Saturday, May 26, 2018

Saint May 27 : St. Augustine of Canterbury : Patron of #England

St. Augustine of Canterbury
APOSTLE OF ENGLAND, ARCHBISHOP
Feast: May 27


Information:
Feast Day:
May 27
Born:
early 6th century, Rome, Italy
Died:
26 May 604, Canterbury, Kent, England
Patron of:
England
Today, May 27, we celebrate the feast of Saint Augustine of Canterbury (sometimes referred to as “Saint Augustine the Lesser,” died 605), called the “Apostle of England,” and the eventual first Archbishop of Canterbury. Not to be confused with his namesake, Saint Augustine of Hippo, the work of Saint Augustine of Canterbury is widely regarded as the birth of conversion in England, beginning the slow process of conversion of Celtic tradition and reconciliation with Rome. Much of what is known of Saint Augustine of Canterbury is taken from letters written by Pope Saint Gregory the Great, and through the written ecclesiastical history of England written by Saint Bede. Little is known about Augustine’s early life.
We join his story as he serves as Prior of a Benedictine monastery of monks in Rome, during the papacy of Pope Saint Gregory the Great. In 596, when historians suggest that Saint Augustine was already past middle age, he was sent by the pope, with a delegation of approximately 40 monks, to England to preach the Gospel.
News of the ferocity of the Anglo-Saxons, and their treatment of Catholics, was widespread, but with encouragement—and out of obedience—Augustine undertook this difficult and potentially dangerous mission… but not before returning to the Pope and seeking reassurance. Pope Gregory provided encouragement, stating, “Go on, in God’s name! The greater your hardships, the greater your crown. May the grace of Almighty God protect you, and permit me to see the fruit of your labor in the heavenly country! If I cannot share your toil, I shall yet share the harvest, for God knows that it is not good-will which is wanting.” Upon reaching England, following a difficult crossing of the channel, Saint Augustine announced their arrival to King Ethelbert of Kent, telling him they brought the message of eternal life. King Ethelbert was a pagan, although he had married a Christian, his wife, Bertha. On her request, he promised to receive the monks and consider their message. Saint Augustine led the monks in procession to the king, carrying a silver cross and singing litanies to God for the salvation of this people. King Ethelbert allowed them to sit and share the Good News with him, which was unexpected.
When Augustine was finished, King Ethelbert said: “Your words and promises are very beautiful. But because they are new and uncertain, I cannot approve them and leave everything that I along with all my people have followed for so long a time. However, since you have traveled from afar and made a long journey in order to share with us what you deem to be truer and better, I will not place obstacles in your way, but will receive you well and offer what is necessary for your subsistence. Nor will I impede you from bringing to your religion all those whom you are able to persuade.” He allowed them to remain on the isle, providing them a place to live and land on which to build (in what would later become Canterbury), and the opportunity to preach as they wished. Eventually, impressed with the community under the direction of Saint Augustine, King Ethelbert converted and was baptized. Despite the fact that the king did not force his subjects to become Christian, and instead instituted a policy of religious choice, many of his subjects converted to Catholicism (sources place the number at “10,000” subjects). In the midst of this mild success, Pope Gregory cautioned him against pride, writing “fear lest, amidst the wonders that are done, the weak mind be puffed up by self-esteem.”
Augustine, following his initial success in England, traveled to France, where he was consecrated as a bishop, and subsequently returned to Canterbury to establish a vigorous community of religious life. With him he brought a priceless collection of illuminated manuscripts, still present and preserved today. He reconsecrated and rebuilt a church at Canterbury, and founded the monastery of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Outside the Walls (now sometimes known as Saint Augustine’s). He is further credited with founding the King’s School at Canterbury, the world’s oldest school. The remains of some of these early buildings remain near the now famous cathedral, built in later years at Canterbury.
Despite the spread of Christianity throughout England, progress was slow, and Augustine met with considerable failure along the way, reminding us that the lives of the saints are not always easy or joyous. He was met with much opposition and disappointment, and frequently turned to Pope Saint Gregory for encouragement and inspiration. Pope Gregory wisely suggested that Augustine work within the customs of the English people (much like Saint Patrick did in Ireland), purifying rather than destroying pagan temples and customs, transforming pagan rites and festivals into Christian feasts, and retaining local customs whenever possible and appropriate. Pope Gregory wrote:
“The temples of the idols among that people should on no account be destroyed... it is a good idea to detach them from the service of the devil, and dedicate them to the service of the true God. And since they have a custom of sacrificing many oxen to demons, let some other solemnity be substituted ... so that they may learn to slay their cattle in honor of God and for their own feasting . . . If they are allowed some worldly pleasures in this way, they are more likely to find their way to the true inner joys. For it is doubtless impossible to eradicate all errors at one stroke . . . just as the man who sets out to climb a high mountain does not advance by leaps and bounds, but goes upward step by step and pace by pace. It is in this way that the Lord revealed himself to the Israelite people.”
Augustine followed this directive, encouraging his monks to do the same. Even so, by the time of Saint Augustine’s death in 605, the work of evangelization of England had only just begun. It is believed, however, that he lay the groundwork for the eventual spread of Christianity throughout the kingdom.
Augustine was obedient and steadfast, despite meeting many obstacles. He lived the Benedictine doctrine of “presence, not confrontation” in preaching the Gospel. His perseverance, in the face of opposition and difficulty, is inspiring even today. He was a man of humility, who doubted his ability to make small decisions, seeking counsel and writing to Pope Gregory for reassurance and advice. He truly followed the advice of his counselor, who wrote: "He who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, not leaps." Augustine died after just 8 long years, toiling in England. He was buried in Canterbury, at the monastery he founded. Throughout his life, Saint Augustine of Canterbury realized that he was but one man, who reported to a higher authority. He sought guidance from Pope Saint Gregory during his times of great difficulty, turning to God whenever he met obstacles (which were all too frequent!). The great pope sent many letters of support and spiritual counsel, including the one excerpted here: Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth, because the grain of wheat has fallen into the earth and has died. Christ has died in order to reign in heaven. Not only that: by his death we live; by his weakness we are strengthened; by his passion we are freed from suffering; impelled by his love, we are seeking in Britain brothers whom we do not know; through his help we have found those for whom we were searching, although we were not acquainted with them. Who, dear brother, is capable of describing the great joy of believers when they have learned what the grace of Almighty God and your own cooperation achieved among the Angles? They abandoned the errors of darkness and were bathed with the light of holy faith. With full awareness they trampled on the idols which they had previously adored with savage fear. They are now committed to Almighty God. The guidelines given them for their preaching restrain them from falling into evil ways. In their minds they are submissive to the divine precepts and consequently feel uplifted. They bow down to the ground in prayer lest their minds cling too closely to earthly things. Whose achievement is this? It is the achievement of him who said: My Father is at work until now and I am at work as well. God chose illiterate preachers and sent them into the world in order to show the world that conversion is brought about not by men's wisdom but rather by his own power. So in like manner God worked through weak instruments and wrought great things among the Angles. Dear brother, in this heavenly gift there is something which should inspire us with great fear and great joy.
For I know through your love for that people, specially chosen for you, that Almighty God has performed great miracles. But it is necessary that the same heavenly gift should cause you to rejoice with fear and to fear with gladness. You should be glad because by means of external miracles the soul of the Angles (English) have been led to interior grace. But you should tremble lest, on account of these signs, the preacher's own weak soul be puffed up with presumption; lest, while seeming externally raised aloft in honor, it fall internally as a result of vainglory.
We should remember that when the disciples on their joyous return from their preaching mission said to their heavenly master: Lord, in your name even devils were subjected to us, he immediately retorted: Do not rejoice about this but rather that your names are written in heaven.
The life of Saint Augustine of Canterbury reminds us that we all need the support of those around us, and more importantly, the grace of God to persevere in our daily lives. We are confronted each day with obstacles—many quite small—but some which seem insurmountable. We have ample opportunities to turn from our faith, to give up, to give in. Saint Augustine’s obedience and zeal for his work, accompanied by the patient counsel and encouragement of Pope Saint Gregory, remind us that the Lord provides the support we need to accomplish great things—both in heaven and on earth. We may not always seek that support. We may not even be aware that it exists. Or it may come from the most unlikely of places (like a pagan king intrigued by the Gospel!). When we are lost and confused, we are reminded that we are not alone, and have the Lord to assist us in taking our steps (not leaps) toward the achievement of His lofty goals for each of us!

God, Our Father,
by the preaching of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, you led the people of England to the Gospel. May the fruits of his work continue in your Church. Grant that through his intercession, the hearts of those who err may return to the unity of your truth and that we may be of one mind in doing your will.
Saint Augustine,
Help us to work in a spirit of trust and love, as well as a spirit of prudence and understanding, so that we may grow as God’s faithful. May harmony reign ever among us. Because of your example in living the Gospel, we dedicate ourselves,through your intercession, to live that same Gospel.
Implore on our behalf the favor of an ever-deepening trust in God’s goodness and love. Obtain God’s grace for us that we may grow in faith, hope, love and all virtues. Grant that by imitating you we may imitate our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Watch over us and help us to reach that place where you live with all the saints for ever and ever. Amen.
Text shared from 365 Rosaries Blog

Wow Pope Francis makes Surprise visit to 200 School Children who Shed Tears of Joy! - on Mercy Friday with Video

Pope Francis visits a school on the outskirts of Rome
200 children and their parents receive the surprise of their life when Pope Francis walks into their school during an event. By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp Another Mercy Friday for Pope Francis; a complete shock for the staff, children and parents participating in an event at the Elisa Scala Institute, a state-run school on the outskirts of Rome. What a surprise! For 5 months the students at Elisa Scala Institute have been preparing for an event called “We are the protagonists.” It gave the students the opportunity of immersing themselves in a variety of artistic, athletic and dramatic disciplines. Proud parents had come to participate when in walked Pope Francis! Claudia Gentili, the school’s principal, told Vatican News what happened as people began to realize that the Pope had arrived. “When we saw him arrive—this white figure under the sun—the reaction was one of disbelief and incredible emotion. Both the children and their parents couldn’t believe their eyes”. The school—place of encounter, growth and formation Pope Francis once again highlights the role of the school. He himself led the students in the cheer—“place of encounter, growth and formation”. "How true this is", Ms Gentili said. “In a neighborhood as isolated as ours is, truly on the margins of the world, we are the only point of reference for these children”. “Elisa’s Library” The school, originally built in the 1950s, now bears the name of 11-year-old Elisa Scala who died in 2015 from leukemia. She had a passion for books and libraries. Her parents proposed that a library be built in her honor. Thus, Elisa’s Library opened in December 2015. It now contains over 20,000 volumes, in many different languages, donated from all over the world. The library now contains several more books all bearing a dedication by Pope Francis to Elisa which the Pope gave to Elisa’s parents.
FULL TEXT from Vatican News - Image shared from Vatican,va

#BreakingNews Ireland Votes to Legalize Abortion as the 8th Amendment is Repealed - Please Pray


Irish voters have voted to overturn the nation’s legal protections for unborn children — setting up government-sponsored legislation to legalize abortions on babies as old as 6 months.  For decades, the Eighth Amendment has protected unborn babies and mothers equally in Ireland by recognizing that both are valuable human beings who deserve a right to life. More than 100,000 Irish unborn babies and mothers have been spared from the pain and death of abortion, thanks to the constitutional protection.
Ireland’s eighth amendment recognizes the “right to life of the unborn” with an “equal right to life of the mother.” Without the Eighth Amendment, there is nothing to prevent lawmakers from legalizing abortion for any reason up to birth. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar pushed for legalizing abortion and applauded Irish voters.
 Some pro-life advocates are not surprised by the results, especially after Facebook and Google banned advertising on the abortion referendum. 
That essentially obliterated the pro-life side’s ability to get out its message, as pro-life groups were preparing to spend heavily on social media ads to rally votes against legalizing abortion. Attention will now turn to the Irish Parliament, which is expected to approve the government’s bill to legalize abortions on babies up to 6 months old for specious “mental health” reasons. The proposal they are pushing already is very extreme. It would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide range of circumstances. The fear is Ireland’s abortion law will mirror Britain’s, where one in every five pregnancies there ends in abortion each year. In Britain, abortion is permitted until 24 weeks of gestation on five grounds. In 2016, 97% of abortions in England and Wales were performed on ‘mental health’ grounds. Two percent were for abnormalities. Irish doctors were some of the most outspoken advocates against abortion, saying the repeal of the Eighth Amendment would do nothing whatsoever to help Irish women. People with disabilities and their families also expressed fears that legalized abortion could lead to wide-spread, deadly discrimination against unborn babies.
Edited from Life News

Pope Francis "...a mentality of egoism and exclusion that has effectively created a culture of waste blind to the human dignity of the most vulnerable." FULL Official Text


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE CONGRESS ORGANIZED BY THE
CENTESIMUS ANNUS - PRO PONTIFICE FOUNDATION
Sala Regia
Saturday, 26 May 2018


Dear Friends,
I greet all of you gathered for the 2018 International Conference of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation.  In a particular way, in this, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Foundation’s establishment by Saint John Paul II, I express my gratitude for your work in making known the wisdom of the Church’s social teaching with those involved in the business and economic sectors of civil society.  After a quarter-century, this task remains more necessary than ever, as the social and financial challenges faced by the international community have become increasingly complex and interrelated.
The current difficulties and crises within the global economic system have an undeniable ethical dimension: they are related to a mentality of egoism and exclusion that has effectively created a culture of waste blind to the human dignity of the most vulnerable.  We see this in the growing “globalization of indifference” before obvious moral challenges confronting our human family.  I think especially of the manifold obstacles to the integral human development of so many of our brothers and sisters, not only in materially poorer countries but increasingly amid the opulence of the developed world.  I think too of the urgent ethical issues associated with global movements of migration. 
Your Foundation has a vital role to play in bringing the light of the Gospel message to these pressing humanitarian concerns, and in assisting the Church to carry out this essential aspect of her mission.  By continuing to engage with business and finance leaders, as well as union officials and others in the public sector, you seek to ensure that the intrinsic social dimension of all economic activity is adequately safeguarded and effectively promoted.
All too often, a tragic and false dichotomy – analogous to the artificial rift between science and faith – has developed between the ethical teachings of our religious traditions and the practical concerns of today’s business community.  But there is a natural circularity between profit and social responsibility.  There is in fact an “indissoluble connection […] between an ethics respectful of persons and the common good, and the actual functionality of every economic financial system” (Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones, 17 may 2018, 23).  In a word, the ethical dimension of social and economic interaction cannot be imported into social life and activity from without, but must arise from within.  This is, of course, a long-term goal requiring the commitment of all persons and institutions within society.
Your Conference has chosen for its title this year “New Policies and Life-Styles in the Digital Age”.  One of the challenges linked to this theme is the threat families are facing from uncertain job opportunities and the impact of the digital cultural revolution.  As the preparation process for this year’s Synod on Young People has made clear, this is a vital area in which the solidarity of the Church is actively needed.  Your own contribution is a privileged expression of the Church’s concern for the future of young people and families.  Indeed this is an activity where ecumenical cooperation is of especial importance and the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at your Conference is an eloquent sign of this common responsibility.
Dear friends, by sharing your own knowledge and expertise, and by making known the richness of the Church’s social doctrine, you seek to form the consciences of leaders in the political, social and economic sectors.  I encourage you to persevere in these efforts which contribute to the building of a global culture of economic justice, equality and inclusion.  With gratitude and appreciation for what you have already accomplished, I prayerfully entrust your future commitment to the providence of Almighty God.  Upon you, your colleagues and your families I willingly invoke an abundance of the Lord’s blessings.
Source: Vatican.va

Novena to St. Philip Neri and Litany Prayers to SHARE - #Oratory Founder


(This novena has been adapted from the prayers and devotions of Cardinal Newman.) Say 1 Our Father,  1Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be each day of the novenas.
1. Philip, my glorious Patron, who didst count as dross the praise, and even the good esteem of men, obtain for me also, from my Lord and Savior, this fair virtue by thy prayers. How haughty are my thoughts, how contemptuous are my words, how ambitious are my works. Gain for me that low esteem of self with which thou wast gifted; obtain for me a knowledge of my own nothingness, that I may rejoice when I am despised, and ever seek to be great only in the eyes of my God and Judge. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
2. Philip, my glorious Patron, gain for me a portion of that gift which thou hadst so abundantly. Alas! thy heart was burning with love; mine is all frozen towards God, and alive only for creatures. I love the world, which can never make me happy; my highest desire is to be well off here below. O my God, when shall I learn to love nothing else but Thee? Gain for me, O Philip, a pure love, a strong love, and an efficacious love, that, loving God here upon earth, I may enjoy the sight of Him together with thee and all the saints, hereafter in Heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
3. Philip, my holy Patron, teach me by thy example, and gain for me by thy intercessions, to seek my Lord and God at all times and in all places, and to live in His presence and in sacred intercourse with Him. As the children of this world look up to rich men or men in station for the favor which they desire, so may I ever lift up my eyes and hands and heart towards heaven, and betake myself to the source of all good for those goods which I need. As the children of this world converse with their friends and find their pleasure in them, so may I ever hold communion with Saints and Angels, and with the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of my Lord. Pray with me, O Philip, as thou didst pray with thy penitents here below, and then prayer will become sweet to me as it did to them. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 4. Philip, my glorious Patron, who didst ever keep unsullied the white lily of thy purity, with such jealous care that the majesty of this fair virtue beamed from thine eyes, shone in thy hands, and was fragrant in thy breath, obtain for me that gift from the Holy Ghost, that neither the words nor the example of sinners may ever make any impression on my soul. And, since it is by avoiding occasions of sin, by prayer, by keeping myself employed, and by frequent use of the Sacraments that my dread enemy must be subdued, gain for me the grace to persevere in these necessary observances. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
5. Philip, my glorious Advocate, teach me to look at all I see around me after thy pattern as the creatures of God. Let me never forget that the same God who made me made the whole world, and all men and all animals that are in it. Gain for me the grace to love all God's works for His sake, and all men for the sake of my Lord and Savior who has redeemed them by the Cross. And especially let me be tender and compassionate and loving towards all Christians, as my brethren in grace. And do thou, who on earth wast so tender to all, be especially tender to us, and feel for us, bear with us in all our troubles, and gain for us from God, with whom thou dwellest in beatific light, all the aids necessary for bringing us safely to Him and to thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
6. Philip, my glorious Advocate, who didst ever follow the precepts and example of the Apostle Saint Paul in rejoicing always in all things, gain for me the grace of perfect resignation to God's will, of indifference to matters of this world, and a constant sight of Heaven; so that I may never be disappointed at the Divine providences, never desponding, never sad, never fretful; that my countenance may always be open and cheerful, and my words kind and pleasant, as becomes those who, in whatever state of life they are, have the greatest of all goods, the favor of God and the prospect of eternal bliss. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
7.Philip, my holy Advocate, who didst bear persecution and calumny, pain and sickness, with so admirable a patience, gain for me the grace of true fortitude under all the trials of this life. Alas! how do I need patience! I shrink from every small inconvenience; I sicken under every light affliction; I fire up at every trifling contradiction; I fret and am cross at every little suffering of body. Gain for me the grace to enter with hearty goodwill into all such crosses as I may receive day by day from my Heavenly Father. Let me imitate thee, as thou didst imitate my Lord and Savior, that so, as thou hast attained heaven by thy calm endurance of bodily and mental pain, I too may attain the merit of patience, and the reward of life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
8.  Philip, my holy Patron, who wast so careful for the souls of thy brethren, and especially of thy own people, when on earth, slack not thy care of them now, when thou art in Heaven. Be with us, who are thy children and thy clients; and, with thy greater power with God, and with thy more intimate insight into our needs and our dangers, guide us along the path which leads to God and to thee. Be to us a good father; make our priests blameless and beyond reproach or scandal; make our children obedient, our youth prudent and chaste, our heads of families wise and gentle, our old people cheerful and fervent, and build us up, by thy powerful intercessions, in faith, hope, charity, and all virtues. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
9. Philip, my holy Patron, the wounds and diseases of my soul are greater that bodily ones, and are beyond thy curing, even with thy supernatural power. I know that my Almighty Lord reserves in His own hands the recovery of my soul from death, and the healing of all its maladies. But thou canst do more for our souls by the prayers now, my dear Saint, than thou didst for the bodies of those who applied to thee when thou wast upon earth. Pray for me, that the Divine Physician of the soul, who alone reads my heart thoroughly, may cleanse it thoroughly, and that I and all who are dear to me may be cleansed from all our sins; and, since we must die, one and all, that we may die, as thou didst, in the grace and love of God, and with the assurance, like thee, of eternal life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 Look down from heaven, Holy Father, from the loftiness of that mountain to the lowliness of this valley, from that harbour of quietness and tranquility to this calamitous sea. And now that the darkness of this world hinders no more those benignant eyes of thine from looking clearly into all things, look down and visit, O most diligent keeper, this vineyard which thy right hand planted with so much labour, anxiety, and peril. To thee then we fly, from thee we seek for aid: to thee we give our whole selves unreservedly.
Thee we adopt for our patron and defender: undertake the cause of our salvation, protect thy clients. To thee we appeal as our leader, rule thine army fighting against the assaults of the devil. To thee, kindest of pilots, we give up the rudder of our lives; steer this little ship of thine, and placed as thou art on high, keep us off all the rocks of evil desires, that with thee for our pilot and our guide we may safely come to the port of eternal bliss. Amen.
LITANY OF SAINT PHILIP NERI
Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
 God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
 God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy mother of God,
Holy virgin of virgins,
St. Philip, Vessel of the Holy Ghost,
Child of Mary,
Apostle of Rome,
Counsellor of popes,
Voice of prophecy,
Man of primitive times,
Winning saint,
Hidden hero,
Sweetest of fathers,
Flower of purity,
Martyr of charity,
Heart of fire,
Discerner of spirits,
Choicest of priests,
Mirror of the divine life,
Pattern of humility,
Example of simplicity,
Light of holy joy, Image of childhood,
Picture of old age,
Director of souls,
Gentle guide of youth,
 Patron of thy own,
Who didst observe chastity in thy youth,
Who didst seek Rome by divine guidance,
Who didst hide so long in the catacombs,
Who didst receive the Holy Ghost into thy heart, Who didst experience such wonderful ecstasies, Who didst so lovingly serve the little ones,
 Who didst wash the feet of pilgrims,
Who didst ardently thirst after martyrdom,
Who didst distribute the daily word of God,
Who didst turn so many hearts to God,
Who didst converse so sweetly with Mary,
Who didst raise the dead,
Who didst set up thy houses in all lands,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us. Remember thy Congregation, which thou hast possessed from the beginning.
Let us pray O God, who has exalted blessed Philip, Thy Confessor, in the glory of thy Saints, grant that, as we rejoice in his commemoration, so we may profit by the example of his virtues, through Christ our Lord. Amen. This litany was composed by the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman (1800-1891), who founded the first Oratory in the English speaking world, in Birmingham in 1848.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday May 26, 2018 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, Priest
Lectionary: 346

Reading 1JAS 5:13-20

Beloved:
Is anyone among you suffering?
He should pray.
Is anyone in good spirits?
He should sing a song of praise.
Is anyone among you sick?
He should summon the presbyters of the Church,
and they should pray over him
and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
The prayer of faith will save the sick person,
and the Lord will raise him up.
If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another
and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
Elijah was a man like us;
yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain,
and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land.
Then Elijah prayed again, and the sky gave rain
and the earth produced its fruit.

My brothers and sisters,
if anyone among you should stray from the truth
and someone bring him back,
he should know that whoever brings back a sinner
from the error of his way will save his soul from death
and will cover a multitude of sins.

Responsorial PsalmPS 141:1-2, 3 AND 8

R. (2a) Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, to you I call; hasten to me;
hearken to my voice when I call upon you.
Let my prayer come like incense before you;
the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.
R. Let my prayer come like incense before you.
O LORD, set a watch before my mouth,
a guard at the door of my lips.
For toward you, O God, my LORD, my eyes are turned;
in you I take refuge; strip me not of life.
R. Let my prayer come like incense before you.

AlleluiaSEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 10:13-16

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
"Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it."
Then he embraced the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

Saint May 26 : St. Philip Neri : Missionary and Founder - #Oratory

MISSIONARY AND FOUNDER
Feast: May 26

Feast Day:
May 26
Born:
22 July 1515 at Florence, Italy
Died:
27 May 1595
Canonized:
12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV
Saint Philip Neri was born in Florence in 1515.  From a very early age, he was attracted to virtue, and was awakened to the love of God through the Dominicans at San Marco, where the memory of Savonarola was still very much alive and the frescoes by the Blessed Fra Angelico still had their vibrant colours. In his late teens, he was sent by his family to live with an uncle in San Germano near the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino, with the understanding that he would become heir to his uncle’s business and great wealth.  But, through prayer, Philip soon discovered that earthly riches could never satisfy his heart. So he renounced the inheritance and left San Germano for Rome, where he arrived probably in 1533, at the age of eighteen.

     Once in Rome, Philip lived as a layman for nearly twenty years. He was given room and board in a family home in exchange for tutoring the children. This gave him much free time to learn about God and to speak familiarly about Him to people of all walks of life.  For a time, Philip attended lectures in theology given by the Augustinians; but his deepest lessons about God came through prayer. It was while he was praying in the catacombs of St Sebastian on the feast of Pentecost in 1544, that the Holy Spirit descended into him as a ball of fire and lodged in his heart. From this time onwards, Philip always felt his heart to be dilated and filled with a great heat. (After his death, an autopsy revealed that his heart had in fact been enlarged and that two of his ribs were broken to make room for it.)

     While still a layman, Philip encouraged the people of Rome to raise their minds and hearts to God. He was instrumental in popularizing the Forty Hours’ Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  And he effectively organized works of charity such as the care of the sick, and lodging and feeding pilgrims who came to Rome. Because of his humility, Philip did not aspire to the priesthood, but in obedience he submitted to his confessor’s wishes and was ordained in 1551.

     As a priest, Philip was able to win more souls for God through the confessional.  He was also able to preach with more authority.  Soon, the informal discourses on the Word of God, which took place in his room, developed into daily sermons in a small chapel which he had built for the purpose. This chapel, called an Oratory, would eventually lend its name to the community of priests who, under Philip, devoted themselves to this apostolate. By the time that this initiative received its first papal recognition in 1575, there were close to forty priests taking part in the afternoon exercises, which featured four talks, interspersed with music.

     One of the remarkable things about Philip’s apostolate was the wide spectrum of people it attracted.  Cardinals and other prelates, priests and religious, nobles and servants, musicians and artists, tradesmen, shopkeepers, soldiers, and people on the edge of respectable society – and sometimes beyond it – could all be found at the Oratory and among Philip’s penitents. Philip’s joyful character was irresistible and his talents for devising paths to holiness were legendary. To keep people away from the sinful excesses of various carnivals, he began a pilgrimage to seven of Rome’s most renowned churches.  He took large numbers of people to the outskirts of Rome to enjoy a picnic in which religious truths were as much a part of the fare as good food and entertainment and Christian charity. And he counselled his penitents to put their faith into practice by visiting the sick in hospitals and helping the poor to find means to better their lot.

     Saint Philip knew that humility was the indispensable requirement for sanctity.   He counselled the mortification of the intellect rather than prolonged fasts and the wearing of hair shirts.  Think little of being thought little of – despise being despised – was one of his oft-repeated sayings, as was the advice to love to be unknown – amare nesciri.

     But Philip’s humility and total dedication of himself to God could not  remain hidden for long. Stories abound of the Saint’s wisdom, insight, and holiness (and miraculous interventions) as he brought people from all walks of life closer to God. The second reading for the Mass in his honour shows the breadth of his imagination in his work for the Gospel:  ‘Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things’  (Phil. 4:8).

     Philip died on 26 May 1595, on the day after the feast of Corpus Christi, just two months shy of his eightieth birthday.  During his lifetime, Philip had counted many canonized Saints among his friends – Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Felix of Cantalice, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Camillus of Lellis, Saint John Leonard, to name just a few. So it is appropriate that he was canonized in 1622 on the same day as four other Saints – Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Saint Isidore the Farmer.

SOURCE Oratory of Toronto

Friday, May 25, 2018

Ireland Urged to Vote "No" in Abortion Referendum - #ProLife Campaign to Save the 8th Amendment to Protect Unborn -PleasePray


The former Irish prime minister John Bruton urged voters to protect babies’ lives by voting no in the referendum. Bruton served as Prime Minister and as an ambassador of the European Union to the United States. On May 25, Ireland is scheduled to vote on whether to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which protects unborn babies’ right to life. Pro-lifers estimate that the Eighth Amendment has saved approximately 100,000 unborn babies’ lives from abortion.
Irish law currently recognises equal rights to life for a mother and for an unborn child, making abortion illegal except in cases where the woman’s life is at risk.
The law allows them to travel abroad for an abortion, resulting in several thousand Irish women travelling for abortion.
Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armargh, Primate of All Ireland explained to Vatican News: the vote as a “watershed and historic moment” as people are asked for the first time in Ireland, by referendum, “to discuss the equality of all human life”. He notes that the 8th amendment under review is a declaration of equality of life between the life of a woman and her unborn child, “both lives being precious, in need of protection, love, and the support of society and its laws”.
The Church, Archbishop Martin noted “has all along, through gentle, truthful, but loving messages, tried to teach that all human life is sacred and precious, from the first moment of conception until natural death”.
These proposed changes, the archbishop concluded, have united all Christian traditions [around the ‘No’ campaign]. But this is not simply a Catholic or Christian issue, he said, since “people of all faiths and none” have come together in a broad coalition of concern, sharing the belief that “innocent human life should be protected”.

Pope Francis "The image of God isn’t news. But this is the beauty of marriage. They [the couple] are the image and likeness of God..." Homily

Pope Francis: Marriage is an image of God
Despite the difficulties in marriage and family life, Pope Francis invites us to consider the beauty of marriage in his homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis spoke about the beauty of marriage in his homily at the Casa Santa Marta on Friday. Among the faithful present at the morning Mass were seven married couples celebrating their 25 wedding anniversaries.

“Yes, you can” or “no, you can’t”
 

The Gospel passage for the day, from the Gospel of St Mark, speaks of the intentions of the Pharisees, who asked Jesus a question precisely in order to test Him. Pope Francis described questions of this kind, about what you can or can’t do, as casuistic. He explained: “Not the great ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ with which we are familiar. This is God.” Instead, the Pharisees reduce the Christian life, the way of following God, to a question of “yes, you can,” or “no, you can’t.”

Let us see the beauty of marriage
 

The question posed by the Pharisees concerned marriage; they wanted to know if it was lawful for a husband to divorce his wife. But, said Pope Francis, Jesus goes beyond the simple question of lawfulness, going back to the “the beginning.” Jesus speaks about marriage as it is in itself, perhaps the greatest thing created by God in those seven days of Creation.
“From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Jesus words in the Gospel are very strong, the Pope said. He speaks of “one flesh” which cannot be divided. Jesus “lays aside the problem of separation, and goes to the beauty of the couple,” who ought to be one. The Pope continued:
We must not focus, like these doctors do, on [the answer] "Yes, you can" divide a marriage, or "No, you can’t."  At times there is misfortune, when it doesn't work, and it is better to separate in order to avoid a world war. But this is a misfortune. Let us go and look at the positive.

You can always go forward
 

Pope Francis told of how he met a couple who were celebrating 60 years of marriage. He said he asked them, “Are you happy?” They looked at one another, and with tears in their eyes, answered, “We are in love!”
It’s true that there are difficulties, there are problems with children or with the couple themselves, arguments and fights… but the important thing is that the flesh remains one, and you can overcome, you can overcome, you can overcome. And this is not only a sacrament for them, but also for the Church, a sacrament, as it were, that attracts attention: “See, love is possible!” And love is capable of allowing you to live your whole life “in love”: in joy and in sorrow, with the problems of children, and their own problems… but always going forward. In sickness and in health, but always going forward. This is beautiful.

The couple: the image and likeness of God
 

Man and woman are created in God’s image and likeness; and for this reason, marriage likewise becomes an image of God. This makes marriage very beautiful, the Pope said. “Matrimony is a silent homily for everyone else, a daily homily.”
It’s sad when this is not news: the newspapers, the TV news shows, don’t consider this news. But this couple, together for so many years… it’s not news. Scandal, divorce, separation – these are considered newsworthy. (Although at times its necessary to separate, as I said, to avoid a greater evil). The image of God isn’t news. But this is the beauty of marriage. They [the couple] are the image and likeness of God. And this is our news, the Christian news.

Patience is the most important virtue
 

Marriage and family life is not easy, the Pope repeated. He pointed to the first Reading, where St James speaks about patience. Patience, he said, is “perhaps the most important virtue for the couple – both for the man and for the woman.” He concluded his homily with a prayer that the Lord “might give to the Church and to society a more profound and more beautiful understanding of marriage, so that we all might be able to appreciate and reflect upon [the fact] that the image and likeness of God is present in marriage.”
Text Source: Vatican News

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday May 25, 2018 - #Eucharist


Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 345

Reading 1JAS 5:9-12

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of the perseverance of Job,
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord,
because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

But above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear,
either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath,
but let your "Yes" mean "Yes" and your "No" mean "No,"
that you may not incur condemnation.

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12

R. (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,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he 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.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

AlleluiaSEE JN 17:17B, 17A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 10:1-12

Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
"Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
They replied,
"Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery."

Saint May 25: St. Bede : Patron of #Lectors , #Writers and #Historians : Died 735

DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, HISTORIAN

Born:
672 at Wearmouth, England
Died:
25 May 735
Canonized:
1899 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:
Durham Cathedral
Patron of:
lectors ;english writers and historians; Jarrow
Historian and Doctor of the Church, born 672 or 673; died 735. In the last chapter of his great work on the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" Bede has told us something of his own life, and it is, practically speaking, all that we know. His words, written in 731, when death was not far off, not only show a simplicity and piety characteristic of the man, but they throw a light on the composition of the work through which he is best remembered by the world at large. He writes:

Thus much concerning the ecclesiastical history of Britain, and especially of the race of the English, I, Baeda, a servant of Christ and a priest of the monastery of the blessed apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, which is at Wearmouth and at Jarrow (in Northumberland), have with the Lord's help composed so far as I could gather it either from ancient documents or from the traditions of the elders, or from my own knowledge. I was born in the territory of the said monastery, and at the age of seven I was, by the care of my relations, given to the most reverend Abbot Benedict [St. Benedict Biscop], and afterwards to Ceolfrid, to be educated. From that time I have spent the whole of my life within that monastery, devoting all my pains to the study of the Scriptures, and amid the observance of monastic discipline and the daily charge of singing in the Church, it has been ever my delight to learn or teach or write. In my nineteenth year I was admitted to the diaconate, in my thirtieth to the priesthood, both by the hands of the most reverend Bishop John [St. John of Beverley], and at the bidding of Abbot Ceolfrid. From the time of my admission to the priesthood to my present fifty-ninth year, I have endeavored for my own use and that of my brethren, to make brief notes upon the holy Scripture, either out of the works of the venerable Fathers or in conformity with their meaning and interpretation.

After this Bede inserts a list or Indiculus, of his previous writings and finally concludes his great work with the following words:

And I pray thee, loving Jesus, that as Thou hast graciously given me to drink in with delight the words of Thy knowledge, so Thou wouldst mercifully grant me to attain one day to Thee, the fountain of all wisdom and to appear forever before Thy face.

It is plain from Bede's letter to Bishop Egbert that the historian occasionally visited his friends for a few days, away from his own monastery of Jarrow, but with such rare exceptions his life seems to have been one peaceful round of study and prayer passed in the midst of his own community. How much he was beloved by them is made manifest by the touching account of the saint's last sickness and death left us by Cuthbert, one of his disciples. Their studious pursuits were not given up on account of his illness and they read aloud by his bedside, but constantly the reading was interrupted by their tears. "I can with truth declare", writes Cuthbert of his beloved master, "that I never saw with my eyes or heard with my ears anyone return thanks so unceasingly to the living God." Even on the day of his death (the vigil of the Ascension, 735) the saint was still busy dictating a translation of the Gospel of St. John. In the evening the boy Wilbert, who was writing it, said to him: "There is still one sentence, dear master, which is not written down." And when this had been supplied, and the boy had told him it was finished, "Thou hast spoken truth", Bede answered, "it is finished. Take my head in thy hands for it much delights me to sit opposite any holy place where I used to pray, that so sitting I may call upon my Father." And thus upon the floor of his cell singing, "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost" and the rest, he peacefully breathed his last breath.

The title Venerabilis seems to have been associated with the name of Bede within two generations after his death. There is of course no early authority for the legend repeated by Fuller of the "dunce-monk" who in composing an epitaph on Bede was at a loss to complete the line: Hac sunt in fossa Bedae . . . . ossa and who next morning found that the angels had filled the gap with the word venerabilis. The title is used by Alcuin, Amalarius and seemingly Paul the Deacon, and the important Council of Aachen in 835 describes him as venerabilis et modernis temporibus doctor admirabilis Beda. This decree was specially referred to in the petition which Cardinal Wiseman and the English bishops addressed to the Holy See in 1859 praying that Bede might be declared a Doctor of the Church. The question had already been debated even before the time of Benedict XIV, but it was only on 13 November, 1899, that Leo XIII decreed that the feast of Venerable Bede with the title of Doctor Ecclesiae should be celebrated throughout the Church each year on 27 May. A local cultus of St. Bede had been maintained at York and in the North of England throughout the Middle Ages, but his feast was not so generally observed in the South, where the Sarum Rite was followed.

Bede's influence both upon English and foreign scholarship was very great, and it would probably have been greater still but for the devastation inflicted upon the Northern monasteries by the inroads of the Danes less than a century after his death. In numberless ways, but especially in his moderation, gentleness, and breadth of view, Bede stands out from his contemporaries. In point of scholarship he was undoubtedly the most learned man of his time. A very remarkable trait, noticed by Plummer (I, p. xxiii), is his sense of literary property, an extraordinary thing in that age. He himself scrupulously noted in his writings the passages he had borrowed from others and he even begs the copyists of his works to preserve the references, a recommendation to which they, alas, have paid but little attention. High, however, as was the general level of Bede's culture, he repeatedly makes it clear that all his studies were subordinated to the interpretation of Scripture. In his "De Schematibus" he says in so many words: "Holy Scripture is above all other books not only by its authority because it is Divine, or by its utility because it leads to eternal life, but also by its antiquity and its literary form" (positione dicendi). It is perhaps the highest tribute to Bede's genius that with so uncompromising and evidently sincere a conviction of the inferiority of human learning, he should have acquired so much real culture. Though Latin was to him a still living tongue, and though he does not seem to have consciously looked back to the Augustan Age of Roman Literature as preserving purer models of literary style than the time of Fortunatus or St. Augustine, still whether through native genius or through contact with the classics, he is remarkable for the relative purity of his language, as also for his lucidity and sobriety, more especially in matters of historical criticism. In all these respects he presents a marked  contrast to St. Aldhelm who approaches more nearly to the Celtic type.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Saint May 25 : St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi : Discalced #Carmelite and #Healer

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi
DISCALCED CARMELITE MYSTIC AND HEALER
Feast: May 25


Information:
Feast Day:May 25
Born:April 2, 1566, Florence, Italy
Died:May 25, 1607, Florence, Italy
Canonized:April 28, 1669, Rome by Pope Clement X
Patron of:Naples (co-patron)
Carmelite Virgin, born 2 April, 1566; died 25 May, 1607. Of outward events there were very few in the saint's life. She came of two noble families, her father being Camillo Geri de' Pazzi and her mother a Buondelmonti. She was baptized, and named Caterina, in the great baptistery. Her childhood much resembled that of some other women saints who have become great mystics, in an early love of prayer and penance, great charity to the poor, an apostolic spirit of teaching religious truths, and a charm and sweetness of nature that made her a general favourite. But above all other spiritual characteristics was Caterina's intense attraction towards the Blessed Sacrament, her longing to receive It, and her delight in touching and being near those who were speaking of It, or who had just been to Communion. She made her own First Communion at the age of ten, and shortly afterwards vowed her virginity to God. At fourteen she was sent to school at the convent of Cavalaresse, where she lived in so mortified and fervent a manner as to make the sisters prophesy that she would become a great saint; and, on leaving it, she told her parents of her resolve to enter the religious state. They were truly spiritual people; and, after a little difficulty in persuading them to relinquish their only daughter, she finally entered in December, 1582, the Carmelite convent of Santa Maria degl' Angeli, founded by four Florentine ladies in 1450 and renowned for its strict observance. Her chief reason for choosing this convent was the rule there followed of daily Communion.

Caterina was clothed in 1583, when she took the name of Maria Maddalena; and on 29 May, 1584, being then so ill that they feared she would not recover, she was professed. After her profession, she was subject to an extraordinary daily ecstasy for forty consecutive days, at the end of which time she appeared at the point of death. She recovered, however, miraculously; and henceforth, in spite of constant bad health, was able to fill with energy the various offices to which she was appointed. She became, in turn, mistress ofexterns--i.e. of girls coming to the convent on trial--teacher and mistress of the juniors, novice mistress (which post she held for six years), and finally, in 1604, superior. For five years (1585-90) God allowed her to be tried by terrible inward desolation and temptations, and by external diabolic attacks; but the courageous severity and deep humility of the means that she took for overcoming these only served to make her virtues shine more brilliantly in the eyes of her community.

From the time of her clothing with the religious habit till her death the saint's life was one series of raptures and ecstasies, of which only the most notable characteristics can be named in a short notice.

* First, these raptures sometimes seized upon her whole being with such force as to compel her to rapid motion (e.g. towards some sacred object).

* Secondly, she was frequently able, whilst in ecstasy, to carry on work belonging to her office--e.g., embroidery, painting, etc.--with perfect composure and efficiency.

* Thirdly--and this is the point of chief importance--it was whilst in her states of rapture that St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi gave utterance to those wonderful maxims of Divine Love, and those counsels of perfection for souls, especially in the religious state, which a modern editor of a selection of them declares to be "more frequently quoted by spiritual writers than those even of St. Teresa". These utterances have been preserved to us by the saint's companions, who (unknown to her) took them down from her lips as she poured them forth. She spoke sometimes as of herself, and sometimes as themouthpiece of one or other of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity. These maxims of the saint are sometimes described as her "Works", although she wrote down none of them herself.

This ecstatic life in no wise interfered with the saint's usefulness in her community. She was noted for her strong common-sense, as well as for the high standard and strictness of her government, and was most dearly loved to the end of her life by all for the spirit of intense charity that accompanied her somewhat severe code of discipline. As novice-mistress she was renowned for a miraculous gift of reading her subjects' hearts--which gift, indeed, was not entirely confined to her community. Many miracles, both of this and of other kinds, she performed for the benefit either of her own convent or of outsiders. She often saw things far off, and is said once to have supernaturally beheld St. Catherine de' Ricci in her convent at Prato, reading a letter that she had sent her and writing the answer; but the two saints never met in a natural manner. To St. Mary Magdalen's numerous penances, and to the ardent love of suffering that made her genuinely wish to live long in order to suffer with Christ, we can here merely refer; but it must not be forgotten that she was one of the strongest upholders of the value of suffering for the love of God and the salvation of our fellow-creatures, that ever lived. Her death was fully in accordance with her life in this respect, for she died after an illness of nearly threeyears' duration and of indescribable painfulness, borne with heroic joy to the end. Innumerable miracles followed the saint's death, and the process for her beatification was begun in 1610 under Paul V, and finished under Urban VIII in 1626. She was not, however, canonized till sixty-two years after her death, when Clement IX raised her to the altars in 28 April, 1669. Her feast is kept on 27 May.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)