach life as one big game that you always have to win is to live in hopeless delusion and fantasy. While material possessions, professional success, and personal victories are enjoyable, they last only for this life. Then they’re all left behind.

Jesus instructed His disciples to deny themselves, identify with His cross, and follow Him in self-denial, and for some that even meant death (Mk 8:34-35). He made it clear to His disciples that artificial victories in “the game of life” don’t count for much. What really counts is what’s done for the Lord.

Whenever we want to follow the Lord we have to reckon seriously with the possibility of encountering the cross. It means that being a disciple of Jesus might become an obstacle for our daily life, or might go against our inclinations and wishes. In these moments the “cross” will appear and we are asked to carry our cross as Jesus carried his. But remember, there is the promise which follows: “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death. Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ?

If I have but Jesus, only Jesus

Nothing else in all the world beside

 O then everything is mine in Jesus;

For my needs and more He will provide.

Those who live for God are the real winners in life (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 5 – High on a tower or a cross

In wanting to feel closer to God, we try different ways of reaching him. When it seems our prayers are not being answered, we bargain with him (“God, if I go to Mass every day, maybe then you’ll do something about my request”) or we increase our prayers by adding in novenas or by invoking saints. While there’s nothing wrong with this of course, our motives need to be examined:  Are we really trusting God? Or are we trying to manipulate him?

To feel successful in our spiritual lives, we seek spiritual highs. We want to feel more loved and more cared about. We want to feel so important to God that he’ll grant us miracles. But if we don’t feel his concern on an emotional level, we assume that he’s not yet doing enough to make us happy, and we think that the solution is to “build up” our faith, hoping this will get us closer to the joys of heaven.

The people in today’s first reading wanted that same emotional-spiritual high. To get it, they tried to reach heaven by building the tallest tower that their engineers could conceive. They defined spiritual success as fame, i.e., making a name for themselves that the rest of the world would notice. They thought they could feel heavenly by working together to build a towering accomplishment.

Was their motive really to get closer to God? Literally, yes, it was, but spiritually, no, because they were not seeking an improved relationship with the Lord. They wanted to reach heaven by their own efforts. This motive was very arrogant.

Contrast this to what Jesus says in today’s Gospel reading. We reach heaven by following in Jesus’ footsteps. And where did he climb? Not up a tower. He climbed onto a cross. He built the Kingdom of God in the humility of self-sacrifice and a willingness to suffer for the sake of others.

It doesn’t make sense. And we surely don’t like it. But it’s true: Our greatest accomplishments don’t come from reaching personal heights of success and fame; they happen when we build up other people.

We are at our best when we give love sacrificially. We reach God when we walk on lowly ground to reach those who need help. We experience our biggest spiritual highs when we join Jesus on the cross, which means embracing our hardships as opportunities for serving others, because that’s the only way to a glorious resurrection.

What cross are you nailed to? What hardship have you been forced into? Now here’s the most important question, the one that raises us up in resurrection: How can this cross benefit the Kingdom of God? – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-02-17

Reflection 6 – Seven Founders of the Servite Order (13th century)

Can you imagine seven prominent men of Boston or Denver banding together, leaving their homes and professions, and going into solitude for a life directly given to God? That is what happened in the cultured and prosperous city of Florence in the middle of the 13th century. The city was torn with political strife as well as the heresy of the Cathari, who believed that physical reality was inherently evil. Morals were low and religion seemed meaningless.

In 1240 seven noblemen of Florence mutually decided to withdraw from the city to a solitary place for prayer and direct service of God. Their initial difficulty was providing for their dependents, since two were still married and two were widowers.

Their aim was to lead a life of penance and prayer, but they soon found themselves disturbed by constant visitors from Florence. They next withdrew to the deserted slopes of Monte Senario.

In 1244, under the direction of St. Peter of Verona, O.P., this small group adopted a religious habit similar to the Dominican habit, choosing to live under the Rule of St. Augustine and adopting the name of the Servants of Mary. The new Order took a form more like that of the mendicant friars than that of the older monastic Orders.

Members of the community came to the United States from Austria in 1852 and settled in New York and later in Philadelphia. The two American provinces developed from the foundation made by Father Austin Morini in 1870 in Wisconsin.

Community members combined monastic life and active ministry. In the monastery, they led a life of prayer, work and silence while in the active apostolate they engaged in parochial work, teaching, preaching and other ministerial activities.

Comment:

The time in which the seven Servite founders lived is very easily comparable to the situation in which we find ourselves today. It is “the best of times and the worst of times,” as Dickens once wrote. Some, perhaps many, feel called to a countercultural life, even in religion. All of us are faced in a new and urgent way with the challenge to make our lives decisively centered in Christ.

Quote:

“Let all religious therefore spread throughout the whole world the good news of Christ by the integrity of their faith, their love for God and neighbor, their devotion to the Cross and their hope of future glory…. Thus, too, with the prayerful aid of that most loving Virgin Mary, God’s Mother, ‘Whose life is a rule of life for all,’ religious communities will experience a daily growth in number, and will yield a richer harvest of fruits that bring salvation” (Vatican II, Decree on the Renewal of Religious Life, 25).

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1294

SAINT OF THE DAY
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servite_Order
Order of the Servants of Mary
Servants of Mary.png
ABBREVIATION OSM
FORMATION 1233
TYPE Mendicant order
Marian devotional society
HEADQUARTERS Santissima Annunziata Basilica, Florence, Italy
WEBSITE http://www.servidimaria.net/sitoosm/en/index.htm

The Servite Order is one of the five original Catholic mendicant orders. Its objects are the sanctification of its members, preaching the Gospel, and the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, with special reference to her sorrows. The members of the Order use O.S.M. (for OrdoServorum Beatae Mariae Virginis) as their post-nominal letters. The male members are known asServite Friars or Servants of Mary.

The Order of Servants of Mary (The Servites) is a religious family that embraces a membership of friars (priests and brothers), contemplative nuns, a congregation of active sisters and lay groups.

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

Amadeus of the Amidei (d. 1266), one of the seven founders of the Servite Order.

The Servites lead a community life in the tradition of the mendicant orders (such as the Dominicans and Franciscans). The Servite Order was founded in 1233 AD, when a group of cloth merchants of Florence, Italy, left their city, families and professions to retire outside the city on a mountain known as Monte Senario for a life of poverty and penance. These men are known as the Seven Holy Founders; they were canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.[1]

These seven were: Buonfiglio dei Monaldi (Bonfilius), Giovanni di Buonagiunta (Bonajuncta), Amadeus of the Amidei(Bartolomeus), Ricovero dei Lippi-Ugguccioni (Hugh), Benedetto dell’ Antella (Manettus), Gherardino di Sostegno (Sostene), and Alessio de’ Falconieri (Alexius). They belonged to seven patrician families of that city. As a reflection of the penitential spirit of the times, it had been the custom of these men to meet regularly as members of a religious society established in honor of Mary, the Mother of God.[2]

Alexis Falconieri (d. 1310), one of the seven founders of the Servite Order.

From the beginning, the members of the Order dedicated themselves to Mary under her title of Mother of Sorrows.[1] Dedicating their devotion to the mother of Jesus, they adopted Mary’s virtues of hospitality and compassion as the order’s hallmarks.[3] The distinctive spirit of the order is the sanctification of its members by meditation on the Passion of Jesus and the Sorrows of Mary, and spreading abroad this devotion.[4]

The bishop of Florence approved the Friar Servants of Mary as a religious Order sometime between the years 1240 and 1247. The Servants decided to live by the Rule of St. Augustine, and added to the Rule their own expression of Marian devotion and dedication. By 1250 there were a number of Servants who were ordained to the priesthood, thus creating an Order with priests as well as brothers.[5]

Pope Alexander IV, favored a plan for the amalgamation of all institutes following the Rule of St. Augustine. This was accomplished in March 1256, and about the same time a Rescript was issued confirming the Order of the Servites as a separate body with power to elect a general. Four years later a general chapter was convened at which the order was divided into two provinces, Tuscany and Umbria, the former of which St. Manettus directed, while the latter was given into the care of St. Sostene. Within five years two new provinces were added: Romagna and Lombardy.[6]

Suppression and expansion[edit]

St. Philip Benizi was elected general on June 5, 1267, and afterwards became the great propagator of the order.[4] The Second Council of Lyons in 1274 put into execution the ordinance of the Fourth Lateran Council, forbidding the foundation of new religious orders, and suppressed all mendicant institutions not yet approved by the Holy See. In the year 1276 Pope Innocent V in a letter to St. Philip declared the order suppressed. St. Philip proceeded to Rome, but before his arrival there Innocent V had died. His successor lived but five weeks. Finally Pope John XXI, decided that the order should continue as before. It was not definitively approved until Pope Benedict XI issued the Bull “Dum levamus” (February 11, 1304). Of the seven founders, St. Alexis alone lived to see their foundation raised to the dignity of an order. He died in 1310.

Pope Boniface IX granted the Servites the power to confer theological degrees on January 30, 1398, and the order established theMarianum in Rome.[7]

Servite church in Innsbruck,Austria

The new foundation enjoyed considerable growth in the following decades. Even in the thirteenth century there were houses of the order in Germany, France, and Spain. Early in the fourteenth century the order had more than one hundred convents including branch houses in Hungary,Bohemia, Austria, Poland, and Belgium; there were also missions in Crete, the Philippines (St. Peregrine-Philippine Vicariate) and India.

The disturbances during the Protestant Reformation caused the loss of many Servite convents in Germany, but in the south of France the order met with much success. The Convent of Santa Maria in Via (1563) was the second house of the order established in Rome; San Marcello al Corso had been founded in 1369. Early in the eighteenth century the order sustained losses and confiscations from which it has scarcely yet recovered. The flourishing Province of Narbonne was almost totally destroyed by the plague which swept Marseilles in 1720. In 1783 the Servites were expelled from Prague and in 1785 EmperorJoseph II desecrated the shrine of Maria Waldrast. Ten monasteries were suppressed in Spain in 1835. A new foundation was made at Brussels in 1891.

After the Risorgimento in 1870, the government of Italy closed the Marianum along with many other papal institutions. The institute was re-founded as the College of Sant Alessio Falcioneri in 1895.

At this period the order was introduced into England and America, chiefly through the efforts of Fathers Bosio and Morini. The latter, having gone to London in 1864 as director of the affiliated Sisters of Compassion, obtained charge of a parish from Archbishop Manning in 1867. His work prospered; besides St. Mary’s Priory at London, convents were opened at Bognor Regis (1882) and Begbroke (1886). In 1870 Fathers Morini, Ventura, Giribaldi, and Brother Joseph Camera, at the request of Bishop Joseph Melcher of Green Bay, Wisconsin, took up a mission in America, at Neenah. Father Morini founded atChicago (1874) the monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows. A novitiate was opened at Granville, Wisconsin, in 1892. The American province was formally established in 1908.

Twentieth century[edit]

The order continued to expand geographically throughout the twentieth century, taking responsibility for missions in Swaziland in 1913, Acre in Brazil in 1919, Aisén, Chile in 1937, and Zululand in South Africa. It also made foundations in Argentina from 1914 and more solidly since 1921; Transvaal in South Africa since 1935,Uruguay 1939, Bolivia 1946, Mexico 1948, Australia 1951,[8][9] Venezuela 1952, Colombia 1953, India 1974, Mozambique 1984, Philippines 1985, Uganda, Albania1993, and also the refoundations in Hungary (Eger) and the Czech Republic.[10]

Pope Pius XII, through the Congregation of Seminaries and Universities, elevated the Marianum to a pontifical theological faculty on 30 November 1950.

After the Second Vatican Council, the order renewed its Constitutions starting with its 1968 general chapter at Majadahonda, Madrid, a process which was concluded in 1987. In the same year, Prior General Michael M. Sincerny oversaw the creation of the International Union of the Servite Family (UNIFAS).[10]

The twentieth century also saw the beatification (1952) and the canonization of Friar Antonio Maria Pucci, the canonization of Clelia Barbieri (d. 1870), foundress of the Minime dell’Addolorata, the beatification of Ferdinando M. Baccilieri of the Servite Secular Order (1997), and the beatification of Sr. Maria Guadalupe Ricart Olmos (2001), a Spanish cloistered nun who was martyred during the Spanish Civil War, the beatification of Cecelia Eusepi of the Servite Secular Order .

Through the centuries, the Servite Order has spread throughout the world, including all of Europe, parts of Africa, Australia, the Americas, India and the Philippines. The general headquarters of the Servite Order is in Rome, while many provinces and motherhouses represent the Order throughout the world. In the United States there is one province of friars with headquarters in Chicago; there are four provinces of sisters with motherhouses in Wisconsin, Nebraska and two in Illinois.[1]

Devotions, manner of life[edit]

Ceiling in the Servite mother church, Santissima Annunziata, Florence

In common with all religious orders strictly so called, the Servites make solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The particular object of the order is to sanctify first its own members, and then all men through devotion to the Mother of God, especially in her desolation during the Passion of her Divine Son.

The Servites give missions, have the care of souls, or teach in higher institutions of learning. The Rosary of the Seven Dolors is one of their devotions, as is also the Via Matris.

The fasts of the order are Advent, Lent, and the vigils of certain feasts.

All offices in the order are elective and continue for three years, except that of general and assistant-generals which are for six years.

Canonized Servite saints are: St. Philip Benizi (feast day on August 23), St. Peregrine Laziosi (May 4), St. Juliana Falconieri(June 19). The seven founders of the order were canonized in 1888, and have a common feast day on 17 February. The date first assigned to this feast day was 11 February, the anniversary of the canonical approval of the order in 1304. In 1907 this date was assigned to the celebration ofOur Lady of Lourdes and the feast day of the Seven Holy Founders was moved to 12 February. In accordance with liturgical tradition, the date was changed in 1969 to the anniversary of the death of one of them, Alexis Falconieri, which occurred on 17 February 1310.[11]

Affiliated associations[edit]

Connected with the first order of men are the cloistered nuns of the second order, which originated with converts of St. Philip Benizi. These sisters have monasteries in Spain, Italy, England, the Tyrol, and Germany.

The Mantellate, is a third order of women founded by Juliana Falconieri, to whom St. Philip gave the habit in 1284. From Italy it spread into other countries of Europe. The Venerable Anna Juliana, Archduchess of Austria, founded several houses and became a Mantellate herself. In 1844 it was introduced into France, and was thence extended into England in 1850. The sisters were the first to wear the religious habit publicly in that country after the so-called Reformation and were active missionaries under Father Faber and the Oratorians for many years. This branch occupies itself with active works. They devote themselves principally to the education of youth, managing academies and taking charge of parochial schools and workrooms. They also undertake works of mercy, such as the care of orphans, visiting the sick, and instructing converts, etc.[4]They have houses in Italy, France, Spain, England, and Canada. In the United States they are to be found in the dioceses of Sioux City, Omaha, and Belville, NC, and Blue Island, IL.
There is also a confraternity of the Seven Dolours, branches of which may be erected in any church.

The Secular Order of the Servants of Mary (Servite Secular Order) is a Catholic organization of lay men and women plus diocesan priests living their Christian faith in the context of the world. They strive toward holiness according to the spirituality of the Servite Order, following the directives of their Rule of Life. Secular Servites are asked to do the following each day: live the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love; pray and try to read Sacred Scripture each day, and/or the Liturgy of the Hours; practice acts of reverence for the Mother of God daily, especially by praying the Servite prayer “The Vigil of Our Lady” and/or the Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.[2]

Mariology and the Marianum[edit]

The Pontifical institute Marianum which is now one of the leading centers of Mariology traces its roots to the Servite Order. In 1398 Pope Boniface IX, granted the order the right to confer theological degrees and in 1895 the school reopened under the name Sant Alessio Falcioneri.

In 1939 Father Gabriel Roschini OSM founded the journal Marianum and directed it for thirty years. In 1950, he founded the Marianum Theological Faculty, which, on December 8, 1955 became a Pontifical faculty by Decree Coelesti Honorandae Reginae of the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities under the authority of Pope Pius XII.[12]

Servites of distinction[edit]

Antonio Maria Pucci (1819-1892).

Ten members have been canonized and several beatified.

A few of the most distinguished members are here grouped under the heading of that particular subject to which they were especially devoted; the dates are those of their death.

Sacred Scripture: Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli (1600), commentary in five volumes.

Theology: Gabriel Roschini (1924).

History and Hagiography. Raphael Maffei (1577); Paolo Sarpi (1623); Philip Ferrari (1626);

Painters; Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli (Angelus Montursius) (1563), architect and sculptor, among whose works are the Neptune of Messina, the arm of Laocoon in the Vatican, and the Angels on the Ponte Sant’ Angelo.

Institutions and schools[edit]

Gallery of Servite churches[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

“Why are many priests silent of EJK killings?” – Fr. Amado Picardal

“Why are many priests silent of EJK killings?” – Fr. Amado Picardal

Fr. Amado L. Picardal, CSsR Along the Way

Fr. Amado L. PicardalAs the death toll of the government’s war on drugs reach over seven thousand after just seven months, one of the questions frequently asked is: “why are many priests silent?” Day after day, the mass media report and show images of extra-judicial killings of suspected users and pushers perpetrated by police and by death squads. Yet, many if not most of the members of the clergy – with a few exceptions – remain silent even as the CBCP came out with several pastoral letters the latest of which was supposed to be read in churches all over the Philippines last Sunday (Feb. 5). So, how can the silence of many priests be explained?

Based on my own personal observation and from what I have heard, there are many reasons for this. For many priests who view their priesthood in exclusively sacramental or cultic terms, speaking out or denouncing evil perpetrated by those in power is not part of the priestly ministry. They think their sole duty is to say Mass and administer the sacraments. They regard their ministry as purely spiritual and reject any involvement in the temporal sphere – especially on issues that they think are political in nature. So the extra-judicial killings, the abuses, corruption and criminality within the government and the police are not their concern. After all, there is separation between Church and State.

There are priests who are not aware of these killings, the abuse of power and the injustices. They live in their own world of comfort and luxury—within the ambit of the church and the rectory. They do not know and do not care about what’s happening around them. They are far from their poor flock. They are blind and deaf to the suffering and evil around them. So naturally they are dumb—they cannot and do not speak out.

There are priests who support these killings or turn a blind eye. They think that this acceptable for the common good. This is the only way to solve the problem of drug addiction. Our country needs a strong leader who can save our country. They believe that he has the political will to bring about change in our land – to bring peace, to eradicate poverty, eliminate corruption and protect the environment. That is why they campaigned and voted for the president and continue to support him. They were even proud to show pictures of their iron fist salute (complete with baller) on Facebook. These priests are often annoyed and angry when the CBCP comes up with pastoral letters that they judge as critical of the present government. They believe in the official reports that those killed fought back and the government has nothing to do with the death squads.

There are priests who are afraid that if they speak out, the president will hit back—below the belt—and expose the sexual abuses of the clergy and be called hypocrites. Others are afraid that they could be in the hit list of the death squads and martyred if they speak out.
So there many reasons why most priests are silent. Perhaps, these could be the same reasons why many religious and lay-faithful are also silent.

If this continues, the bodies will continue to pile up and reach over 70,000 victims after six years. The other problems—such as poverty and corruption will not be addressed. As the recent CBCP letter reminds us: “to consent and keep silent in front of evil is to be an accomplice to it.”

Let us pray that someday the priests who are silent will be able to see the evil around them, find their voice and have the courage to exercise their prophetic ministry—to form the moral conscience of their flock so that they may recognize and denounce the manifestation of evil and the culture of death and to announce the Gospel of life and freedom. Let us pray they may become good shepherds, ready to offer their lives for the flock. Reading and disseminating the CBCP pastoral letter to the faithful is a good start but more is required.

Read the source: http://www.cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=91424

Rodrigo Duterte speaks at Manila’s Rizal Park on May 7, 2016.
Rodrigo Duterte speaks at Manila’s Rizal Park on May 7, 2016. (Simon Roughneen)
WORLD  |  FEB. 15, 2017

Philippines’ Catholic Leaders Grapple With Duterte Presidency

The nation’s bishops have condemned the government-approved wave of extrajudicial executions of drug traffickers and addicts, which have killed more than 7,600 people in less than eight months.

JAKARTA, Indonesia — After Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s succession of tirades against the country’s Catholic Church leaders, bishops hardly expected a presidential climb down, even after their entreaty asking the government to ease up on a violent anti-drugs campaign.

In less than eight months, more than 7,600 people, mostly drug traffickers and drug users, have been executed extrajudicially, often by a gunshot to the head, their bodies left on the blood-strewn street as a warning. Some have been killed in police operations and some have been murdered by unidentified paramilitary squads.

The bloodshed prompted a February pastoral letter signed by Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, which said, “This traffic in illegal drugs needs to be stopped and overcome. But the solution does not lie in the killing of suspected drug users and pushers.”

The letter was read out at Masses around the 7,500-island archipelago, where 83% of the 102.6 million population is Catholic — by far the biggest Catholic population in Asia — and where passionate, public displays of devotion are commonplace.

But the voluble president, true to form, was defiant. “You Catholics, if you believe in your priests and bishops, you stay with them. If you want to go to heaven, then go to them,” he said. “Now, if you want to end drugs … I will go to hell. Come join me,” added Duterte, who has said in the past that he was sexually abused as a child by a Jesuit priest.

Duterte’s retort was mild compared to some of his past rants, such as a June 2016 speech in which he repeated his view that Church leaders in the Philippines are “hypocrites” who sought money from government and who engaged in secret, illicit sexual relationships.

“I challenge you now. I challenge the Catholic Church. You are full of s—,” Duterte said, waving a book called Altar of Secrets, which depicts allegations of sexual and financial scandals in the Philippine Catholic Church. ”You are all filthy,” added Duterte, who had only been elected president a month earlier.

In September 2016, as his anti-drug bloodletting was in full swing, Duterte said, “If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…,” while pointing at himself. “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews; now there are 3 million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said.

Other Challenges

And Duterte’s presidency has brought other challenges for the Church in the Philippines. A plan to restore the death penalty would bring “great shame” to the Philippines, according to Archbishop Villegas, as the proposed law change would mean death for 21 crimes such as treason, some forms of murder and rape, and violent car thefts, as well as some drug offenses.

Another point of contention has been Duterte’s promotion of contraceptives, saying they should be available in high schools across the country, a move that has been met with Church criticism, which was predictably followed by a tirade alleging sexual and financial impropriety by clergy.

Before winning the country’s highest office in May 2016, Duterte had already made a name for himself for anti-Catholic outbursts. More than a year before Duterte won the presidential election, Pope Francis visited the Philippines, in early 2015. Around 6 million people attended the papal Mass, braving a downpour, and hundreds of thousands jostled on sidewalks for a glimpse at the papal motorcade. Duterte, apparently unmoved by the vast crowds and the display of mass devotion, ended up apologizing to Francis for calling him a “son of a whore” after getting caught up in a traffic jam in Manila that he blamed on the Pope.

Nonetheless, the Filipino bishops’ conference did not endorse or reject candidates before the election, merely counseling the 54-million strong electorate to vote according to their consciences.

After a raucous campaign, in which Duterte was compared for his incendiary rhetoric to now-U.S. President Donald Trump, Duterte was elected president of the Philippines with almost 40% of the vote — a landslide that saw him win almost twice as many votes as the second- and third-placed contenders combined.

On the campaign trail, Duterte wowed crowds by vowing to fill Manila Bay with the corpses of criminals and lambasting the alleged elitism of other candidates. While the Philippine economy has emerged as one of the fastest growing in Asia during the current decade, poverty is widespread. Around 10 million Filipinos work overseas, sending much-needed remittances home to family members who otherwise struggle financially in a country where the gross domestic product per head is just below $3,000, according to 2015 World Bank calculations.

Mayoral Record

As mayor of Davao, Duterte cleaned up a dangerous and chaotic city, personally taking part in extrajudicial killings of alleged criminals. Duterte’s macho-man image and fearsome willingness to trample over rule-of-law norms earned him the respect and support of millions of Filipinos exasperated at wealth inequality, which is seen as protected by a political establishment where an estimated 70% of elected lawmakers are members of political dynasties — wealthy elites who keep local and national congressional seats in the family for generations.

But Duterte shocked some — particularly overseas — with a campaign speech in which he said, supposedly in jest or anger, that he should have been the first to rape Jacqueline Hamill, a Australian Pentecostalist missionary who was gang-raped and murdered during a 1989 prison riot in Davao, the main city in the southern Philippines where Duterte was mayor. Supporters accused media of misrepresenting or misunderstanding their candidate, who, they contended, was merely talking in a way similar to Filipino men bantering in a bar over a few beers.

Duterte also insulted then-U.S. President Barack Obama, telling him to “go to h—” and calling him “a son of a b—-.”

Since taking office, he has sought better relations with China, despite Sino-Filipino territorial rivalries in the South China Sea, as well as U.S. attempts to support the Philippines against China’s enormous economic and military heft.

But Duterte wants Chinese investment in the Philippines, particularly financing for road and rail upgrades. Visiting Beijing in October 2016, Duterte hinted that his country’s close ties with the U.S. would be loosened — a “separation,” according to Duterte, who has also talked up improving relations with Russia, another strategic rival of the U.S.

Duterte and Trump

However, Duterte said he expects relations with the United States, which occupied the Philippines from 1898 until World War II, to improve under the Trump presidency.

“He is a billionaire. His wife is very beautiful. I envy him,” Duterte said of Trump. The two leaders talked by phone in December, and, according to Duterte, they hit it off.

“He was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs. And he wishes me well … in my campaign; and he said that … we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way,” Duterte said of Trump. The comments were made after he appointed real estate magnate Jose Antonio, Trump’s business partner in the Philippines, as a special trade envoy to the U.S.

The Philippines will host a major Asia-Pacific summit in late 2017, which Trump is expected to attend, along with leaders such as Xi Jinping of China and Shinzo Abe of Japan, who last weekend stayed at Trump’s Florida resort during a bilateral meeting.

Trump’s backing for Duterte’s “War on Drugs” is likely to make Church leaders’ efforts to stall the bloodshed more challenging.

But in recent days, some of the excesses of that campaign have prompted even Duterte to rethink, which may encourage Church leaders to keep importuning the president.

Using the drug war as cover, a police drug squad kidnapped and murdered Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman — strangling him in the headquarters of the Philippines National Police.

Duterte, reportedly furious and possibly concerned at jeopardizing economic ties with its wealthy neighbor, ordered the drug war to be handed over to the local equivalent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, supported by the army.

Simon Roughneen, a Southeast Asia correspondent for several publications, has reported from the Philippines five times in recent years, including during the 2010 and 2016 national elections

Read the source: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/philippines-catholic-leaders-grapple-with-duterte-presidency

Church urges vigilance vs death penalty bill

MANILA, Feb. 15, 2017— As the Lower House sets the death penalty vote to next month, a prison ministry official encouraged advocates against the measure to be vigilant.

Prison volunteers attend Mass at the CBCP Chapel in Manila before going to the House of Representatives to monitor the plenary debates on the death penalty bill. (CBCPNews)

Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said there’s more reason to believe that the House leadership is determined to push the proposed bill.

The bishops earlier called on the clergy, the religious, and the laity to attend congressional hearings on the death penalty to ensure that due process is observed.

“Let’s monitor and show to them that we are standing against death penalty,” Diamante said.

He said the faithful must not stop campaigning against the legislative measure until it’s totally junked.

“Our presence is important. We can also offer prayers,” said Diamante.

“And when they see in the gallery that are lots of people, especially priests and nuns, they might not force the voting,” he said.

The House of Representatives will reportedly insist on putting the death penalty bill to a vote before Congress adjourns for the summer break next month.

The House leadership wants to put the measure to a vote on second reading on March 8, and a vote on third and final reading by March 15.

On Wednesday, Diamante and dozens of prison volunteers trooped to the Lower House to monitor the plenary debates on the death penalty bill.

He also called on lay people to talk to their respective congressmen to vote against the measure. (CBCPNews)  Read the source: http://www.cbcpnews.com/cbcpnews/?p=91670

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/12/28/the-ten-commandments-what-you-should-know/

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Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Gilbert of Sempringham, February 16,2017

Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Gilbert of Sempringham, February 16,2017

Peter rebukes Jesus for speaking openly about his imminent Passion and Death. For Peter, such suffering does not correspond to the profession he has just made: “You are the Christ.” The Lord responds, “Get behind me, Satan.” To claim Christ without his cross is akin to Satanism. The sign of the unending covenant is the red of Christ’s shed blood.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Dear Jesus, Peter acknowledged You as the Christ but rejected your word that You must suffer and die before the resurrection. Lord, You rebuked Peter and informed your disciples that their discipleship meant taking up their own cross with You. Lord in our desire to be your disciple, give us the grace and the wisdom to follow You and carry our cross and not to lead You as Peter did towards our own human plan. In your Name, we pray. Amen.

Reading 1
Gn 9:1-13

God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them:
“Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.
Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth
and all the birds of the air,
upon all the creatures that move about on the ground
and all the fishes of the sea;
into your power they are delivered.
Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat;
I give them all to you as I did the green plants.
Only flesh with its lifeblood still in it you shall not eat.
For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting:
from every animal I will demand it,
and from one man in regard to his fellow man
I will demand an accounting for human life.

If anyone sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed;
For in the image of God
has man been made.

Be fertile, then, and multiply;
abound on earth and subdue it.”

God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
and with every living creature that was with you:
all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals
that were with you and came out of the ark.
I will establish my covenant with you,
that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed
by the waters of a flood;
there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”
God added:
“This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come,
of the covenant between me and you
and every living creature with you:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.”

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23

R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion,
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Gospel
Mk 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – You are the Christ 

We all know that faith has been sowed in the hearts of God’s first disciples.  Yet in today’s gospel reading, we see them questioning Jesus’ teaching that the Son of man must soon die and willingly submit to the will of God. To follow Jesus means to surrender our lives to Him and willingly submit to God’s will. We cannot be a follower of Christ and then challenge His teachings and the way He wants us to live our lives. Jesus is either GOD and we submit to Him or He is not and we may go our own way.

In today’s gospel, we see Jesus rebuke Peter when he tried to lead Him according to his worldly way and bring Him away from what He believed He should do for the Father. Despite the fact He will give Peter the mandate to continue His work and establish His church, Jesus rebuked him when He said: “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Such act shows that in our work for the Lord we should have no partiality and apply God’s Word to every man.

In Mark’s gospel today, Jesus and his disciples were traveling between villages when He asked them who they believe He is. “You are the Christ,” Peter responded. But as soon as Jesus begun to describe what it means to be Christ – rejection, suffering and even death – Peter was found ambivalent and cold to what Jesus confided to them as he tried to discourage Jesus from talking about it.

In my own life, I am like Peter as I always avoid the most uncomfortable situations. I am not exactly a proponent for self denial and self giving neither do I face rejection and pain with an open heart.

Today my heart speaks that to be an authentic follower of Christ, I have to do more than just offer lip service. It’s not enough to say I am a follower of Jesus as Peter did but I need to live it and accept all that it means.

Our Catholic faith gives a preferential position for the poor as James 2 states, “God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom that he promised to those who love him”. However when suffering and death becomes the center of our life, when sharing and giving to others become more dominant than receiving, we get shaken and try to set our hearts and minds on something else. We try to pretend that we are not after all the people God has called into His service.

Jesus took His place among the poor. He chose rejection, suffering and death over power and influence. Today His invitation to all of us is no different. He wants us to pursue a life of self giving and self denial. He is asking us to bear our cross and follow Him. He wants us to stand next to Him in this life and be His healing balm, His instrument for love and healing. He wants us to deny ourselves and accept death to self by giving way to others and always opting to be last and least of all.

Today, let us resolve to follow Jesus, the true Christ! In our hearts let us deny ourselves and allow God to change us according to His plan and let Him perfect our faith, so that we may be poor in spirit as “the LORD hears the cries of the poor and from distress He saves them.”

Direction
Affirm that Jesus is the True Christ by following Him and His teachings, by applying His Word in all our affairs. Let Witness, Worship and Warfare be deeply founded in our lives.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, give me the wisdom to understand my faith and the strength to do your will. In that way I may find my new life in Jesus Who I proclaim is God and the true Christ, the Messiah. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Who do you say that Jesus is?

Who is Jesus for you – and what difference does he make in your life? Many in Israel recognized Jesus as a mighty man of God, even comparing him with the greatest of the prophets. Peter, always quick to respond whenever Jesus spoke, professed that Jesus was truly the “Christ of God” – “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter, but only God. Through the “eyes of faith” Peter discovered who Jesus truly was. Peter recognized that Jesus was much more than a great teacher, prophet, and miracle worker. Peter was the first apostle to publicly declare that Jesus was the Anointed One, consecrated by the Father and sent into the world to redeem a fallen human race enslaved to sin and cut off from eternal life with God (Luke 9:20, Acts 2:14-36). The word for “Christ” in Greek is a translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah” – both words literally mean the Anointed One.

Jesus begins to explain the mission he was sent to accomplish 
Why did Jesus command his disciples to be silent about his identity as the anointed Son of God? They were, after all, appointed to proclaim the good news to everyone. Jesus knew that they did not yet fully understand his mission and how he would accomplish it. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father, explains the reason for this silence:

There were things yet unfulfilled which must also be included in their preaching about him. They must also proclaim the cross, the passion, and the death in the flesh. They must preach the resurrection of the dead, that great and truly glorious sign by which testimony is borne him that the Emmanuel is truly God and by nature the Son of God the Father. He utterly abolished death and wiped out destruction. He robbed hell, and overthrew the tyranny of the enemy. He took away the sin of the world, opened the gates above to the dwellers upon earth, and united earth to heaven. These things proved him to be, as I said, in truth God. He commanded them, therefore, to guard the mystery by a seasonable silence until the whole plan of the dispensation should arrive at a suitable conclusion. (Commentary on LukeHomily 49)

God’s Anointed Son must suffer and die to atone for our sins
Jesus told his disciples that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and die in order that God’s work of redemption might be accomplished. How startled the disciples were when they heard this word. How different are God’s thoughts and ways from our thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8). It was through humiliation, suffering, and death on the cross that Jesus broke the powers of sin and death and won for us eternal life and freedom from the slavery of sin and from the oppression of our enemy, Satan, the father of lies and the deceiver of humankind.

We, too, have a share in the mission and victory of Jesus Christ
If we want to share in the victory of the Lord Jesus, then we must also take up our cross and follow where he leads us. What is the “cross” that you and I must take up each day? When my will crosses (does not align) with God’s will, then his will must be done. To know Jesus Christ is to know the power of his victory on the cross where he defeated sin and conquered death through his resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives each of us the gifts and strength we need to live as sons and daughters of God. The Holy Spirit gives us faith to know the Lord Jesus personally as our Redeemer, and the power to live the Gospel faithfully, and the courage to witness to others the joy, truth, and freedom of the Gospel. Who do you say that Jesus is?

“Lord Jesus, I believe and I profess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Take my life, my will, and all that I have, that I may be wholly yours now and forever.” – Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb16.htm

Reflection 3 – What’s your personal rainbow?

In today’s first reading, God renews with Noah the covenant that he had made with Adam and Eve. Notice the change, though: He replaced the commandment about not eating from the Tree of Knowledge with a commandment about not eating animal flesh that still has “its lifeblood” in it. This will be further renewed when he makes the covenant of Moses.

God is still renewing covenants today. When we sin, we turn away from God, but he’s always eager to restore the relationship. Since things can never be the same again, thanks to the damage we caused by our sins, we need a new, enhanced covenant.

For example, years ago when a friend betrayed me, I was filled with resentment and wanted to drive him out of my life. However, God wanted me to obey the Christian commandment about loving our enemies. So I wanted to know: “If there’s no indication that this fellow is going to overcome the problems that are harming our relationship, why stay in this mess? It’s hopeless!”

Then one day, as my husband and I were driving to a store, God showed us a rainbow. I said to Ralph sarcastically, “Oh goodie, look at that. A rainbow. God is telling us not to give up. R-i-i-i-ight.” We turned the car in a different direction and there in front of us was another rainbow.

“Okay, I get it!”

The rainbow became a symbol of my new, enhanced covenant with the Lord. By relying on his supernatural love, I could love the troublesome friend unconditionally even while the relationship continued to disintegrate. I could keep trying to help him until God, instead of my resentment, told me to stop. And he did, a few years later, at which time I was able say good-bye in a spirit of forgiveness, knowing that God would try to help him some other way now.

God is sovereign. His plans always succeed, but sometimes people interrupt Plan A, and so he comes up with Plan B. That’s what happened in the Garden of Eden. Plan A was a holy life in paradise. Noah’s Ark was part of Plan B, but that didn’t keep us holy either. Eventually, God gave us Plan J (Jesus). The new covenant is to love as Jesus loves.

Who do you say Jesus is? This is the question for us in today’s Gospel reading. Is he truly your Lord and Savior — in EVERYthing? With EVERYone? If not, this is where a renewed covenant is needed.

We restore our relationship with God in the ark of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Because it’s a sacrament, Jesus is truly present there, in the form of a priest, to give us a new rainbow, i.e., the promise of his supernatural help to love and live in holiness. – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-02-16

Reflection 4 – St. Gilbert of Sempringham (c. 1083-1189)

Gilbert was born in Sempringham, England, into a wealthy family, but he followed a path quite different from that expected of him as the son of a Norman knight. Sent to France for his higher education, he decided to pursue seminary studies.

He returned to England not yet ordained a priest, and inherited several estates from his father. But Gilbert avoided the easy life he could have led under the circumstances. Instead he lived a simple life at a parish, sharing as much as possible with the poor. Following his ordination to the priesthood he served as parish priest at Sempringham.

Among the congregation were seven young women who had expressed to him their desire to live in religious life. In response, Gilbert had a house built for them adjacent to the Church. There they lived an austere life, but one which attracted ever more numbers; eventually lay sisters and lay brothers were added to work the land. The religious order formed eventually became known as the Gilbertines, though Gilbert had hoped the Cistercians or some other existing order would take on the responsibility of establishing a rule of life for the new order. The Gilbertines, the only religious order of English origin founded during the Middle Ages, continued to thrive. But the order came to an end when King Henry VIII suppressed all Catholic monasteries.

Over the years a special custom grew up in the houses of the order called “the plate of the Lord Jesus.” The best portions of the dinner were put on a special plate and shared with the poor, reflecting Gilbert’s lifelong concern for less fortunate people.

Throughout his life Gilbert lived simply, consumed little food and spent a good portion of many nights in prayer. Despite the rigors of such a life he died at well over age 100.

Comment:

When he came into his father’s wealth, Gilbert could have lived a life of luxury, as many of his fellow priests did at the time. Instead, he chose to share his wealth with the poor. The charming habit of filling “the plate of the Lord Jesus” in the monasteries he established reflected his concern. Today’s Operation Rice Bowl echoes that habit: eating a simpler meal and letting the difference in the grocery bill help feed the hungry.

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1293

SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_of_Sempringham
SAINT GILBERT OF SEMPRINGHAM
GilbertSempringham.jpg

Saint Gilbert with two nuns
PRIEST AND RELIGIOUS FOUNDER
BORN ca. 1085
Sempringham, Lincolnshire,Kingdom of England
DIED 4 February 1189 or 1190
Sempringham, Lincolnshire, Kingdom of England
VENERATED IN Roman Catholic Church
(Canons Regular of StAugustine), Church of England
CANONIZED 1202, Rome, Papal States byPope Innocent III
FEAST 4 February

Gilbert of Sempringham, CRSA (c. 1083 – 4 February 1190),[1] the founder of the Gilbertine Order, was the onlyEnglishman to found a conventual order, mainly because the Abbot of Cîteaux declined his request to assist him in organising a group of women who wanted to live as nuns, living with lay brothers and sisters, in 1148.[2] In the end he founded a double monastery of canons regular and nuns.

Life[edit]

Gilbert was born at Sempringham, near Bourne in Lincolnshire, the son of Jocelin, an Anglo-Norman lord of the manor, who unusually for that period, actively prevented his son from becoming a knight, instead sending him to the University of Paris to study theology. Some physical deformity may have made him unfit for military service, making an ecclesiastical career the best option. When he returned in 1120 he became a clerk in the household of Robert Bloet,Bishop of Lincoln, started a school for boys and girls (the existing primary school at Pointon is still named after him) and was ordained by Robert’s successor, Alexander.[3] Offered the archdeaconry of Lincoln, he refused, saying that he knew no surer way to perdition.

The Gilbertines[edit]

When Gilbert’s father died in 1130 he became lord of the manor of Sempringham. In 1131 he founded the GilbertineOrder, and constructed at Sempringham, with the help of Alexander, a dwelling and cloister for nuns, at the north of the church of St. Andrew.[3] Eventually he had a chain of twenty-six convents, monasteries and missions. A custom developed in the houses of the order called “the plate of the Lord Jesus”, whereby the best portions of the dinner were put on a special plate and shared with the poor.[4] In 1148 he approached the Cistercians for help. They refused because he included women in his order. The male part of the order consisted of Canons Regular.

In 1165 Gilbert was charged with having aided Thomas Becket when Thomas had fled from King Henry II after the council of Northampton, but he was eventually found innocent.[3] Then, when he was 90, some of his lay brothers revolted, but he received the backing of Pope Alexander III. Gilbert resigned his office late in life because of blindness and died at Sempringham in about 1190, at the age of 106.[5]

The only religious order of English origin founded during the Middle Ages, continued to thrive, but came to an end when King Henry VIII suppressed all Catholic monasteries.[4]

Veneration[edit]

Gilbert was canonised in 1202 by Pope Innocent III. His liturgical feast day is on 4 February, commemorating his death. According to the order of Hubert Walter, the bishops of England celebrated his feast, and his name was added to the wall of the church of the Four Crowned Martyrs. His Order did not outlast the Reformation, however; and despite being influenced by Continental models, it did not maintain a foothold in Europe.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Iredale (pp.7 & 54) says 1189 but this is probably according to the Old Style calendar, which began the year on Lady Day, in March. By the time England abandoned this, the discrepancies of the Julian calendar had moved it into April by modern reckoning.
  2. Jump up^ Iredale places this in 1147 (p.4). Again, the difference between Old and New style calendars may account for this.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c Butler, Richard Urban. “St. Gilbert of Sempringham.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 12 Oct. 2014
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b Foley O.F.M., Leonard. “St. Gilbert of Sempringham”, Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media
  5. Jump up^ Graham, Rose S. Gilbert of Sempringham and the Gilbertines: a history of the only English monastic order (London: Elliott Stock, 1903)
  6. Jump up^ Farmer, David Hugh (1997). The Oxford dictionary of saints (4th ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. pp. 209–210.

Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Claude de la Colombiere, February 15,2017

Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Claude de la Colombiere, February 15,2017

The “plucked-off olive leaf” was the sign of the existence in the world of a living tree, which meant that the flood waters were receding and that life on earth could begin again. When Jesus heals the blind man, the first thing he sees is “people looking like trees and walking.” He glimpses what we will see on Good Friday: the man Jesus carrying his cross as if he were a tree walking. The sign of that tree is the promise of New Life on earth.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Dear Jesus, In today’s gospel reading, we witnessed how You healed the blind man. Lord, in our spiritual journey, we realize that we, too, need to be healed from our blindness regarding your true Lordship in our lives. Lord amidst our imperfections and our inclination to sin, bless us that we may be healed from our own blindness regarding who You are in our lives and what it means to follow You as your disciple. In your Mighty Name, we pray. Amen.

Reading 1
Gn 8:6-13, 20-22

At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark, and he sent out a raven, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth. It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth. Then he sent out a dove, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth. But the dove could find no place to alight and perch, and it returned to him in the ark, for there was water all over the earth. Putting out his hand, he caught the dove and drew it back to him inside the ark. He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark. In the evening the dove came back to him, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf! So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth. He waited still another seven days and then released the dove once more; and this time it did not come back.

In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the water began to dry up on the earth. Noah then removed the covering of the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up. Noah built an altar to the LORD, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered burnt offerings on the altar. When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself: “Never again will I doom the earth because of man since the desires of man(s heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done. As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 116:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
R. (17a) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.

How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.

My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.

My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Mk 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?” Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Jesus healed a blind person

Today’s gospel scenario shows that Jesus healed a blind person. He had to lay His hands on the blind man twice before the man was completely healed and was able to see. This brings us to the question of how we are with our spiritual efforts. Do we persevere with our good deeds? Do we patiently act on God’s word or do we set it aside if our situation becomes a bit difficult? Do we give people a second chance or set them aside instantaneously as soon as they fail to live up to our standards?

An old friend once shared his life with me and how the Lord brought him into His fold.  Despite his very beautiful childhood, having grown up in a wealthy and well-endowed family and his education in an exclusive Catholic boys school, which culminated in a top Ivy league business school, the young man never gave God some space in His heart. He proceeded with life recklessly and was not very much guided by any moral values in his career. His love life was likewise the same. His only dream was to amass wealth apart from his family and to win every woman’s heart. His quest for fame, power and fortune filled his eart.  They all displaced God.

One day, he fell seriously ill and was about to die. Through his prayers and the intercessions of those close to him, God relented and gave Him a new life. His faith in our Lord saved him from sure death-death not only of the body but also of the soul.

Like the blind man in today’s gospel reading, this man was touched by Jesus twice…the very first time in his early childhood but shrugged off God out of His life. The second time around, God did not relent. He could now see life in a more clear way. This young man is now firmly guided by the norms and values of a Christian as he conducts his business as Chief Financial Officer of big conglomerate. He has given his life to the Lord by being one of the pillars of a spiritual community that seeks to renew Christians and bring others closer to the Lord.

But like the blind man, this man also needed to “go home” to his loved ones, to his family and friends to proclaim God’s goodness and love. As he was overwhelmed by God’s love, he needed to “go home” to let his experience settle in his heart, to nourish and nurture His new found relationship. He needed to share God with the world now that his heart is rooted in God’s word and work.

‘Jesus sent the man whom He healed of blindness, with the admonition, “Do not even go into the village.” Instead of skipping town and following Jesus’ admonition, “Do not even go into the village.” he ran back to his village to proclaim God’s victory in his life. God’s love and healing mercies took a strong hold of this man’s heart that there was nothing that could stop Him from bringing the Good News to all men!

Let us pray to God that He touches us deep in our souls and gives us not only the Virtue of doing His will but the Wisdom of knowing it and the Strength of living by it.

Direction

Apply God’s word to one’s daily life- family, work and community. When we allow God’s love to take hold of our life, we are able to share Christ with others.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, let me ponder on your love and goodness.  Let me feel your mighty presence in all that I do. Bless me all the days of my life and let your Word and Work to take root deep down in my heart so that I may be a faithful doer of your Word. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – The blind man

Here’s a story of a blind man who lived in a small house surrounded by a large garden. He spent all of his free moments in the garden, which he cultivated very carefully despite his handicap. Whether it was spring, summer, or fall, his garden was a riot of colors.

“Tell me,” asked a pedestrian who admired all this floral beauty, “Why do you raise all these flowers which you cannot even see, can you?” “No I can’t; I have no idea what they even look like.” “Why do you raise a garden at all, then?” The blind man said, “I’ll give you four reasons: first, I like gardening; second, I can touch my flowers; third, I can smell their perfume; and the fourth reason is YOU!” “Me? Why you don’t even know me.” “No; but I knew that one day you would come by… and take pleasure in my flowers… and that would give me the opportunity to chat with you about them.”

This blind man’s joyful spirit was inviting people around through his flowers and sharing the feelings of the heart’s goodness. He gave everyone around a glimpse of God’s loving character.

When a man who had been born blind was healed by Jesus, he too had the opportunity to show others a glimpse of who God is (Jn 9:1-41). Neighbors asked, “How were your eyes opened?”(Jn 9:10).  He told them about Jesus. When Pharisees questioned him, he told them how Jesus had given him sight, and concluded, “If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing”(Jn 9:33).

We may wonder how we can show other what God is like. God can be clearly seen in the way we handle life’s difficulties, such as problems at work or home, or perhaps a serious illness. We can share with others how He is comforting us – and let them know that the Lord care for them too.

Who in your life needs to see the love of God? Allow the Lord to touch you with his grace and power that you walk in the light of his redeeming truth and love. St. Jerome wrote on the significance of this healing for us: “Christ laid his hands upon his eyes that he might see all things clearly, so through visible things he might understand things invisible, which the eye has not seen, that after the film of sin is removed, he might clearly behold the state of his soul with the eye of a clean heart.”

“Lord Jesus, restore my sight to your revelation and to your healing presence. Help me to walk according to your truth and to not stumble in the darkness of sin. May I help others find your healing light and saving presence.”

Reflection 3 – The blind man was restored, and saw everything clearly

What’s worse than physical blindness? A mind and heart darkened by sin, unbelief, and prideful rejection of God’s light and truth. Jesus came to set people free from the blinding darkness of sin, deception, and the lies of Satan and he offered them new abundant life and freedom to walk in his way of love, truth, and holiness. Wherever Jesus went he proclaimed the kingdom of God, and many people drew near to hear, see, and touch the power which came from him to heal and restore people to wholeness of life.

The gift of faith dispels the darkness of sin and unbelief
When Jesus came to Bethsaida, the fishing village of Andrew, Peter, James, and John, a blind man was brought to Jesus by some of his friends. Without their help he could not have found the one who could restore his sight and make him whole. Jesus understood the fears and hopes of this blind man and his friends who begged him to touch the blind so he could be restored. The blind in a special way perceive the power of touch.

Why did Jesus first lead the blind man away from the village (Mark 8:23)? Jesus very likely wanted to remove him from the distraction of bystanders and unbelieving skeptics. We know from the Gospel accounts written by Luke and Matthew that Jesus had strong words of rebuke for the inhabitants of Bethsaida:

“Woe to you Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you… You shall be brought down to Hades” (Luke 10:13, Matthew 11:21).

Jesus identifies with our weaknesses and strengthens us in faith
Jesus showed considerateness in bringing the blind man to a place away from the skeptics and gawkers who might dampen his faith and trust in Jesus. Then Jesus did something quite remarkable and unexpected. Mark says that Jesus “spit on his eyes, and laid his hands upon him” (Mark 8:23). Jesus physically identified with the blind man’s incurable condition both to show his personal compassion for him and to also awaken faith in him. Jesus then asks the man, “Do you see anything?” The blind man begins to recognize that he can now see a little bit – but his sight is very blurry. So Jesus lays his hands on him a second time to strengthen his faith so he can receive a complete healing. Mark records in three short phrases the dramatic healing which occurred to the blind man: “He looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly.” His sight was restored in stages as he responded in faith to Jesus’ healing touch and words.

Jesus gives us “eyes of faith” to recognize the truth of his word
Jerome, an early church bible scholar (347-420 AD), explains the spiritual significance of this healing not only for the blind man but for us as well:

“Christ laid his hands upon his eyes that he might see all things clearly, so through visible things he might understand things invisible, which the eye has not seen, that after the film of sin is removed, he might clearly behold the state of his soul with the eye of a clean heart.”

Sinful pride and the refusal to repent of wrongdoing easily lead to deception and spiritual blindness which rob people of faith and trust in God’s merciful pardon and healing forgiveness. Jesus is the true light that opens our eyes and hearts to the truth of his word and the power of his love to heal, restore, and make us whole.

Removing blind-spots that cloud our vision of the Lord and his power at work in our lives
Are there any blind-spots in your life that cloud your vision of the Lord Jesus and his kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? Ask the Lord Jesus to increase your faith and trust in him so that you may recognize his voice more clearly as you listen to his word and allow him to transform you more and more through the work and grace of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you.

“Lord Jesus, open my eyes to the revelation of your healing presence and saving word. Help me to walk in the truth and power of your love and to not stumble in the darkness of sin and unbelief. Use me to help others find your healing light and saving presence as well.” – Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb15.htm

Reflection 4 – Learning To See

Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God. –Romans 6:11

In his book An Anthropologist on Mars, Oliver Sacks tells about a man named Virgil. Blind from early childhood, Virgil underwent surgery decades later and regained the ability to see.

But at first, like the blind man healed by Jesus outside Bethsaida (Mk. 8:22-26), Virgil had difficulty seeing. Although he could discern movement and color, he couldn’t put images together to make sense of them. For a time, his behavior was still the same as when he was sightless.

Sacks comments, “One must die as a blind person to be born again as a seeing person. It is the interim, the limbo . . . that is so terrible.”

That comment echoes Paul’s teaching about burying our old, dead selves to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). It is a dramatic spiritual change that may bring a time of difficult adjustment. Ingrained habits and attitudes may hang on like withered leaves in autumn.

To overcome sin, we must remember that it is no longer our master (v.11), and we are to refuse to let it reign in our lives (v.12). Instead, we are to offer ourselves to God as “alive from the dead” (v.13). As we take these steps, our spiritual blindness will become a thing of the past, and we will learn to see Jesus more clearly.  — Vernon C. Grounds

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound–
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see. –Newton

Sin blinds–but God’s grace restores sight (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 5 – Who is influencing your faith?

In today’s Gospel reading, why does Jesus lead the blind man away from the village to heal him? And why did he warn him not to go back into the village?

I think a clue to the answer is in how long it took him to receive his healing. Jesus gave him vision, but he only received it partially; Jesus had to pray for him a second time.

Have you ever “seen” something new, some new insight or answered prayer, which helped you grow in faith, but when you told others about it, their skepticism made you doubt it? We have to protect our minds from anything that hampers our belief in God’s love and his compassionate help.

When we share our good news, if it’s not accepted, it’s better to “leave that village” or at least change the subject. This is not anti-evangelization; we are not failing to be the witnesses that Christ commissioned us to be when we were baptized.

The blind man was probably too easily influenced by the doubts of the people around him. If he had trouble believing that a miracle would actually happen to him, it’s no wonder his healing came slowly. Jesus dealt with this by taking him by the hand and giving him private attention. Had Jesus prayed for him in front of the townsfolk, the man might have focused on them and their opinions, rather than on Jesus.

We need to be selective about the people we listen to and spend time with. In the business world, those most likely to succeed are people who make friends with those who are already successful. Psychological studies have shown that by surrounding ourselves with happy, upbeat people, our spirits are uplifted, and that we when we’re constantly with people who are depressed and pessimistic, we become like them. In Christianity, spending time with others who are strong in the faith will help us grow in the faith.

For this reason, it’s very important that whenever our churches offer parish retreats and other faith-building events, we should make it a top priority to attend – AND stay afterwards for the refreshments to socialize with others. We should also join Small Christian Communities (faith-sharing groups) to gain more faith-filled friendships.

When we spend time being influenced by truly Christian people and truly Christ-like attitudes, we open our hearts to the truth, the healings, and the answers to our prayers that we need. As we grow stronger in faith, we become the successful witnesses that Christ commissioned us to be. Then, the time and compassion we give to others will open their hearts for the truth and the miracles that Jesus wants to give to them (Source: Terry Modica, Good News Ministries http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-02-15).

Reflection 6 – St. Claude de la Colombière (1641-1682 A.D.)

This is a special day for the Jesuits, who claim today’s saint as one of their own. It’s also a special day for people who have a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus—a devotion Claude de la Colombière promoted, along with his friend and spiritual companion, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. The emphasis on God’s love for all was an antidote to the rigorous moralism of the Jansenists, who were popular at the time.

Claude showed remarkable preaching skills long before his ordination in 1675. Two months later he was made superior of a small Jesuit residence in Burgundy. It was there he first encountered Margaret Mary Alacoque. For many years after he served as her confessor.

He was next sent to England to serve as confessor to the Duchess of York. He preached by both words and by the example of his holy life, converting a number of Protestants. Tensions arose against Catholics and Claude, rumored to be part of a plot against the king, was imprisoned. He was ultimately banished, but by then his health had been ruined.

He died in 1682. Pope John Paul II canonized Claude de la Colombière in 1992.

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1889

SAINT OF THE DAY
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_de_la_Colombi%C3%A8re
ST. CLAUDE DE LA COLOMBIÈRE, S.J.
ClaudedelaColombiere.jpg
RELIGIOUS, PRIEST AND CONFESSOR
BORN 2 February 1641
Saint-Symphorien-d’Ozon,Dauphiné, Kingdom of France
DIED 15 February 1682 (aged 41)
Paray-le-Monial, Duchy of Burgundy, Kingdom of France
VENERATED IN Catholic Church
(Society of Jesus)
BEATIFIED 16 June 1929, Vatican City, byPope Pius XI
CANONIZED 21 May 1992, Vatican City, byPope John Paul II
MAJOR SHRINE Jesuit Church,
Paray-le-Monial, Saône-et-Loire, France
FEAST 15 February
PATRONAGE Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

St. Claude de la Colombière, S.J., was a Jesuit priest and the confessor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, V.H.M. Hisfeast day is the day of his death, 15 February. He was a missionary and ascetical writer

Life[edit]

Early life[edit]

He was born in 1641 in the city of Saint-Symphorien-d’Ozon, then in the ancient Province of Dauphiné, the third child of the notary Bertrand de la Colombière and of Margaret Coindat. The family soon moved to the nearby city of Vienne, where he began his education, before attending the Jesuit school in Lyon for his secondary studies.[1]

In 1658, at the age of seventeen, Colombière entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Avignon.[2] He did this despite what he recorded as “a terrible aversion for the life embraced”.[citation needed]When he completed the two-year novitiate, he started his higher studies in the same city. He was professed there and completed his studies. After this he spent the next five years of his Regency teaching grammar and literature at the same school.

Jesuit ministry[edit]

Colombière was sent to Paris in 1666 to study theology at the College de Clermont. He was also assigned to be the tutor of the children of the Royal Minister of Finances, Jean-Baptiste Colbert. After completing his studies there, he wasordained a priest and initially assigned to teach at his former school in Lyon. He then was assigned to join the preaching team of the Jesuit community, through which he gained notice for the clarity and soundness of his sermons.[3]

In 1674, after 15 years of life as a Jesuit, Colombière did his next period of probation known as the Tertianship, which was to prove decisive in his life. As a result of this experience of the Spiritual Exercises, he made a personal vow, as a means of attaining the utmost possible perfection, to observe faithfully the Rule and Constitutions of the Society under penalty of sin. Those who lived with him attested that this vow was kept with great exactitude.[4]

The Sacred Heart[edit]

After professing the Fourth Vow of the Society at the end of the Tertianship on 2 February 1675, Colombière was appointed the Rector of the Jesuit community atParay-le-Monial, where he also became the spiritual director of the nuns of the Monastery of the Visitation located next to the church. In this way he came to know Sr. Margaret Mary Alacoque.[2] The curiosity of such a promising preacher having been assigned to this remote location has led to the supposition that his superiors had her in mind in making this assignment.

Alacoque had suffered greatly from the disbelief of the other nuns of her monastery, and felt isolated in her situation of having experienced a series of private revelations from Christ in which she felt she was being called to promote devotion to his Sacred Heart. When Colombière came to the community and began to hear the confessions of the nuns, she felt that she had finally found a priest in whom she could truly confide and opened up her heart to him. She later wrote that she saw that his spiritual gift “was that of bringing souls to God along the Gospel way of love and mercy which Christ revealed to us”. After speaking with her a number of times and after much prayer, as a result, he was convinced of the validity of her visions and became both her supporter and a zealous apostle of the devotion.[2]

England[edit]

In 1676 Colombière was sent to England as preacher to Mary of Modena, then the Duchess of York, wife of the future King James II of England. He took up residence at the Court of St. James, where he still observed all his religious duties as a member of the Society. He was also as active a preacher and confessor in England as he had been in France. Although encountering many difficulties, he was able to guide Alacoque by letter.[4]

Colombière’s zeal and the English climate soon combined to weaken his health and a pulmonary condition threatened to end his work in that country. In November 1678, while awaiting a recall to France, he was suddenly arrested and thrown into prison, denounced as being a part of the Popish Plot alleged by Titus Oatesagainst the English throne.[3] Caught up in the anti-Catholic hysteria which resulted from this alleged plot, he was confined in severe conditions at the King’s Bench Prison, where his fragile health took a turn for the worse. He is quoted by the historian John Philipps Kenyon as having described the effects of the situation—in which over 20 Jesuits died—on the Society of Jesus, writing:

“The name of the Jesuit is hated above all else, even by priests both secular and regular, and by the Catholic laity as well, because it is said that the Jesuits have caused this raging storm, which is likely to overthrow the whole Catholic religion”.[5]

Thanks to his position at the Royal Court and to the protection of the King of France, Louis XIV, whose subject he was, he escaped death but was expelled from Great Britain in 1679. He returned to France with his health ruined by his imprisonment.[6]

Death and veneration[edit]

The last two years of Colombière’s life were spent at Lyon, where he was spiritual director to the Jesuit novices, and at Paray-le-Monial, where he returned to improve his health. He died on 15 February 1682, as a result of a severe hemorrage.

Colombière left a large number of writings, which, including his principal works, Pious Reflections, Meditations on the Passion, and Retreat and Spiritual Letters, were published under the title, Oeuvres du R.P. Claude de la Colombière (Avignon, 1832; Paris, 1864).

Colombière was beatified by Pope Pius XI on 16 June 1929,[3] and canonized by Pope John Paul II on 31 May 1992. His relics are preserved in the Jesuit Church around the corner from the monastery of the Visitation nuns at Paray-le-Monial.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & Saints Cyril and Methodius; St. Valentine, February 14,2017

Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & Saints Cyril and Methodius; St. Valentine, February 14,2017

Born in Thessalonica of a senatorial family, brothers Cyril and Methodius began a mission to Moravia (present-day Czech Republic) in response to the request of Prince Ratislav for a “bishop and teacher… able to explain to them the true Christian Faith in their own language.” Commissioned by the emperor at Constantinople, the Byzantine Greek brothers Cyril and Methodius undertook a mission to the Slavs in the ninth century. Accordingly, Cyril and Methodius set about translating the Scriptures into Old Slavonic language, using an alphabet devised by Cyril. After two successful years in Moravia (present-day Czech Republic), they traveled to Rome, where Pope Hadrian II approved the Slavonic liturgical books. Cyril died in Rome in 869 A.D. and Methodius continued in the missions, suffering imprisonment for two years by a neighboring German bishop until Pope John VIII intervened. Mthodius spent his final years creating the Nomokanon, a manual of Byzantine ecclesiastical and civil law. He died in 885 A.D. Saint John Paul II named Cyril and Methodius co-patrons of Europe, with Saint Benedict. The brothers’ service to the peoples at the meeting point of East and West made them “authentic precursors of ecumenism.”

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, We are mere human beings who struggle in faith, hope and love. We need to grow in our understanding of and, more importantly, in our intimate relationship and union with Christ.  Lord enable us to open ourselves to the vastness of your love for us in Jesus. Give us the faith that remains constant as we journey back to our true home with You.

Dear Jesus, Help us understand who and what You are for us and to rejoice with You who conquered even death for us.  Be with us as we walk with You in the situations and events of our lives.  Help us to understand not just with our minds but with our hearts: that You are indeed the Lord of our lives. We humbly pray in your Name. Amen.

Reading 1
Gn 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10

When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth,
and how no desire that his heart conceived
was ever anything but evil,
he regretted that he had made man on the earth,
and his heart was grieved.

So the LORD said:
“I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created,
and not only the men,
but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air,
for I am sorry that I made them.”
But Noah found favor with the LORD.

Then the LORD said to Noah:
“Go into the ark, you and all your household,
for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just.
Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs,
a male and its mate;
and of the unclean animals, one pair,
a male and its mate;
likewise, of every clean bird of the air, seven pairs,
a male and a female,
and of all the unclean birds, one pair,
a male and a female.
Thus you will keep their issue alive over all the earth.
Seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth
for forty days and forty nights,
and so I will wipe out from the surface of the earth
every moving creature that I have made.”
Noah did just as the LORD had commanded him.
As soon as the seven days were over,
the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 29:1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9c-10
R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Gospel
Mk 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Watch out

The wide range of foolish things which we human beings can account for never ceases to astonish me. We destroy our bodies with controlled substances even though we know better. We choose to conform to what is wrong and what is of the world knowingly that they will draw us farther away from our God. We destroy our marital unions even our familial and friendly relations by continuing to focus on ourselves and utter disregard for the good of others. We only want to satisfy our lustful pride and seek pleasure for its own sake.

There is also the downright evil side of us, the lying, cheating, stealing and killing, the willingness to commit slander against people who do not belong to our inner circle and who seem to be at odds with us, the willingness to pursue power, fame and fortune at the expense of others, the willingness to turn our backs on the poor and the suffering.

All in all, between nonsense and downright evil, we all seem to fit into what we can call  man’s wickedness, which made God regret that He made man on the earth and His heart be grieved by it. “When the Lord saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved.” Genesis 6:5-6 

Our Lord sends His message that even though we have been sinful in our ways there’s something more to us than all that. Remember, after God formed Adam’s body from clay, the story says that he breathed into Adam’s nostrils HIS OWN BREATH, meaning there is more to us than wickedness. There is something special in us. God’s own life is in us. God’s holiness is upon us. We were made for a special purpose and our Lord God will never allow any impediment to stop it. We have a faithful God Whose only concern is bring the godly and holy Character of His Son Jesus Christ to emerge in our lives. God has not only breathed his own breath into us and but He has taught us His ways so that our evil days may come to rest.

So when Jesus instructed His disciples, “Keep your eyes open! Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod,” He was not referring to them having forgotten to bring bread on the boat but a frustrated realization on the part of Jesus that His disciples never really understood who He was.

“Do you still not understand?”

We always believed that Jesus’ disciples were so close to Him and that they really comprehended Jesus’ in every way. But their actions and responses did not show any signs of being connected deeply with Jesus. They obviously had a long way to go!

We too may have a long way to go in letting Jesus into our lives and into our hearts. We are not far from the disciples who never really understood Jesus at that time, much more commit to Him.

Amidst temptation and weakness of our flesh and despite the goodness God poured on us, we may all give way to temptation and sin. The leaven Jesus was talking about in today’s gospel may penetrate our hearts and puff us up in arrogance. This is the reason Jesus wants all men to be on guard against the teachings and the skepticism of the Pharisees. He warns every man of every generation about the hypocrisy of His enemies which can likewise bring evil and sin into our hearts.

Jesus is once more repeating to all of us the very words he spoke to His disciples: “Do you still not understand?” Jesus is reminding us to live His life and follow Him. He wants to let us know that even with our sinful nature, our Heavenly Father loves us and that He will still provide for all our needs. He accepts us for who we are and not for who He wants us to be…He has forgiven us! “You, LORD, will not forsake your people, nor abandon your very own.” Psalm 94:14 The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Today, Jesus encourages us to transcend the world and its small concerns and worries and focus on Him, if we are to be victorious in His Name. To share in His resurrection, we too need to share in His cross!

Direction

Ask God for spiritual direction amidst the forces of the world that draw us away from Him.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, bless your people with peace and allow us to stand in awe of your goodness as we place our hope in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Trusting God’s power

Have you ever worked with someone who liked power too much? Or have you ever had a boss who liked to put people in their place? The Jews and early Christians were subject to such authoritarian leadership under Roman Rule. Likewise, much power was given to the Jewish religious leaders for spiritual development, which some exercised by enforcing compliance to the many complex rules of the faith.

Strict direction may be warranted at times to keep civility among a distressed population. The Romans were constantly stopping riots protesting their occupation. But too often it became bullying for its own sake and oppressing those with just cause for complaint. As for the Pharisees, Jesus of Nazareth was not the first one to lead the Israelites away from Temple loyally. Sometimes the shift was to a more genuine commitment to the Lord. Other times, the people were led into idolatry and sin.

Both the Romans and the Pharisees were known for demanding high prices for their services and rendering little mercy to offenders. Perhaps this is what Jesus was pondering when he spoke to his disciples in the boat, saying, “guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Jesus was training his disciples to be spiritual leaders and warning them against the temptation to abuse power. Jesus rebukes the disciples for their fearful reaction and reminds them of God’s tremendous power and kindness. As an example, he asks them how many baskets were left over. He implies that when doing God’s work the outcome is perfect gift. With God there are no hidden conditions or excessive costs, unlike the common practices of the Pharisees and Herod.

James (Jas 1:12-18) brings the gospel notion of pure gift into perspective by charging us to not allow ourselves to get distracted by temptations, but to follow Gods light and goodness. In him there is no shadow or malice. In him we can trust. (Source: Jeffrey Trytko, Weekday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, February 16, 2010).

Reflection 3 – Wipe it out before it multiplies

Antibiotics are the miracle of modern medicine. There are people in this church today who would not be here if it weren’t for this stupendous medication. Antibiotics actually change the DNA structure of infectious bacteria. When a bacterial infection threatens us, the antibiotics “neuter” the genes, denying the bacteria the chance to multiply. The bacteria eventually die out, and our system is restored to health.

Getting to the root of the things that threaten our health is what the readings are about today. A somewhat naïve God in the first reading (Gen 6:5-8; 7:1-5) is hoping to wipe out the lamentable “evil” in the human heart by starting from scratch. He picks the favored Noah to be the good seed that would change the reckless course of evil that was multiplying in the first attempt at creation. It’s certainly one way to tackle the problem.

In the Gospel (Mk 8:14-21), Jesus takes the opportunity of a loaf of bread to remind the disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees. He confounds the disciples with examples of the kind of leaven he himself was able to produce and multiply. In the process, Jesus showed the disciples that the leaven of the Pharisees needs to be counteracted. It’s subversive and it can grow, but so can the tremendous deeds of the kingdom of God. The leaven of the Pharisees was mistrust and a spreading resentment over what Jesus was doing in his ministry. Those subversive bacteria can grow and multiply. We see it in our own parish with short, pointed negative comments to other parishioners. Negative attitudes can overturn a parish like a bad flu season.

We have to change the DNA as soon as we encounter it. We need to nip the leaven in the bud before it multiplies. We need to multiply trust in our God and trust in one another. As vigilant as we are with bacteria in these days of soaps and sprays and lotions meant to keep bacteria from spreading, we need to be just as alert to Jesus’ warning that the leaven of distrust and doubt needs to be eradicated before it can spread and work its ugly and insidious consequences. (Source: John Petrikovic, OFM, Cap, Weekday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, February 17, 2009).

Reflection 4 – Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod

Do you allow anxiety or fear to keep you from trusting in God’s provision for your life? The apostles worried because they forgot to bring bread for their journey. And that was right after Jesus miraculously fed a group of five thousand people (Mark 6:41-44, Matthew 14:17-21), and then on another occasion four thousand people (Mark 8:1-10, Matthew 15:34-38)! How easy it is to forget what God has already done for us and to doubt what he promises to do for us in the future as well. Scripture tells us that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Ask the Lord Jesus to fill your heart with his love and to increase your faith in his provident care for you.

Beware the “leaven” which corrupts mind, body, and soul
Jesus cautioned the disciples to beware of bread that corrupts, such as the “leaven of the Pharisees.” When leaven ferments a lump of wet dough, it transforms the dough and changes it into life-enriching bread when heated. Left-over dough which had been leavened (but not baked) would rot and become putrefied. For the Jew leaven was a sign or symbol of evil influence. It signified anything which rots and corrupts, not just physically but spiritually and morally as well.

Jesus warned his disciples to avoid the way of the Pharisees and Sadducees who sought their own counsels rather than the mind of God. They were blinded by their own arrogance and were unable to recognize the truth and wisdom which Jesus spoke in the name of his Father in heaven. What kind of leaven (spiritual, moral, intellectual) do you allow to influence your way of thinking and living? Jesus sharply contrasts the bread and leaven which produces life, especially the abundant life which God offers through Jesus, the true bread of heaven, with the bread and leaven which rots and corrupts mind, body, and soul.

Let God’s word nourish and strengthen you in faith, hope, and love
As the disciples continued to worry about their lack of physical bread for the journey, Jesus reminded them of his miraculous provision of bread in the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand. He then upbraided them for their lack of trust in God. Aren’t we like the apostles? We too easily get preoccupied with the problems, needs, and worries of the present moment, and we forget the most important reality of all – God’s abiding presence with us!

When the people of Israel wandered in the desert homeless and helpless for forty years, God was with them every step of the way. And he provided for them shelter, food, water, and provision, as long as they trusted in him. Each day he gave them just what they needed. Jesus teaches us to trust in God’s abiding presence with us and in his promise to provide us what we need each and every day to live as his sons and daughters. Do you pray with joyful confidence, “Father, give us this day our daily bread”?

“Lord Jesus, you alone are the true bread of life which sustains us each and every day. Give me joy and strength to serve you always and help me to turn away from the leaven of sin and worldliness which brings corruption and death.” – Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb14.htm

Reflection 5 – What flood are you trying to survive?

When I read the story of Noah’s cruise (today’s first reading), I like to think that if I had lived in those days I would have been one of those holy folks who made it onto the ark. However, there have been times when I’ve caused my own floods by turning away from God’s guidance while he was trying to lead me to the safety of an ark.

We all have our self-inflicted floods. We drown in pride or fear. We turn away from the ark that God is offering by using problem-solving methods that are not of God. We make choices based on how we feel instead of paying attention to what the Holy Spirit is saying in our spirit. We try to build easy lives in smooth valleys and assume that this home will never be deluged by too much rainfall.

God never ceases trying to guide us. He reaches out to us in scriptures, in our prayer time, in the homilies we hear, in the words of his people around us, and so on. But when we choose to do things in contrary ways, we create the clouds that rain on our nice valleys, and if we keep adding to the storm, it overwhelms us with a flood of problems.

Then we try to survive the storm by swimming, but we grow weary and start to sink in the stink of the ever-deepening waters of evil. We cry out for help, but if we only want to protect our precious plot of land in the valley, we’re not interested in the ark that would float us away from what has been familiar and comfortable and “ours” — and then we get angry at God as if it’s his fault that we’re drowning!

Whether it’s by our own fault or by external circumstances that we cannot control, Jesus says to us through today’s Gospel reading: “Do you still not understand?” He is the ark that the Father has provided. He is the Lord who will bless us with peace, whose voice calls out to us over the vast waters, as it says in the responsorial Psalm.

As we gulp for air, scared that the flood is overwhelming us, he asks: “Don’t you remember what I have done for you in the past?”

How has he rescued you before? He will do it again! What miracles did he use to meet your needs? He will do it again! How did he turn suffering and hardships into blessings? He will do it again!

Jesus is the ark that saves us. When we turn to him, regretting that we have not allowed him to lead us away from our comfort zone in the valley, sorry that we did not follow his example nor accept his advice — ZAP! Our remorse immediately plops us safely into the ark. We might still have a storm to ride out, but now we are safe. We are protected by his love and merciful forgiveness.

In today’s demoralizing world, environmental damage, wars and terrorist attacks, rampant immorality, anti-Christian agendas — and in your own personal crises: More than ever, keep your eyes on Jesus! – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-02-14

Reflection 6 – Sts. Cyril and Methodius (d. 869; d. 884) & St. Valentine

Because their father was an officer in a part of Greece inhabited by many Slavs, these two Greek brothers ultimately became missionaries, teachers and patrons of the Slavic peoples.

After a brilliant course of studies, Cyril (called Constantine until he became a monk shortly before his death) refused the governorship of a district such as his brother had accepted among the Slavic-speaking population. Cyril withdrew to a monastery where his brother Methodius had become a monk after some years in a governmental post.

A decisive change in their lives occurred when the Duke of Moravia (present-day Czech Republic) asked the Eastern Emperor Michael for political independence from German rule and ecclesiastical autonomy (having their own clergy and liturgy). Cyril and Methodius undertook the missionary task.

Cyril’s first work was to invent an alphabet, still used in some Eastern liturgies. His followers probably formed the Cyrillic alphabet (for example, modern Russian) from Greek capital letters. Together they translated the Gospels, the psalter, Paul’s letters and the liturgical books into Slavonic, and composed a Slavonic liturgy, highly irregular then.

That and their free use of the vernacular in preaching led to opposition from the German clergy. The bishop refused to consecrate Slavic bishops and priests, and Cyril was forced to appeal to Rome. On the visit to Rome, he and Methodius had the joy of seeing their new liturgy approved by Pope Adrian II. Cyril, long an invalid, died in Rome 50 days after taking the monastic habit.

Methodius continued mission work for 16 more years. He was papal legate for all the Slavic peoples, consecrated a bishop and then given an ancient see (now in the Czech Republic). When much of their former territory was removed from their jurisdiction, the Bavarian bishops retaliated with a violent storm of accusation against Methodius. As a result, Emperor Louis the German exiled Methodius for three years. Pope John VIII secured his release.

Because the Frankish clergy, still smarting, continued their accusations, Methodius had to go to Rome to defend himself against charges of heresy and uphold his use of the Slavonic liturgy. He was again vindicated.

Legend has it that in a feverish period of activity, Methodius translated the whole Bible into Slavonic in eight months. He died on Tuesday of Holy Week, surrounded by his disciples, in his cathedral church.

Opposition continued after his death, and the work of the brothers in Moravia was brought to an end and their disciples scattered. But the expulsions had the beneficial effect of spreading the spiritual, liturgical and cultural work of the brothers to Bulgaria, Bohemia and southern Poland. Patrons of Moravia, and specially venerated by Catholic Czechs, Slovaks, Croatians, Orthodox Serbians and Bulgarians, Cyril and Methodius are eminently fitted to guard the long-desired unity of East and West. In 1980, Pope John Paul II named them additional co-patrons of Europe (with Benedict).

Comment:

Holiness means reacting to human life with God’s love: human life as it is, crisscrossed with the political and the cultural, the beautiful and the ugly, the selfish and the saintly. For Cyril and Methodius much of their daily cross had to do with the language of the liturgy. They are not saints because they got the liturgy into Slavonic, but because they did so with the courage and humility of Christ.

Quote:

“Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not involve the faith or the good of the whole community. Rather she respects and fosters the spiritual adornments and gifts of the various races and peoples…. Provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is maintained, the revision of liturgical books should allow for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, religions, and peoples, especially in mission lands” (Vatican II,Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 37, 38).

Patron Saint of: Slavic peoples

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1291

SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

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

“San Valentino” redirects here. For other uses, see San Valentino (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Valentinus (Gnostic).
For the holiday, see Valentine’s Day. For the Canadian city, see Saint-Valentin, Quebec.
SAINT VALENTINE
St-Valentine-Kneeling-In-Supplication.jpg

Saint Valentine receives a rosary from the Virgin, by David Teniers III
BISHOP AND MARTYR
BORN Terni
DIED traditionally ca. 269[1] but see text
VENERATED IN Catholic Church
Anglican Communion
Lutheranism, and individual protestant churches includingBaptist
FEAST February 14 (Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran Churches)
ATTRIBUTES birds; roses; bishop with acrippled or a child with epilepsyat his feet; bishop with a roosternearby; bishop refusing to adore an idol; bishop being beheaded;priest bearing a sword; priest holding a sun; priest giving sight to a blind girl[1]
PATRONAGE affianced couples, againstfainting, bee keepers, happymarriages, love, plague,epilepsy[1]

Saint Valentine (Latin: Valentinius), officially Saint Valentine of Rome,[2] is a widely recognized third-century Romansaint commemorated on February 14 and associated since the High Middle Ages with a tradition of courtly love.

All that is reliably known of the saint commemorated on February 14 is his name and that he was martyred and buried at a cemetery on the Via Flaminia close to the Milvian bridge to the north of Rome on that day. It is uncertain whether St. Valentine is to be identified as one saint or the conflation of two saints of the same name. Several differentmartyrologies have been added to later hagiographies that are unreliable.

Because so little is known of him, in 1969 the Roman Catholic Church removed his name from the General Roman Calendar, leaving his liturgical celebration to local calendars.[3] The Roman Catholic Church continues to recognize him as a saint, listing him as such in the February 14 entry in the Roman Martyrology,[4] and authorizing liturgical veneration of him on February 14 in any place where that day is not devoted to some other obligatory celebration in accordance with the rule that on such a day the Mass may be that of any saint listed in the Martyrology for that day.[5] Use of the pre-1970 liturgical calendar is also authorized under the conditions indicated in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificumof 2007. Saint Valentine’s Church in Rome, built in 1960 for the needs of the Olympic Village, continues as a modern, well-visited parish church.

Saint Valentine is commemorated in the Anglican Communion,[6] as well as in the Lutheran Church.[7] In parts but not all of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Valentine the Presbyter of Rome is celebrated on July 6[8] and HieromartyrValentine (Bishop of Interamna, Terni in Italy) is celebrated on July 30.[9] Notwithstanding that in the Greek Orthodox Churches no Saint Valentine exists, and because of the relative obscurity of these two saints in the East, members of the Greek Orthodox Church named Valentinos (male) or Valentina (female) may observe their name day on the Western ecclesiastical calendar date of February 14.[10]

Identification[edit]

The name Valentinus does not occur in the earliest list of Roman martyrs, compiled by the Chronographer of 354.[11]But it is found in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum,[12] which was compiled, from earlier local sources, between 460 and 544. The feast of St. Valentine of February 14 was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among all those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As Gelasius implies, nothing was then known about his life.

The Catholic Encyclopedia[13] and other hagiographical sources[14]speak of three Saint Valentines that appear in connection with February 14. One was a Roman priest, another the bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) both buried along the Via Flaminia outside Rome, at different distances from the city. The third was said to be a saint who suffered on the same day with a number of companions in the Roman province of Africa, for whom nothing else is known.

Though the extant accounts of the martyrdoms of the first two listed saints are of a late date and contain legendary elements, a common nucleus of fact may underlie the two accounts and they may refer to a single person.[15] According to the official biography of the Diocese of Terni, Bishop Valentine was born and lived in Interamna and was imprisoned and tortured in Rome on February 14, 273, while on a temporary stay there. His body was hastily buried at a nearby cemetery and a few nights later his disciples retrieved his body and returned him home.[16]

Τhe Roman Martyrology, the Catholic Church’s official list of recognized saints, for February 14 gives only one Saint Valentine; a martyr who died on the Via Flaminia.[17]

Other saints with the same name[edit]

The name “Valentine”, derived from valens (worthy, strong, powerful), was popular in Late Antiquity. About eleven other saints having the name Valentine are commemorated in the Roman Catholic Church.[18] Some Eastern Churches of the Western rite may provide still other different lists of Saint Valentines.[19] The Roman martyrology lists only seven who died on days other than February 14: a priest from Viterbo (November 3); a bishop from Raetia who died in about 450 (January 7); a fifth-century priest and hermit (July 4); a Spanish hermit who died in about 715 (October 25); Valentine Berrio Ochoa, martyred in 1861 (November 24); and Valentine Jaunzarás Gómez, martyred in 1936 (September 18). It also lists a virgin, Saint Valentina, who was martyred in 308 (July 25) in Caesarea, Palestine.[20]

Hagiography and testimony[edit]

Saint Valentine of Terni oversees the construction of his basilica at Terni, from a 14th-century French manuscript (BN, Mss fr. 185)

The inconsistency in the identification of the saint is replicated in the various vitae that are ascribed to him.

A common hagiography describes Saint Valentine, as the former Bishop of Terni, Narnia and Amelia, a town of Umbria, in central Italy. While under house arrest of Judge Asterius, and discussing his faith with him, Valentinus (the Latin version of his name) was discussing the validity of Jesus. The judge put Valentinus to the test and brought to him the judge’s adopted blind daughter. If Valentinus succeeded in restoring the girl’s sight, Asterius would do anything he asked. Valentinus laid his hands on her eyes and the child’s vision was restored. Immediately humbled, the judge asked Valentinus what he should do. Valentinus replied that all of the idols around the judge’s house should be broken, the judge should fast for three days, and then undergo baptism. The judge obeyed and as a result, freed all the Christian inmates under his authority. The judge, his family and his forty-four member household (family members and servants) were baptized.[21] Valentinus was later arrested again for continuing to proselytize and was sent to the prefect of Rome, to the emperor Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II) himself. Claudius took a liking to him until Valentinus tried to convince Claudius to embrace Christianity, whereupon Claudius refused and condemned Valentinus to death, commanding that Valentinus either renounce his faith or he would be beaten with clubs, and beheaded. Valentinus refused and Claudius’ command was executed outside the Flaminian Gate February 14, 269.[22]

The Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine, compiled about 1260 and one of the most-read books of the High Middle Ages, gives sufficient details of the saints for each day of the liturgical year to inspire a homily on each occasion. The very brief vita of St Valentine has him executed for refusing to deny Christ by the order of the “Emperor Claudius”[23] in the year 280. Before his head was cut off, this Valentine restored sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer. Jacobus makes a play with the etymology of “Valentine”, “as containing valour”.

A popularly ascribed hagiographical identity appears in the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493). Alongside a woodcut portrait of Valentine, the text states that he was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner. However, when Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor, he was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stones; when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate. Various dates are given for the martyrdom or martyrdoms: 269, 270, or 273.[24]

There are many other legends behind Saint Valentine, none of them based on historical facts. One is that in the 1st century AD[citation needed] it is said that Valentine, who was a priest, defied the order of the emperor Claudius and secretly married couples so that the husbands wouldn’t have to go to war. The legend claims that soldiers were sparse at this time so this was a big inconvenience to the emperor. Another legend is that Valentine refused to sacrifice to pagan gods. Being imprisoned for this, Valentine gave his testimony in prison and through his prayers healed the jailer’s daughter who was suffering from blindness. On the day of his execution he left her a note that was signed “Your Valentine”.

Churches named Valentine[edit]

Saint Valentine baptizing Saint Lucilla by Jacopo Bassano

Saint Valentine was not exceptionally more venerated than other saints and it seems that in England no church was everdedicated to him.[25] There are many churches containing the name of Valentine in other countries.[citation needed]

A 5th or 6th century work called Passio Marii et Marthae made up a legend about Saint Valentine’s Basilica (it:Basilica di San Valentino) being dedicated to Saint Valentine in Rome. A later Passio repeated the legend and added the adornment thatPope Julius I (357–352) had built the ancient basilica S. Valentini extra Portam on top of his sepulchre, in the Via Flaminia.[26] This church was really named after a 4th-century tribune called Valentino, who donated the land it’s built on.[26]It hosted the martyr’s relics until the thirteenth century, when they were transferred to Santa Prassede, and the ancient basilica decayed.[27]

Valentine’s Day[edit]

Main article: Valentine’s Day

English 18th-century antiquarians Alban Butler and Francis Douce, noting the obscurity of Saint Valentine’s identity, suggested that Valentine’s Day was created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia (mid-February in Rome). This idea has lately been dismissed by other researchers, such as Professor Jack B. Oruch of the University of Kansas, Henry Ansgar Kelly of the University of California, Los Angeles[28] and Associate Professor Michael Matthew Kaylor of the Masaryk University.[29] Many of the current legends that characterize Saint Valentine were invented in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love.[30]

Oruch charges that the traditions associated with “Valentine’s Day”, documented in Geoffrey Chaucer‘s Parliament of Foules and set in the fictional context of an old tradition, did not exist before Chaucer.[31]He argues that the speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler’s Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. In the French 14th-century manuscript illumination from a Vies des Saints (illustration above), Saint Valentine, bishop of Terni, oversees the construction of his basilica at Terni; there is no suggestion here that the bishop was a patron of lovers.[32]

During the Middle Ages, it was believed that birds paired in mid-February. This was then associated with the romance of Valentine. Although all these legends may differ in ways, Valentine’s day is widely recognized as a day for romance and devotion.

Relics and liturgical celebration[edit]

Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland

The flower-crowned skull of St. Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.

In 1836, some relics that were exhumed from the catacombs of Saint Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina, then near (rather than inside) Rome, were identified with St Valentine; placed in a casket, and transported to the procession to the high altar for a special Mass dedicated to young people and all those in love.

Also in 1836, Fr. John Spratt, an Irish priest and famous preacher, was given many tokens of esteem following a sermon in Rome. One gift from Pope Gregory XVI were the remains of St. Valentine and “a small vessel tinged with his blood.” The Reliquary was placed in Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, and has remained there until this day. This was accompanied by a letter claiming the relics were those of St. Valentine.[33]

Another relic was found in 2003 in Prague in Church of St Peter and Paul at Vyšehrad.[34]

A silver reliquary containing a fragment of St. Valentine’s skull is found in the parish church of St. Mary’s Assumption in Chelmno Poland.[35][36]

Alleged relics of St. Valentine also lie at the reliquary of Roquemaure in France, in the Stephansdom in Vienna, in Balzan in Maltaand also in Blessed John Duns Scotus’ church in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Scotland. There is also a gold reliquary bearing the words ‘Corpus St. Valentin, M’ (Body of St. Valentine, Martyr) at The Birmingham Oratory, UK, in one of the side altars in the main church.

Saint Valentine remains in the Roman Catholic Church’s official list of saints (the Roman Martyrology), but, in view of the scarcity of information about him, his commemoration was removed from the General Roman Calendar, when this was revised in 1969. It is included in local calendars of places such as Balzan in Malta. Some Traditionalist Catholics observe earlier calendars of the Roman Rite, in which Saint Valentine was celebrated as a Simple Feast until 1955, when Pope Pius XII reduced the mention of him to a commemoration in the Mass of the day, a position it kept in the General Roman Calendar of 1960 incorporated in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, use of which, as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, is still authorized in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI‘s 2007 motu proprioSummorum Pontificum.

February 14 is also celebrated as St. Valentine’s Day in other Christian Churches; in the Church of England, for example, it was included in Calendars before the Reformation, and S.Valentine, Bishop and Martyr, was restored to the Church’s Calendar in the 1661/1662 Book of Common Prayer. He remains in the Calendars of the Church of England and in those of most other parts of the Anglican Communion.[37]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c Jones, Terry. “Valentine of Rome”. Patron Saints Tom. Archived from the original on April 1, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2007.
  2. Jump up^ 6 surprising facts about St Valentine
  3. Jump up^ Calendarium Romanum Libreria Editrice Vaticana (1969), p. 117
  4. Jump up^ Martyrologium Romanum, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001, p. 141
  5. Jump up^ General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 355
  6. Jump up^ “Holy Days”. Church of England (Anglican Communion). 2012. RetrievedOctober 27, 2012. February 14 Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269
  7. Jump up^ Pfatteicher, Philip H. (August 1, 2008). New Book of Festivals and Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints. Fortress Press. p. 86. ISBN 9780800621285. Retrieved October 27, 2012. IO February 14 The Lutheran Service Book, with its penchant for the old Roman calendar, commemorates Valentine on this date.
  8. Jump up^ Martyr Valentinus the Presbyter and those with him at Rome. Orthodox Church in America website.
  9. Jump up^ “Hieromartyr Valentine the Bishop of Interamna, Terni in Italy”. oca.org.
  10. Jump up^ Glav. “Greek name days of the year 2015 – month of celebration : February”.Εορτολόγιο Ελληνικών Ονομάτων – Orthodox Greek Namedays.
  11. Jump up^ Roger Pearse, The Chronography of 354 in “Early Church Fathers online.Retrieved September 27, 2012
  12. Jump up^ “XVI kalendas Martii Interamnae Via Flaminia miliario ab Urbe Roma LXIII natale Valentini.” In J. B. de Rossi, p. 20 (XVI KL. MAR.). See also M. Schoepflin, p. 40:“the original text”.
  13. Jump up^ “CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Valentine”. newadvent.org.
  14. Jump up^ René Aigrain, Hagiographie: Ses sources, ses méthodes, son histoire, (Paris 1953, pp 268–69; Agostino S. Amore, “S. Valentino di Roma o di Terni?”,Antonianum 41.(1966), pp 260–77.
  15. Jump up^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1983, p. 1423
  16. Jump up^ San Valentino: Biografia.. Diocese of Terni. 2009. English version, written probably after examining all previous sources.
  17. Jump up^ Martyrologium Romanum 2001, February 14, p. 141.
  18. Jump up^ “Saints A to Z: V”. Catholic Online.
  19. Jump up^ Latin saints of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rom. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012.
  20. Jump up^ Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001. Index, p. 768; Saint Valentina okay finep. 390.
  21. Jump up^ Castleden, Rodney, “The Book of Saints”. 2006
  22. Jump up^ “St. Valentine”. Catholic Online.
  23. Jump up^ Under the circumstances, the Emperor Claudius was a detail meant to enhance verisimilitude. Attempts to identify him with the only third-century Claudius,Claudius Gothicus, who spent his brief reign (268–270) away from Rome winning his cognomen, are illusions in pursuit of a literary phantom: “No evidence outside several late saints’ legends suggests that Claudius II reversed the policy of toleration established by the policy of his predecessor Gallienus“, Jack Oruch states, in “St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February”, Speculum 56.3 (July 1981),p 536, referencing William H. C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church (New York, 1967, p 326.
  24. Jump up^ Jack Oruch, “St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February”, Speculum 56.3 (July 1981 pp 534–565) p 535.
  25. Jump up^ Henry Ansgar Kelly, in Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine. 1986, p. 62, says: As Thurston has noted, no English church is known to have been dedicated to St. Valentine (Thurston, Butler’s Lives, 2:217). I should add that we have no record of a large number of churches in England.
  26. ^ Jump up to:a b Ansgar, 1986, pp. 49–50
  27. Jump up^ Christian Hülsen, Chiese di Roma nel Medio Evo (Florence: Olschki, (On-line text).
  28. Jump up^ Henry Ansgar Kelly (1986). Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine. BRILL. pp. 58–63. ISBN 90-04-07849-5.
  29. Jump up^ Michael Matthew Kaylor (2006). Secreted Desires: The Major Uranians: Hopkins, Pater and Wilde (electronic ed.). Masaryk University Press. p. footnote 2 in page 235. ISBN 80-210-4126-9.
  30. Jump up^ Jack Oruch identified the inception of this possible connection in Butler’s Lives of the… Saints, 1756, and Douce’s Illustrations of Shakespeare, and of Ancient Manner. See Oruch, “St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February”, Speculum56.3 (July 1981 pp 534–565).
  31. Jump up^ Oruch 1981:534–565.
  32. Jump up^ BN, Mss fr. 185. The book of Lives of the Saints, with illuminations by Richard de Montbaston and collaborators, was among the manuscripts that Cardinal Richelieubequeathed to the King of France.
  33. Jump up^ Shrine of St Valentine, Whitefriar Street Church, Irish Province of the Order of Carmelites
  34. Jump up^ “Radio Praha – Ostatky sv.Valentýna jsou uloženy na pražském Vyšehradě”.radio.cz.
  35. Jump up^ “Chełmno – miasto zabytków i zakochanych”. chelmno.pl.
  36. Jump up^ “Skull bits of St. Valentine in Chelmno”. Atlas Obscura.
  37. Jump up^ See February calendar listed here on the Church of England website.

Bibliography[edit]

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

SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS
Cyril-methodius-small.jpg

“Saints Cyril and Methodius holding the Cyrillic alphabet,” a mural by Bulgarian iconographerZ. Zograf, 1848, Troyan Monastery
BISHOPS AND CONFESSORS; EQUALS TO THE APOSTLES; PATRONS OF EUROPE; APOSTLES TO THE SLAVS
BORN 826 or 827 and 815
Thessalonica, Byzantine Empire(present-day Greece)
DIED 14 February 869 and 6 April 885
VENERATED IN Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Church
FEAST 11 and 24 May[1] (Orthodox Church)
14 February (present Roman Catholic calendar); 5 July (Roman Catholic calendar 1880–1886); 7 July (Roman Catholic calendar 1887–1969)
5 July (Roman Catholic Czech Republic and Slovakia)
ATTRIBUTES brothers depicted together; Eastern bishops holding up a church; Eastern bishops holding an icon of the Last Judgment.[2]Often, Cyril is depicted wearing a monastic habit and Methodius vested as a bishop withomophorion.
PATRONAGE Unity between Orthodox and Roman Catholics
Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Czech Republic,Slovakia, Transnistria,Archdiocese of Ljubljana, Europe,[2]Slovak Eparchy of Toronto, Eparchy of Košice[3]

Saints Cyril and Methodius (826-869, 815-885; Greek: Κύριλλος καὶ Μεθόδιος; Old Church Slavonic: Кѷриллъ и Меѳодїи[more]) were two Byzantine Christian theologians and Christian missionaries who were brothers. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they received the title “Apostles to the Slavs”. They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic.[4] After their deaths, their pupils continued their missionary work among other Slavs. Both brothers are venerated in the Orthodox Church as saints with the title of equal-to-apostles. In 1880, Pope Leo XIII introduced their feast into the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patron saints of Europe, together withBenedict of Nursia.[5]

Early career

Early life

The two brothers were born in Thessalonica, in present-day Greece – Cyril lived from 827–828 and Methodius 815–820. Cyril was reputedly the youngest of seven brothers; he was born Constantine,[6]but took the name Cyril upon becoming a monk in Rome shortly before his death,[7][8][9] according to the “Vita Cyrilli” (“The Life of Cyril”). Methodius was born Michael and took the name Methodius upon becoming a monk at Mysian Olympus (present-day Uludağ), in northwest Turkey.[10] Their father was Leo, a droungarios of the Byzantine theme of Thessalonica, and their mother was Maria.

The exact ethnic origins of the brothers are unknown, there is controversy as to whether Cyril and Methodius were ofSlavic[11] or Byzantine Greek[12] origin, or both.[13] The two brothers lost their father when Cyril was only fourteen, and the powerful minister Theoktistos, who was logothetes tou dromou, one of the chief ministers of the Empire, became their protector. He was also responsible, along with the regent Bardas, for initiating a far-reaching educational program within the Empire which culminated in the establishment of the University of Magnaura, where Cyril was to teach. Cyril was ordained as priest some time after his education, while his brother Methodius remained only a deacon until 867/868.[14]

Missions in the Middle East

Cyril’s mastery of theology and command of both Arabic and Hebrew made him eligible for his first state mission. He was sent to the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil to discuss the principle of the Holy Trinity with the Arab theologians, and to improve relations between the Caliphate and the Empire.[citation needed]

The second mission (860), requested by the Byzantine EmperorMichael III and the Patriarch of Constantinople Photius (a professor of Cyril’s at the University and his guiding light in earlier years), was a missionary expedition to the Khazar Khaganate in order to prevent the expansion of Judaism there. This mission was unsuccessful, as later the Khagan imposed Judaism on his people as the national religion. It has been claimed that Methodius accompanied Cyril on the mission to the Khazars, but this is probably a later invention. The account of his life presented in the Latin “Legenda” claims that he learned the Khazar language while inChersonesos, in Taurica (today Crimea).[citation needed]

After his return to Constantinople, Cyril assumed the role of professor of philosophy at the University while his brother had by this time become a significant player in Byzantine political and administrative affairs, and an abbot of his monastery.[citation needed]

Mission to the Slavs

Great Moravia

Cyril and Methodius, painting by Jan Matejko, 1885

Basilica of St.Cyril and Methodius inMoravian Velehrad, Czech Republic

In 862, the brothers began the work which would give them their historical importance. That year Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia requested that Emperor Michael III and the Patriarch Photius send missionaries to evangelize his Slavic subjects. His motives in doing so were probably more political than religious. Rastislav had become king with the support of theFrankish ruler Louis the German, but subsequently sought to assert his independence from the Franks. It is a common misconception that Cyril and Methodius were the first to bring Christianity to Moravia, but the letter from Rastislav to Michael III states clearly that Rastislav’s people “had already rejected paganism and adhere to the Christian law.”[15]Rastislav is said to have expelled missionaries of the Roman Church and instead turned to Constantinople for ecclesiastical assistance and, presumably, a degree of political support.[15] The Emperor quickly chose to send Cyril, accompanied by his brother Methodius. The request provided a convenient opportunity to expand Byzantine influence. Their first work seems to have been the training of assistants. In 863, they began the task of translating the Bible into the language now known as Old Church Slavonic and travelled to Great Moravia to promote it. They enjoyed considerable success in this endeavour. However, they came into conflict with German ecclesiastics who opposed their efforts to create a specifically Slavic liturgy.

For the purpose of this mission, they devised the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet to be used for Slavonic manuscripts. The Glagolitic alphabet was suited to match the specific features of the Slavic language. Its descendant script, the Cyrillic, is still used by many languages today.[15]

They wrote the first Slavic Civil Code, which was used in Great Moravia. The language derived from Old Church Slavonic, known as Church Slavonic, is still used inliturgy by several Orthodox Churches and also in some Eastern Catholic churches.

It is impossible to determine with certainty what portions of the Bible the brothers translated. The New Testament and the Psalms seem to have been the first, followed by other lessons from the Old Testament. The “Translatio” speaks only of a version of the Gospels by Cyril, and the “Vita Methodii” only of the “evangelium Slovenicum,” though other liturgical selections may also have been translated.

Nor is it known for sure which liturgy, that of Rome or that of Constantinople, they took as a source. They may well have used the Roman alphabet, as suggested by liturgical fragments which adhere closely to the Latin type. This view is confirmed by the “Prague Fragments” and by certain Old Glagolitic liturgical fragments brought from Jerusalem to Kiev and discovered there by Saresnewsky—probably the oldest document for the Slavonic tongue; these adhere closely to the Latin type, as is shown by the words “Mass,” “Preface,” and the name of one Felicitas. In any case, the circumstances were such that the brothers could hope for no permanent success without obtaining the authorization of Rome.

Journey to Rome

Saints Cyril and Methodius in Rome. Fresco in San Clemente

In 867, Pope Nicholas I invited the brothers to Rome. Their evangelizing mission in Moravia had by this time become the focus of a dispute with Theotmar, the Archbishop of Salzburg and bishop of Passau, who claimed ecclesiastical control of the same territory and wished to see it use the Latin liturgy exclusively. Travelling with the relics of Saint Clement and a retinue of disciples, and passing through Pannonia (the Balaton Principality), where they were well received by Prince Koceľ(Kocelj, Kozel), they arrived in Rome in 868, where they were warmly received. This was partly due to their bringing with them the relics of Saint Clement; the rivalry with Constantinople as to the jurisdiction over the territory of the Slavs would incline Rome to value the brothers and their influence.[15]

The brothers were praised for their learning and cultivated for their influence in Constantinople. Anastasius Bibliothecariuswould later call Cyril “a man of apostolic life” and “a man of great wisdom”.[16]Their project in Moravia found support fromPope Adrian II, who formally authorized the use of the new Slavic liturgy. Subsequently Methodius was ordained as priest by the pope himself, and five Slavic disciples were ordained as priests (Saint Gorazd, Saint Clement of Ohrid and Saint Naum) and as deacons (Saint Angelar and Saint Sava) by the prominent bishops Formosus and Gauderic.[17] The newly made priests officiated in their own languages at the altars of some of the principal churches. Feeling his end approaching, Cyril became a monk, was given the new name Cyril,[18] and died fifty days later (14 February 869). There is some question as to assertion of the Translatio (ix.) that he was made a bishop.

Methodius alone

Methodius now continued the work among the Slavs alone; not at first in Great Moravia, but in Pannonia (in the Balaton Principality), owing to the political circumstances of the former country, where Rastislav had been taken captive by his nephew Svatopluk, then delivered over to Carloman, and condemned in a diet of the empire at the end of 870.

Friendly relations had been established with Koceľ on the journey to Rome. This activity in Pannonia made a conflict inevitable with the German episcopate, and especially with the bishop of Salzburg, to whose jurisdiction Pannonia had belonged for seventy-five years. In 865 Bishop Adalwin is found exercising all Episcopal rights there, and the administration under him was in the hands of the archpriest Riehbald. The latter was obliged to retire to Salzburg, but his superior was naturally disinclined to abandon his claims. Methodius sought support from Rome; the Vita asserts that Koceľ sent him thither with an honorable escort to receive Episcopal consecration.

The letter given as Adrian’s in chap. viii., with its approval of the Slavonic mass, is a pure invention. The pope named Methodius archbishop of Sirmium with jurisdiction over Great Moravia and Pannonia, thus superseding the claims of Salzburg by an older title. The statement of the “Vita” that Methodius was made bishop in 870 and not raised to the dignity of an archbishop until 873 is contradicted by the brief of Pope John VIII, written in June 879, according to which Adrian consecrated him archbishop; John includes in his jurisdiction not only Great Moravia and Pannonia, but Serbia as well.

Methodius’ final years

The archiepiscopal claims of Methodius were considered such an injury to the rights of Salzburg that he was forced to answer for them at a synod held atRegensburg in the presence of King Louis. The assembly, after a heated discussion, declared the deposition of the intruder, and ordered him to be sent to Germany, where he was kept prisoner in Ellwangen for two and a half years. In spite of the strong representations of the Conversio Bagoariorum et Carantanorum, written in 871 to influence the pope, though not avowing this purpose, Rome declared emphatically for Methodius, and sent a bishop, Paul of Ancons, to reinstate him and punish his enemies, after which both parties were commanded to appear in Rome with the legate.

Saint Cyril and Methodius by Stanislav Dospevski,Bulgarian painter

The papal will prevailed, and Methodius secured his freedom and his archiepiscopal authority over both Great Moravia and Pannonia, though the use of Slavonic for the mass was still denied to him. His authority was restricted in Pannonia when after Koceľ’s death the principality was administered by German nobles; but Svatopluk now ruled with practical independence in Great Moravia, and expelled the German clergy. This apparently secured an undisturbed field of operation for Methodius, and the Vita (x.) depicts the next few years (873–879) as a period of fruitful progress. Methodius seems to have disregarded, wholly or in part, the prohibition of the Slavonic liturgy; and when Frankish clerics again found their way into the country, and the archbishop’s strictness had displeased the licentious Svatopluk, this was made a cause of complaint against him at Rome, coupled with charges regarding the Filioque.

Methodius vindicated his orthodoxy at Rome, the more easily as the creed was still recited there without the Filioque, and promised to obey in regard to the liturgy. The other party was conciliated by giving him a Swabian, Wiching, as his coadjutor. When relations were strained between the two, John VIII steadfastly supported Methodius; but after his death (December 882) the archbishop’s position became insecure, and his need of support induced Goetz to accept the statement of the Vita (xiii.) that he went to visit the Eastern emperor.

It was not until after Methodius’ death, which is placed on 6 April 885,[19] that the animosity erupted into an open conflict. Gorazd, whom Methodius had designated as his successor, was not recognised by Pope Stephen V. The same Pope forbade the use of the Slavic liturgy[20] and placed the infamous Wiching as Methodius’ successor. The latter exiled the disciples of the two brothers from Great Moravia in 885. They fled to the First Bulgarian Empire, where they were welcomed and commissioned to establish theological schools. There they devised theCyrillic script on the basis of the Glagolitic. Cyrillic gradually replaced Glagolitic as the alphabet of the Old Church Slavonic language, which became the official language of the Bulgarian Empire and later spread to the Eastern Slav lands of Kievan Rus’. Cyrillic eventually spread throughout most of the Slavic world to become the standard alphabet in the Eastern Orthodox Slavic countries. Hence, Cyril and Methodius’ efforts also paved the way for the spread of Christianity throughout Eastern Europe.

Methodius’ body was buried in the main cathedral church of Great Moravia. Until today remains an open question which city was capital of Great Moravia and therefore the place of Methodius’ eternal rest remains unknown.[21]

Invention of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets

The Baška tablet is an early example of the Glagolitic from Croatia.

The Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets are the oldest known Slavic alphabets, and were created by the two brothers and their students, to translate the Bible and other texts into the Slavic languages.[22]The early Glagolitic alphabet was used in Great Moravia between 863 (the arrival of Cyril and Methodius) and 885 (the expulsion of their students) for government and religious documents and books, and at the Great Moravian Academy (Veľkomoravské učilište) founded by Cyril, where followers of Cyril and Methodius were educated, by Methodius himself among others. The alphabet has been traditionally attributed to Cyril. That attribution has been confirmed explicitly by the papal letter Industriae tuae (880) approving the use of Old Church Slavonic, which says that the alphabet was “invented by Constantine the Philosopher”. The term invention need not exclude the possibility of the brothers having made use of earlier letters, but implies only that before that time the Slavic languages had no distinct script of their own.

The early Cyrillic alphabet was developed in the First Bulgarian Empire[23] and later finalized and spread by disciples Kliment and Naum in the Ohrid and Preslav schools of Tsar Boris’ Bulgaria[24] as a simplification of the Glagolitic alphabet which more closely resembled the Greek alphabet. It was developed by the disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius at the Preslav Literary School at the end of the 9th century.

After the death of Cyril, Clement of Ohrid accompanied Methodius from Rome to Pannonia and Great Moravia. After the death of Methodius in 885, Clement headed the struggle against the German clergy in Great Moravia along with Gorazd. After spending some time in jail, he was expelled from Great Moravia, and in 885 or 886 reached the borders of the Bulgarian Empire together with Naum of Preslav, Angelarius, and possibly Gorazd (according to other sources, Gorazd was already dead by that time). The four of them were afterwards sent to the Bulgarian capital of Pliska, where they were commissioned by Tsar Boris I of Bulgaria to instruct the future clergy of the state in the Slavonic language.

After the adoption of Christianity in 865, religious ceremonies in Bulgaria were conducted in Greek by clergy sent from the Byzantine Empire. Fearing growing Byzantine influence and weakening of the state, Boris viewed the adoption of the Old Slavonic language as a way to preserve the political independence and stability of Bulgaria, so he established two literary schools (academies), in Pliska and Ohrid, where theology was to be taught in the Slavonic language. While Naum of Preslav stayed in Pliska working on the foundation of the Pliska Literary School, Clement was commissioned by Boris I to organise the teaching of theology to future clergymen in Old Church Slavonic at the Ohrid Literary School. For seven years (886-893) Clement taught some 3,500 students in the Slavonic language and the Glagolitic alphabet.

Commemoration

Saints Cyril and Methodius’ Day

Saints Cyril and Methodius procession

The canonization process was much more relaxed in the decades following Cyril’s death than today. Cyril was regarded by his disciples as a saint soon after his death. His following spread among the nations he evangelized and subsequently to the wider Christian Church, and he was famous as a holy man, along with his brother Methodius. There were calls for Cyril’s canonization from the crowds lining the Roman streets during his funeral procession. The brothers’ first appearance in a papal document is in Grande Munus of Leo XIII in 1880. They are known as the “Apostles of the Slavs”, and are still highly regarded by both Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Their feast day is currently celebrated on 14 February in the Roman Catholic Church (to coincide with the date of St Cyril’s death); on 11 May in the Eastern Orthodox Church (though for Eastern Orthodox Churches which use the Julian Calendar this is 24 May according to the Gregorian calendar); and on 7 July according to the old sanctoral calendar that existed before the revisions of the Second Vatican Council. The celebration also commemorates the introduction of literacy and the preaching of the gospels in the Slavonic language by the brothers. The brothers were declared “Patrons of Europe” in 1980.[25]

According to old Bulgarian chronicles, the day of the holy brothers was celebrated ecclesiastically as early as the 11th century. The first recorded secular celebration of Saints Cyril and Methodius’ Day as the “Day of the Bulgarian script”, as traditionally accepted by Bulgarian history, was held in the town of Plovdiv on 11 May 1851, when a local Bulgarian school was named “Saints Cyril and Methodius”: both acts on the initiative of the prominent Bulgarian educator Nayden Gerov,[26]although an Armenian traveller mentioned his visit to the “celebration of the Bulgarian script” in the town of Shumen on 22 May 1803.[27]

The day is now celebrated as a public holiday in the following countries:

  • In Bulgaria it is celebrated on 24 May and is known as the “Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day” (Bulgarian: Ден на българската просвета и култура и на славянската писменост), a national holiday celebrating Bulgarian culture and literature as well as the alphabet. It is also known as “Alphabet, Culture, and Education Day” (Bulgarian: Ден на азбуката, културата и просвещението). Saints Cyril and Methodius are patrons of the National Library of Bulgaria. There is a monument to them in front of the library. Saints Cyril and Methodius are the most celebrated saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox church, and icons of the two brothers can be found in every church.
  • In the Republic of Macedonia, it is celebrated on 24 May and is known as the “Saints Cyril and Methodius, Slavonic Enlighteners’ Day” (Macedonian: Св. Кирил и Методиј, Ден на словенските просветители), a national holiday. The Government of the Republic of Macedonia enacted a statute of the national holiday in October 2006 and the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia passed a corresponding law at the beginning of 2007.[28] Previously it had only been celebrated in the schools. It is also known as the day of the “Solun Brothers” (Macedonian: Солунските браќа).
  • In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the two brothers were originally commemorated on 9 March, but Pope Pius IX changed this date to 5 July for several reasons.[29] Today, Saints Cyril and Methodius are revered there as national saints and their name day (5 July), “Sts Cyril and Methodius Day” is a national holiday in Czech Republic and Slovakia. In the Czech Republic it is celebrated as “Slavic Missionaries Cyril and Methodius Day” (Czech: Den slovanských věrozvěstů Cyrila a Metoděje); in Slovakia it is celebrated as “St. Cyril and Metod Day” (Slovak: Sviatok svätého Cyrila a Metoda).[29]
  • In Russia, it is celebrated on 24 May and is known as the “Slavonic Literature and Culture Day” (Russian: День славянской письменности и культуры), celebrating Slavonic culture and literature as well as the alphabet. Its celebration is ecclesiastical (11 May in the Church’s Julian calendar). It is not a public holiday in Russia.

The saints’ feast day is celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on 11 May and by the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion on 14 February as “Saints Cyril and Methodius Day“. The Lutheran Churches commemorate the two saints either on 14 February or 11 May.

Other commemoration

The national library of Bulgaria in Sofia, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia, and St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria and in Trnava, Slovakia, bear the name of the two saints. In the United States, SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan, bears their name.

Saints Cyril and Methodius are the main patron saints of the Archdiocese of Ljubljana. Ljubljana Cathedral stands at Cyril and Methodius Square (Slovene: Ciril–Metodov trg).[30] They are also patron saints of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Košice (Slovakia)[3]and the Slovak Greek Catholic Eparchy of Toronto.

St. Cyril Peak and St. Methodius Peak in the Tangra Mountains on Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, in Antarctica are named for the brothers.

Saint Cyril’s remains are interred in a shrine-chapel within the Basilica di San Clemente in Rome. The chapel holds a Madonna by Sassoferrato.

The Basilica of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Danville, Pennsylvania, (the only Roman Catholic basilica dedicated to SS. Cyril and Methodius in the world) is the motherhouse chapel of the Sisters of SS. Cyril and Methodius, a Roman Catholic women’s religious community of pontifical rite dedicated to apostolic works of ecumenism, education, evangelization, and elder care.[31]

See also

Notes

a.^ New Church Slavonic: Кѷрі́ллъ и҆ Меѳо́дїй (Kỳrill” i Methodij)

  • Belarusian: Кірыла і Мяфодзій (Kiryła i Miafodzij) or Кірыла і Мятода (Kiryła i Miatoda)
  • Bulgarian: Кирил и Методий (Kiril i Metodiy)
  • Croatian: Ćiril i Metod
  • Macedonian: Кирил и Методиј (Kiril i Metodij)
  • Russian: Кири́лл и Мефодий (Kirill i Mefodij), pre-1918 spelling: Кириллъ и Меѳодій (Kirill” i Methodij)
  • Serbian: Ћирило и Методије / Ćirilo i Metodije
  • Slovene: Ciril in Metod
  • Slovak: Cyril a Metod
  • Ukrainian: Кирило і Мефодій (Kyrylo i Mefodij)

References

  1. Jump up^ In the 21st century this date in the Julian Calendar corresponds to 24 May in the Gregorian Calendar
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Jones, Terry. “Methodius”. Patron Saints Index. Retrieved 18 February 2007.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b History of the Eparchy of Košice (Slovak)
  4. Jump up^ Liturgy of the Hours, Volume III, 14 February.
  5. Jump up^ “Egregiae Virtutis”. Retrieved 26 April 2009. Apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II, 31 December 1980 (Latin)
  6. Jump up^ Cyril and Methodius, Encyclopedia Britannica 2005
  7. Jump up^ Vita Constantini slavica, Cap. 18: Denkschriften der kaiserl. Akademie der Wissenschaften 19, Wien 1870, p. 246
  8. Jump up^ Chapter 18 of the Slavonic Life of Constantine, an English translation
  9. Jump up^ English Translation of the 18th Chapter of the Vita Constantini, Liturgy of the Hours, Proper of Saints, 14 February
  10. Jump up^ http://www.carpatho-rusyn.org/spirit/cyril.htm
  11. Jump up^
    • 1. Mortimer Chambers, Barbara Hanawalt, Theodore Rabb, Isser Woloch, Raymond Grew. The Western Experience with Powerweb. Eighth Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education 2002. University of Michigan. p. 214. ISBN 9780072565447

    … Two Christian brothers of Slavic descent, Cyril and Methodius, set out in about 862 as missionaries from the Byzantine …

    • 2. Balkan Studies, Volume 22. Hidryma Meletōn Chersonēsou tou Haimou (Thessalonikē, Greece). The Institute, 1981. Original from the University of Michigan. p. 381

    … Being of Slavic descent, both of them spoke the old Slavic language fluently …

    • 3. Loring M. Danforth. The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World. Princeton University Press, 1995. p. 49 ISBN 9780691043562.

    … In the ninth century two brothers Cyril and Methodius, Macedonian educators of Slavic origin from Solun, brought literacy and Christianity to the Slavs…

    • 4. Ihor Ševčenko. Byzantium and the Slavs: In Letters and Culture’. Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 1991. p. 481. ISBN 9780916458126

    … 63-68 (Cyril and Methodius were Slavs) … There remains that argument for Cyril’s and Methodius’ Slavic origin which has to do with the Slavic translation of the Gospels and …

    • 5. Roland Herbert Bainton. Christianity: An American Heritage Book Series. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000. p. 156. ISBN 9780618056873

    … Two missionaries of Slavic origin, Cyril (baptized Constantine) and Methodius, adapted the Greek alphabet and translated both the Bible and the liturgy into the Slavic tongue…

    • 6. John Shea. Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation. McFarland, 1997. p. 56 . ISBN 9780786437672

    ..Byzantine emperor Michael, on the request of the Moravian prince Ratislav, decided to send Slav priests as educators, he chose the Salonika brothers Cyril and Methodius…

    • 7. UNESCO Features: A Fortnightly Press Service. UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 1984. University of Michigan

    … They may have been of wholly Slavic descent or of mixed Greco-Slav origin…

    • 8. The Pakistan Review, Volume 19. Ferozsons Limited, 1971. University of California. p. 41

    … century in Salonika, then one of the largest towns in the Byzantine Empire. The brothers were of Slav origin …

    • 9. Balkania, Volume 7. Balkania Publishing Company, 1973. Indiana University. p. 10

    … Cyril and Methodius not only lived among Slavs. … of Slavonic, which the not only spoke and understood, but in which they also wrote — translated and composed — and for which they invented an alphabet, is proof of their Slav origin …

    • 10. Bryce Dale Lyon, Herbert Harvey Rowen, Theodore S. Hamerow. A history of the Western World, Volume 1. Rand McNally College Pub. Co., 1974. Northwestern University. p. 239

    … brothers of Slavic origin, Cyril and Methodius, who, after being ordained at Constantinople, preached the Gospel to the Slavs…

    • 11. Roland Herbert Bainton. The history of Christianity. Nelson, 1964. p. 169

    …Two missionaries of Slavic origin, Cyril (baptized Constantine) and Methodius, adapted the Greek alphabet and translated both the Bible and the liturgy into the Slavic tongue…

    • 12. Carl Waldman, Catherine Mason. Encyclopedia of European Peoples: Facts on File library of world history. Infobase Publishing, 2006. p. 752. ISBN 9781438129181

    … There is disagreement as to whether Cyril and his brother Methodius were Greek or Slavic, but they knew the Slavic dialect spoken in Macedonia…

    • 13. Frank Andrews. Ancient Slavs’. Worzalla Publishing Company, 1976. University of Wisconsin – Madison. p. 163.

    … Cyril and Methodius derived from a rich family of Salonica, perhaps of Slavic origin, but Grecized in those times. Methodius (815-885) …

    • 14. Johann Heinrich Kurtz, John Macpherson. Church History. Hodder and Stoughton, 1891. University of California. p. 431

    .. Born at Thessalonica, and so probably of Slavic descent, at least acquainted with the language of the Slavs, …

    • 15. William Leslie King. Investment and Achievement: A Study in Christian Progress. Jennings and Graham, 1913. Columbia University.

    .. This man and his brother Cyril became the and Cyril apostles of the Slavic people. These two brothers seemed to have been raised up for such a mission. They were probably of Slavic descent …

  12. Jump up^
    • Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001–05, s.v. “Cyril and Methodius, Saints” “Greek missionaries, brothers, called Apostles to the Slavs and fathers of Slavonic literature.”
    • Encyclopædia Britannica, Major alphabets of the world, Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets, 2008, O.Ed. “The two early Slavic alphabets, the Cyrillic and the Glagolitic, were invented by St. Cyril, or Constantine (c. 827–869), and St. Methodius (c. 825–884). These men were Greeks from Thessalonica who became apostles to the southern Slavs, whom they converted to Christianity.
    • Encyclopedia of World Cultures, David H. Levinson, 1991, p.239, s.v., “Social Science”
    • Eric M. Meyers, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, p.151, 1997
    • Lunt, Slavic Review, June 1964, p. 216; Roman Jakobson, Crucial problems of Cyrillo-Methodian Studies; Leonid Ivan Strakhovsky, A Handbook of Slavic Studies, p.98
    • V.Bogdanovich, History of the ancient Serbian literature, Belgrade, 1980, p.119
    • Hastings, Adrian (1997). The construction of nationhood: ethnicity, religion, and nationalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 126. ISBN 0-521-62544-0. The activity of the brothers Constantine (later renamed Cyril) and Methodius, aristocratic Greek priests who were sent from Constantinople.
    • Fletcher, R. A. (1999). The barbarian conversion: from paganism to Christianity. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 327. ISBN 0-520-21859-0.
    • Cizevskij, Dmitrij; Zenkovsky, Serge A.; Porter, Richard E. Comparative History of Slavic Literatures. Vanderbilt University Press. pp. vi. ISBN 0-8265-1371-9. Two Greek brothers from Salonika, Constantine who later became a monk and took the name Cyril and Methodius.
    • The illustrated guide to the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press. 1998. p. 14. ISBN 0-19-521462-5. In Eastern Europe, the first translations of the Bible into the Slavoruic languages were made by the Greek missionaries Cyril and Methodius in the 860s
    • Smalley, William Allen (1991). Translation as mission: Bible translation in the modern missionary movement. Macon, Ga.: Mercer. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-86554-389-8. The most important instance where translation and the beginning church did coincide closely was in Slavonic under the brothers Cyril and Methodius, with the Bible completed by A.D. 880. This was a missionary translation but unusual again (from a modern point of view) because not a translation into the dialect spoken where the missionaries were. The brothers were Greeks who had been brought up in Macedonia.
  13. Jump up^
    • 1. Philip Lief Group. Saintly Support: A Prayer For Every Problem. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2003. p. 37. ISBN 9780740733369

    .. Cyril was born of Greek nobility connected with the senat of Thessalonica, although his mother may have been of Slavic descent …

    • 2. UNESCO Features: A Fortnightly Press Service. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization., 1984. University of Michigan

    … They may have been of wholly Slavic descent or of mixed Greco-Slav origin…

  14. Jump up^ The Lives of the Ninth-Century Popes (Liber Pontificalis)– Google Knihy. Books.google.cz. January 1, 1995. ISBN 0-85323-479-5. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  15. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Vizantiiskoe missionerstvo, Ivanov S. A., Iazyki slavianskoi kul’tury, Moskva 2003, p. 147 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name “Brit” defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  16. Jump up^ “Vir apostolicae vitae… sapientissimus vir” MGH Epist., 7/2, 1928, p. 436
  17. Jump up^ “Sv. Gorazd a spoločníci” [St. Gorazd and his colleagues]. Franciscan Friars of Slovakia (in Slovak). Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  18. Jump up^ As is customary, when one becomes a monk in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, one receives a new name.
  19. Jump up^ Житїе Меөодїя (Life of Methodius), title & chap. XVIII – available on-line
  20. Jump up^ Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes, (HarperCollins, 2000), 144.
  21. Jump up^ Short Life of Cyril & Methodius. Translated by Ján STANISLAV: Životy slovanských apoštolov Cyrila a Metoda v legendách a listoch. Turčiansky Sv. Martin: Matica slovenská, 1950, p. 88. (Slovak)
  22. Jump up^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Major alphabets of the world, Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets, 2008, O.Ed. “The two early Slavic alphabets, the Cyrillic and the Glagolitic, were invented by St. Cyril, or Constantine (c. 827–869), and St. Methodius (c. 825–884). These men were Greeks from Thessalonica who became apostles to the southern Slavs, whom they converted to Christianity.
  23. Jump up^ Paul Cubberley (1996) “The Slavic Alphabets”
  24. Jump up^ Daniels and Bright, eds. The World’s Writing Systems. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507993-0.
  25. Jump up^ Egregiae Virtutis
  26. Jump up^ “История на България”, Том 6 Българско Възраждане 1856–1878, Издателство на Българската академия на науките, София, 1987, стр. 106 (in Bulgarian; in English: “History of Bulgaria”, Volume 6 Bulgarian Revival 1856–1878, Publishing house of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, 1987, page 106).
  27. Jump up^ Jubilee speech of the Academician Ivan Yuhnovski, Head of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, held on 23 May 2003, published in Information Bulletin of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 3(62), Sofia, 27 June 2003 (in Bulgarian).
  28. Jump up^ Announcement about the eleventh session of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia on 24 October 2006 from the official site of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia (in Macedonian).
  29. ^ Jump up to:a b Votruba, Martin.

Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph, February 13,2017

Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph, February 13,2017

The murderous Cain is banned from the soil to become a restless wanderer on the earth. To prevent others from killing Cain on sight, the Lord puts a mark on him – a protective sign. The “sign from heaven” that the Pharisees seek has already been given in the Incarnation. The flesh of Christ in our midst is the sign that saves us from our murderous ways.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Dear Jesus, 

By the time you had encountered the Pharisees as described in today’s gospel, You had already performed various miracles and works of power. Yet the Pharisees were not satisfied, but seemed to want something more, something on a grander scale.  Lord today, we have, at times, given You the same response to all the goodness You have blessed our lives. We continue to reject You with our unbelief and our repeated sinfulness. Lord, forgive us for our ambivalent and weakened faith and bless us with a heart like Yours which is overflowing with unconditional love and commitment. Allow us to respond only with total faith and belief in the Good News.  Enable us to repent, and believe in the gospel. We know Lord that even in the face of your rejection, Your heart will not rest in drawing us closer to the Father and His flock and until we all positively respond to the love You continue to gives us. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.

Reading 1
Gn 4:1-15, 25

The man had relations with his wife Eve,
and she conceived and bore Cain, saying,
“I have produced a man with the help of the LORD.”
Next she bore his brother Abel.
Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil.
In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the LORD
from the fruit of the soil,
while Abel, for his part,
brought one of the best firstlings of his flock.
The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
but on Cain and his offering he did not.
Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen.
So the LORD said to Cain:
“Why are you so resentful and crestfallen.
If you do well, you can hold up your head;
but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door:
his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.”

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.”
When they were in the field,
Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
He answered, “I do not know.
Am I my brother’s keeper?”
The LORD then said: “What have you done!
Listen: your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil!
Therefore you shall be banned from the soil
that opened its mouth to receive
your brother’s blood from your hand.
If you till the soil, it shall no longer give you its produce.
You shall become a restless wanderer on the earth.”
Cain said to the LORD: “My punishment is too great to bear.
Since you have now banished me from the soil,
and I must avoid your presence
and become a restless wanderer on the earth,
anyone may kill me at sight.”
“Not so!” the LORD said to him.
“If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.”
So the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight.

Adam again had relations with his wife,
and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth.
“God has granted me more offspring in place of Abel,” she said,
“because Cain slew him.”

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 50:1 and 8, 16bc-17, 20-21

R. (14a) Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.”
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.
“You sit speaking against your brother;
against your mother’s son you spread rumors.
When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.”
R. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Gospel
Mk 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
“Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Seeking a sign

“Why does this generation seek a sign?”

This was the question posed by Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees in today’s gospel. Amidst what Jesus has taught the people of His time and the countless miracles He allowed them to experience while in His midst, the people of who opposed Jesus still had the courage to ask for more signs.

Today, most of us ask this question from God whenever we are in a fix and have to make up our minds on issues affecting our daily lives. “Give me some signs that this is from You. Otherwise I will have to seriously think about it, even drop it.”  This is a very typical response of someone who does not want to believe or does not have faith.  This is a response of someone who has difficulty in following the will of our Lord especially if it means some adjustments in life, when it means giving up our comfort zones in order to be with our Lord. Quite often we have likened God to a friend, an acquaintance or a co-worker, even a close or distant relations. We require that He proves Himself otherwise we will not follow.

This is God’s reality among His people. Even after giving up His divinity, coming to be one of us and dying for our sins on the cross, we still require Him to prove His point. We have actually made a slave out of our God, sad and painful as it may be to accept. As a parent, as a spouse and as a sibling we all know how it painful it is when those close to us lose faith in the goodness that flows from within us.  A lot of times we risk our name and all we got just to show those close to us how much we love them and how good our intentions are. We always try to give our loved ones a sign to live by.

The problem with the Pharisees was they chose to be blind to Jesus. Showing them signs would be like showing the blind more pictures. Have we realized how our God feels whenever we require Him to prove His point and His will for us?

In our brokenness and in our bruised state, our vision becomes not only hazy but blinded. Our hearts are hardened and we become so stubborn in our ways.  Although we say, we are all Christian disciples we find it hard to accept the will of our Lord.  We turn away from Him and opt to go with what is convenient, what passes away, what is momentary and even lustful.

God message for us today is never to look for signs for He has given enough signs.  He has His Word for us to stand, to live by and guide us. He has given us His life, His love and all that we need to reach our true home. God has all the answers inscribed in our hearts if we only open up to the Spirit.  Jesus is the ANSWER and He more than satisfies what our hearts need.

Let us be reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 12: 39-42:  “An evil and unfaithful age is eager for a sign! No sign will be given. At judgment everyone will rise with the present generation and be the ones to condemn the world.  At the preaching of Jonah, people reformed their lives. People came from the farthest corner of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. Yet we have ONE Who is greater than Jonah and Solomon here.”

Isn’t this enough assurance, enough sign, enough answer from our GOD?
Isn’t Jesus nailed on the Cross more than sufficient? Believe and live!!!

Direction
Allow the Spirit to lead us in life.  Total and unconditional surrender to God and His will is the way of every disciple.

Prayer
Heavenly father, perfect my faith so that when my circumstances become difficult I may continue to hang on be your loyal follower. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – No sign shall be given to this generation

Are you good at reading signs? Signs tell us what is coming ahead. The people of Jesus’ time expected that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by extraordinary signs and wonders. The religious leaders tested Jesus to see if he had a genuine sign from heaven to back his claim to be the Messiah. False messiahs in the past had made extraordinary claims to attract their followers, such as claiming that they could cleave the Jordan River in two or cause the walls of Jerusalem to fall.

What makes us blind-sighted to God’s presence and power in our lives?
Jesus knew the hearts of those who came to test him. They were more interested in seeking signs to prove that they were right and Jesus was wrong. Jesus revealed the true intention of their heart – they came to argue with him and to test him (Mark 8:11) because they did not believe that he spoke in the name of his Father in heaven. They wanted to discredit his claim to be the true Messiah and Savior. They unfortunately were blind-sighted to the truth of Jesus’ message that the Father had sent him, the only begotten Son, to set them free from sin, Satan, and death. No miracle of Jesus would convince them because their hearts were full of self-seeking pride and glory for themselves.

Simeon had prophesied at Jesus’ birth that he was “destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed”(Luke 2:34-35). Jesus gave the Pharisees no sign except himself and the ultimate proof of his divinity when he overcame death and rose victorious from the tomb on the third day.We also need no further proof than the witness of Jesus who fulfilled what Moses and the prophets had foretold would take place when the Messiah came to redeem his people.

Jesus is the only begotten Son of God who came from the Father in heaven to set us free from the power of sin, Satan, and death. His death on the cross atones for all of our sins and opens for us the floodgates of God’s merciful love and healing forgiveness. He alone can set us free from guilt, condemnation, pride, and fear. He alone can give us abundant life, peace, and joy through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus gives us “listening ears” and “eyes of faith” to recognize his presence in our lives
The Lord reveals himself and makes his presence known to us in many ways – in his “word” (the good news he came to give us) and in the “breaking of the bread” in the Eucharist (he is theBread of Life), in his church – the Body of Christ, and in his creation (he is the Word who created all things). And even in the daily circumstances of our lives the Lord Jesus continues to speak to us and guide us. If we seek the Lord Jesus, we will surely find him. And we can be confident that he will give us whatever we need to carry out his will for our lives. Most of all the Lord Jesus assures us of his daily presence with us and the promise that he will never leave us. Theresa of Avila’s prayer book contained a bookmark which she wrote: Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you; All things pass: God never changes. Patience achieves all it strives for. Whoever has God lacks nothing, God alone suffices. Is God enough for you?

“Lord Jesus, may I always recognize your saving presence in my life and never forget your promises when I encounter trials and difficulties. Give me a faith that never wavers, a hope that never fades, and a love that never grows cold.” –  Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/feb13.htm

Reflection 3 – Sailing away from arguments

Have you ever tried to help someone who would not listen to what you were really saying? They only heard what they wanted to hear, if anything at all. Usually, it’s something that gives them an excuse to disbelieve you.

It’s so very frustrating, isn’t it?  We want to do good for them, but they deafen their ears or they misconstrue our intent or they twist our meaning to suit their purposes.

When this happens, how do you feel? “Frustrated” yes, but that’s not all. There’s something icky about it. We feel torn between giving up and trying one more time. We pray for the other person, but we wish we could find the magic words that would finally break through whatever’s shrouding that person’s mind.

That’s probably how Jesus felt in today’s Gospel story. The Pharisees’ reason for requesting a sign was not motivated by a hope that Jesus was the Messiah. They were asking for an argument. If they truly wanted to believe in him, they would have been converted by the many previous signs they had already witnessed.

In this scripture, Jesus shows us what to do when people argue with us. If they’re not asking questions that would help them understand what we’ve said, they’re not interested in learning something new from us. Debating them is pointless and will only cause hurt and further division.

Like Jesus, we have to walk away from the argument. Our words are not helping them. The most caring thing we can do is to climb into our boats, like Jesus, and paddle to the other side of the sea to find people who are ready to listen — people who ask questions for the sake of discovering the truth, people who are humble enough to believe that they don’t have all the answers nor see the full picture.

It’s not easy to walk away from an argument when we’re trying to help. It hurts to see people continue to suffer from the lies and misconceptions they believe. That’s okay; we’re not supposed to like it — we care. But walking away is not quitting. We’ll continue to pray for their conversion to the truth, and we’ll show by our lives the truth of our words.

It might take many years and hard troubles before they’ll be ready to listen, but never despair. God wants to help them even more than you do, and he’s not finished with them. God will not allow them to die before they’re ready to spend eternity with him, because you are praying for them in the spirit of his love.

Remember, even some Pharisees became believers in Jesus. It was a Pharisee who donated his tomb to the crucified Lord. – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-02-13

Reflection 4 – Confidence vs. Seeking a Sign

“O God most loving, who are Love itself, how we wound you if we trust not in you with all our hearts! If, after the favors you have shown us, and more than all, after having died for us, we do not feel confidence in you, we must be worse that the very brutes. After all you have given us in the past, can we doubt your loving kindness in the future, or think that you will cease to protect those you have saved from hell? Will you leave your adopted sons to die of hunger, or cease to guide them aright in the path in which you do set them when they had wandered away? When we were estranged from you, you did give us many graces – will you then refuse them now when our only desire is to serve you? While we offended against you, you did follow after us when we fled from you; you did draw us to yourself, did cleanse us from our guilt, and giving to us your Holy Spirit, did fill our souls with joy, and bestow on us the kiss of peace.

“And wherefore did you do all this? Surely it was that we might believe that as for Christ’s sake you did reconcile us to yourself when we were among your enemies, much more surely, will you keep us for his sake, now that we are in the number of your friends.

“O my God and my mercy! After the countless favors you have shown us, permit not that we distrust you and question whether you do love us and intend to save us. More evident than the sun at midday is the witness borne by your works that you do cherish us and give us the hope of salvation. Let our hearts rely confidently on God even though we feel not the sweetness of his consolations” (Source: St. John of Avila, +1569, Magnificat, Vol. 16, No. 12, February 2015, pp. 255-256).

Reflection 5 – St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph (1729-1812 A.D.)

In the same year that a power-hungry Napoleon Bonaparte led his army into Russia, Giles Mary of St. Joseph ended a life of humble service to his Franciscan community and to the citizens of Naples.

Francesco was born in Taranto to very poor parents. His father’s death left the 18-year-old Francesco to care for the family. Having secured their future, he entered the Friars Minor at Galatone in 1754. For 53 years he served at St. Paschal’s Hospice in Naples in various roles, such as cook, porter or most often as official beggar for that community.

“Love God, love God” was his characteristic phrase as he gathered food for the friars and shared some of his bounty with the poor—all the while consoling the troubled and urging everyone to repent. The charity which he reflected on the streets of Naples was born in prayer and nurtured in the common life of the friars. The people whom Giles met on his begging rounds nicknamed him the “Consoler of Naples.” He was canonized in 1996.

Comment:

People often become arrogant and power hungry when they try to live a lie, for example, when they forget their own sinfulness and ignore the gifts God has given to other people. Giles had a healthy sense of his own sinfulness—not paralyzing but not superficial either. He invited men and women to recognize their own gifts and to live out their dignity as people made in God’s divine image. Knowing someone like Giles can help us on our own spiritual journey.

Quote:

In his homily at the canonization of Giles, Pope John Paul II said that the spiritual journey of Giles reflected “the humility of the Incarnation and the gratuitousness of the Eucharist” (L’Osservatore Romano 1996, volume 23, number 1).

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1290

SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here to receive Saint of the Day in your email.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    
Saint
Egidio Maria of Saint Joseph
O.F.M.
Born 16 November 1729
Taranto, Apulia, Kingdom of Naples
Died 7 February 1812 (aged 82)
Naples, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 5 February 1888, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Kingdom of Italy by Pope Leo XIII
Canonized 2 June 1996, Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Feast 7 February
Attributes Franciscan habit
Patronage
  • Taranto
  • Ill people
  • Outcast people
  • Children
  • People looking for work

Saint Egidio Maria of Saint Joseph (16 November 1729 – 7 February 1812) – born Francesco Postillo – was an Italianprofessed religious from the Order of Friars Minor.[1] Postillo became a Franciscan brother rather than as an ordained priest due to his lack of a proper education and so dedicated himself to the care of the poor and ill in southern Italian cities such as Taranto and Naples where he earned the moniker of the “Consoler of Naples”.[2][3]

Pope Pius IX titled him as Venerable in 1868 and he was later beatified under Pope Leo XIII in 1888 before he was canonized under Pope John Paul II in 1996.[4] His liturgical feast is celebrated on an annual basis on the date of his death.

Life[edit]

Francesco Postillo was born in Taranto on 16 November 1729 to Cataldo Postillo and Grazia Procaccio; three siblings later followed him.[4] He was baptized as Francesco Domenico Antonio Pasquale Postillo.

His father died in 1747 and this forced Postillo to seek work to provide for his widowed mother and siblings. For a brief period of time he worked as a rope maker. The lack of a personal education meant that he was unable to become a priest and served instead as a professed religious in the Order of Friars Minor in Naples. He applied to enter the order on 27 February 1754 and made his solemn profession of vows on 28 February 1755 at the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Galatone.[2] He assumed the religious name of “Egidio of the Mother of God” but he later altered this instead to “Egidio Maria of Saint Joseph”.[4]Postillo served as a porter and gatekeeper to his convent and worked as a cook at the convent in Squinzano while also working with lepers; he often travelled outside the confines of his convent to beg for alms and to aid those who were shunned and isolated. Postillo spent almost a week at a convent in Capuso near Bari in 1759 when he was assigned to the convent of San Pasquale in Chiaia near Naples.[3]

Postillo died in Naples in 1812. His death came as a result of severe sciatica coupled with severe asthma and then dropsy. His remains are housed at San Pasquale convent’s adjacent church in Chiaia.

Sainthood[edit]

The process for sainthood commenced in Naples in an informative process that Cardinal Filippo Giudice Caracciolo opened and later closed in 1843. Pope Pius IX named him as Venerable on 24 February 1868 after confirming that Postillo had lived a model life of heroic virtue and Pope Leo XIII later beatified the late religious on 5 February 1888 after the confirmation of two miracles attributed to his intercession. On 29 June 1919 the Archbishop of Taranto Orazio Mazzella named him as the patron of Taranto.

The third miracle – and the one that led to Postillo’s canonization – was investigated and received validation from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 2 October 1992 which led to a medical board approving it on 27 January 1994; theologians did likewise on 13 May 1994 as did the C.C.S. on 18 October 1994. Pope John Paul II approved the healing to be a miracle – the 1937 cure of Mrs. Angela Mignogna – on 15 December 1994 and canonized Postillo as a saint on 2 June 1996.

References[edit]

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